VideoReDo Queue for Batch Processing

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I'm currently on a job to split a couple of digitised VCR tapes into separate video files for each "chapter" (how I arrived at this point is a salutary tale in itself, see footnote). Having banged my head against several brick walls (and overcome them, with considerable time spent), I'm documenting the process in case it benefits anybody (or indeed me, when I forget what I did or even that I did it).

The video digitisation produced a series of files structured like a DVD, which would not correspond with the desired chapters, so the first thing was to combine the separate files into one. VideoReDo (I'm using VideoReDo TVSuite 5 in Win7/64, hereinafter "VRD") provides a Join function for that, you just assemble the input files on the join list, and run.

The big plus with VRD is easy frame-accurate editing. So I set up my first chapter cut and output as a video file, choosing to re-encode from the MPG2 digitisation to H.264/MP4. Naturally, it took a while. Then I set up my second chapter cut, but instead of outputting immediately I ticked the box to add the job to the batch queue for deferred processing, which would (should) let me set up all the chapter crops for unattended processing overnight. Sure enough, a pop-up said the add-to-batch had been successful, and I went through the rest of the chapters queuing them all up.

The bugger then was that, try as I might, I couldn't figure out how to start the queue processing. The "start batch" tool down the right hand side opened something specifically for burning DVDs (or ISOs), and showed nothing of my queued jobs. The Tools >> Start Batch Manager menu command seemed to do nothing at all. The VRD documentation was less than enlightening, talking about COM files saved in the project folder – I hadn't saved the job as a project, so I wondered whether that was the problem and went to bed.

New day, new dollar, start again. Set up the second cut, saved the project, save video with queue for batch ticked... VRD complained there was already a pending batch output with that filename and offered a different output filename. Where? What? How do I recover and run the saved batch processes? Tools >> Start Batch Manager again, again nothing... except disk activity suggested something was happening.

I normally work with apps full-screen, so I reduced the VRD window and minimised my file manager window... and there it was, an error pop-up on the desktop saying something about COM not being a registered object and would I like to try registering it now? WTF do error pop-ups not appear over the top of everything else?!! I get similar with RollbackRx - it wants a login, but the login box is hidden away.

Yes, I did want to try registering it (whatever that means), which required an admin privilege password. Then, what do you know... the desired Batch Manager window appeared, with a history of all previous output jobs from VRD and the list of pending batch jobs from last night. RUN!


Footnote

The road to this point has not been straightforward. First: digitise the tapes. That meant digging out a VCR from the "archive" and hoping it still worked. I used a sacrificial tape first off, and it got mangled (played, but wouldn't eject once loaded). I took the cover off the VCR to see what was going on, and the tape load/unload mechanism was stuck. Repeated load/unload operations eventually freed it up, and I was satisfied the VCR was back in working order and as safe as I could reasonably expect.

How to digitise? I had two USB video grabbers knocking about, but could find no way to make Win7 recognise them with any driver disks lost (and maybe pre-dating Win7). No help on-line. Neither did Linux Mint. So I ordered a likely-looking video grabber (advertised with Win7 support) for about £20, which came with its own capture and edit app. Mint didn't recognise it as a generic video source (shame), but with the software installed it seemed to work in Win7.

Except it didn't. After running a 4-hour tape into it, the resulting file (which at first sight contained audio and video) actually played back (in VLC) with audio but the video running at 2x speed! On examination, the .mpg is marked as "Progressive Scan" when clearly it should be "Interlaced". Now, I'll admit an oversight here: maybe I should have tried using the video grabber's app to view, edit, and re-output the file, and maybe that would have cured it. But by then I'd had another idea.

Also in the "archive" I have a PVR for analogue TV (actually, I have two... not sure where the second one is!), and I know from past experience that recorded files can be pulled off the HDD as .mpg (it also records or copies to DVD+R, but much easier just to pull the HDD). A couple of test runs went OK, so I set it recording the first 4-hour tape (second time – first time it was set to long-play/low-quality by oversight) only to find it somehow crashed at the end of the 4 hours when I tried to stop the recording, with no recorded file apparent on disk after I power-cycled it. Fortunately that was a one-off, and I did manage to digitise the two tapes without any further incident.

Copying the recorded data into my Linux machine was simple: regular readers might recall I fitted a front panel HDD Molex power outlet, and with power cable and a SATA/IDE-USB converter cable meant I could hook the PVR's drive up without even taking it out of the unit.

I wanted to use my Linux development box rather than my Win7 notebook because (a) 6-core hyperthreaded vs 2-core, and (b) I still aim to transfer operations to Linux. Bearing in mind I use VideoReDo for linear* video editing and Serif MoviePlus for non-linear* (or iMovie on iPad), I went looking for tools in the Linux-verse. And was severely disappointed (bearing in mind VRD and Serif are paid-for, maybe it's not surprising free Linux tools are a disappointment).

Kdenlive failed to recognise there was a video track in one of the files when I was trying to assemble the multiple recorded files (from one recording) in the media library, prior to adding them onto the timeline to splice them together.

Another app found in the Mint software manager repository was Olive. After a 1GB+ download (a "flatpak" at my broadband speed!) I discovered it didn't really work and was pretty much in alpha. Perhaps I should have given OpenShot a try, but by then I was longing for VRD and switched back to Windows!

* "Linear" video editing is where all you are doing is cutting and splicing, as one might have done with video tape and razor blades. "Non-Linear" uses the power of computers to compose multiple sections of video on a time-line, with the ability to superimpose and/or cross-fade between sections - in other words, the output is not necessarily from only one input source at any particular point in time.
 
Last edited:

sine24

Member
I'm currently on a job to split a couple of digitised VCR tapes into separate video files for each "chapter" (how I arrived at this point is a salutary tale in itself, see footnote). Having banged my head against several brick walls (and overcome them, with considerable time spent), I'm documenting the process in case it benefits anybody (or indeed me, when I forget what I did or even that I did it).
You're not likely to find this if you forgot you did it in the first place. You'll have to rely on others
 
Top