Notes: Breaks & Framerates

Like Sibsy said, there’s gonna be a season break after this Saturday. Still no word on when the ponies’ll be back though, but if you’re still here watching them after four months without ’em, what’s a few more weeks?

Also, LocateTV marks The Return of Harmony as episodes 27 & 28, implying that they were part of season 1.

Finally, for videophiles who can’t decide on which 1080p rip to download, behind the break is a technical comparison between mentos’ and Pony Archive’s releases.

P:\My Little Pony Friendship is Magic 2x01 - The Return of Harmony, Part 1 (1080p.hdtv) [mentos].mkv
Format : Matroska
File size : 746 MiB
Duration : 21mn 59s
Overall bit rate : 4 741 Kbps
Encoded date : UTC 2011-09-19 04:50:43
Writing application : mkvmerge v3.3.0 ('Language') built on Mar 24 2010 14:59:24
Writing library : libebml v0.8.0 + libmatroska v0.9.0

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : High@L5.0
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 10 frames
Muxing mode : Container profile=Unknown@5.0
Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration : 21mn 59s
Bit rate : 4 354 Kbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate : 23.976 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.088
Stream size : 671 MiB (90%)
Writing library : x264 core 93 r1542 5b86182

Audio
ID : 2
Format : AC-3
Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
Mode extension : CM (complete main)
Codec ID : A_AC3
Duration : 21mn 59s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 384 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Video delay : 57ms
Stream size : 60.4 MiB (8%)
Language : English
P:\My.Little.Pony.Friendship.Is.Magic.The.Return.Of.Harmony.Part1.1080p.X264-ponyarchive.mkv
Format : Matroska
File size : 699 MiB
Duration : 21mn 59s
Overall bit rate : 4 446 Kbps
Writing application : HandBrake 0.9.5
Writing library : libmkv 0.6.4.1

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Main@L4.0
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames
Format settings, GOP : N=1
Muxing mode : Container profile=Unknown@4.0
Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Duration : 21mn 59s
Nominal bit rate : 4 242 Kbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 072 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate : 29.970 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.069
Writing library : x264 core 112
Color primaries : BT.709-5, BT.1361, IEC 61966-2-4, SMPTE RP177
Transfer characteristics : BT.709-5, BT.1361
Matrix coefficients : BT.709-5, BT.1361, IEC 61966-2-4 709, SMPTE RP177

Audio
ID : 2
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format version : Version 4
Format profile : LC
Format settings, SBR : No
Codec ID : A_AAC
Duration : 21mn 59s
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Language : English
  • Anonymous

    I don't know what any of this means.
    Darn.

  • DerpySquad

    Basically it means…

    Mentos = Better Audio then Ponyarchive
    Ponyarchive = Better Framerate then Mentos

    Now…..someone smoosh both of them together.

  • fsLeg

    Let's compare these two files with technical information, provided by Spazz.

    First thing you notice is profile used. Mentos uses High profile at level 5.0, Pony Archive uses Main profile at level 4.0. Main profile for FullHD? You're kidding. Mentos gets one point for knowing how to use his software.

    Next thing – reference frames. 10 for Mentos, 4 for PA. Only 4 for a cartoon? In this situation there can be up to 16 ref-frames.

    Resolution. Silly, when we're talking about FullHD, but still. 1072 px, which PA used, is not in any standart. For high definitions there are 720p and 1080p, but not 1072p.

    And, of course, Mentos used untouched AC-3 sound, while PA decided to encode it in their release as AAC @ 224 kbps.

    Also, here are two interesting things.

    First, software used. Mentos used native x264 encoder, PA used HandBrake. HandBrake for high-quality FullHD video encoding? Don't make me laugh. It's used for re-encoding videos, when you want to watch it on your phone, portable player, etc., but not for producing high-quality video for public.

    Second and most interesting, framerate. When I laid my hand on a TS of 2nd season, I noticed something, while encoding it. Hella bunch of duplicate frames. It means only one thing. 29.97 fps is artificial. Ponies have only 23.976 real frames per second. So you won't get any higher framerates, except artificial ones, which of course won't give you smoother picture.

    Now let's wrap this up. PA used Main h.264 profile, which takes more bitrate to compensate for unused codec capabilities, and still their release has less average bitrate than Mentos's release. PA used non-standart resolution. PA used artificialy enlarged framerate. PA re-encoded sound. In other words, PA doesn't know how to produce high quality videos. So if you're looking for real quality, Mentos is your man.

    I didn't want to offend anypony, this is just my opinion as an encoder. Also, sorry for my poor english.

    It's too bad there will be a season break. I'm a brony for only about a month, and I watched whole 1st season in two days. Then I wanted more and watched 1st season two more times. And it's still not enough for me! And here you go, a break… Awww, well, it can't be helped, I'll have to wait…

  • plaster

    wow, that's quite the input! Thanks for that!
    and from a pony veteran's point of view, knowing that all you have to do is make to Saturday and keep thinking about how awesome its going to be makes the week go by that much better

  • RoboPlop

    @fsLeg
    Wow. I learned more about video encoding than I had expected. Bravo on your explanation; it cleared things up for me.
    Oh, and in case no one's told you yet, Welcome to the herd!

  • Spazz

    @fsLeg
    I'm assuming you're working with an HD TS? I encoded the SD stream myself and from what I remember there weren't that many duplicate frames (artificial or not). I'd say it's still a good idea to keep the framerate consistent with the source, though. It still seems like a shame that something primarily produced in Flash would get distilled that much. Oh well, here's hoping for blu-rays.

    In any case, I agree that mentos still has the overall edge, even if PA's framerate were real. mentos' resolution alone is enough to trump it.

  • fsLeg

    @Spazz
    No, I was using your SD TS (btw, thanks a lot for it!), because I don't live in America and don't know where to get HD TS. Besides I don't think Mentos would lower framerate on purpose without good reason.

    The source has 29.97 fps. And any show will have such framerate, regardless of its original one, because channel airs in 29.97 fps. But that doesn't mean originally show had that framerate.

    I used MEncoder (CLI) to encode TS, and in its output I saw so many duplicate frames, which made me wonder about show's original framerate. To encode in 29.97 fps I had to use harddup (forced encoding of duplicate frames) to avoid audio/video desync. When I encode with -fps 30000/1001 -ofps 24000/1001 (consider video as 29.97 fps and lower framerate to 23.976 fps), everything goes just fine and video not even jumpy.

    @RoboPlop
    Thanks for the greeting! :)