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Making the best SVCD to win Staassen competition

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I won Ton Staassen contest in April 2001, it was to make the best VCD or SVCD from a Hi8 footage captured with a Pinnacle Studio DC10.

  1. The contest
  2. The process
  3. Burning and testing on TV and PC

1. The contest

Proposed by Ton Staassen (Nederlands) to compare results related to encoding parameters used by other people, the contest is still opened. You can take you chance and beat the best VCD and SVCD of the moment. The Internet link isn't permanently active because of the huge traffic due to the success of this competition hosted by a free but limited Dutch provider: VCD COMPETITION.

Ton has set a reference AVI clip, a 5 seconds outdoor scene, filmed with an Hi8 camcorder and captured with a Pinnacle Studio DC10 then compressed to MJPEG format to fit in reasonable file size with a fair quality.

Submission with clips made with trial version of PICVideo or Main Concept codecs (which overlay their trademarks) are qualified.

I am part of the jury but I haven't join the final round for SVCD (just normal since I've submitted for this contest).

2. The process

I've made a lot of tests with TMPG, CCE and LSX encoders but I never got a satisfying result. Therefore, I've set a simple process to analyze and encode the video clip:

  1. Measure Nominal Bit Rate (NBR) with TMPG and my XSVCD template for PC: tmpgxpc.zip
  2. Tweak the AVI clip to lower the NBR down to 4Mbps
  3. Encode the clip with TMPG and my basic template for beta12e release: tmpg12e.zip

BR is measured with Bitrate Viewer, available from its home page. My XSVCD for PC template is a completely unlocked template set up to 9Mbps (close to DVD standard at 9.8Mbps).

AVI clip analysis

I've encoded the clip with TMPG/tmpgxpc and then I've opened it into Bitrate Viewer which gave the NBR around 8Mbps. It's very high, due to a high level of details of the footage. MPEG artifacts are mainly visible in the back of the mother on the bicycle.

AVI clip preprocessing

So I have to remove some details, in other words to smooth the picture and we have the smoother filter (an internal VirtualDUB filter).

My solution:

The VirtualDUB process is:

The processing settings are available in presmoothplus.zip, you should be able to load it in VirtualDUB. I've choose to recompress with Huffyuv to avoid compression artifacts.

The new NBR I got from the modified clip is from 4 to 5 Mbps, that's values that TMPG cab handle for SVCD format.

Encoding with TMPG

I've fine tuned my usual SVCD template (progressive video) :

After encoding I've checked the NBR again : 2102 average and 2684 max.

3. Burning and testing on TV and PC

I've burnt the SVCD on Windows 2000 Professional system with Nero and played on PC (with WinDVD 2000) and on my TV set Philips 70cm (4:3). Picture is good on both .




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Version of the document: 1.1EN
Created: April 27 - 2001
Updated: April 27 - 2001
Author: Leon