Cleaning Up Video Recordings

I’ve noticed that with my new PVR-150 TV Tuner card, there are a few channels that occasionally generate one or two pixels lines of flickering noise at the top of the frame. You don’t see this noise when you playback the recorded video in Windows Media Center, but you do see it in Windows Media Player or on the Zune when you convert the DVR-MS file to MP4 or WMV format. Also, this noise is not unique to my PVR-150 card, as I’ve seen it with live and recorded TV shows while using an AverMedia USB external TV Tuner (that I had a few years ago). The noise is very distracting while you’re watching a video on your Zune, and it’s particularly distracting if the video is dark (see below).

wme_cutpixels1a.png

So what can you do about this? If you’re using the Windows Media Batch Encoder utility, you can specify that the top two pixels of each frame be cropped out of the converted video, which is an excellent method for getting rid of the noise. However, this cropping option isn’t intuitively available with the DVRMSToolbox utility (which I use for automating video conversions for my Zune). If you’ve read my web page on the topic of using DVRMSToolbox for converting DVR-MS files to WMV format for the Zune, you’ll see that I use the built-in action called “Convert DVR-MS to WMV using DVR2WMV”. This action works great, but it doesn’t give you the flexibility to crop the video output. Fortunately, the Windows Media Encoder 9 software (which I discuss the usage on a different web page) can be used with DVRMSToolbox in the video processing procedure.

WME9 can be executed from a command line interface, so you don’t need to utilize the Windows-based graphical user interface to use it. If you opened a DOS command window or created a DOS batch file, you can initiate a video conversion using WME9 with the following command:

“C:\Program Files\Windows Media Components\Encoder\WMCmd.vbs” -input “video_source.mpg” -output “zune_video.wmv” -loadprofile “c:\VideoTools\zune_profile.prx” -v_clip 0 2 0 0

With the DOS command above, WME9 will convert the file called “video_source.mpg” to a new file called “zune_video.wmv” using a WME profile called “zune_profile.prx”. In addition, I’m using the command line argument, “-v_clip” to specify the number of pixels to crop out of the video source for the conversion. The “0 2 0 0” tells WME how many pixels to crop out from the left, top, right, and bottom of the frame (in this example, I’m cropping out 2 pixels from the top).

So to utilize this capability in DVRMSToolbox (DTb), I need to define a DTb profile that contains actions to convert the DVR-MS video source to MPEG2 format first, then use that file as input to WME9 to create the WMV formatted file. The image below shows a partial listing of the actions I used to create the MPEG2 file first, then use WME9 to convert it to WMV format.

wme_cutpixel3.png

Here you see the key is using the “Run” action to execute WME9 from a command line. You need to define the “ProcessName” as shown above, and define the WME9 command in the “ArgumentContext” box. Once you’ve defined this DTb profile, you can use it to convert your existing DVR-MS files to WMV format (using WME9) and have the top two pixel lines cropped out. Now when you watch the converted video, you see something like this:

wme_cutpixels2.png

I now use this method and DTb profile for all my automated video conversions, since it ensures that I won’t have the flickering noise issues.

Now, it may seem that converting from DVR-MS to MPEG2 is an additional step in the process that increases video processing time, but since the DVR-MS format is essentially MPEG2, this conversion step takes very little time. You can download this DTb profile from this link, which you can modify and use for your own particular setup.

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3 thoughts on “Cleaning Up Video Recordings

  1. John says:

    Hi:

    I have been trying to implement this and there are a few tricks to using your scripts.

    1) Need to install WME9 components from here:
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5691ba02-e496-465a-bba9-b2f1182cdf24

    2) Need to fix two places where you have Daves Files in the output directory. You could make them more generic by using “C:\users\public\videos” if you wanted.

    3) Need to download your Zune_Profile.prx and put into the dvrmxtoolbox\prx directory for the basic conversion (your original article) – the cscrpt line points to a private directory, why not include this file and point to the dvrmstoobox default prx directory?

    So far that’s what i’ve found. Cscript keeps crashing on me, i don’t know why yet.

    PS: On the original article – also need to download DVR2WMV, i have not gotten that yet either.

  2. zunetips says:

    John: I provided my DTb profile as-is (just as I use it) as an example. Yes, everyone will need to adjust it for their own use and systems.

    I did not need to download and install DVR2WMV to use DTb. I believe it came with it’s own version.

  3. […] have any provision for cropping out the top two lines of the video source (to remove the noise). In this posting, I talk about how I resolved that issue by doing the following in […]

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