[MPlayer-users] The best quality OSS mpeg2 encoder?

The Wanderer inverseparadox at comcast.net
Fri Sep 9 21:04:52 CEST 2005

Joe Friedrichsen wrote:

> I've started to make films recently using linux and I've been trying
> to find the best mpeg2 encoder for making DVD compliant video. After
> reading the news groups for a while, I realized this is one of those
> never-fully-answered, and always-asked questions. I decided to at
> least do some looking around beforehand to help alleviate the
> eye-rolling.

I'll note here that I've seen a few people talk about accomplishing this
(creation of acceptable-quality DVD-compliant streams) quite
successfully; the person who springs to mind is Elf Sternberg, who's
posted reasonably step-by-step descriptions - using MEncoder as the
primary but AFAIR not sole tool, which latter is why I never passed any
of it on to here - on both Usenet (rec.arts.anime.misc at least) and his
blog (http://www.livejournal.com/users/elfs/) at various points in the
past. I don't know how easy any of that would be to find, but you might
consider giving it a try.

> First, to find the possible encoder candidates. A few months ago, I
> thought the main encoding utilities were mjpegtools, ffmpeg,
> transcode, and mencoder (please tell me if I missed any leading
> ones). But reading more deeply into the matter has raised a few
> questions for me. Please clarify things for me if you can.

I don't know if I've actually helped any, but I've at least tried to
answer a couple of the specific questions asked.

As a side note, you may want to consider posting to the MEncoder-users
mailing list instead; it gets less traffic, but is strictly speaking the
place where this sort of discussion should occur. In practice a fair
amount of MEncoder discussion takes place on MPlayer-users instead,
however, so no one's likely to strongly object if you don't.

> Transcode
> (http://www.transcoding.org/cgi-bin/transcode?Building_Transcode) and
> more importantly the ffmpeg home page
> (http://ffmpeg.sourceforge.net/index.php) suggest that ffmpeg is
> built off of (and I suspect develops...?) libavcodec.

More precisely, FFmpeg (the project) develops both ffmpeg (the encoding
program) and libavcodec (the underlying library).

> libavcodec is also used by mplayer/mencoder. Given that ffmpeg has
> admitted having bitrate problems with mpeg-2, does that hold true for
> mencoder? The mplayer docs
> (http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/codecs.html#ffmpeg) say that
> mplayer uses ffmpeg's libavcodec (which version?).

Whichever version is the latest CVS at the time of release, or at the
time of MPlayer CVS checkout. The two projects are in close
communication, and the connections between them are kept in fairly good

> How intertwined are these tools?

Depends how you mean it. libavcodec does not depend in the least on
MPlayer/MEncoder, although that is AFAIK the primary place where said
library is used; MPlayer/MEncoder do not require libavcodec, and are
entirely capable of using many other codec implementations (including a
number of closed-source binary codecs), but something like (at a guess)
two-thirds of their best functionality will disappear if it is not used.

<snip something I can't address>
> So, if I'm reading this correctly, the truly 'base'
> utilities/libraries are ffmpeg and mpeg2enc, while transcode and
> mencoder are front-ends/re-branders of sorts. Is this accurate?

I can't speak to transcode, but MEncoder is not *purely* an FFmpeg
front-end - it does a number of unrelated things of its own, and is
capable of using various other engines as its encoding back-end.
However, in practice most of the things you can do with MEncoder - while
they do not *require* FFmpeg - work rather better with it than without.

<snip two more things I can't really address>

       The Wanderer

Warning: Simply because I argue an issue does not mean I agree with any
side of it.

A government exists to serve its citizens, not to control them.

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