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Video Format Which Doesn't Tax G4

CC_333

Well-known member
Hi,

Does anybody know of a video format which doesn't tax a G4 so hard?

Obviously, a modern format is out, so how about older ones, like MOV or AVI?

c

 

uniserver

Well-known member
What video card is in there, most of the ATI rage etc ones had MPEG2 Motion compensation built in :)

 

CC_333

Well-known member
Uniserver: the video card is an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 with 64 MB of VRAM (this is the Titanium PowerBook I've been working on).

ClassicHasClass: For now, I am using VLC to play back stuff, although I am willing to switch to something else if "something else" is less taxing on the processor. If I can find a program/format combination which can run without choppiness at the reduced processor setting, that would be ideal.

To my surprise, MKV files seem to actually work quite well, although only at full processor speed, and it taxes the CPU even at that.

Given the computer's heat related issues (as mentioned here), I don't think it's ideal to run such taxing stuff on it (it works just fine with a light load, with hardly any crashing).

c

 

Bunsen

Admin-Witchfinder-General
Both .mov and .avi are container files. To some extent, playback performance depends on what is inside them.

An AVI file may carry audio/visual data inside the chunks in virtually any compression scheme, including Full Frame (Uncompressed), Intel Real Time (Indeo), Cinepak, Motion JPEG, Editable MPEG, VDOWave, ClearVideo / RealVideo, QPEG, and MPEG-4 Video.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_container_formats

most of the ATI rage etc ones had MPEG2
Which is one of the two standard codec for DVDs and .vob files, along with MPEG1

I'm not sure, otoh, which other codecs can be automagically shifted off the CPU onto the GPU for decompression, and what the OS and software requirements are for that. It appears your GPU is not one of those supported by CoreImage. So it may be that DVD/vob/MPEG2/MPEG1 files are the only ones which will run entirely on the GPU.

 

ClassicHasClass

Well-known member
VLC is not well optimized for AltiVec. Some people have reported decent performance with Movist or CorePlayer, but I just use QuickTime 7 and Perian playing back H.264 on my Luxo G4. It works well enough.

I'm not sure, otoh, which other codecs can be automagically shifted off the CPU onto the GPU for decompression, and what the OS and software requirements are for that. It appears your GPU is not one of those supported by CoreImage. So it may be that DVD/vob/MPEG2/MPEG1 files are the only ones which will run entirely on the GPU.
On paper, there is no GPU codec acceleration on Power Macs, just GPU scaling of the output. However, Apple does have some private interfaces that accelerate some codecs, H.264 believed to be one; it is probably the most accelerated of the codecs, but you will only get this going through QuickTime. 3rd party apps implementing their own decoders, including ffmpeg, do not have any way of running on the GPU in PPC OS X.

 

CC_333

Well-known member
VLC is not well optimized for AltiVec.
Really? I don't know if it is related, but every version I try will crash every time under Tiger on a 500 MHz G3.
Some people have reported decent performance with Movist or CorePlayer,
I'll give those a try. Ae they freeware or shareware?
but I just use QuickTime 7 and Perian playing back H.264 on my Luxo G4.
I might do that instead since it's already built in the the OS.
It works well enough.
Good! I just want it to work "well enough" without overtaxing the computer. What speed is your G4? I'm trying to do this on a 1 GHz PowerBook, perhaps that has something to do with it (too slow, etc.)?
Well, .MOV and .AVI may be container files, but what could I put into those "containers" which wouldn't be too excessive in the resource department? What formats did old Quicktime (2.0-3.0, as found in System 7.xx thru Mac OS 8.6) use in the .MOV container? I spent like all day once, not knowing a thing about what I was doing (therefore making it impossible to reproduce, hence this thread), I actually produced a file which could playback relatively smoothly on a 500 MHz G3.

I will play around with stuff, keeping in mind what everyone has suggested so far, and will report back on my findings.

c

 

uniserver

Well-known member
i would think you should be able to play MP4's i guess just it depends on the resolution,

when downloading whole movies, if they are 700 mb's +/- it should play just fine, when you get into the HD stuff i think its more taxing,

in my case i have a old 1.6ghz pentium m, gateway laptop, running xp, i couldn't use VLC! VLC just would not display video, it would play the audio but you couldn't see anything.

i downloaded mplayer and it plays video flawlessly now,

http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/news.html

maybe it will work well for you, looks like they have a OSX binary!

 

CC_333

Well-known member
I will try out MPlayer.

In the meantime, I have encoded an uncompressed .MOV file; I will now see whether or not it plays without trouble.

c

 

ClassicHasClass

Well-known member
CorePlayer is, I think, $20. I don't know much more about it. I don't use it myself.

What speed is your G4? I'm trying to do this on a 1 GHz PowerBook, perhaps that has something to do with it (too slow, etc.)?
My Luxo G4 is a 1GHz 7455 with 1GB of RAM and 256K L2/no L3, 167MHz system bus. I believe yours should have L3, so it should do better than mine, assuming you don't have the CPU throttled down in System Preferences.

 

Anonymous Freak

Well-known member
Even an early G4 should be able to handle MPEG-2 at DVD resolution just fine.

Other than that, in decreasing order of CPU usage:

MPEG-1

Sorenson

Cinepak

Raw/None

Which also happens to be in INCREASING order of file size, given equal resolution, frame rate, and duration. In general, the more taxing to the CPU, the better compression, therefore the smaller the file.

I can play back 320x240, 8-bit, 15 fps Cinepak on my Color Classic II just fine.

Also, MKV is another 'container' file, like AVI or MOV; it could contain any codec inside. (For example, I rip both my DVDs and Blu-rays to MKV files - the DVDs are in MPEG-2, while the Blu-rays may be in MPEG-2, VC-1, or H.264, depending on the disc.) Your MKV files probably play fine because they're DVD-quality MPEG-2 inside. If you tried to play a Blu-ray-quality H.264 MKV, your system would choke on it.

 

ClassicHasClass

Well-known member
I'm just playing standard def video on my G4. 720p is unpleasant and 1080p doesn't work at all.

For that matter, my quad G5 usually has to be cranked up to Highest Performance to play 1080p smoothly, though it can. Otherwise I play 720p on it and 480p on the G4 systems.

 

uniserver

Well-known member
Yeah. My G5 dual 2.7 ghz will barely do 1080p. Sometimes I have to wait to stop downloading before I tap play, with 1080p

 

Mk.558

Well-known member
When I used an iMac G3 and the iBook G3 (with double the CPU clock, more RAM, and 8x the video memory, still ran terrible), I used to take .FLV files and convert them to .mov using FLV Crunch.

Decent app, I don't know what it does to bitrate, but on any Gx you won't enjoy any good bitrate, or 720p+ at all. It might toss it inside a MPEG2 codec inside a .mov container...in fact, let's find out right now, since I never knew before...Ahhh turns out it ups the bitrate a little and uses H.263.

Obviously any videohead would have heard of SUPER©, and it's pretty good, but it's just a front end for ffmpeg (and like two others) encoders. Wouldn't use them for professional production, but they work fine for our use. For those who don't know, most converters are just frame copiers and redump it into a new container or a new codec (Well...yeah...sort of). HandBrake is neat but it doesn't work well on anything PPC and it only seems to crunch H.264.

One question I'd like to know is if I take some FLV container file which has a bitrate of 1Mbps, if I should use that same 1Mbps bitrate if I convert to MPEG Layer 10/AVC/.mp4 with H.264. H.264 apparently can do the same quality with less bitrate, but I don't know how to quantify that (ie input 1Mbps FLV output 768Kbps). H.264 is actually quite good, but it's not the absolute best. I use it because it works fine on any decent Pentium platform, iOS or Android devices, and anything with a Core processor (Mac) or up.

Obviously if you want to _play_ video well on a PPC, you'd be best to pre-process it on a more powerful machine, which sort of ruins the point....

 

CC_333

Well-known member
Well,

I tried to play the encoded .MOV file I mentioned earlier, but it was too big!

It is around 83 GB in size (the G4's hard drive is only 60 GB!!!). I think I can run it off an external, but I think I may just start over with different settings.

One bit of hope, though. This machine has a history of overheating and crashing, but I tried the most unorthodox thing: I put a gel cold pack on the COU heat sink. It wasn't the most elegant solution (in fact, it interferes with the keyboard and trackpad), but it worked! The CPU, for once, didn't get burning hot after playing a video file.

Obviously I'd like to find a better solution, but it'll do in a pinch.

I'll see if I can encode a video in MPEG-1. Quicktime should allow me to do it.

c

p.s. By the way, I looked at the media information in VLC, and discovered that the codec contained in the MKV file is H.264. No wonder it's so taxing on the poor G4!

 

CC_333

Well-known member
Hi,

I converted the video to a different format (DV/DVCPRO NTSC) and I was able to watch it with the CPU set to reduced mode without a single glich! AND it didn't get too hot, either.

The filesize for this format comes to 8.5 GB rather than 85, so it'll fit now.

c

 

Bunsen

Admin-Witchfinder-General
BTW, I'm using an app called MacTubes to play youtube videos outside of my browser, and it seems to help a little. It doesn't do anything fancy like extracting the raw video file from inside the flv file (what are the PPC apps that do that again?) - it just plays the flv from a URL without loading the full youtube webpage with all its extra cruft.

 
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