Subtitle Timing and Video Shenanigans
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Posted 4/28/12 , edited 4/28/12
I hinted at some issues in one of my posts in a different thread:
http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-756164/latest-flash-player-update-112-breaks-fullscreen?pg=2#39845621

I suppose I should finally stop being lazy about it for a couple minutes.

There are several problems with the CR player that I've experienced. Some of them can be solved by rolling back the flash version as noted in that other thread but several issues still remain. I've no idea if these issues are related to flash just sucking major dick or if there's some human error (stupidity) involved.

Problem #1: Subtitle Timing
(either a bug or a serious toolchain/personnel/process issue depending on what is actually causing these problems: flash issue vs not being a flash issue)

Scene timing isn't hard (it takes literally 5 seconds in aegisub) so why is it nonexistent? Honestly if it's a limitation of the subtitle renderer (more on that later) then I'd rather have it hardsubbed with proper timing. There are also other various "little things" about the timing like (each flashing individually of course):

when
all
of
these
gets
its
own
line

It's like a retarded version of lunar timing (which is borderline retarded to begin with). Then (unrelated) you get stuff with really weird line breaks:

With
only one word on the first line for some reason.

Certain aspects of timing might be personal taste (e.g. lunar timing) but both of the above point to just plain terrible timing provided flash and the way subtitles are rendered is not the problem.

Problem #2: Subtitle Rendering (probably a bug)
(and its affects on video playback)

Whenever a subtitle appears (i.e. the frame it displays) there is a momentary noticeable pause in the video itself. It can also happen with a subtitle disappears or subtitles change. However it doesn't happen with every subtitle start/change/end time but it will happen with the same one if you watch the same thing twice. If people are going to use DRM the implementation had better be flawless as to not directly affect whoever is watching it, currently I don't think it is (if it is indeed the cause of pauses).

Next to the complete lack of scene timing this is right up there with it in terms of the major problems that I can see.

Problem #3: Video Quality (more of a comment than a problem)

More just a comment and minor issue than anything else really since I sort of have to give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the quality of the stuff you get from the Japanese stations and what have you (or wherever it comes from). When I talk about "video quality" what I mean is:
- Proper IVTC if needed (also not screwing up decimation).
- Proper deinterlacing if needed.

Some of the bad stuff I've seen like jaggies from improper and/or crappy deinterlacing, combing artifacts from lack of whatever was needed or just bad decimation (resulting in something which isn't smooth) aren't hard to avoid so I sort of have to think you got it that way since you have to be pretty retarded to screw up some of the stuff that bad.

That being said some of the 1080p stuff looks great so I give you the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Problem #4: Flash/Video Related Shenanigans (probably a bug)

I suppose I should start out with what some of the other suppose posts ask for when talking about video issues:

OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Browser: Firefox Nightly (currently version 15 at the time of writing)
Flash Version: See below for the various versions and issues
CPU: i7-920 @ 3.8ghz (yes it's stable)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 570
RAM: 6GB @ 900mhz
Amount of free space on your C: or OS partition: This seems completely irrelevant to me but a few hundreds of GB.

For any flash 11.x version (11.1 or 11.2), even with hardware acceleration definitely on and working frames are getting dropped. Obviously not noticeable when someone may be talking thanks to the actual fps for scenes like that being something like 12 or less but on full motion scenes (like a pan) where each and every frame is unique you notice the dropped frames and it's not like it's infrequent either (happens all the time). For what it's worth 11.x has the same problems with the subtitle rendering causing pauses as well.

It's ONLY 1080p and not even high bitrate at that (probably no where near remotely high). There shouldn't be any problems with playing it back even if I DIDNT use hardware acceleration. I doubt it'd even require an entire core on the i7.

Flash 10.3 solves the frame dropping issues provided I use hardware accelerated decoding (10.x is single threaded IIRC so it's conceivable that it might not be able to playback 1080p smooth using software) but the problems with the subtitle rendering remain (as described above).

Rant already too long

Perhaps it's because I understand the process behind fansubbing that I see some of the various problems listed but the stuff like subtitle timing is just plain common sense. Perhaps there's a bit of a time constraint which causes some of the problems with the script itself which is understandable (we're all human we make mistakes) but that doesn't explain the nonexistent scene timing in everything I watch or the one word flashes (the bad splitting I can understand as human error but there's rather a lot of that going on so that's kind of a lot to attribute to mistakes).

tl;dr

I guess I'm just getting old and grumpy.
Since it's longer than I wanted I can only assume I started ranting too much.

I find it hard to believe you (CR) don't already know about everything I just listed so I can only hope for that slim chance that this post won't sink into the oblivion so it can at least continue to be ignored on the glorious front page of the help/support/feedback section.

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Bjaker 
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Posted 4/30/12


I'll link development to this thread so they can read it.
65866 cr points
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Posted 4/30/12 , edited 4/30/12
This is a great write up. I have mostly watched CR on my iPad, but I recently got out my old laptop and started watching CR on that and I have started to notice some of the bugs with the flash player that you pointed out that are not present on the iPad videos. The biggest issue I have is the smooth video playback.

My laptop is over 3 years old now, but it still has decent hardware.

Intel Core2 Duo P7450 (2.13GHz 3MB L2, 1066 FSB)
nVidia GeForce 9800M GS 512MB DDR3 with PhyX support
4GB DDR2-6400 800MHz
320GB 7200RPM SATA

On both 720p and 1080p, I experience that frame dropping on panning scenes, yet my cpu usage never goes above 40% during those scenes on 1080p (Oddly enough, 720p and 1080p videos both use the same CPU percentage which makes me believe that the 1080p video is not that higher of quality over 720p). The 480p video is just as smooth as on the iPad however.

If I disable video smoothing the video does not drop any frames on 720p, and only slightly improves on 1080p, but then the outline of characters and objects look jagged because of the lack of smoothing when in full screen. Disabling or enabling subtitle smoothing doesn't seem to effect performance for me, disabling it just makes the subtitles look like crap.

I have the latest version of Flash 11 installed and I have hardware acceleration turned on. I would say that this is a flash issue, but 1080p youtube videos are smooth on my laptop with no frame dropping.

EDIT: I tried playing the same video with hardware acceleration disabled and the video is now smooth on 720p, and only slightly got better on 1080p. The CPU usage on 720p stayed at around the same, 43% during the panning scene I am using, but jumped up to 78% on the 1080p video where before it only used 40%. On the 1080p video, the video jerks whenever a subtitle appears. Turning off subtitles gets rid of the jerk but the video still drops some frames during panning scenes. 720p has no issues at all now with hardware acceleration turned off. (At least in the video I am using) I am testing this using episode 4 of Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos, between the 18 second and 30 second mark. There is one zoom panning scene and one horizontal panning scene both containing subtitles during that 12 seconds. (One of Nyarko and one of Kuko)

EDIT: I did not specify that Youtube 1080p videos are smooth, left out the Youtube part.
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