[FFmpeg-devel] tkhd transformation matrix in mov is ignored except for width/height and scaling

Samuel Gendler sgendler
Thu Nov 12 21:31:32 CET 2009

I haven't had time to work on a more 'correct' solution, but I'm happy to
share my kludge, which works quite nicely.  Here's a description:

In the quicktime decoder, I shove the matrix of any track with both height
and width into a global array (which is otherwise initialized with the
identity matrix).  In the encoder, I grab the original matrix from the
global array, parse it to determine if there is any rotation, and then
insert an identity x rotation matrix.  I don't just copy the matrix across,
since that might also copy scale information which would not be relevant to
the new video track. It works nicely on iphone videos rotated in any way,
and whether they are in the original size or the resized form that is used
when you mail a video from the iphone.  It would break on a quicktime file
with multiple video tracks that have different matrices, but I am not aware
of any way to create such a thing without building a custom tool.

I don't have my modified source handy, but if you'd like a look at it, I'll
be near a computer that has access to it later this evening.  Let me know
and I'll forward it along.  I'd rather not just post it straight to the
list, so that I have some sense of how many people are using my hack job.


On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 12:52 PM, Jarred Nicholls <jarred.nicholls at gmail.com
> wrote:

> I would like to continue a previous thread (I was not a part of this list until today).  I am experiencing the same problem as Sam mentions below in his original post.  I would also like to patch this issue in the "correct" and "cleanest" way possible - that is, read the rotation matrix from the original .mov and either 1) apply the same matrix metadata into a resulting .mov/.mp4 container, OR 2) if the output container doesn't hold a rotation matrix metadata, transform the pixels accordingly (perform the rotation) during encoding.
> Any news on this issue?
> Thanks much,
> Jarred
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I've been trying for months to get transcoding an mov via ffmpeg to
> correctly rotate a video that includes a transformation matrix in the tkhd
> node (iphone video shot in portrait, basically).  I could see that various
> patches about the matrix were discussed on this list, and I couldn't figure
> out why nothing seemed to be functioning even after said patches were
> applied. The main patch is here:
> http://lists.mplayerhq.hu/pipermail/ffmpeg-devel/2008-July/049941.html
> and it was corrected by this patch:
> http://lists.mplayerhq.hu/pipermail/ffmpeg-devel/2009-June/071622.html
> In desperation, I finally dug into the source and tried to figure out what i
> was doing wrong.  What was almost immediately apparent is that those patches
> deal only with width and height of the track as well as scaling the width
> and height.  In fact, the values in the matrix are only stored locally in
> variables on the stack in the static function that reads the tkhd node. The
> width and height are computed from the matrix and stored in a location
> accessible from outside the mov_read_tkhd() function, but the rest of the
> matrix is completely inaccessible once the function returns.
> I'll admit to being fairly surprised that this is the case, since the iphone
> is an increasingly popular platform for recording video, and the default
> orientation for the phone in a users hand (vertical - portrait mode) will
> result in a video that appears rotated counterclockwise by 90 degrees when
> played via libavformat.  More importantly, any video transcoded via
> libavformat will result in a video that is rotated AND which no longer has
> the transformation matrix values to compensate stored in the tkhd, so that
> even quicktime and the iphone play the video sideways.  This is such a
> strange state of affairs so long after the release of the iphone, that I
> have to wonder if I'm reading things incorrectly.
> Incidentally, a description of the matrix transformation process is here:
> http://developer.apple.com/mac/library/documentation/QuickTime/RM/MovieBasics/MTEditing/K-Chapter/11MatrixFunctions.html
> I'm an experienced developer, but I know next to nothing about av codecs and
> such.  I could attempt to hack in a fix, but I don't even know where to
> begin.  Storing the matrix somewhere that is accessible outside
> mov_read_tkhd() is simple enough.  Running each pixel through the transform
> is also pretty easy.  But I've got no clue where to place that code. Could
> someone maybe point me in the correct direction for where to find code that
> places each pixel in the outbound stream?
> My alternative is a lame hack of the code in libavformat/movenc.c which
> writes a default identity matrix into the matrix.  I can copy a rotation
> matrix into there instead based on a commandline param, but I am loathe to
> do that.
> Thanks in advance for your help.

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