February 24, 2007

File info for FLVs

I've tried various utilities and players (VLC, Riva, FLV Knife, etc) to show file info for FLVs (Flash Video), but without much luck on many files. One hope was FLV MetaData Viewer (FLVMDV), a property sheet extension DLL for Windows XP that adds an 'FLV Details' tab to the file properties dialog of FLV files. But I couldn't get it to work at first.

Happily, I noticed that FLV Player (Windows) does show video data rate and dimensions. And when I installed the handy SUPER, another Windows compression utility that uses ffmeg (command line on PC) for some tasks, the "FLV Details" property tab finally showed up in newly created -- or copied files (CTL-drag) -- files but only in SUPER's output folder!

Now I get info on sample rates and AV codecs used (On2 VP6 or Sorenson H.263), but I still need
FLV Player for video data rate, if that metadata is added by the authoring tool. It sure seems like Adobe should be making this stuff easier -- if they see a future in digital video.

Update 03.12.07: VLC does give basic
info, except average data rate, on almost all files (FLV1 is the Spark codec). VLC just has trouble playing and scrubbing some FLV's.

Once reason for concern with Flash metadata is that there's been bugs in most FLV compression software possibly since so many, like YouTube apparently, rely on FFMPEG. Duration and dimension metadata of a file is not always correctly saved, according to Jeroen Wijering, hence the concerns with FLV Knife and FLV Metadata Injector. He also notes: '...on movie scrubbing; Flash seems to only scrub to keyframes. So if you compress a movie with very few keyframes, the scrubbing won't run very smooth. Compress with more keyframes (can be set in nearly every compression tool) to get rid of this problem." My lack of understanding all the problems wth Flash encoding, players, cue points, seeking, and preloading prevents me from preferring Flash over QuickTime or even Windows Media.

BTW, WinFF is another freebie GUI for FFMEG. Mac users have it easier (fewer but better freeware) with ffmpegX and Visual Hub.

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