AVI ReComp AVI to XviD Re-Encoding Guide

Original Page URL: http://www.digital-digest.com/articles/AVI_Recomp_AVI_to_XviD_Guide_page1.html
Date Added: Jun 10, 2009
Date Updated: Jun 10, 2009

This guide is all about a free software called AVI ReComp. As the name suggest, AVI ReComp allows you to recompress existing AVI files to XviD files. Now you may ask, why would you want to do this, considering most AVI files out there are already XviD. Well here are just a few reasons why you may need to use AVI ReComp:

  • You need to convert an AVI file that's not in XviD format to XviD
  • You need to crop or resize a video
  • You need to reduce the size of a video so it fits onto some device
  • Add burnt-in subtitles to your video files (for example, for foreign movies that you want to play on standalones that don't support loading subtitle files)
  • Add a logo to video files
  • You need to re-encode a video that's not compatible with your standalone DVD player, Xbox 360 or PS3

The last reason I listed above may be the most common reason why people need AVI ReComp, as many of the video files you download on the Internet may not have been produced in a way that will work on standalone players such as DVD players or game consoles. The reason is that many of them use GMC and Q-Pel, which gives better quality video, but many standlones won't support them. AVI ReComp will attempt to re-encode these videos so that they do work on standalones, and this guide will be focused on this goal, while providing instructions for all the other listed reasons for using AVI ReComp.

This guide, like the AVI ReComp tool itself, is squarely aimed at beginners.

Software you'll need (all freeware):

Step 1: Installation

Installing AVI ReComp is fairly straight forward, despite the software needing several other software to work. All the required tools are included in the installation package and will be installed once you download and run the installer. The screenshot belows shows the additional software needed by AVI ReComp, make sure you select them all unless you know absolutely sure you have a newer version of these tools installed (for example, the XviD codec has been updated to version 1.2.2 at the time of writing this guide, but installing the latest version of a required software may actually make things worse as AVI ReComp may not know how to deal with the new version, so again, it's recommended you install the versions that come with AVI ReComp unless you know what you're doing).

AVI ReComp: Installer

Continue with the AVI ReComp installer and when it's finished, AVI ReComp should be ready to use. If you get an error during the XviD codec installer about xvid.ax being used, this means you already have the XviD codec installed but it is in use - you can skip this error and hope for the best, or uninstall XviD, restart, and then run the AVI ReComp installer again.

Step 2: AVI ReComp Setup

Start AVI ReComp. Since this is the first time we will be using it, we will now configure some of the software's options. First thing is to make sure all the required software titles have been installed properly, and that's visible at the bottom of the main AVI ReComp screen - you should have several green "OK" boxes, if not, then it means a required component wasn't installed (in which case, you need to run the installer again or restart your computer).

AVI ReComp: Required Applications

If you click on the "Interface" button seen in the screenshot above, you can select a different language for the interface, as well as run a check for new versions. You can also associate AVI files with AVI ReComp, although I wouldn't recommend it (as you probably want AVI files to be associated with your media player).

AVI ReComp: Interface Options

From the top set of buttons ("Source & Output", "Additions" ...), select "Settings". Here are most of AVI ReComp's configurable options (if you hover your mouse over the options, a ballon help message will appear).

AVI ReComp: Settings

"Process priority" determines how much CPU power AVI ReComp should grab in a multi-tasking environment. In other words, setting it to "Normal" will make it behave like most programs, while setting it to "Idle" will make it run in the background when no other programs are running. Setting it to "High" will make it the priority when it comes to running, which may give you a slightly quicker encoding time, at the expense of other programs. Leaving it at "Normal" is recommended.

The two "Show ..." options allows you to show the program windows of the two required programs, VirtualDubMod and XviD. Unless you are interested in the inner workings of either these programs, it's best to leave these options unchecked.

"Disable B-VOPs" can sometimes help to make your video file more compatible, but most standalones will support B-VOPs so only use this option if everything else fails.

"Use Q-Pel encoding" should be unchecked unless you don't care about compatibility with standalone players. Q-Pel, and GMC, are the two encoding options most frequently associated with files that don't play on standalones.

"Use Turbo mode" will give a speed boost for encoding, but at the cost of slight quality loss.

"Delete temporary files" will delete all the intermediate files that AVI ReComp generates during the encoding process. You would normally have this option checked, unless you actually need the intermediate files (for example, in use in other encoding or editing programs). "Delete source file" deletes the original input file, and it is highly recommended that you *do not* check this option - you can always delete the source file manually after you make sure the output is correct.

"Edit avs script" allows you to edit the generated AVS script (one of those "temporary files"), which comes in handy if you know how to write AVS scripts. If you don't know how, don't care, or don't even know what an AVS script is, then leave this option unchecked.

Step 3: Using AVI ReComp

We now get to the main part of this guide, which is to use AVI ReComp to recompress an AVI file to XviD and explaining all of the options that AVI ReComp offer. The first thing to do is to click on the "Source & Output" button at the top. Use the big button marked "Open AVI" to load in your input AVI file. Use the button marked "Save AVI" to specify an output location for the output file (try to at least ensure input and output files have different names, preferably different folder locations). You also need to select and output size (by default, it will be set to the same file size as the input file).

AVI ReComp: Source & Output

An useful feature of AVI ReComp is that it will show you information regarding the input file on the right hand side. Things like frame-rate, resolution and whether Q-Pel or GMC have been used (which should help you diagnose why your file may not work on standalones).

Click on the "Additions" button at the top. This is where you can access many of the AVI ReComp features, such as cropping or subtitles.

AVI ReComp: Additions

Under the "Resolution" section, you can use the buttons to crop or resize the video. Normally, you probably won't need to do this, but for the purpose of this guide, I will show you how anyway. Click on "Cropping" to open up the cropping option window. A preview of the video is shown (use the slider to skip to a section where the black border is visible, if your intention is to crop out the black border), as well as the cropping options. The four text boxes (where use the up and down arrows to select a number) is used to determine how many pixels you remove from the four sides of the video. You use this to get rid of any black bars which may be around the video. Getting rid of black bars will help make the encoding process more efficient (and hence, give the video better quality). For the example video I've used for this guide, you can see from the screenshot below that I've cropped all four sides slightly. You can press the "preview" button to preview the crop (previews the video, not just a still). "Restore" will reset the cropping setting, and "Use" will tell AVI ReComp that you want to use these cropping settings for your encoding, so click on this or click on "Cancel" to return to the main AVI ReComp interface.

AVI ReComp: Cropping

Similarly, pressing the "Resizing" button will open up the resize option window. The options here are similar to what's under cropping. Check the "Keep ratio" button to make sure the aspect ratio of the video hasn't been altered (so the picture becomes too fat or too skinny), which basically will automatically change the width setting as you change the height setting and it will work the other way around too. Be sure to check the "Keep ratio" before changing either the width or height if you truly want to keep the aspect ratio, because once you change the aspect ratio and then check this option, the resulting changes will be locked to this new aspect ratio (as opposed to the original video's aspect ratio). You can use this feature to upscale your video to HD resolutions, which obviously won't give you increased quality, but may give you HD video for playback devices that cannot upscale video. If you do increase the resolution above the standard size for DVDs, then you will get a warning box telling you that standalone player compatibility may have been sacrificed.

AVI ReComp: Resizing

Moving on to the "Black Borders" section - this does the opposite of cropping and allows you to add black borders to the video, which sometimes may be necessary if your playback device doesn't like certain aspect ratios and won't scale properly (for example, it may display widescreen videos stretched on a fullscreen display, making everything too tall). You won't normally need to use this option, as most standalones will deal with the aspect ratio properly. You can specify a border based on certain standard aspect ratios (4:3 for fullscreen, 16:9 for widescreen), or use your own custom resolution.

AVI ReComp: Borders

The "Audio conversion" option allows you to convert the audio to another format. Again, this is only necessary if your player doesn't like certain types of audio (audio support is usually a lot better than video support on standalones, so you most likely won't need to use this option). Click on the "Audio conversion" button to open the option window, and enable audio conversion by checking the "Convert audio stream(s)" option. The most compatible option would be to use CBR audio, at 128 Kbps or under, with 44100 Hz audio. But this would be for the most antiquated standalone, or one that's extremely picky. You can also adjust the volume if necessary. Note that selecting VBR will make the final size slightly unpredictable, as a variable bitrate will be used, but only the audio file size is affected, so the file size differences will not be huge (if you really need a file to be a specific size so it fits somewhere, and you want to use VBR, then go back to the "Source & Output" area and select a slightly smaller file size than what you require to ensure the file produced isn't too big). Using CBR or ABR will make the final file size very close to what you specify, with the audio file size exactly as set.

AVI ReComp: Audio Conversion

Now on to the subtitles options. You can load in subtitles files to add burnt-in subtitles (subtitles that can't be removed) to the video. The "Auto-load" option is useful if your subtitle file is in the same directory as your input video and has the same file name, and if you want to batch convert a bunch of files like this (otherwise, you'll need to specify each subtitle file for each video numerous times). If your subtitle files are in the SSA or ASS formats, then you will have access to further subtitle options via the "Settings" button, things like position, font, size, colour ...

The logo option does what it suggests, by adding a logo to your video (again, it's burnt-in). The logo has to be in BMP format, and obviously the exact size as you want it to appear on the video. Press the "Settings" button to adjust the properties of the logo, such as the position, transparency and even the fade in/out property. You can of course preview the output.

AVI ReComp: Logo

We are nearly ready to start the re-compression process. Click on the "Queue" button at the top. Press the "Add to Queue" button to add the current settings to the job queue (the job queue is a list of re-compression project). Once you have added the current job to the queue, you can go back to the beginning of this step to configure the settings for a new input file, and so on and so on until you have a list of jobs to do one after the other. This is useful if you need to convert a batch of files unattended. You can even use the option available to shut down your PC after all the jobs are finished automatically. Please note that the "Preview" button previews the currently loaded input file and settings, not the actual job you have selected from the queue. Whether it's one job or 10, once it has been added to the job queue, you can press the "Start" button to start the encoding process. And all you have to do afterwards is to wait for your video to finish encoding, which could take a few minutes or a few hours depending on your PC's power and the length of the video. If you want to have a look at what's going on beneath the hood, you can skip onto the "Log" section where a log of what's happening will be displayed.

AVI ReComp: Queue

Got a questions about this guide or about DivX, XviD encoding and conversion in general? Post them in our DivX, XviD Conversion/Encoding forum and get them answered by myself or other expert users.

That's all folks. Thanks for reading!

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