05.27.11

Turning a Podcast Into Video Using Mencoder

Posted in Site News at 9:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A note and a tip about going from audio to video with Free/libre software

TECHBYTES, our audiocast as we call it, currently comes in two methods of delivery. One is purely audio and another is video plus audio. But YouTube is a large platform and many shows put their material in there. Turning 50 shows into video can be a tedious task with a graphical user interface, whereas with command line tools this process can be automated. After some exploration we found a way to turn audio into a slideshow and then split the files for uploading the resultant Ogg files (given the known upload limits). To encode using a command line utility or set thereof, the following chain of commands gets issued:

mencoder -ss 00:00:00 -endpos 00:10:10 mf://*.jpg -audiofile ~/TechBytes/48/techbytes0048.ogg -ovc lavc -oac mp3lame -fps 0.1 -o 48p1.ogg

mencoder -ss 00:10:00 -endpos 00:20:10 mf://*.jpg -audiofile ~/TechBytes/48/techbytes0048.ogg -ovc lavc -oac mp3lame -fps 0.1 -o 48p2.ogg

[...]

where -ss 00:00:00 means it starts at 0 seconds, -endpos 00:10:10 defines an endpoint using the same type of time format, mf://*.jpg takes all the images in the current directory — images that are generated by duplication except for the first one. Files can be easily replicated (e.g. to serve as dummy sequence) with:

for file in *.jpg
  do
    `nice cp ${file} ${file}-dupe.jpg`
  done

The remainder of the arguments specify the -audiofile, encoders, frames per seconds (fps), and an output file at the very end. To split videos into smaller chunks, we have tried many different tools but eventually used mencoder to simplify the pipeline (thanks to all those who helped in IRC). This whole command basically turns a simple sound file into smaller ogg files that also contain images with transitions between them. Since it is scriptable, we can now apply this to all past episodes. YouTube is moving to WebM quite soon and in any case, making it a mere option using Ogg format and free software utilities simply broadens our reach.

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3 Comments

  1. saulgoode said,

    May 28, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Gravatar

    mencoder -ss 00:00:00 -endpos 00:10:10 mf://*.jpg -audiofile ~/TechBytes/48/techbytes0048.ogg -ovc lavc -oac mp3lame -fps 0.1 -o 48p1.ogg

    What purpose is served by placing MP3 audio in an OGG container?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Good point. Which one do you recommend that I use instead?

    By the way, I used your tips today, but oggSplit did not perform the functions I was after in this case. I tried about 4 command-line tools.

  2. saulgoode said,

    May 28, 2011 at 1:38 am

    Gravatar

    Good point. Which one do you recommend that I use instead?

    I am not entirely clear on your goals. Are you merely trying to add some still images to your audio so that Youtube will accept them? I am not that familiar with what Youtube has to offer (and I am not particularly motivated to find out). But if you want to produce OGG slideshows for Theora friendly sites (as well as HTML5 embedding) such as Archive.org or tinyogg.com then I would willing to help produce them.

    I have to travel out of state for a niece’s wedding and won’t be back till later next week. I will see what I can do then.

    Here is a tutorial on creating a Vorbis+Theora slideshow (the LiVES video editor might also work, though I haven’t done slideshows with it yet and Theora support is a relatively recent addition).

    Theora slideshow creation

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