Vista’s Video Nasties #2

November 16, 2007

Vista busy cursor I think I am closing in on a reliable, largely automated method of encoding DV video clips, for uploading to on-line video hosting sites such as Vimeo or youTube, in a way that yields decent quality.

As mentioned in earlier posts in the Vista’s Video Nasties series, it has not exactly been plain sailing.

I abandoned the XviD codec because it could be relied upon to crash Vista’s COM Surrogate process, and accessing an XviD file in a Windows folder could bring down and force a restart of Windows Explorer.

For a while I switched to DivX, which did not seem to upset Vista’s delicate constitution as much. This at least allowed me to bring the COM Surrogate back within DEP‘s protective fold.

I then turned my attention to H.264 in the search for better quality at lower file sizes, having decided that Vimeo, rather than youTube, was the way to go. Now for Mac users, producing H.264 encoded video is trivial. It drops out of iMovie without a second thought. For Windows users, the options are far more limited. That probably explains why Vimeo’s guidance on preparing video for upload is so Apple-centric.

I wanted to experiment with H.264, but there is only one free option, namely x264. This is a command line program for encoding avi files into H.264 format. The encoding options are numerous and baffling, but at least there is a GUI program for it called meGUI which handles all the details. This includes the automatic creation of an “avs” file whose job it is to control a pre-processing tool called AviSynth which I am familiar with from my old DVD encoding experiences. AviSynth handles the resizing, deinterlacing and so forth which is required before passing the video to x264 for compression.

It seemed too good to be true, and was too good to be true. I could open meGUI but whenever I tried to open up a video file for processing I was greeted with a Windows dialog box announcing the fact that “meGUI had stopped working”, whereupon meGUI closed.

I spent a while looking for answers on the Internet, but was not able to find any. I could run meGUI on XP which is how I produced the H.264 encoded clip of Sunlight Rock (Gulangyu Island, China) which I then uploaded to Vimeo. But nothing could induce meGUI to run on Vista.

The only advice I was able to find on the web was that it might start working if I reinstalled Vista from scratch. Really useful. Thanks, pal!

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  1. That made me laugh. Thanks Jay. It does feel like that.

    As to why? Not sure I know for sure. Maybe I can’t resist a challenge!


  2. Remind me again why you are going to so much trouble to try and work around Vista?

    It’s like watching you trying to befriend a Mountain Lion.

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