Preferred movie file format

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Skirge01 Offline
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Question  Preferred movie file format
Post: #1
I went through the wiki and tried searching the forums, but came up empty on this specific question. Feel free to point me in the right direction for search terms if I missed something.

I haven't started storing my movie collection yet and was wondering what the general consensus is on the "best" way/format to store them for use in XBMC. I'd rather start with the best storage method for use in XBMC, so that I'm not spending my time trying to make work something I already have. I understand the preferred parent/child folder structure and will follow that, so that's not a point of confusion.

My objective is to have the main movie (full quality) with lossless audio, both full and forced subtitles, in the smallest footprint possible. I prefer single files (i.e. MKV), but have no issue if another method works better for XBMC. Obviously, I'd also like a method which is somewhat easy to accomplish in some automated fashion.

Thanks.
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tman12 Offline
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Post: #2
I think it is always easiest to go with MKV, especially with programs like MakeMKV making it so simple and quick to create a lossless MKV file and you can choose the subs you want to keep. The trial is ongoing too so you can keep getting a new trial serial, I finally broke down and bought it because sometimes you have to wait for the trail serial renewal but I think it was worth it. Of course using AnyDVD isn't a bad option either to rip to an image, but I'm not sure how most people are ripping movie only. I've also heard some good things about DVDFab, but I cannot say from personal use. I just think MakeMKV is super easy to use and it's fast. Look into removing riplock for your drive as well, I did it for mine and the rip speeds are so much better now - full blu's in about 35 mins and DVD's in about 5-8 mins. I would also recommend future proofing your rips, I wish I could go back and save the HD audio tracks for my rips. Just think of things you might want to have after upgrading or new software is available.

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argh! Offline
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Post: #3
Yep., .mkv. For the quality/compression ratio, easy breadth of configurability... mkv seems to be the way to go. well, h.264.
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skyking376 Offline
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Post: #4
Noob here...

I went through EXACTLY your situation. Starting fresh at beginning not sure which format to choose. Everyone has their own bias but weighing all the options and MANY people mentioned MKV so I went that route. My "format decision" took me about 3 weeks of reading before I made a choice.

Been using it for about 4 months (Only heard of XBMC 6 months ago) after a lot of reading. Blu-ray is on my list of "to-do's" since I don't have a blu-ray drive on my PC so I can't speak to that but so far MKV is AWESOME! Insanely simple to use, you should be up and running in under 20 min taking into account a shallow learning curve.

From all types of movies they ranged in size from ~3GB up to 7.5 or 8GB from what I can remember. Just a heads up for storage size needed. And again I haven't played with blu-ray so I can't speak to any info on that. Someone else will surely chime in.
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steelman1991 Offline
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Post: #5
(2012-05-03 23:53)tman12 Wrote:  I think it is always easiest to go with MKV, especially with programs like MakeMKV making it so simple and quick to create a lossless MKV file and you can choose the subs you want to keep. The trial is ongoing too so you can keep getting a new trial serial, I finally broke down and bought it because sometimes you have to wait for the trail serial renewal but I think it was worth it. Of course using AnyDVD isn't a bad option either to rip to an image, but I'm not sure how most people are ripping movie only. I've also heard some good things about DVDFab, but I cannot say from personal use. I just think MakeMKV is super easy to use and it's fast. Look into removing riplock for your drive as well, I did it for mine and the rip speeds are so much better now - full blu's in about 35 mins and DVD's in about 5-8 mins. I would also recommend future proofing your rips, I wish I could go back and save the HD audio tracks for my rips. Just think of things you might want to have after upgrading or new software is available.
If you have the discs why don't you - rip them with MakeMKV (only the audio tracks) and then remux with mkvmerge - alternatively with those ripping speeds, why not just do the whole thing (for the sake of 35 minutes)


(2012-05-03 22:36)Skirge01 Wrote:  I went through the wiki and tried searching the forums, but came up empty on this specific question. Feel free to point me in the right direction for search terms if I missed something.

I haven't started storing my movie collection yet and was wondering what the general consensus is on the "best" way/format to store them for use in XBMC. I'd rather start with the best storage method for use in XBMC, so that I'm not spending my time trying to make work something I already have. I understand the preferred parent/child folder structure and will follow that, so that's not a point of confusion.

My objective is to have the main movie (full quality) with lossless audio, both full and forced subtitles, in the smallest footprint possible. I prefer single files (i.e. MKV), but have no issue if another method works better for XBMC. Obviously, I'd also like a method which is somewhat easy to accomplish in some automated fashion.

Thanks.
To achieve "full quality, with lossless audio" the smallest footprint is the way it comes on the disc (obviously ripping the main movie only reduces the size) but compressing any further (with Handbrake, or similar) means you lose your "full quality" objective.

Make MKV is definitely worth a look as is AnotherEAC3to which is slightly less automated. Both provide the same results a full rip with no loss of quality.
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-04 09:55 by steelman1991.)
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Skirge01 Offline
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Post: #6
Thanks for the responses, everyone. I was leaning towards MKV, but wanted to ensure that XBMC worked well with what I was shooting for. These are BD's, so I have no intention of compressing them at all. I just want the garbage taken out. Thankfully, I've messed with most of the programs mentioned.

Assuming MKV is the way to go, what's the best way to get the subtitles? I did read this page already, but I didn't see any mention of forced versus "full subtitles". Does XBMC properly follow the MKV flag for the forced ones? I found this thread which mentions PGS and the forced flag, but that doesn't necessarily mean that PGS format subtitles is the only option.

Also, that wiki page mentions additional fonts being placed in "XBMC/media/Fonts/". Is this how a movie like Avatar would show the special font they used for the subtitles or is that something else? For the record, I don't even own Avatar yet, but I'm trying to get as much info as possible about this before I start this process. I only want to do this once and have it be a process that works for nearly every scenario in the future.
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steelman1991 Offline
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Post: #7
Yes XBMC recognises the 'forced' flag in mkv's. No need to change fonts, certainly not for 'special' fonts in Avatar etc displayed. I think the style can be used to change the appearance of .srt subtitles, the PGS format retains the characteristics of the original sub.
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