music videos

Dear Lazyweb, I enjoy music videos, and I have some questions:

  1. Where do you find new music videos? I subscribe to the Cliptip and Antville podcasts, but it looks like neither of those update any more.

    (They were mostly a mediocre selection anyway: primarily really uncreative videos of emo acoustic crooners in douchebag moustaches and/or neckbeards.)

  2. When are the Interwebs as a whole going to finally start providing me with music videos that are of higher quality than what I got when I ripped fifteen-year-old VHS tapes? Who decided that the entire Internet should be no more 320×240 pixels, so that everything looks like it was recorded on vintage-1982 consumer gear? I want to punch the responsible person or persons in the junk.

  3. Where does one find videos of higher resolution? I've occasionally stumbled across music videos in HD resolution, and they have logo bugs in the corner suggesting that somewhere in the world exist HD music video channels ("MHD"? "VAVA"?) What are these channels and how do I get access to stuff that originated there?

  4. Speaking of logo bugs, did you notice that Youtube has begun encoding them into the videos themselves? It used to be that the "Youtube" bug was overlayed by their flash player, and if you downloaded the .flv file, it wasn't there. But now it's there in some of the videos themselves. Dicks.

  5. It's bullshit that I have to re-encode videos when I rip them from DVD. What the hell. They're MPEGs already. I say again, what the hell.

    (And half the time, it seems that Handbrake did something stupid with the frame rate, and gave me stuttery video. Awesome.)

  6. Likewise when I pull files off of Tivo, I have to re-encode. Hey MPEG2, what the hell.

  7. Quicktime Pro can read MP4 files, and let you cut-and-paste and save without re-encoding, but when you save, it insists on using a MOV wrapper instead of MP4. What the hell.

  8. MOV and MP4 uses completely different metadata formats, and while there are tools that let you extract the Artist/Title/Album metadata from MP4 files (MP4::Info, Audio::M4P::QuickTime) there seem to be none that will operate on MOV files. What the hell.

Ok, most of those aren't questions, just whining. But seriously. What the hell. This is a seriously shitty status quo we've got going on here. I object.

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54 Responses:

  1. gleamicus says:

    Legally acquire music videos? If not, I'm sure someone can get you a invite.

  2. kousu says:

    This is a seriously shitty status quo we've got going on here. I object.

    It's almost hopeful to know that even though you've been around software for how many years now, that you still expect quality from it.

  3. buz says:

    new music??

    What's that?

  4. Re: #2, start contributing more to the polticians than AT&T does, and insist with your new "access" that the telcos face real competition.

  5. tiff_seattle says:

    usenet. you can get anything on usenet.

  6. hafnir says:

    FWIW, kyronfive and co are doing stuff with Noisescape. It's not entirely my bag, but worth knowing about. You can take up any quality issues with them.

  7. elliterati says:

    I just started getting MHD on Comcast in Chicago about 6 months ago. It's an amalgam of MTV, VH1 and CMT, and there's a LOT of repeat programming, but at least it's all music, no stupid reality-show crap. Videos usually show up as filler between concert broadcasts or VH1 Storyteller episodes, but once in awhile they'll actually schedule a block of 'em.

  8. otterley says:

    When are the Interwebs as a whole going to finally start providing me with music videos that are of higher quality than what I got when I ripped fifteen-year-old VHS tapes?

    When upstream bandwidth is either much less expensive than it is today, or when people start ponying up actual money to consume it. Unfortunately, ad revenue just won't cut it.

    • jwz says:

      One of the especially irritating aspects here is that I would be perfectly willing to pay money to get better copies of all these music videos that I've recorded off MTV or downloaded over the years, but, to an overwhelming degree, nobody is willing to sell them to me. Even those made by popular bands. They're just not available.

  9. jcurious says:

    What you appear to be looking for are better then youtube quality MP4 music videos of new/indy artist:
    Look here: they seem to be fixing something on the site, but you can still get the content from Miro (formerly Democracy TV)... btw Miro's "guide" tends to try to point you towards higher then youtube stuff..

    For random videos that are better then youtube, check out all the videos are in divx format (which is mp4, but not really, or something like that)

    as for the quicktie madness, you use the export function... under options you can switch between MP4 "file" and MP4 "streaming file" and crap... Quicktime Pro is a ".mov" app, if you want a nice clean mp4 workflow, look elsewhere...

    • jwz says:

      The QT Pro "Export" command re-encodes, causing loss of quality. If you just do "Save As" after editing, it saves without re-generating the MPEG frames, but it changes the container from MP4 to MOV.

    • jwz says:

      So, I've played with Miro a bit, and... I guess I don't understand why it exists. Does it do anything that the "Podcast" section of iTunes doesn't?

      Also, what music video channels exist in the Miro guide? Are any of them worthwhile? So far, I've found, like, one (Telemusicvision); plus a bunch that claim to be music videos but don't actually appear to be.

      • jcurious says:

        To be honest I use Miro to maintain the various videopodcasts and other video based RSS feeds... it is basically a front end to video rss feeds... it's not limited to itunes limited collection of video formats... it'll do anything you have a codec for.

  10. krick says:

    I believe that it's possible to extract the raw MPEG2 files off of a Series 1 TiVo, assuming you've installed an aftermarket TiVoNet card and added the required utilities to your TiVo image. I haven't actually done it yet but people assure me that it's possible.

    • jwz says:

      I extract raw MPEG2 files off Tivo all the time, that's not the problem. The problem is that there isn't a damned thing in the world that will let me slice up a raw MPEG2 file into smaller, playable files at arbitrary frame boundaries. I use TivoTool to get the MPEG2 files, then MPEGstreamclip to re-encode it to MP4, then Quicktime Pro to do the final (frame-accurate) edit, which converts MP4 to MOV (without re-encoding).

      It's all quite insane, but it's the only workflow I've yet found that works worth a damn.

      • phs says:

        This tool looks like it can do lossless MPEG2 cutting and joining:

        It wasn't easy to find, though.

        (I believe the big stuff like Final Cut can also edit MPEG2 streams, though perhaps only certain kinds of them...)

      • strspn says:

        ffmpeg supports MPEG2. The -ss switch will seek and the -t switch limits the duration. both in seconds or hh:mm:ss[.xxx]. I have reason to believe that if you do not specify an output format, it will retain the same format without re-encoding ("by default, FFmpeg tries to convert as losslessly as possible" says the docs.) There are a lot of GUI wrappers around ffmpeg, but I honestly can't say whether they support those functions because I've only used it from the command line.

        • jwz says:

          The door (for you and your Linux command line BS) is right over there. What universe do you live in where doing video editing by typing in fractions of a second rather than moving a slider is reasonable? Seriously, get out.

          And yes, I have used ffmpegX extensively. It is bullshit brokenware as well.

      • hermeticseal says:

        ProjectX, which is a java app (unfortunately) can edit mpeg2. i use it all the time on ATSC HD streams and hdtivo mpegs.

        it has a buttload of options but i've never had to mess with any of them, short of setting the output format to mpeg2 PS or TS in the output options panel.

        works great on linux or OSX.

      • hermeticseal says:

        oh yeah, another workflow i've used for years (that works well for me anyway) is mpeg2 ps/ts -> lavc mpeg4 .avi using mencoder, then avidemux to edit (this is now available as an app for intel macs). it can reencode around any cutpoints which are non GOP boundaries while saving; otherwise it can save the edited mpeg4 .avi without reencoding it.

        also handy is that it can make dvd-compliant .mpgs which dvd studio pro likes. don't know about iDVD.

        divx/xvid/lavc .avi support wasnt really that great on the mac until very recently, but now that perian is out, quicktime will understand these .avi files just fine. some people have even installed perian on their appleTVs.

      • spike says:

        OK, this is one of these times when I feel like either I'm missing something about part of what you're trying to do OR you're missing something about the software you're already using. And based on a quick statistical analysis of every comment that everyone's ever left in your "Dear Lazyweb" LJ entries, there's an outstanding chance that I'm the one who's wrong. But even given that I can't get past my feeling that there's something just twilite-zone odd about this sentence

        The problem is that there isn't a damned thing in the world that will let me slice up a raw MPEG2 file into smaller, playable files at arbitrary frame boundaries.

        in such close proximity to mention of... MPEG Streamclip.

        I just now opened an MPEG2 file (a music video, just to make sure) in MPEG Streamclip, selected In and Out points, picked Edit->Trim, and then File->Save as.... It appears to have saved a new MPEG2 file containing the frames that I had selected between the In and Out points, without having re-encoded anything. The very fast save time reinforces my believe that there was no re-encoding. The current versions ("beta") appear to offer an 'edit list' feature, but I've never used that, as I'm mostly too busy just chopping off "RIPPED BY THE DAYWALK3R!!"

        Nevertheless, I still can't escape the feeling that that somehow I'm off base here. The odds are just too high against me.

        OK, so the other link that needs mentioning here for archival purposes include MPEG2Works which despite an interface of twisty little passages, all alike (but not, of course), does some useful things like ReplayTV_MPEG2 to noncrapified_MPEG2, and the usual cast of de/remuxing and de/reencoding. It sucks. Sometimes I use it. The only other program that I've successfully used to non-re-encodingly edit MPEG video is the Capty thing, which sucks even more and I use it even less.

        Anyway: Was this useful, or if not, what'd I miss?

        -Spike, a similarly frustrated collector of music videos

        • jwz says:

          When you crop to a region in MPEGstreamclip in an MPEG2 or MP4 stream, the in and out points are ajusted to lie at key-frames: you can't edit at arbitrary frame boundaries.

          QT Pro lets you edit at arbitrary frames without re-encoding (in MP4).

          I'm not sure how exactly it does that, but it does.

          • wikkit42 says:

            It must be re-encoding the first frame as a key frame or keeping the key frame before your cut in a manner that isn't played, and just not telling you.

            Apple being clever with their software is not generally conducive to finding other software that behaves similarly. It's why being a mac user is simultaneously great and sucks.

      • leopanthera says:

        MPEG Streamclip itself will let you losslessly slice up an MPEG file. Just cut the bits out that you don't want and then save it as MPEG. It does not re-encode the video.

        • jwz says:

          As far as I can tell, MPEGstreamclip will only let you do edits at keyframes, not arbitrary frames.

          • harvie says:

            That's a limitation of the format not the application - there has to be a complete GOP as intermediate frames may depend either on the keyframe ahead of them or the keyframe preceding them.

            MPEG1/2/4 edits are on keyframe boundaries without exception - and you can't re-encode the first/last GOP as previous frames before it's first keyframe may depend on it.

            • jwz says:

              Well, no.

              If you edit the MP4 in QT Pro, and let it save using the MOV container instead of the MP4 container -- without re-encoding -- you can do frame-accurate edits. Really.

              • harvie says:

                I suspect (although I can't confirm) that this would be implemented in the .MOV container as 'don't display these frames' or 'skip these frames' or 'ends here' edit instructions.
                I'm not familiar with the MOV container format unfortuntely, but the limitations I specified about the MPEG format are real...

  11. edge_walker says:

    they have logo bugs in the corner suggesting that somewhere in the world exist HD music video channels ("MHD"? "VAVA"?) What are these channels and how do I get access to stuff that originated there?

    The latter channel bug is probably VIVA's? That's a German music video channel available via digital TV as well as regular analog broadcast. In that case systematic access means friends in Germany...

    But seriously. What the hell. This is a seriously shitty status quo we've got going on here. I object.

    Yeah. You know, I always thought that should have been Video on Linux is merely extra shitty, whereas elsewhere it's just shitty.

    (Yeah, I have no useful suggestions. Sorry.)

  12. telecart says:

    I haven't downloaded videoclips in a while, but I usually found most of what I needed in high quality off soulseek. There's a Mac client called soulseex or something (I'm not on my mac now and I forget). You can find it on their forum or via the wonders of google.
    Regarding video conversions, have you tried VisualHub or MPEG Stramclip?

  13. valacosa says:

    Caution: This post does not contain answers to your questions.

    About point #4, I'm saddened to hear that. Logo bugs are one of the most irritating, pointless things in video.

    I don't watch any TV these days except The Daily Show and The Colbert Report Comedy Central puts a translucent logo in the bottom left corner of the screen. However, I'm in Canada, watching on The Comedy Network. So The Comedy Network puts their own logo over the Comedy Central logo, except their logo is bigger. And opaque.

    The end result is whenever there's text at the bottom of the screen (fairly often for those shows), I can't read all of it. It's becoming really fucking annoying.

    Moral: YouTube should know better. This won't stop anyone from stealing content. They'll just slap their own, obtrusive labels over it.

    • taffer says:

      I can't remember what movie it was, but I was stupid enough to watch a movie with some subtitles in it on a regular cable channel. The station logo bug, which was of the "fucking huge" variety, covered up about half of the subtitles.

  14. pnendick says:

    lazyweb + love of music == wolfgang's vault

  15. jhf says:

    It seems that the function to do what you want with Quicktime is available from Applescript (hopefully a simple "save this as MP4").

    Well, probably. I come to that conclusion thusly:

    Join Together supports combining mp4 tracks without rencoding. It's really just an AppleScript that manipulates Quicktime Player, pasting the tracks together and saving that as MP4.

    If all the tracks to be joined are encoded at the same bit- and sample-rate, a "pass-through" option becomes available that does not reencode. I've used this.

    A quick look through the scripts on the site I linked to above didn't turn up a script that does what you want, but I didn't look very hard.

  16. sc00ter says:

    Have you tried the Stage6 Music Video channel? The res on the videos is much better.

    • jwz says:

      I've stumbled across that a few times, but 1) I never saw a way to actually save the videos locally (how?), and 2) their plugin actually crashes Safari on a regular basis.

  17. oletheros says:

    my wife recommends if:mv for good quality music videos. plus, if the sound on the video isn't great, they sometimes have a link to the mp3 of the song.

  18. ninjarat says:

    2. Because today's video standards are rooted in 240i NTSC video.

    5. Wrong tool. HandBrake is not a DVD ripper; it is an A/V encoder that happens to be able to rip DVDs. Use a dedicated DVD ripper like Mac the Ripper.

    6. You might want to go looking in

    7. In my limited experience, that is because "Save As..." does not save the audio/video. It saves pointers and indexes to the "edited" files.

    • gryazi says:

      NTSC is 480i. The 'i' just means you get half the frame per frame.

      320x240 is somewhere between a lazy idiot's delace and a web style guide definition from 1998, because you couldn't marvel at hypertext if the video filled the whole screen and your hardware wouldn't handle it anyway. That, and bandwidth still isn't cheap and multicast doesn't really exist.

  19. xinit says:

    Not likely good enough, but this works in itunes as a podcast subscription....

  20. coolerq says:

    For #7, to save an mp4 file of a portion of a larger mp4 file, copy/paste the video into a new movie as before. Then choose File->Export, Movie to MPEG-4, hit Options, and on both the Video and Audio tabs, choose Format: Pass through. That will resave an MP4 file without reencoding.


  21. endquote says:

    You might find Rick TV interesting, though it won't answer many of your encoding questions -- looks like he just gets his music videos from DVD.