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  • MakeFilm TNG™
    The Next Generation in Single CD DivX Creation!

    For those of you who used the old MakeFilm method, read on...this way is a much easier and even better quality


    Things have moved fast since Doom and me invented this DivX joining idea. There are currently a few contenders for DivX joining and I thought it only fair to let you try the competition out yourselves. Nandub is now the undesputed champion so check that guide out Here.

    This MakeFilm guide is here because at the time I wrote this it was and is in my opinion, the best method and is still a really great method for single CD rips. The following is a list of the other MM4 video methods:

    Nandub SBC Encoding
    MakeFilm TNG 1.2
    Project DivX 1.5 (Read Doom9's Guide on this one Here)
    AVI Revolution 2.0
    Compress AVI 1.04


    Why should I use MakeFilm - TNG?

    What is MakeFilm TNG? Everyone is looking for the best settings to make the perfect DivX movie from their DVD. This was what urged me to write the articles: Divx quality check' and 'How to Join Divx Avi's and Double the Quality of Your Rips' and a whole bunch of other guides. Ideally the Microsoft Mpeg-4 codec should have been designed like Mpeg-2, which allows you to set both a minimum bitrate (so the video quality doesn't go below your needs) and a maximum bitrate (so it doesn't go so high that it doesn't fit into the CD you wish to put the final movie).

    We have two DivX codecs: the Fast Motion, which, as its name suggests, is optimized for fast action scenes. It does normal scenes really bad quality but action scenes it does really really great quality!! With the Fast Motion codec you set the maximum bitrate. For example, here is a scene done with the Fast Motion codec 6000kbps:

    And here is the same scene with the Low Motion codec same size but at 600kbps:

    Conversely, the Low Motion Codec does really really great quality, but only on low action scenes. For this codec you set the maximum bitrate for your movie. For example, here is a non-action scene using the Low Motion Codec at 600kbps:

    And again, here it is with the Fast Motion codec 6000kbps:

    As you can see, even at 6000kbps the Fast Motion codec cannot equal the Low Motion codec set at 600kbps. But then again, for the Low Motion codec to beat the Fast Motion on Fast action scenes it needs to be set at 1500kbps or above. This results in very large file sizes!

    I'm sure its quite obvious to you that if we could split a movie up into fast action scenes and low action scenes, and then encode one lot with the Fast Motion codec and the other with the Low Motion Codec and put them together we would end up with a movie that gives us The Best of Both Worlds! And this was mainly what my how to join Mpeg-4 avi articles was about. Of course this article no longer exists because of MakeFilm.

    The real problem with doing this was the difficulty in making two or more separate movies and joining the best quality bits together to make a finished movie with no noticeable transitions between scenes. My previous article was aimed at fixing a few very bad scenes rather than a suggestion to take on a task comparable to the labors of Hercules!

    But now, thanks to a great fellow who goes by the name of MI-CHI, there is a way to make this process almost as easy as making the original movie itself! Let me introduce to you MakeFilm!


    What Does MakeFilm TNG Do?

    It allows us to automatically join the best parts of one Fast Motion and one Low Motion movie into one single super high quality movie. It has the most accurate bitrate calculation method of any other program and should be able to fit your Divx movies almost exactly to 650MB! You no longer even need to choose where it cuts the movie because it has built in quality algorithms that can decide which are the best parts from each movie. It even allows you to save an extra 50MB or more of space by re-encodeing the end credits! Those of you who who have tried the other joining programs, will be pleased to know that MakeFilm beats Compress AVI and Divx Project hands down, both in speed and in quality. MakeFilm TNG can combine combine two Divx movies in literally a few minuets! Anyway, enough of the blurb, I'll take you through what you need to do bit by bit.

    Before I start you will need:
    MakeFilm TNG 1.2
    VirtualDub 1.4c

    Note: As one final note MakeFilm 1.2 now has the ability to make a text file explaining the bitrates used on your movies and also allows you to save your favorite settings.


    Step 1: Making the Fast Motion Movie

    The Fast Motion movie should always be made the first movie you encode if you want to make the best use of MakeFilm! This is because the bitrate you should use for the second movie is based on the first - rather like 2 pass VBR encoding for Mpeg-2.

    Single CD Divx

    If you are making a single Divx movie I see no reason to use any less than 2000 kbps, unless your movie is very very long! So use 2000 kbps or a little more.

    Double CD Divx

    Two CD rips are a little more tricky. If your movie is very long and will be hard to fit on two CD's with any good quality, then use about 6000 kbps Fast Motion.

    But MakeFilm was designed mainly for single CD rips! Here is the reason we have a problem with a double CD rip: the Low Motion codec tends to give better results than the Fast motion codec when it is set at a bitrate of somewhere between 1000 to 1200 kbps or more! Check out my quality and bitrate guide for detailed examples of this. So, even if we use the Fast Motion codec set at 6000 kbps it is possible that the Fast Motion movie will not look any better than the Low Motion movie!!

    There is a possible solution for this, but it is not always easy to guess the best bitrate to use. Basically we can try to make two Low Motion movies. One at a very low bitrate, something like 700 kbps, and one at a high bitrate like 1500-2000 kbps. MakeFilm's calculator will not help us now, because as far as its concerned the high bitrate movie is already larger than the size you want to fit it into!

    Setting Keyframes

    You should always set keyframes to 1 every second, unless your computer cannot play them back at 100% with this setting. Doing this will make scene selection much more accurate.

    Setting Smoothness / Crispiness

    The Divx codec likes to drop frames at low bitrates to save space. This sometimes causes bad frames, (i.e. your video stops but the audio continues). And it can also cause MakeFilm (or any joining program) not to work because both movies must have the same amount of frames in the same places. If you must use a quite low bitrate, such as 600 kbps or less then you may have problems unless you set the smoothness quite low. It is possible to have frame drops as low as 30% smoothness but usually you will be okay at 60-75%. So far I've been OK with these settings but you may not be so lucky.


    Making the movie in Mpeg2avi

    Write down or save the resizing settings you use to make the Fast Motion movie. So that when you make the Low Motion movie after it will look exactly the same. If the movie is cropped or resized wrongly you will have a corrupted file because MakeFilm cannot join two different resolutions!


    Making the movie in Flask Mpeg

    Again you must make take note of he settings you used to make your Fast Motion movie. The most important thing is resizing and cropping. Use the normal output pad as you normally would to crop and resize your Fast Motion movie. But, because its hard to get the same settings twice in Flask by hand, you must write down the numbers too - look below:

    See on the right side of this picture where it says things like:

    top offset
    left offset

    Copy every setting down that is shown on the right. Then when you are ready to make your Low Motion movie you should be able to type the same settings in these boxes (don't use the output pad for the second movie) and everything should be the same!


    Taking out the Audio

    If you used Flask Mpeg to make your movie you should extract the audio before you continue. Neither movie should contain audio when we put it through MakeFilm. First save the audio somewhere where you will not loose it :) Do this by opening VirtualDub i.e.:

    Choose File > Save Wav...

    And don't worry it shouldn't be larger than about 100MB; in fact, its usually only about 60MB. VirtualDub doesn't change the audio to uncompressed PCM audio, it literally takes out whatever is in there. So if you used Mp3 in Flask that is exactly what it will extract...although it will still call it a something.wav.


    Step 2: Re-encoding the End Credits (staff roll).

    This is an optional feature, but since it almost always saves anything upto and above 50MB it will help the quality of the final movie even more. Besides, there is no reason not to do this if we are gonna mess around cutting do all this stuff anyway! Okay, I hope you've read my cutting and joining Divx guide because it will help you to understand what I am going to say. Open the Fast Motion movie in VirtualDub.

    Move the slider bar (E) to get close to where the end credits start. Then use the keyframe buttons (D) to get to almost exactly where they start :). Don't worry if you are a little into them this way it won't matter. Now, write down the number shown at (H). Then, without moving the silder bar position, press the mark out button (G) once! And press the move to start of movie button (B the one on the left). Then press the "mark in" button (F). This will select the parts of the movie that we don't need to re-encode.

    Finally, go to Edit > Delete Frames

    Select Video > Compression

    Choose the Fast Motion codec (not the one shown in this picture below).

    Hit the configure button and set bitrate to 128 kbps. Keyframes to one every 10 seconds and crispiness to 5%. You can play about with the settings if you prefer better or worse end credit quality. But this should be good enough to turn 60MB credits into a 2MB credits.

    Press OK. Then choose File > Save AVI

    Call it something like credits.avi so you know what it is. If you are encoding the End Credits this way you would do well to check after them too. If there are any trailers or unnecessary stuff then delete these off of the end too.


    Step 3: The Low Motion Movie

    Okay, all the hard work is done. Open MakeFilm and select the High Motion DivX in the first selection box. Then tick the Ending AVI box and select the location of your end credits. Remember the number we wrote down for the start position of the end credits? Put that in the 'Frame-Pos' box.

    Bitrate Calculator

    This calculator will only work if you encoded your first movie with the Fast Motion codec! In the middle of MakeFilm we have the options 'Audio (kbps)', tell MakeFilm what settings you will or have already encoded your audio. In the above picture I use the bitrate that most Flask user put, namely, 'Mpeg Layer 3 96kbps'.

    Just below that selection is the option 'Final size (MB)'. Put in the size of the CD you will be using to store the movie. If you use a 650MB CD type in 650MB or if you use 700MB type that.

    Quality Settings

    Now, for the joining quality settings. The 'High Bitrate Limit (kbps)' defines at what point the the Low Motion clips will be joined to the Fast Motion movie. For example, at 700 it will replace (with the Low Motion movie clips) all area's of the Fast Motion movie where the bitrate falls below 700kbps. You may wish to experiment with this setting making it a little higher or lower depending on the final result.

    Double CD Rips that use two Low Motion movies

    As I already explained, this is a little more tricky and is very hard to get right. Lets say we have a 150 minuet movie. We could try making the low bitrate movie something like 900 kbps and the high bitrate something like 1200-1500 kbps! Then when we try to join them we will need to put quite a high threshold in the 'High Bitrate Limit (kbps)' section, perhaps something like 950. Then encode it and see what you get. If the movie is too large increase the threshold again to 1000, then 1100, 1200 etc., to see if you can fit it. If you think all this is worth trying, then be my guest. I cannot guarantee the movie will always fit, but in the end this will probably be able to solve any really high bitrate scenes this way.


    Lastly we have the Scene-Switching-Smoother. This has two options: on or off =). This will depend on your final movie but it smooths scenes where the Fast Motion change is so rapid that you would easily notice the quality change as it turned from Low Motion to Fast Motion. Check your movie and if you see any annoying changes use this option. If you, for whatever reason have decided to use keyframe every 2 or more seconds, then don't use the smoother at all because it will smooth too many scenes and you'll end up with a movie not unlike the one you already started with! For more details and troubleshooting please read through the instructions provided with MakeFilm.

    That's it! Press the 'Analyze' button and then MakeFilm will give you the bitrate you should set your second Low Motion movie to (encircled in red above). Again, use the setting keyframe every 1 second and crispiness 75% on your Low Motion movie.

    Go! Encode your Low Motion movie with the bitrate given and come back when you have it!


    Step 4: The Final Movie

    Select your High Motion movie. Select your End Credits clip and put in the Frame-pos number. Select your Low Motion clip. Choose where you want the final movie to be saved. Set your Scene-Switching-Smoother now if you want to use it and set the 'High Bitrate Limit' you prefer.

    There is one last setting I haven't spoken about. The 'Stop after' box (under the Ending AVI selection). If you just want to cut off the end credits instead of replace them with a smaller version, you can put the frame position in this box instead and it will chop the credits off in the final movie. This option is also useful at chopping off trailers and other additional stuff that is sometimes found at the end of DVD movies too.


    Step 5: Adding the Audio

    Time to check your movie. It should be perfect, if not try another threshold or the smoother settings to make a better job of things. Now its time to add the audio back. This is easy enough, open the final movie in VirtualDub.

    Select: Video > Direct stream copy

    Select: Audio > Wav Audio...

    Find that wave file.

    File > Save AVI

    Phew! You're done.



    Movie freezes half way through but the audio continues, why?!

    Check your original movies. If the original movies are the same its just a badly encoded original and nothing to do with MakeFilm. If you are using low bitrates its a good idea to check the MakeFilm's final version. You don't need to actually watch the movie all the way through. Just let it play while you do something else and check it every now and then. You will know if the frozen frame appears because it will stay frozen until it reaches the end. To help prevent framedrops use lower smoothness settings when encoding.


    After adding the audio to my final AVI, it is out-of-sync

    Again try multiplexing it with the original movie and see if its correct. If not, use my audio synching techniques.


    More Help

    Make sure you go through the manual provided with MakeFilm first. If you have any questions or problems with MakeFilm please do not send them to me because I must then send them to MI-CHI :).

    Send them to:

    Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited. (C) NICKY PAGE 2000