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Your Newbie Experience with MCEBuddy

Jan 22, 2016 at 6:55 PM
Edited Jan 22, 2016 at 7:00 PM
I'll share mine to get things rolling.

Topics covered:
  1. Finding settings
  2. Comskip
  3. Conversion / transcoding speed
  4. Video / Audio desyncing
Ok, so first of all, I had some difficulty finding all the setting available in the GUI since MCEBuddy isn't quite what I'd call a standard Windows Style app with menu buttons and tabs etc. It isn't quite all that intuitive to first highlight your output folder and then click on a "Change" button and then click on a wee down arrow and then click on "Expert Settings" to find where you can disable "Hardware Acceleration" and other settings. You get used to it, but if I were designing the GUI myself, I'd probably change a few things.

I perhaps unwisely spent some money to get the donator version of Comskip, but my first conversion resulted in a few minutes of show being removed and so I disabled Comskip. I can see from further reading that perhaps spending some time fiddling with settings could resolve erronious cut problems. I'm just not one to spend a bunch of tme fiddling. I tend to have the disposition of; "If I can't depend on it to work properly straight away, then I'll throw it in the trash and go back to old-fashioned goodness."

At first my output files were a mess, ffmpeg was scrapping itself. My GPU would throttle up it's fan and work hard for a few minutes which suggested that it was involved in the processing somehow but the resulting output file had single images frozen accros 30 minutes of frames and such. I installed the latest driver for my GTX970 GPU and this seemed to stabilize things but now with Hardware Excel enabled the GPU only runs at a 4% workload and ffmpeg only utilizes my 6 core cpu at 20%, so the conversion speed isn't so hot. I thus disabled "Hardware Excel" and MCEBuddy began using Handbrake. I love Handbrake! It absolutely floors it on every core you give it! I still need to check my logs and see if NVENC is working, but ffmpeg is whiz poor at cpu utilization.

Finally, in regard to video and audio being out of sync. It seems that all the video produced by my Hauppauge HVR-2255 internal TV Tuner card with MPEG-2 hardware encoding is at 60 fps. My playback device could not handle 60 fps at all! This was the foremost cause and something that is kind of one of those "It's so simple. I didn't even think about it!" problems. Going into MCEBuddy settings and changing the framerate to "29.97" (I'm not sure that's the most accurate setting.) solved the problem. I also set up a custom preset in the "Profile.conf" file in the "Config" folder to use mp3 audio instead of aac. I do wish there was better documentation for all the options for video and audio codec settings. I think most of them are passed directly into the command line by MCEBuddy but I'm unsure. I tried to find "command line parameters' documentation for ffmpeg, handbrake and mencoder online but the pickin's are sparse and don't seem to match what's already in the "Profile.conf" file.

Well, anyway, that about sums up the stops, fits and starts of me - an AMD / Nvidia / Windows 10 MCEBuddy newbie trying to autoconvert over-the-air TV recordings produced primarily by NextPVR from an intenal Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2255 dual tuner TV card.
Jan 22, 2016 at 8:52 PM
Great write up and thanks for the feedback. Will come back on this. First up is to get to the bottom of the ffmpeg not utilizing all cores.

Do you happen to have the conversion log for ffmpeg not utilizing the CPU all the way? I suspect it may be a tweak we need to do in our profiles.

Jan 26, 2016 at 1:08 PM
I'm sorry. I didn't check to see if there was a response.

Yes I do have a log of a short file that MCEBuddy transcoded where NVENC appears to have been utilized but only at 4%. This log is huge! The majority of the file was filled with MencoderCropDetect notices, so I deleted most of that.

I don't know how to post it.