Effects of a new Build on Settings & Presets

Discuss about generic usage of MediaCoder.

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Effects of a new Build on Settings & Presets

Post by meRobs » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:27 pm

[updated 3 Aug 2011]

I have noted that a new build often sets off a few Posts claiming that previously successful settings no longer work! It has happened to me; and what follows below is my interpretation of why this happens and what to try next. The explanation is at its infancy and needs more insight. It may well be flawed, so, please, if you see any faults, PM me with suggestions.

1. Introductory Comment

Usually a new build may do no more than overcome a bug or two and possibly tidy up a few things. Then, the use of familiar settings or existing Presets should work. However, there are times when a new build involves:
(1) re-structuring to allow extra or improved features and/or
(2) updating underlying utilities, such as FFmpeg, MEncoder and MPlayer.
Then, existing Presets are likely to not work. Indeed, changing to such a build is much like changing to a different application (software) and may involve some re-learning. This is why the Forum recommends not changing the build if the present one works for you!

Having decided to stay with a particular build you should avoid the frequent reminders to upgrade via Settings > Overall > Generic > Ignored build = 9999. In fact, you should read viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8131.

Of course, if you wish to experiment, then by all means try a new build, but, expect your existing Presets to not work. And, just in case, make a written record of the settings used in each Preset, using a tabulated approach, such as that given in section 3 of viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9643&p=29342#p29342.
If the Presets do work in the new build, that's a bonus!

2. Examples of Failures when Updating

Example 1: Prior to build 4585, the Audio tab did not have a Format option and to choose the MP3 format the Encoder could be set to FFmpeg and the actual format (MP3) chosen from the 8 choices on a panel for 'FFmpeg' to the right of the audio tab. Later, in build 4585, the Format option was added on the tab itself, with 20 options in its drop-down menu, including MP3, and with LC-AAC as the default. Then, the Encoder could be set to Auto Select or FFmpeg, etc. Also, in earlier builds, the Aspect Ratio on the Picture tab was unchecked, by default, with its options being just 4:3, 16:9, etc. More recent builds offer a more logical set of choices. It had four options for Aspect Ratio: Keep DAR, the default, Keep PAR, Set DAR and Set PAR, with the 4:3, 16:9, ... choices becoming available only for Set DAR or PAR.

Example 2: For build 4640, and most if not all previous builds, FFmpeg as video encoder would convert a VOB or FLV file to Xvid in AVI, and do so 3 times faster than MEncoder. However, in builds 4670 to 4677, FFmpeg failed to convert to Xvid and MEncoder would convert an FLV file to Xvid/AVI, but, would stop after about 6500 frames! Replacing the EXE files for FFmpeg and MEncoder in the Codecs folder of MediaCoder by those versions of these files copied from build 4640 rectified the problems. So, clearly, this is a fault with these updated utilities, not with MediaCoder, which is merely a convenient GUI that allows you to access them.

Example 3: On moving up to builds 4700 – 4740, it was noticed that adding titles from a DVD using the Add Track feature gave odd values in the Properties panel for some tracks, yet, correct values for others. Furthermore, an attempt to transcode those tracks with faulty data displayed failed. This was attributed to the version of MPlayer in those builds (see: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9633&start=12).

Example 4: If you had Presets that gave the settings given in the Encoding Guide (viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9643) in build 4640, and then updated to build 5175 some would fail. For example, the audio encoder would be set as Auto Select in all cases, instead of FFmpeg or Nero. Also, the Container would be set as “Default” rather than MKV for the Preset for MKV, etc, and these conversions would fail. The MKV Preset would also fail if you jumped from build 4797 to 5175.

Example 5: the Presets I use to give the settings given in the Encoding Guide (above) for builds 5140 to 5176 fail for build 5180. The audio for conversions to FLV, MKV and Xvid/AVI appeared as LC-AAC instead of MP3. Hence, I had to revise the Presets for builds 5180 onwards.

3. Overcoming the Problem

If you have opted to move up to a new build and a previously created Preset does not give the expected result, this will be so for at least one of the following reasons:
* the 'old' Preset contains values only for those settings that differed from the earlier defaults
* some earlier settings may not have clear equivalents in the new build
* the new build may have unwanted defaults that are not overwritten by the Preset
* any fiddling on the tabs before loading the Preset may not be overwritten appropriately.
* one of the underlying utilities is no longer working as assumed (see NOTE below).

To rectify this, I suggest you use the following steps.
Step 1: make sure that you have not simply used an 'Update' version of MediaCoder for an existing build that is more than a few versions older. If you have, then install a 'Full Version' for the new build instead!
Step 2, you need the values/entries for all the main tab settings used in the older Preset. If you don’t have written details (or a reliable memory) for these, you could re-install the older version on a different Drive or, if you don’t have a spare drive, use the default drive for “Program Files”. And to avoid confusion, install the older build in a specially named folder, such as “MediaCoder_old”. Then, open the older build, load the Preset and read off the tabs. Even better, keep this build open for Step 3, below.
By the way, it is a good idea to keep your older version of MediaCoder for reference, etc. Also, keep the older Preset, renamed to link it with that build. For example, I have 5 folders of Presets to cover builds from 4640 to 5175, Presets that I use for testing new builds (see Test Report: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10383).
Step 3: open the new build of MediaCoder and set all its settings (both on the tabs and hidden) into a reproducible set of values via File > Revert All Settings. Then, load the old Preset and check all the tabs for any unwanted or 'strange' settings. For example, video and/or audio formats may have reverted to defaults, rather than those defined by the Preset.
Step 4: amend the tabs until they agree with those on the older build and, then, try a conversion. If need be tweak until it works.
Step 5: save the revised settings as a new Preset. But first, I suggest that it should involve a few other changes as well, as mentioned for the 'Starter Preset', etc, in: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8131.

NOTE: if you suspect the problem is due to the adoption by MediaCoder of a more recent version of an underlying utility, such as FFmpeg or MEncoder (see change-log at viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6917), then, check out this possibility by copying over their EXE files (see Example 2, above), and if the problem vanishes, please report this in the Bug section of the Forum!

4. Need to do a Clean Uninstall first?

For earlier builds there was often the suggestion that problems occurring for a change in build may be due to settings and preferences, etc, being corrupted because of a clash with 'hidden' files stored in the two 'Broad Intelligence' folders, especially the prefs.xml file. These reside under Documents & Settings > Username, etc. This 'clash' seems unlikely in recent builds, such as 4596, etc, since critical files in these folders seem to be cleaned out during a normal install.

On the other hand, if you are in doubt or have atypical behaviour and wish to try a clean uninstall, use a program such as Revo Uninstaller (free), which does a thorough job. For example, in the "Moderate" Mode, it will clean out both Broad Intelligence folders and the Registry entries as well, provided each set of removals is agreed to by the user.
Have you checked out the Tips & Guides for MediaCoder? Try: http://forum.mediacoderhq.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8061
Also, get older builds at: http://www.videohelp.com/tools/MediaCoder/old-versions#download