W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ads in my Cbox... to Qisahn.com

Today I looked at my Cbox and was surprised to find the ad of PSP Slim @ $289. I confirmed it to be pointing towards Qisahn.com.

At first I was shocked and thought someone had hacked my Cbox or something. Then I found it to be added by Cbox, because I am on the free service.

I was like so LOL when I knew that. Because Qisahn.com was where I knew about Cbox (previously I already knew something like this exists, but not where and how to get it). And it was where I bought my PSP too lol, good service, don't mind supporting it.

Sometimes, things in life can be so coincidental, and it makes life good.

Lolis are the future...

AGAIN I mixed up the order of my posting. Just couldn't help it. Before this post it was supposed to be the super long one on video post processing, also included a thank you for all the few supporters everyday.

Now I realized something wrong.

The highest spike coincided with the day I changed my HWZ avatar and signature.

Lolis are the future.

Did I get higher clicks just by doing that?

Well, if you were thinking I decieved you, because there are no underaged pics in here, nor is this blog in any way like your norm Anime blog, you're the one thinking wrong here. My blog is my blog. My signature line is my signature line. They're two different things.

But still there were visitors even before the loli avatar/signature... oh well a big thank you for you all. And people who visited without thinking of viewing loli pics.

I need to differentiate things better next time.

The bookstore koped my bookmark!

221208(22th December 2008 in army format), that night I visited the book fair at Suntec, only targets are 1. Light Novels and 2. Cheap old manga. Didn't find 2., only found a set of 1.. And not a very well-known series to boot. Obviously light novels aren't in their list of things. But the story seems pretty good at first sight, and the print quality isn't bad too. So I koped (took with force, without knowledge/permission in Singaporean slang, can mean to simply take also) it. It was a very good deal, $13++ for 4 books. That'd have easily set me back $50 at Kino.

Reached home, I realized that 3 bookmarks are also included with each book. Lucky. Wait, why is there a Suzumiya Haruhi bookmark in the second book?

I actually thought it was a character in the book lol.

Then, today, I wanted to see all the different bookmarks, just for interest. But, the last book only had one (1) bookmark. Now that's strange. Did I get shortchanged? Wait, the seal of this book was not complete when I bought it, could it be somebody have koped it? If so then damn that mutherfu*ker. Or did it only come with one bookmark? That'd make sense.

Then I realized that there is at least 1 bookmark with the same picture as the pull-out picture/poster/watever-you-call-that per book except for the last. Now I really suspect something is missing.

Then I realized in book 3, there are some kind of serial number on each of the bookmarks, ending with AL-0xx, where xx was 07 to 09 for book 3. So that's 3 bookmarks per book!

So I look at book 2, in place of AL-005, there was LG-014. So that IS a Haruhi bookmark (whatever LG stood for, AL is Alison btw).

So fuk, this has to be a mistake in the packaging.

In book 4, the only one there is AL-011.

Damn I wanted the AL-010 which would have been the picture in the pull-out.

Oh well, I got it so cheap anyway, didn't lose much (using rationalization to make myself feel better).

This post is just a rant, nothing important or useful. I just wanted to rant that's all. And that is a first. Perhaps I'm really becoming a blogger.

Speaking of Alison, did I mention that I thought the story was good at first sight up there? It was just a calculated guess, but my guesses have been really accurate in this field so far. Turns out there's going to be an Anime made out of it airing in 2008, and there is already a sound novel for the DS. Something has to be good to receive such treatement, right? Or maybe I'm mistaken, maybe it's just plain money-making tactics, like in the case of Love-hina (takes out anti-flame shield and hides under the table). But seriously, nobody has talked about this book, and it's old @ 2002-2004, and now it's being made into an Anime, it should be a treasure that was recently uncovered by an explorer trying to find all treasures out there.

Now the wierd part... should I be reading the novel first, or watch the Anime first? I know, I'll read the novel then watch the Anime like those hardcore freaks. It may be more entertaining that way, as seen in the case of Kodomo no Jikan.

Together with this discovery, I also found out that there's a follow-up series, Lillia and Treize, starring the children of the characters of the prequel. ..................now this looks like maybe it won't be as good as the first one doesn't it? But I may be wrong. After all, my own series, Alternity, only got better and better in subsequent series.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fixing the video/audio de-sync problem when re-encoding a .MKV/.MP4/.RM/.RMVB/.WMV file

With AVISynth installed, create a .avs file, and in the first line enter:
DirectShowSource("My Documents\Video1.mkv", fps=23.976, convertfps=true)
And feed that .avs file into the encoder

If I wrote a guidebook, the chapters would probably be in the reversed order; meaning you'd have to read from the back.

Yes, again, this guide should've been a follow-up to another guide, maybe AVISynth usage or 3GP Converter customization guide. Because these are the only situations where this trick can be applied, and to apply this trick skillfully you'll need knowledge on the above 2, too. (add maybe AVISynthesizer)

Ok, so basically, you downloaded an episode of a recent Anime, used an all-in-one encoder to encode it into AVI or MP4 for your MP4(MP5) player or PSP or DivX player or watever. Then when you played-back the video, the sound is either too fast or too slow after some time. You play it with your computer. Same problem. You check the original file, no problem. You get frustrated and blame the encoder. You ask for help in the forums but get no reply.

Actually, it isn't the audio that went out of sync. It's the video that was either too fast or too slow at certain points. (strictly speaking, de-syncing means the audio and video are not together, so it's both that's de-synced to reach other) The cause of this, we blame variable frame rate (VFR) encoding.

Basically, a hybrid (frame rate) video is one that has different frame rates at different parts of the video. Usually it doesn't occur in movies or broadcast signals, but it happens sometimes in NTSC shows. To be precise, the most affected genre is animation, that makes use of NTSC film (23.976) most of the time and NTSC video (29.97) in higher action scenes e.g. opening. PAL videos aren't affected by this because there's only one legitimate official frame rate of 25fps.

When you simply dump the file into an encoder, what happens is that the encoder gets the frame rate of the source video at the start, and assigns that frame rate to the encoded video, fixed. Why so? Because you need additional input if you want to encode a VFR video, mainly which parts of the clip are what frame rate. It won't get the variable frame rate right even if the encoder reads the file throught DirectShow (in fact, most "cheapo" encoders read the file through DirectShow, and sometimes with the help of AVISynth), although it will play back fine using a player (as in the original video, not the encoded one).

Also, if you're encoding into an AVI file, then there's no way to get VFR (except using the 119.88fps hack, which you wouldn't want to use). The common container file formats that support VFR are Mastroka (.MKV), .MP4, RealMedia (.RM/.RMVB), and Windows Media (.WMV). .AVI files can be hacked to pseudo-VFR by changing the frame rate to 119.88, usually used with WMV9 VCM (VFW version of the WMV9 codec), but this combination is rarely used for good reasons. Other combinations do not make sense since AVI also has no proper support for B-frames and hence H.264 anyway i.e. to get H.264/AVC you have to use MP4 or MKV.

The solution of this, is frame rate conversion. Basically, we need to tell the encoder to encode at a specific frame rate, then convert some parts of the video to match that frame rate. You can do it in VirtualDub, and if I'm not wrong, in TMPGEnc Encoder Xpress (aka Tsunami Encoder Xpress) though not entirely successful, but for this guide I'll use AVISynth for the highest compatibility.

Firstly, you need to have AVISynth prepared (skip this if you already know AVISynth)
1. Get version 2.5 or later here: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=57023
2. Create a .avs file. To do that, create a new .txt file using Notepad and when saving, select save as type - all files and type .avs at the end. Double-click the .avs file to edit later on.
3. Type in the first line - DirectShowSource("full path and name of file"), e.g. DirectShowSource("C:\My Documents\Video1.mkv")

That's about all you need to do to play the video. I used DirectShowSource file reader instead of the (default?) AVISource for 2 important reasons:
- DirectShowSource is THE reason why AVISynth is so useful and popular - it allows the input of ANY file type as long as you can play it with Windows Media Player. This gives it high compatability, and this is used in VirtualDubMod and Video9 and many other programs for them to read all the otherwise not readable formats.
- Only by using DirectShowSource you can get subtitles and other streams (other than the first video and audio streams) to show. This is less important than the first reason, because seldom will you find subtitles and AVI files and they'd be hacked, and people tend to use MKV for multiple streams, which you'll have to use DirectShowSource to open anyway.

So now you have the .avs file to open the video, now add some additional stuff to that line:

The same line after, in example format:
DirectShowSource("My Documents\Video1.mkv", fps=23.976, convertfps=true)

What it does is self-explanatory, converts the entire clip's frame rate to 23.976.

Why 23.976?

Because most of the time you'll be dealing with Anime for this as mentioned above. And in Anime, most of the time the 29.97 part would only be the opening, which you'd skip. The rest of the video would be 23.976. It's disastrous to frame rate conversion, so we'll leave the more important parts untouched.

Furthermore, it's better to convert from 29.97 to 23.976 than the other way round. Because with 29.97 -> 23.976, you're removing 1 frame out of 5 to give 4 different frames, but for 23.976 -> 29.97 you're adding 1 frame to 4 to give 4 different frames and 1 clone, the clone will be very obvious and results in more stuttering. Note that this is different from 3:2 pulldown (and removal), because again, 3:2 pulldown (and removal) assumes the entire clip to have the same frame rate. Applying it only causes more problems. Speaking of which, you're more likely going to get back pseudo-23.976 if you do the latter, than get back pseudo-29.97 if you do the former, by applying 3:2 pulldown (or removal). It's not important info at all and is just trivia, but you may want to use logic to find out why so.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Semi-automatic" resizing via FFDShow (An update to "Playing 4:3 videos on a 5:4 screen")

Short summary: In resize filter of FFDShow, select Resize if... x<705 and y>396, for auto-resizing of some 4:3 videos while leaving the 16:9 videos untouched

This is just a small addition to the black bar removal trick which I have been using all along but disabled recently for some reason.

The additional part of the trick makes use of the "Resize if..." option at the resize filter. Basically you can set the criteria for resizing to take place.

But hey there isn't aspect ratio, so how is that going to help?

Here's the catch: Normally, 4:3 videos are captured in 640x480, or slightly lower quality ones at 512x384. (There's also 400x300 and 320x240 which will not work with the exact same numbers that I'm going to use but you can always customize. Anyway, watching 320x240 on a 17" or bigger screen calls for more drastic measures.) Also, DVD is 704x480 (or 704x576 or 720x480/720x576). We set the x and y values in a way that it'll hit the squarer videos and miss the sleeker ones. AFAIK, this trick will only work for 2 common resolutions next to each other (e.g. 640x480 and 512x384, or 704x480 and 640x480), so you choose which 2 you want. I recommend the second since we're in the age of better technology (where 4:3 isn't even being used anymore lol).

The common resolutions for widescreen are 640x360 (vs 640x480), 704x396 (vs 704x480/704x576), 1024x576 (which is either a HD derivative or SD upscaled), as well as the HD resolutions. You'd notice that widescreen tend to have higher resolutions, since it's for HD alright. As in the design, I know you can still show widescreen in SD broadcast, with the black bars.

So we have one point to tackle - the x value of 704 (or 720), that is the highest value for 4:3 videos. (1024x768 videos do exist, but they are obviously upscaled) For square, it's 704x480/704x576, and for wide, it's 704x396. If we set x<705 and y>396, it will resize the 4:3 videos that are 704 wide, but not the widescreen, since for a 704 wide widescreen, the height is 396, and hence the video will be spared from resize. Basically, there isn't a widescreen resolution that will fulfill x<705 and y>396 both at the same time, not with 1:1 PAR (pixel aspect ratio).

And as for 640x480, 640<705 and 480>396, hence it'll also be resized.

But for 512x384, 384<396 and hence the video doesn't meet the criteria.

What if you want to resize 640x480 and 512x384? Then it'd be x<641 and y>361. You do the maths to confirm. :)

So next time when you open a 4:3 video of 704x480 or 640x480, the video will be resized automatically. Save the troubles. And you don't have to disable it again when playing 16:9 videos.

You can modify this trick for use with widescreen monitors too, except this time reverse the signs for x and y, since now you're resizing the widescreen videos. Well, I'll leave it to you for that.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

An update to "Displaying the subtitles in the black area for widescreen videos"

Ok, so I found another way to do this, and more straightfoward, and probably more correct.

While using the previous trick, I was feeling that the fonts are too large, so entered VobSub to change. Investigative as I am, I also took another look at the other settings. Then, in the General tab, I saw "Vertical padding (if you want to move the subtitles below the picture". Isn't that just what we wanted, but in only 1 step?

But, this method has its drawbacks:

- It's only limited to the choices available, meaning no 5:4. It's probably possible to modify it such that it does 5:4, but I don't have the programming skills. I'll look up on how to do so when I feel like it. (Hey, at least I'm truthful, more so than people who keep saying "next update")
- The black parts were actually not black when I tested, it was some kind of grey or brown. Which can get irritating when you have a 5:4 screen and see the difference
- It's pointless to do this when you're also doing the resize

Basically if you have a 4:3 monitor, this is the trick for you. You lucky peeps who can full-screen doujin games and visual novels without stretching the image. But if you have a 5:4 screen like me, stick to the old trick. If you want to use LanczosResize, stick to the old trick too.

Do you believe in fate?

Three posts being generated in parallel, and the one that was started the latest finished first. Is this wierd or what? Rmbr I mentioned about posts not in the same chronological order as my thoughts? I wonder if y'all fellow bloggers have the same problem.

Today, slightly after noon, after I said my final farewell to the Barracuda IV, I spent some time at White Sands. Played a credit of Mushihime. Did well. Suddenly lost the first life for stupid reasons. Lost the second and third. Inserted another credit. Died quickly. Decided that I was tired. Stopped playing.

Boy, this game really reminds me of Touhou. But I wonder which one came first, Touhou series or such games by Cave?

After buying lunch for my mom (vegetarian today), I went to the first floor ready to go home, then in the corner of my eye I saw Full Metal Alchemist figurines, the type in boxes, in the center area of the first floor of shopping centres that's always having sales and events. It's not that I like FMA, but the fact that they are there means more of the same kind will also be. I detoured and saw more boxes, plush figurines, and lots of very old manga selling for $1, as well as large pirated Anime jigsaw puzzles. I don't think anyone would by any of the old manga, but the rest are all pretty interesting. It's a stock clearance by Comic Connection. I decided to try my luck.

Among the Naruto boxes, I found 3 boxes of PaniPoni Dash at two bucks each. Now that's rare. I took all 3. Then I wanted to buy a jigsaw ($5 each, normal price?). I saw artwork by Tanemura Arina. I hoped it was Full Moon (or even better, Shinshi Doumei Cross), turned out it was Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne. Oh well, still good, cuz the pic is still pretty nice. Took it.

Next, I saw Sakura (of FSN) plushies @ $3. Doesn't look original to me, AND WHERE IS THE SKIRT!?!?!? Would've gotten it if the skirt was there. Then I saw Saber. The stupid look version. It was the last one. Took it.

Then I also saw a few boxes of Sister Princess mascot character @ $3 also. But only Karen. Took one also.

Total added up to $17, with the jigsaw costing the most (and seem to worth the least) @ $5. Without it, it would've been $12 for all these (minus the jigsaw). Isn't that cheap or what? I'm not the type who would spend a lot of money on these stuff and die die must complete the set or something, I just see what I can get for the little money I have, be it second-hand or what. And I just buy what I want. So this is like a windfall to me.

If I never sold my Barracuda IV, I wouldn't have gone to Pasir Ris, and I wouldn't have gotten all this stuff. It's like a fated encounter. Or, if computer parts (and other tech gadgets) have spirits, then my Cuda IV was looking out for me for the last time when it left.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Tribute to Barracuda IV: A goodbye

Today is the day I say goodbye to my faithful Barracuda IV 80GB HDD. (Ok, maybe not exactly today, it's tomorrow, but I just want to say it now) It's going to be sold to another VRZ forummer.

This HDD has been with me since long ago. It was before I moved house, so it's before end of 2003. IIRC it joined me at year end 2002, on the day of chorale CCA chalet, after my dad brought it back home in exchange of a 60GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus that overheated and killed itself (that thought me not to buy a Maxtor ever again). It was a tough worker; it replaced the Fujitsu 20GB that overheated and hung when the system was left overnight, it arrived slightly after I started watching Anime, and it was always filled to the brim for reasons that may endanger myself if I disclosed it. With the help of a CDRW and later, a DVDRW burner, the total amount of data that had passed through this HDD is several times its size, and the drive is always highly fragmented. Still, it managed to give decent performance for that time. Did I mention that the Barracuda IV (and the bigger server brother Barracuda V) is a very reliable series? Oh well, for a drive that worked from late 2002 to late 2007 (That's 5 years!!!) with no failure or corruption of data, you have to admit it's very reliable, and tough.

And what's most important is, this guy is QUIET I betcha. Almost silent. At least it was to me at that time before my sense of hearing improved. It was the quietest HDD during that time; nothing comes close to it except for the Samsung P80, which came in 2004. Considering that the Cuda IV came in 2001, that's an amazing feat. That shows what manufacturors can do if they really wanted to design a drive specifically with low noise as a primary goal. This drive got so famous among PC silencers it was dubbed as 'legendary' over @ SPCR. It is still very quiet by today's standards - in fact, the only HDDs that I can say to be better are the WD KS/AAKS (Caviar SE16) and Samsung Spinpoint T series, which are the newest HDDs today. Even when put against my P120, the Barracuda still put up a good fight, with seeks that a subjectively nicer-sounding and much lower vibration, the weakness of Samsung drives. No doubt, the P120 won in idle noise, the speciality of Samsung, that wins even the newest WDs.

And hence, it was the choice of HDD among silencers until 2005-2006, when real competitors showed up. (I decided to jump ship to the P120 soon after its launch because so many people said it was good and I had disk space shortage, only to find that it's a bad move, because of the seeks and because the Caviar SE came out soon after. I eventually switched to a Caviar SE, but I could've had 2 Caviar SEs, or I could've saved the money by not needing to buy another HDD partially for noise reduction purposes.) It had me feeling good for a few years, as I had the quietest 3.5" HDD available, and that passes me as a PC silencer. It's a classic.

In fact, it was with this HDD that I experienced "virtual silence" for the first time. For that time, the idle was like totally inaudible, and seeks were very soft. Yes, unfortunately my ears have definitely gotten better, but side-by-side testing still proved that the drive hasn't gotten any louder.

So, if it is so good, why am I selling it off? Reason is because now I have the P120 as another backup hdd and I don't need two backup hdds, so one of them has to go to minimize lose of $$$ from depreciation. This Barracuda IV is a classic, and it would make sense for me to keep it, because of its value (historical?). It also has sentimental value, as I remember testing my experimental sponge feet on it. But sadely, I also need disk space, and that's what my 250GB P120 offers more. So this drive's got to go... it's a waste to let such a good drive sit idle and do nothing anyway, when it could be put to better use.

I hope the new owner will find better use for this drive (as well as learn what a quiet HDD is, if he's been using a WD (Caviar and Caviar SE, as well as probably every model before those), a Hitachi/IBM, or Seagate 7200.x series, those fuking loud seekers, beforehand. That's like almost every other HDD other than the few mentioned up above). And may you (the HDD, not the owner lol) live to be at least ten years old.

Update 08/12/07: I compared it again directly with the P120. God the seeks are fuking loud, and idle noise... there's less high-pitched but a lot of wind-like character. While putting it in a case may change the story, if you put those two right in front of you, on the table, side by side, the P120 loses. This proves again that the Barracuda IV is still comparable against the newest quietest 3.5" HDDs out there. What an amazing feat. The seeks are also more supressed, like the duration is shorter, and sounds less hollow. I can probably put it up against the WD KS and it might even win - the weakness of the WD, which is unmentioned at SPCR, is that it has 2 types of seek noise, for small seeks and big seeks. The big seeks are comparable to the P120 if not louder. Fortunately those are rare, but still the max sound level is what I care about most. The Barracuda IV would have made a better downloading HDD, but it simply can't, because it's too small. It could be useful if making another quiet system, like for watching on TV or a secondary surfing/dl rig. But for now, it's useless. Actually I might have use for it in the near future since I do need another TV or surfing rig. But I have the P120 already. And it's expensive to silent systems I tell you so I might not do it. But if I do, the Barracuda would be handy. Could I have made a mistake selling it?

Still, how did I survive living with the P120 after I moved from Barracuda IV? Oh yeah, I remember getting very frustrated about the seeks. That's exactly why I bought a Caviar SE16.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Playing 4:3 videos on a 5:4 screen without the black bars (or 16:9 videos on a 16:10 screen) - via cropping with Zoom Player

Remember me mentioning "show 4:3 video on 5:4 screen without the black bars trick" in the previous article? Well, here it is.

If you're shouting and cursing whoever invented the 1280x1024 resolution with 5:4 aspect ratio (and it appears to be the only one in 5:4), you're definitely not alone. It's easy to find people who are frustrated with SXGA, be it gamers playing games that are fixed at 4:3, or videoers (game - gamers, so video - videoers, right?) hating the black bars on the top and bottom of the otherwise fine, large screen.

Today's post is on how to get the video to fill up the entire screen and without you changing the resolution to 1280x960 and stretching the picture. This will be done by removing, or cropping a bit of the video from the sides. Yes you do lose 6.30% of screen area this way, but out of the 3 choices of this, viewing it with black bars, and stretching the picture to fill up the screen, which of it would you rather choose? (I hope nobody chose the last one)

Now some of you may think, "yeah, and so? This is about filters anyway, and I already know how to tinker with FFDShow/AVISynth enough to get it done." Yes, you know how to do it, but remember you have to change the settings every time you play another video that has a different resolution, since the cropping values are specific to that resolution only. Especially with AVISynth, this is troublesome.

What I'm showing you is, how to set everything up first, then get the crop that you want with the push of one button, or rather, keyboard key.

If you download codecs and codec packs, you should be familiar with Zoom Player or at least heard of it. Right-click the video area and enter the Options. Switch to Advanced mode, the button's at the bottom left. In Playback -> Video -> Presets -> Position tab, you see a list of 10 presets. Choose the number you want and edit whatever you want, in this case for your stupid 1280x1024 screen, we want a 4:3 video with a height of 1024, so we get 1024 / 3 x 4 = 1365.3 ~ 1366 for width. This results in the video being larger than the screen, and so now we use presets to center it. 1366 - 1280 = 86, we remove 86 pixels, 43 from each side, so the X-Offset is -43 (Note: this means the first pixel of the video is at (-43,0) of the screen). Impt: Click the Store Preset at the top right, and don't just click on only OK/Apply.

Now start your video and press your preset button. The black bars are gone! Maybe now you have something to brag about to your friends who are also frustrated with their 5:4 screen, but most importantly you now can enjoy the video on the entire screen without you and the black bars staring at each other.

The most important part about the advantage of this trick is that, after you've set it up, this preset works for videos of all resolutions as long as they're 4:3, so you only need to make one preset.

For widescreen 16:10 cases, since there are variable resolutions and different screen sizes, I'll leave you to do the calculations yourself, but in case you're stuck, for 1280x800 it's 1422 and -71, for 1440x900 it's 1600 and -80, for 1680x1050 it's 1866 and -93, and for 1920x1200 - actually, for this resolution (and maybe 1280x800) I'd recommend not doing this trick so as to keep the picture sharp, but it's 2134 and -107 for those who want.

This trick is less visible for 5:4 than for 16:10, because you loses 10.03% of the screen area this way, so the shape of the video is more visibly changed, as in more square or less rectangular.

You can also do this trick to convert 4:3 videos to 16:10 (or 16:9 to 5:4), but I don't see the point of that for most people. You can do it to simulate what some lousy broadcasting stations do to the video so that you can receive "fake HD" and witness the damage, or see how certain videos designed to be broadcastable at both 4:3 and 16:9 looks like at 4:3, if you had the bigger 16:9 video.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Making the most out of your monitor screen and soft subs - Displaying the subtitles in the black area for widescreen videos

Since this blog is started because I had so much things I wanted to share, the posts may not be in the same chronological order in which these came to me. Not as if you'd care, anyway.

I guess I'd use labels (or tags) to help me sort out the posts, but for stuff like this where do they belong? Under tech (video) or under anime? Or how about both?

I discovered this in a partial accident (partial because I was playing around with the settings too much). If you have FFDShow (or any other codec packs using FFDShow e.g. CCCP), you can make use of its filters during playback. Actually, if I posted in chronological order of finding these thoughts, the article on sharpening would've come first, so you'd already know how to use those filters. Since I did not, so I'll have to say it once here:

When you're playing videos using FFDShow (XviD, H.264, depending on which CODECS (note: only the codecs settings is required for FFDShow to be used for playing the video, NOT the Haali media splitter, using that one to play AVI)(for those who don't know, it's under FFDShow Video Decoder Configuration, but not the VFW one), double click on the red square in the taskbar. That brings out the FFDShow Video Decoder Configuration window, except it only applies to that current video you're playing (it will save your settings though, but it's still a faster way to access rather than going through the Start Menu), which can be useful when opening multiple files for comparison.

To the left you'll see things like Crop and Deinterlacing. These are filters and can be useful if you use them right. And these will be the things I'll be using in this guide and others.

Nowadays, shows are produced in widescreen format, at least the better ones are. When you play those on a square screen, you get two black bars on the top and bottom. This guide is on how to display the subtitles (if it's soft-subbed) in the black area instead of on the picture itself to give you unobscured vision of the video, without any re-encoding of the video or playing with the subtitles files/streams.

Pictures speak for themselves: This is the video and roughly the scene which I discovered this, plus minus 20 seconds. (Actually, I think I might have thought of it before, but I let it slip pass my mind)

Asatte no Houkou. It's a good show. And this one has even the karaoke soft-subbed.

This should give you an idea how it works. Like those movies you see on TV huh?

It's surprisingly simple to setup. Under the filters which you just learnt of, look for Resize & aspect. Check Resize, Specify aspect ratio, make it the same as your screen (4:3 for 15-inch and 20-inch, 5:4 for 17 to 19-inch. Widescreen monitors, if you bought a widescreen you should know it yourself). Check process pixel aspect ratio internally. Check Resize always. Under Aspect ratio, check Keep original aspect ratio.

Although it says there resize, it actually does no resizing of the picture but only add black bars. To say it more accurately, there's no resampling of the video done, but the video is letterboxed. So no need to go into settings and select Lanczos. And the best part about this trick, you can leave these settings for the 4:3 videos also, nothing bad will happen to them, unless you're doing the show 4:3 video on 5:4 screen without the black bars trick, in which case the text may get cut off.

This trick can also be used in conjunction with the Lanczos resizing trick, but at a great cost of speed, because 1) You cannot use CoreAVC with FFDShow without doing a lot of things, so H.264 decoding speed is almost halved, 2) Resizing is already CPU-intensive, and now you're doing resizing with a slower decoder, the slowdown just piles up. In fact, if I do resizing without CoreAVC and have soft-sub karaoke, my Athlon 64 @ 1.9ghz (roughly 3100+) will lag in certain scenes. But then again soft-sub karaoke are even more CPU-intensive. Those with faster coms will not have this problem though, although I'm not sure if multi-core helps since I read somewhere that FFDShow doesn't do multi-threading.

There you go, enjoy your new settings!

I just realized that blogging takes a lot of time and makes me more withdrawn from society than I already am, and it's not productive (mentally productive, I consider watching Anime as one of the productive things I do). I wonder why I'm still at it though. Which is worse, doing something bad and not knowing it, or doing it while knowing?

The first post: Opening post to start with a bang

I didn't like blogs, simply because I think it's a waste of time for both the blogger and the reader (especially the reader). Who keeps a diary nowadays anyway, and normally nobody would want their diary to be read by others isn't it? Oh so it's to say out loud whatever's in your heart for others to see. Who cares? Who would be reading your blog anyway? you show-off/narcissist.

I still don't entirely like it. But as I began finding out more and more things lately, big and small, very-interesting and not-so-interesting, useful and not-so-useful, I realize it isn't nice to post them in forums and shout it out loud (see above on the part which hints I hate wasting others' time by filling up the internet with junk data), but then it would be a waste as there are people who really could use it, and it's time-consuming to format and upload the data in the form of proper web pages onto my half-abandoned, never to be completed personal website, and yada yada yada

So I found the blog to be an easy way to post without spending too much time creating webpages. Yes, it has two problems: there's no menu, and there's no catagorizing of posts (not as far as I know of for this blog, it has tabs but I don't consider that as catagorization), so it'll be difficult to seperate the stuff for different groups of people, and impossible to make into some sort of review site for tech stuff and Anime (I rant more on Anime than I review actually... I think). But still, it's something I can use to share what I know, and it can act as a temporary storage for these words until I finally get my own web site up and running (currently it only has half a leg and two toes).

But most importantly

I was/am feeling bored.

Oh well, so here you go, the opening post of wwenze aka WWZ aka qwertyextra's tech blog/rant and Anime rant page.