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Author Topic: Can we talk about mkv files here please?  (Read 9210 times)

superboyac

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Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« on: December 09, 2010, 09:31:53 PM »
Ever since I started learning about mkv files here, I've been very facinated by them.  The Makemkv software also has helped me decide that this is probably the best choice for me as far as backing up my dvd's go.  I love having everything in a single file (makes it portable!) and I love the fact that mkv is the only format that can retain the additional dvd stuff like commentary tracks, menus, etc.

But I have a lot of mkv related questions.  Not of the format itself, but how players handle it.  How do I use the additional features like the commentary tracks and menus?  Which players handle it well, and how do they do it?  Please don't direct me to the videohelp and doom9, etc., forums as I've been there and haven't been able to find clear answers.  You guys here are very good at clearing things up for me.  Of course, if there is a specific post that is helpful, please let me know.

Let's consider KMplayer, a popular player that we are almost all familiar with.  It has normal previous/next buttons, but that only moves up and down the playlist, not within chapters of a single mkv file.  But then, how do you get the root menu?  How do you navigate with subtitles enable/disable, commentary enable/disable, language changing, etc.?  One of my problems is I don't have a good test mkv file, and I haven't made one myself yet.  It would be nice if someone could point me to a feature-packed mkv file that I can test.  Something with menus, chapters, commentaries, different languages, subtitles...the works, so I can test everything out.

I have not seen anyone using mkv files in this all encompassing way.  I've created my own a few times, but they just had chapters, and I was able to navigate them using right click context menu options that were probably meant for dvd's (I'm talking abotu KMP here).  Most players don't have mkv specific options.  They can play the file, but it's not clear how to access the extra stuff.

So I'd like to discuss this further here.  I'd love to hear of others' experiences who have experience with mkv files.  The idea of mkv files are really cool.  To be able to package dvd's with their entire contents in one file is truly a great thing.  I'm sure part of the reason why it's hard to find good information about it is because of its potential impact to piracy.  If it were extremely easy to convert DVD's to mkv (a la makemkv) it makes piracy of dvd's very easy.  Right now, converting dvd's to single files is a pretty complex thing.  Compression/size is an issue.  audio/video syncing is an issue.  hardly ever will you be able to get all the dvd extras and stuff.  If you go to the forums I mentioned above, a lot of the conversion methods are quite complicated.  They involve multiple softwares, many of which are command line type of applications.  It's pretty hairy stuff.  Anyway, this is not about piracy, I just mentioned it because I feel that is why mkv is a little bit of a hush hush issue.  Commercial companies won't like to promote them.  The big time media players like WMP will probably not support them well because of that.  And that's probably also the reason why casual users don't know much about it, if at all.  Even regular users will come across avi and mpg once in a while, and are familiar with the words, but not mkv.  To me, it seems to be superior in every way to all the other common file formats.  It sure beats backing up your DVD's using ISO images with the annoying AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders.

Eóin

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2010, 05:37:04 AM »
Well if you use Sharks 007 codec pack together with any DirectShow player then you'll see Haali's media splitter in the tray. Right clicking that icon will allow you to select alternative audio tracks, subtitles as well as skip between chapters.

Personally I much prefer that integrated solution through DirectShow rather than standalone players like VLC.

Shades

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2010, 05:59:02 PM »
@superboyac
A word of warning though, the movie Iron Man 2 has a protection on it that MakeMKV cannot circumvent. It can make a .mkv file from the movie, but all the chapters are jumbled.

This renders MakeMKV useless as backup software for this movie. Expect that protection to be included in new movie releases.

And that is too bad. I like the fact MakeMKV eliminates one noise source (spinning disc) while retaining all the DVD goodness.

superboyac

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2010, 06:43:51 PM »
@superboyac
A word of warning though, the movie Iron Man 2 has a protection on it that MakeMKV cannot circumvent. It can make a .mkv file from the movie, but all the chapters are jumbled.

This renders MakeMKV useless as backup software for this movie. Expect that protection to be included in new movie releases.

And that is too bad. I like the fact MakeMKV eliminates one noise source (spinning disc) while retaining all the DVD goodness.
Interesting.  Do you think it's something that can be circumvented using something like AnyDVD?  I also find it slightly puzzling that even current computers with decent specs still sometimes struggle to playback HD files.  How many more years until large 10+GB HD files can be played smoothly with today's computers?  I often notice slow startup speeds for HD files, troublesome seeking features, and so on.  I understand that full HD is a lot of information to process, but it doesn't make sense to me that an average computer today can't play them.  Does this have anything to do with crippling by the video card or Windows OS?  Or is it truly a very taxing process for the computer that is still pushing the limits of our hardware?

Shades

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2010, 07:16:03 PM »
Proper resoure management is always key. Don't do (too) much background tasks when you are watching HD files. I find it also important to have two or four memory sticks (2/4 gByte) that work at least as fast the Front Side Bus (FSB) speeds of your mother-board helps a lot when processing/watching HD content.

I never encountered the problems you mention when playing 1080p content on my Win7 system, which has only 2GByte of RAM that is matched with the FSB of my main board. Also, my disk are on a weekly defragmentation cycle, which helps as well.

MilesAhead

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2010, 08:46:59 PM »
When MakeMKV won't do the rip I try this:

http://www.videohelp...tools/DVDFab_Passkey

The betas are released so frequently that it never has a chance to expire. Just a pita to install so frequently.

I think they have spun off(pun intended) a free version. Not sure what the limitations are.  As long as the fully enabled betas are there I see no need to experiment with the lite one.

superboyac

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2010, 09:48:47 PM »
Do any of you have any experience with AnyDVD?  I'm thinking of purchasing their lifetime license soon because starting 2011, they won't be offering lifetime licenses anymore.  If I get it, will that solve the potential copyright problems I may run into using stuff like Makemkv to backup my dvd's?
I have to say, I really don't particularly like most of the so called solutions on videohelp and doom9.  I know they get the job done, but they are usually command line things, with difficult to understand settings, no real product pages, horrible interfaces, etc.  I'm perfectly willing to spend $100 to bypass all that headache.

cthorpe

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2010, 11:29:00 PM »
I have a lifetime AnyDVD license.

I use a lot of multimedia when creating educational videos.  I love that AnyDVD is just sitting there and lets me use whatever program I want to get clips.  Occasionally, a new release DVD has a copy protection scheme that stumps AnyDVD.  I can't recall an instance, however, where the devs didn't release an update within a week or two that solved the problem.

Disclaimer - I always follow Fair Use guidelines when using copyrighted material in my videos.

superboyac

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2010, 12:16:46 AM »
I have a lifetime AnyDVD license.

I use a lot of multimedia when creating educational videos.  I love that AnyDVD is just sitting there and lets me use whatever program I want to get clips.  Occasionally, a new release DVD has a copy protection scheme that stumps AnyDVD.  I can't recall an instance, however, where the devs didn't release an update within a week or two that solved the problem.

Disclaimer - I always follow Fair Use guidelines when using copyrighted material in my videos.
That's awesome.  I'll have my license before the week's over.  Thanks so much.

Curt

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2010, 04:07:44 AM »
I have a lifetime AnyDVD license.
That's awesome.  I'll have my license before the week's over.

-you better remember! Lifetime keys will no longer be offered after new-year.

http://www.slysoft.com/anydvdhd.html
« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 04:11:41 AM by Curt »

superboyac

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2011, 10:19:44 AM »
Would anyone here be able to show me a screenshot of how they navigate through a single mkv file?  How do you go to the next chapter?  How do you enable/disable commentary tracks?  Screenshots...not text, please.

4wd

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2011, 06:06:09 PM »
Well, for MPC-HC:

Next chapter using the Navigate menu or the Forward/Backward Skip buttons at the bottom:
2011-01-13_10-57-47.jpgCan we talk about mkv files here please?

Sorry, don't have any multi-audio MKVs on hand - just imagine a few more languages under the sub-menu and you'll get the idea ;)
Audio using the Play menu, (if it's a DVD it shows up under Navigate IIRC):
2011-01-13_10-59-37.jpgCan we talk about mkv files here please?

Subtitles using the Play menu, (if it's a DVD it shows up under Navigate IIRC):
2011-01-13_10-59-56.jpgCan we talk about mkv files here please?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 06:09:42 PM by 4wd »

superboyac

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2011, 07:19:32 PM »
Thanks 4wd!  That's very helpful.  That's the way i do it also.

So now I'm wondering if anyone has found a good player that can do all this without menus or context menus.  Actual buttons along the bottom.  I can't seem to find any.  Maybe we just have to wait a little longer until mkv files become more popular, and then we'll start seeing buttons and other conveniences develop.

JavaJones

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2011, 07:53:09 PM »
Sad to say it, but Daum Potplayer actually handled chapters pretty well, unlike (apparently!?) KMPlayer. I've heard KM supports chapter markers, but I don't know how to enable it or at least make them visible in the time line. It does have skip chapter hot keys I believe. Potplayer actually shows them in the video time line and labels them as well, which is nice. Unfortunately I disliked Potplayer for other reasons, heh.

KM also has a hotkey for audio track switching. It's Ctrl-X on my install here, I think that's default. It doesn't allow you to pick a specific track, but you can cycle through them at least. There are hotkeys for just about anything in KM...

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2011, 09:27:47 PM »
What we need is something like this:
When the player detects an mkv file, it should enable the appearance of a few buttons on the taskbar or wherever the navigation buttons normally are.  Those buttons should be stuff like previous/next chapter, enable/disable subtitles, dropdown for additional audio tracks (commentary, languages).  It wouldn't hurt to have a dropdown also for just a list of chapters to jump to quickly.

Another suggestion would be something like this: if it detects an mkv file, it can have a fake dvd-like menu appear if you press a certain button.  What this will do is bring up a text list of the chapters, audio options, etc. right on the screen, and you can click on your choice with the mouse.

This is the kind of stuff I'm looking for.  Right-clicking and using the menus is ok, but not all that great.  It seems to me that mkv files just aren't all that popular yet.  They should be, they have the advantage in just about every way i can think of.

4wd

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2011, 12:18:58 AM »
Thanks 4wd!  That's very helpful.  That's the way i do it also.

I should have mentioned there's also hotkeys, the defaults are:

PgUp/PgDn - Step backward/forward through chapters
[shift] + A  - Step backward/forward through audio streams
[shift] + S  - Step backward/forward through subtitle streams
W              - Turn subtitles off

Hotkeys for moving the subtitles around, if nothing else, MPC-HC has a lot of configurable hotkeys.  :D

JavaJones

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2011, 02:41:18 AM »
Well, if you want to do it by mouse, KM can handle the audio stream switching easily. Just click the icon in the lower-left of the player that displays the audio info about the currently playing file, e.g. "OGG | 2CH". That will bring up a menu of audio stream options, usually labelled (if they've been created properly). I'm pretty sure there's a good way to do similar chapter jumping in Potplayer, and maybe even KM, but not sure.

I use the audio switching a lot but almost never use for chapter skipping. Do you actually have a lot of files with chapter markers?

- Oshyan

Deozaan

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2011, 09:35:03 PM »
So how exactly do you get DVD chapters and subtitles and all that into an mkv file? I just tried it with MakeMKV and what I got was an mkv file with no chapter selection, no subtitles, and audio quality/volume was greatly reduced. :-\

EDIT: Perhaps it's because I'm using Windows Media Player and it doesn't know how to properly read MKV files? What's a good audio/video program with good support for mkv? VLC?

EDIT2: I just tried it again with KMPlayer and there was no chapter support. The volume was weird (full volume, ignoring Windows' volume settings). Subtitles didn't work.

So I thought from this thread that MKV were awesome because they had all this stuff built in to a single file. How do I get it built in?

« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 10:48:15 PM by Deozaan »

JavaJones

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2011, 11:00:52 PM »
Windows Media Player won't know how to read additional info from an MKV. Use The KMPLayer, Duam Potplayer, or maybe SPlayer or SMPlayer.

If that fails (as it seems to have), then the data has probably not been properly encoded into the MKV. You can try a file info tool to see if it can detect it: http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/en

- Oshyan

Deozaan

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2011, 11:44:00 PM »
I used that tool and I see 4 audio sources, 1 video source, and even a bunch of different chapters. I don't see anything obvious that says subtitles though.

So how come KMPlayer doesn't seem to be able to skip to other chapters?

Aha! Found it. Apparently KMPlayer is just really stupid. The traditional skip arrows don't do anything, but you can right-click to access a menu that has Bookmarks/Chapters. And they work. Also just tested the mkv file in VLC and chapter selection works as one would expect it to.

But still I guess subtitles weren't encoded into the file with MakeMKV? They're not vitally important to me, since I'm not hard of hearing, but it would be nice to have them.


MilesAhead

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2011, 12:43:28 AM »
But still I guess subtitles weren't encoded into the file with MakeMKV? They're not vitally important to me, since I'm not hard of hearing, but it would be nice to have them.

MakeMKV should pull in ordinary subtitles automatically.  It won't grab closed captions though.  You can get much more detailed info from its forum:

http://www.makemkv.com/forum2/index.php

Deozaan

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Re: Can we talk about mkv files here please?
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2011, 12:51:02 AM »
Aha! I bet these DVDs use closed captions rather than subtitles. That answers it. Thanks!