PS Vita: video conversion tutorial (with subtitles support)

August 27, 2013

Note from wololo: this article was initially published a few months ago here. We are reproducing the full tutorial here with its author’s permission (who is actually the author of this blog post)

Hi all, I first want to thank wololo for allowing me to share this video conversion tutorial I made on their website. As a student computer science I’m a quality freak so in order to achieve the best result on the vita I searched and tried a lot converters with tons of different settings and I finally found the perfect tool and settings for the PS Vita. So I wanted to share this with you guys.

Many thanks to the developers of the video converter which is also freeware! (link to the app in the tutorial with the author stated on that page)
This is a video conversion tutorial for the ps vita.
I say that this is the best video conversion tutorial for a few reasons:

  • - Very good file size (because of re-encoding instead of plain converting)
  • - Very good quality (you can adjust the CRT as you want yourself)
  • - Support hardsubs (including .ass files and it doesn’t affect quality or filesize)
  • - Support for 10bit encoding

This tutorial is a little long, but bare with me, it’ll be worth it.

Okay lets get started.

Downloading/installing the program:

First of all the program used for the conversion is called “staxrip”. It is a freeware program, you can download it from SourceForge.

Click here to go to the download link. Simply click on the green download button.

download

Wait for 5 seconds and the download starts automatically. (file: StaxRip_1.1.8.0.7z)

To open that file you need winrar or 7zip. (google it if you don’t know how to extract the files from the .7z file)

Extract the files somewhere on your computer where you can access it whenever you want to convert a video. Or create a shortcut of the StaxRip.exe to your desktop to make it easier to access.

In the program:

You start the program from “StaxRip.exe”. Once you open it you should see something like this this.

staxrip

Now lets start with the real deal.

1. Drag and drop the video you want to convert onto the main window of the program.

dragdrop

(in the example I use a 1080p blu ray rip anime episode. It’s encoded in 10-bit. If I would convert this video in a simple video converter I would get a completely messed up green output)

2. A new window will appear because the program will demux your file, in other words your video file is a container, which contains different media like Video, audio(s), subtitle(s), … So the program separates these media into a temporary folder in the same folder where the video is. You can see it in the screenshot above. The folder is called “Bakemonogatari – 07 temp files” in my case. (Don’t delete/edit this or the files within until the conversion progress is finished!!)

The demux window/process looks like this:

demux

3. After the demux process is completed you will get back to the main window. Confirm that the wanted folder is loaded.

folder

4. Choose your destination folder for result file after the conversion is complete, by clicking on “Target” in the right of the Source path (see screenshot above on the right.)

Output video settings:

5. Move the slider (see image below) for the desired video size. Don’t change the digits (width and height) manually unless you know what you do. Doing that can cause the aspect ratio of the video to change. You don’t want that.

So move the bar until both width and height have the equal or less values 960 and 544 respectively. So the Width may not exceed 960 pixels, and the height cannot exceed 544 pixels. Because you don’t want unnecessary file size. The perfect size is 960×544 for your vita. But if your video you want to convert has a lower resolution than that, just keep it’s original size.

resize

6. If your video has black borders on it’s sides, you can keep the “Crop” field checked, otherwise you can uncheck it if you want. (If you don’t know what black borders are google “movie black borders”)

crop

7. Set “Resize” to “LanczosResize”. Do it by rightclicking on resize->advanced->LanczosResize (see image below) Lanczos is a resizing algorithm. It’s one of the better algorithms to keep sharpness even though you resize images to a lower format. (If you are interested how results this algorithm gives click here)

Do not choose “Lanczos4Resize” by accident

lanczos

8. Choose the codec by clicking the highlighted area on the screenshot below. You need to choose x264. It doesn’t matter which type (plain, Film, Film HQ, Animation …). Just choose one of them for now.

x264

9. Choose the container, by clicking on the highlighted area on the screenshot. Make sure you choose “MP4 container”, no other container is supported by the vita.

mp4

10. Choose the quality by clicking on the highlighted area on the screenshot below. Now this is a very important choice. This is a value between 18 and 26. 18 Means Super high quality and 26 means very low quality. So it’s up to you what to choose. This choice affect your video quality A LOT and also your file size, If you want you can experiment with some values.

You can see that the value on my screenshot is 17. Since I’m a quality freak I chose an even higher quality. You can edit all kinds of other thinks too by clicking “config codec” (see screenshot below). Go there only if you know what you are doing! In order to go there I at least expect someone to know what the difference is between I-frames, P-frames and B-Frames.

quality

11. Choose the Preset by clicking on the highlighted area on the screenshot below. In your case preset literally means conversion time. In other words, The time the program will take to convert your video. The slower you choose the smaller your file size will be. If you ask me the slowest isn’t worth waiting for the file size you get. I choose “Slow” for videos shorter than 40min and choose “Medium” for movies. The choice is up to you. Also you can experiment with different values.

preset

12. To choose the Tune, click on the highlighted area as shown on the screenshot below. I’ll keep this really simple. Choose “Animation” If the video you want to convert is an animation/cartoon. Otherwise choose “Film” (for real life videos captured with a real camera).

tune

13. To set the Device, click on the highlighted area shown below on the screenshot. Set the Device to PS3. This will set all the advanced settings which you can avoid by this.

(Note. PS3 uses Level 4. Some people say the vita only supports till 3.1 But I’ve never encountered a problem regarding that I always use PS3 as device. Also some people say you need to enable blue ray compatibility, but same, it works fine for me without it. But I’m telling this just in case. Otherwise you can choose PSP as Device, as last resort)

device

14. To choose the audio type and quality, click on the highlighted are shown below on the screenshot. You have to choose AAC. I’d recommend to choose either 96Kbps or 128Kbps. Obviously 128Kbps has better quality.

aac

15. (Optional for adding subtitles) If you want to add subtitles, Go to Tools->Hardcoded Subtitle… (See screenshot below). This will open a browse window, where you have to choose the subtitle you want. For that navigate to the Demux folder we talked about in step 2. There you will find the subtitle file(s) which were inside your video file. Simply choose the one you want (or if there’s only one, choose that). You can also choose a separate subtitle file you had somewhere else. (Also advanced subtitles such as .ass files are suported including different fonts and animations!)

hardcoded_subtitles

16. Now you are finished with the video settings. Now simply press next on the right below corner (see screenshot)

next

17. Now You will see the jobs window. Now simply press the Start! button to start the conversion. If you want, you can click on close to add more jobs, so that you can convert multiple videos after each other.

jobsqueue

18. Now a new window will open that shows the conversion progress. First the audio file will be converted after that the video file(which takes the most time). When converting, you can see below on the window the progress information like. the %, the frames converted so far, how many frames it converts per seconds, etc. once the conversion is done this window closes automatically and your file will be available on the target folder you’ve selected.

encoding

19. Copy the video file to your vita and enjoy :)

Note: the converter also automatically adjust the audio volume. If the video has low volume it raises the dB. If it too high it lowers it.

Below are some screenshots of the videos I’ve converted. As you can see the quality is really good. And it looks even better on the OLED screen of the vita.

Source 1: Bakemonogatari – 01.mkv  (1080p)  size:807MB  duration: 25m55s

Output 1: Bakemonogatari – 01.mp4  (544p)  size:174MB -> (after conversion)

snapshots:

original original2

Source 2: The Island.mkv  (1080p)  size:7.58GB  duration: 2u15m59s

Output 2: The Island.mp4 (544p) size:3.57GB  -> (after conversion)

snapshot:

original3 original4

Also a last note, I tried until I got the best result regarding the aspects I mentioned in the beginning of this post. I haven’t tried that much many different settings. Only with the ones that concerned me. So everything else you try is up to you, and may not give the desired result. there were other people who tried different things like batching etc. a few questions I answered earlier on my first post on the Playstation community Forum are here.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask. I’ll try to answer them now and then.

Here is one FAQ that was asked me a lot and so I’ll answer it here immediately.
Q: In the examples a file size that is even 4 times smaller than the original source is achieved while I only have less than 2 times how did you do it?
A: The reason for that is first of all because I use a 1080p source contrary to 720p which is used more often, so in comparison my source file will be relatively bigger. Second of all, the 4 times smaller file size I achieved on the example only applies to animations, cartoons and such videos where there is no much action and movements, what allows the h264 codec to compress most of it. As you can see, on my other example I only have a 2 times smaller file size. I can assure you that with many other converters if you want the same quality as above, you will have in most cases an even larger file size than the source.

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