Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category

Fixing ffmpeg aac hiccups

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

First thing you probably want is a recent version of  ffmpeg.  For me it was on debian lenny, for which there is this excellent and clean guide:
(just remove the  -with-libfaad  option, because it no longer exists)

However, this left us with stuttering audio, hiccups and noise for some videos encoded as MP4. Fortunately, there is almost no problem that has not been solved before, so I found: It comes down to updating libfaac, because the version you’ve got is most likely very outdated.

That’s all good, but not that easy if you don’t know exactly what you are doing (I didn’t)

First: get your  FAAC 1.28 source code from here: (I assume you extract it using tar -xf to a dir named faac-1.28)

You probably will not be able to compile this,  again the problem has been encountered before:

What you need now is get mp4v2 from:
get the latest version and extract it. Then build it like the instructions on the site tell you:

cd mp4v2-trunk-r355/
rm -fr build/
mkdir build/
cd build/
make install
cd ../../

Then you need to patch faac to work with this new external libmp4.  (get the patch from:*checkout*/gentoo-x86/media-libs/faac/files/faac-1.28-external-libmp4v2.patch?rev=1.1 )

$ patch -p0 < faac-1.28-external-libmp4v2.patch

Before you can recompile faac you need a few additional steps:

apt-get install automake autoconf libtool

And then the well known:

cd faac-1.28
make install

And for some reason:



(On one of my systems, somehow  libtools could not be found properly and the make file  supposed it was in “../libtool”  which I fixed by using a symlink instead of finding out the actual problem)

Open-Source Animation and Video Editing

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

These last few days I needed to create an animation, but most obvious tools don’t work for Linux. I just needed something simple for 2D animation. Initially just changing the transparency on a few images and  zooming/panning/clipping it a bit while doing that.

I quickly encountered Synfig, it was a bit overkill, but also triggered my imagination and an immediate desire to play with it. The user-interface is a bit typical. It reminds somewhat of early versions of Macromedia Director, without the interactive tools.  You are wise to read the manuals and tutorials, because it does not speak for itself. However it does provide a very complete set of tools to create animation and I had something resembling what I wanted quite quickly.

As I used Synfig to create the seperate scenes, I now needed something to compile it together into a video.  The ‘Pitivi’ editor did not work as expected and after some searching I ended up picking Kdenlive. I think it looks amazing.  The user-interface looks nice and has everything you expect from it:  title screens, adding audio,  effects, transitions and various rendering options.

Using these tools video editing and 2D animation is very well possible on an open-source platform.

P.S. I also encountered which seems to have a very large database of creative-commons licensed sounds. I still have to try that though.

Linux on the Desktop: Eventual Success

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

I wrote about trying out Linux (Ubuntu) on the desktop before.  That attempt failed in getting my video card drivers to work properly.  However a few months later,  I got my windows PC infected with a virus ( just by passing by on a website)  and decided that was it.   I installed Ubuntu on my laptop (Dell D630) and have been using it every day since.

My hardware was very well supported,  I had no problems whatsoever, so that was a good start.    Furthermore, it provides me with an environment similar to our webservers and I have most of the tools I used:  jEdit, Photoshop 6.0 (using wine), skype, Firefox, TweetDeck and an SSH client.

There are still a few things though:

– It actually feels slower than Windows, especially Firefox (probably more optimization as gone into the Windows version as it is more wide-spread)
– Keyboard shortcuts are not very well standardized, so I find myself using the mouse  way to often
– There are some GUI things I’d like to be much simpler (like  enabling/disabling an external monitor)

All together I’m quite happy I made the switch.  I tried it many times before over the last 14 years ( I have a book and disks from 1996), but only now it has really became a viable alternative.

Next try: Linux on the Desktop

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I thought to give Linux another try on the desktop.  It has been eight years since the last try and things probably have advanced enough to warent a better experience.    After some fiddling with splitting the existing ntfs partition and a failed installation (screen went to black and it froze)  I now have Ubuntu installed.    Now the only thing that’s not working by default is my Dual-Screen  Matrox P650 Graphic card…. so i’m still stuck with a single screen.  The driver provided by Matrox is not working out of the box, so I’ll have to dive into forums, etc. to get it fixed, I hope.