Zen's Web Page

1. Zen's Multimedia FAQ
 1a. Playing movies
 1b. Scripts/Captions/SAMI
 1c. Various
  1c1. What is a PAR file?
2. Programs
3. Links
4. yEnc FAQ

Zen's Multimedia FAQ

Playing Movies
o Why is MediaPlayer complaining it cannot play the .avi?
Most of the time this means you need to get a video codec, usually DivX or Xvid
Could be:
- the original DivX3 (3.11 or 3.20): http://www.divx-digest.com/software/divxcodec.html.
- DivX5: http://www.divx.com. DivX5 can play DivX3 files.
- one of the various Xvid builds: http://www.divx-digest.com/software/xvid.html or hunt for that specific build variant.
- An MPEG-4 variant: use the all-purpose ffdshow if you don't want to look for the specific codec.

o I have audio but no video.
No video = missing video codec.
Can also be too old version of the codec. Get the latest version.
Can be that the FOURCC header of the avi has been mislabelled. See avic

One tip from someone: "with Windows Media Player 8 I get the audio/no video problem, but it plays fine in WMP 6.4 (mplayer2.exe)."
Note that WMV9 videos won't play under MediaPlayer 6.x. I use MediaPlayerClassic for those.

o I have video but no audio.
No audio = missing audio codec.
The old DivX3 versions didn't have an audio codec included. Get and install the latest DivX3 codec version if the audio is WMA.
Also, DivX5 comes with no DivX3 audio codec, so you need to install DivX3 as well if you installed only DivX5 and hear no sound.
Some videos use the elusive AC3 audio codec. Find which it is with GSpot.

o I want an universal codec that plays everything.
Then install ffdshow:

o Why is the .avi still not playing? I have installed all the codecs.
In the old days it was because the avi's FOURCC header was "MP43" and had to be changed.
1. Go to http://www.divx-digest.com/software/avifourcc.html
Note, if you have installed the Xvid codec you already have a copy of Avic in the Xvid folder.
2. Get avic.zip and unzip it
3. Make a back-up copy of your .avi file just in case
4. Launch avic.exe and open the .avi
5a. You may see that it's set to mp43/MP43
6. If so, change mp43/MP43 to div4/DIV3 (or div3/DIV3)
7. Click on "Apply."
Now it should play.
5b. If it's not mp43/MP43 that is visible in the avic window but mp43/(some garbage text), then it means you will have to look manually for mp43 and MP43 in the avi header with an hexadecimal editor and change those two to div3/DIV3.
For this I use a DOS program, FileEdit: http://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/binaryed/fed165.zip
Or you could use divx2mp4 (http://members.xoom.com/cheekyb0y/divx2mp4.zip), which is a program similar to avic but doesn't choke on non-standard files. Use it in a DOS window with the option -restore.
Example: divx2mp4 "my movie ep 01.avi" -restore
Note: according to http://www.undercut.org/articles/msmpeg4.pl, mp43 support has been added in the newest MS video decompressors, so all the above isn't necessary anymore if you have the latest MS codecs.
5c. If the avi header shows divx/DIVX, you need the DivX4 (or 5) codec.
5d. If the avi header shows divx/DX50, you need the DivX5 codec.
5d. If the avi header shows xvid/XVID, you need the Xvid codec.

o MediaPlayer is losing frames when playing this DivX movie I just got.
It means that your computer or your video card can't keep up.
Try changing the CPU Quality slider all the way down (DivX3/5).
Media Player 6 -> Properties -> Advanced -> DivX Video -> Properties -> CPU Quality -> from 4 to 0.
For Windows Media Player 7, that option is no more available but if you launch MP6 (\Program Files\Windows Media Player\mplayer2.exe) and set it there then the setting should carry over into WMP7.
You can also use a smaller resolution than the one you are using; for example, 640x480 instead of 1024x768.
Check also if there aren't heavy tasks running in the background like an antivirus program residing in memory.
As for Xvid, Xvid is a clone of Divx so one could change the FOURCC header from 'xvid/XVID' to 'divx/DIVX' with avic to be able to use the CPU Quality Slider of DivX. It could be that it doesn't work if the encoder used Xvid only options. So far they all converted for me, tho. Some got green bandings (bleeding colors on the video playback) when converted, so I use fddshow to view these.

o MediaPlayer can't play this .mpg file I just got.
It could be that it is an mpeg-2 mpg. Currently, MediaPlayer cannot play mpeg-2 movies.
- Software DVD players can play mpeg-2 files (WinDVD, PowerDVD, SthSVCD, etc.)
I use PowerDVD
- You could install the Elecard mpeg-2 player (but logo displayed in the corner of the movie)
- Also, the Ligos LSX-MPEG Player Demo can play mpeg-2 files too (but nag-screen at start.)
- Or you could convert the mpeg-2 to mpeg-1 with Tmpgenc.
See below for the links.
- Check also Zoom Play
- Check also VLC Media Player

o RealPlayer complains there are syntax errors when I click on the .smi subtitle file.
- .smi (=sami) scripts are for use with Windows Media Player.
(SAMI = Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange)
- .smi/.smil files, always seen with .rt files (RealText), are for use with RealPlayer.
(SMIL = Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language)

o How do I use those .smi scripts?
Well now (2003) with DVobSub installed it's automatic. The old method:
- In MediaPlayer 6.x:
1. Put the .smi file where the .avi is
2. Make sure the .smi name is the same as the .avi name
3. Launch MediaPlayer by double clicking on the .avi
4. Turn on captions by clicking on Captions ( View -> Captions )
- In MP7:
4. View -> Now_Playing_Tools -> Captions

o "Captions" is greyed out in MediaPlayer.
Upgrade to Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.

o How can I watch .smi scripts full screen?
I use DVobSub (also does .srt/.ssa/.sub)
You can also use:
- DVlaD or
- AviText (61k) or
- Sasami2k

o Which captioning/subtitling/subbing editor program do you recommend?
I'm far from an expert on this, but you may want to check:
- Sub Station Alpha: looks very professional but I can't get it to work with my video card - I only get a black screen.
- MakeSami: simple and simple to use.
- SubSync: I haven't tried this one.
- Magpie: does the job, but not very easy to use (IMO.)
See below for the links and more programs.

o How to use MP 6.4 with MP 7 installed:
MediaPlayer 6.4 is still there, just hidden.
"If you've upgraded to v7.0 from v6.4: go to \Program Files\Windows Media Player\ and you should see both mplayer2.exe (v6.4) and wmplayer.exe (v7.0). Run mplayer2.exe, go into the options, and re-associate all your favorite file types with v6.4 again. This way you get all the codec benefits of 7.0, yet you keep the nice 6.4 interface."
[tip from Liyang]
Note that other older MS players could also still be there:
 - mplayer.exe = v.4
 - "Rundll32.exe AMovie.ocx,RunDll" = ActiveMovie v.2

o How to play a broken/incomplete DivX file?
If it's an incomplete download, use DivFix to rebuild the index. Alternate url: http://www.divxmovies.com/software
For detailed info on various situations, visit http://www.oocities.com/divx_repair
For having an avi skip over broken frames instead of freezing: DivX AntiFreeze. Doesn't work for me anymore since I installed DivX5, tho.

o What other program can view .rm movies?
- Jet Audio: http://www.cowon.com [not free]
- plugin for WinAmp: http://www.bigfoot.com/~tarav/plugin
- MediaPlayer Classic http://vobsub.edensrising.com. I use this one.
They are others, like RealAlternative.

o How do I post a movie to Usenet (Windows)?
1. Split your file in 5-10-15 mb parts with WinRar
Make sure that "Recovery Record, 1%" is enabled in WinRar [optional if you use PAR2].
2. [optional] Create a check file with QuickSFV
Highlight the files to post, right-click, select "Create .SFV File."
3. Post the files (.rar's + .sfv) with PowerPostAA
Make sure that the last name is the file name itself. For PowerPost, it means that $F must be last.
PP gives you a template to follow "(Description) File $1 of $2 - $F" so it's very easy.
Example: "(avi, sub) SuperDuper54 - File $1 of $2 - $F"
"Default Maximum Lines Per Post": for yEnc posts the numbers of lines should be 4000-5000 or less, because some newsservers reject 9,000+ posts. If you are still using UU to post (not recommended) the lines should be around 8000 or less. Tho supposedly this limitation has been lifted on most/all modern ISPs.
4. If the size is very large, you may want to post it over 2 or more days, instead of all at once.
5a. To add PAR2 files [recommended], you can use QuickPar or PowerPostAA built-in function.
It's a good idea to post the PAR2s after the RARs and not before, as they are a type of fills. The small PAR2 file can - and should - be posted first.
Do not post too many PAR2 files. 5-15% of the RARs should be enough. You can hold onto the extra PAR2s and post these later if they are requests for more PAR2s.
5b. If you want to add PAR1 files instead of PAR2, you can use SmartPAR or FSraid
6. Some info about the post is also good practice. In PP, this is "Prefix (0/N) Text".

o What is a PAR file?
A parity file, used to recover missing files. Download these files only if you need fills.
1 Pxx file = 1 recoverable file.
So get as many Pxx files as you are missing parts (usually rar's Rxx.)
Double-click on it after you installed a PAR program and it will reconstruct the missing part(s).
PAR encoder/decoders:
SmartPAR: http://www.vcdhelp.us Search for "smartpar" in the download section.
FSraid: http://www.fluidstudios.com/fsraid
MacPAR OS X: http://www.xs4all.nl/~loekjehe/MacPAROSX
MacPAR deLuxe: (has now limited PAR2 support) http://www.xs4all.nl/~gp/MacPAR_deLuxe
Mac MPW Par: http://www.djw.org/product/palm/par
Unix/MacOSX/etc.: http://sourceforge.net/projects/parchive

o What is a PAR2 file?
Same as PAR(1), but instead of needing a full file one only needs to download enough PAR2 blocks to fix the broken section of the file. In other words, it's used mainly to recover broken files.
QuickPar for Windows: http://www.quickpar.org.uk/
PAR2 command line [Windows, DOS, OSX...]: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=30568
Main PAR site: http://parchive.sourceforge.net
Agent for Windows' note: I noticed that Agent will stop saving bytes to disk when an yEnc file is broken, even if they are good blocks later on in that file. So you'll end having to get more PAR2 files than necessary. Solution: save the downloaded file as a raw binary and pass it thru an yEnc decoder manually.
(Agent will also stop saving bytes to disk when an UUencoded file is broken, but a broken UU file cannot be salvaged after the break point so for UU it doesn't matter.)

o How to enable a disabled codec?
- Go into Windows' Control Panel,
- open Multimedia (or "Sounds and Multimedia",)
- select the "Devices" tab,
- expand the "Audio [or Video] Compression Codecs,"
- double click the codec you are missing,
- make sure it says "use this codec",
- press OK.

o How to repair a broken RAR?
Visit http://riepersnest.tripod.com/rar
Note: WinRar 3.10 and above has now the capability to repair too-short rars.
PAR2s can do this as well.

o How can I open OGM files?
Here is a modified VirtualDub version that can open OGM files: http://virtualdubmod.sourceforge.net/


o VirtualDub, for capturing/converting/hard-subbing/etc. video files http://www.virtualdub.org

o Nandub, a specialized VirtualDub modification for DivX: http://www.nandub.org
I use NanDub One Pass from http://www.undercut.org

o A DOS program I wrote to retime sami script files. Source code included: smiShift.zip

o Shadowrunner's Multi-script Converter: Can input sami/ssa, and output rt, can also be used for time offset. Multicon130.zip

o sub2mp: a js/ssa to sami converter: http://www.crosswinds.net/~mikebliv

o Sconv can convert many scripts formats, the source code is available, and it can also be used for time offset: http://baka.k2r.net/sconv
For a Sconv version that can output SAMIs: http://lamipcserv1.epfl.ch/kikori/japanim/fansubs.html
(That's the one I use.)

o Converts .ssa to .srt online: http://www.akira.ru/osc/ssa2srt.php

o Makesami: a captioning program to make sami scripts: makesami.zip (1.2 mb) Can also output rt (RealText.)

o SubSync, captioning program: http://users.pandora.be/vlad/subsync
Included in the package is a player, DVlaD, to view a media file and its sami full screen.

o AviText, for viewing sami captions full screen. avitext26.zip (61k)

o Sub Station Alpha, captioning program: http://www.eswat.demon.co.uk/substation.html
o Magpie, captioning program: http://main.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/ncam/webaccess/magpie
Subtitle Workshop

o TMPGEnc, to convert mpeg-2 to mpeg-1, and other mpeg conversions: http://www.jamsoft.com/tmpgenc
The new page under construction is at http://www.tmpgenc.com

o Elecard mpeg-2 video player, http://www.elecard.com or http://www.moonlight.co.il

o Ligos LSX-MPEG Player Demo: can play mpeg-2 files, http://www.ligos.com

Zen's Links

o Sami docs, etc.: http://directory.google.com/Top/Arts/Television/Closed_Captioning
o Smil docs: http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo

o ABMA FAQ: http://member.newsguy.com/~moomoo/abmafaq.txt (alt.binaries.multimedia.anime)
o ABA FAQ: http://www.oocities.com/alt_binaries_anime
o ABA/ABMA FAQ: http://mtrs.org/aba

o How to know what was posted in ABA/ABMA and more? http://www.animeusenet.org

o Where can I find more divx and subbing software?

o Encoding/decoding tips, AC3 audio codec:

You can also use a search engine: http://www.google.com

Contact: Ask for Zen ("Attention: Zen") in one of the newsgroups alt.binaries.multimedia.anime.d (best choice), alt.binaries.anime or alt.binaries.multimedia.anime if you want to contact me.
Last revision: Feb 2004