MKV Video Conversion with AVIDEMUX

James Young · December 28, 2012

I’ve been spending way too much time today engaging in epic battle with Avidemux (a good tool, although I’m pretty angry at it right now) trying to get it to convert videos into a specific format, from the command line.  Anyway, I finally figured it out.

What I wanted was to get it to do the conversion from the command line so I can run it in a batch fashion.  I wanted the output video to be exactly X264 AVC (which is MPEG4 Part 10 I believe), with AC3 audio, and in an MKV container.  This format is required so that it will work with everything I have, ie;

  • MediaPortal
  • XBMC
  • Windows Media Player
  • VideoRedo

VideoRedo is unbelievably fussy about what it will accept, and only the above combination seems to work with everything. Well, straight MPEG-2 works as well, but that’s huge.

You’d think that doing the above would be easy.  Anyway, it’s really not.  But now I’ve nutted it out, it will be in the future…

Create a new file, named .  Put this somewhere you can get at.  The contents are;

#PY  #--automatically built--

adm = Avidemux()
adm.videoCodec("x264", "general.params=CQ=10", "general.threads=99", "general.fast_first_pass=True", "level=31", "vui.sar_height=1", "vui.sar_width=1", "MaxRefFrames=2", "MinIdr=100", "MaxIdr=500", "i_scenecut_threshold=40", "MaxBFrame=2", "i_bframe_adaptive=0", "i_bframe_bias=0", "i_bframe_pyramid=0", "b_deblocking_filter=False", "i_deblocking_filter_alphac0=0", "i_deblocking_filter_beta=0", "cabac=True", "interlaced=False", "analyze.b_8x8=True", "analyze.b_i4x4=False" , "analyze.b_i8x8=False", "analyze.b_p8x8=False", "analyze.b_p16x16=False", "analyze.b_b16x16=False", "analyze.weighted_pred=0", "analyze.weighted_bipred=False", "analyze.direct_mv_pred=0", "analyze.chroma_offset=0", "analyze.me_method=0", "analyze.mv_range=16", "analyze.subpel_refine=7", "analyze.chroma_me=False", "analyze.mixed_references=False", "analyze.trellis=1", "analyze.psy_rd=0.000000", "analyze.psy_trellis=0.000000", "analyze.fast_pskip=True", "analyze.dct_decimate=False", "analyze.noise_reduction=0", "analyze.psy=True" , "analyze.intra_luma=21", "analyze.inter_luma=21", "ratecontrol.rc_method=0", "ratecontrol.qp_constant=0", "ratecontrol.qp_min=0", "ratecontrol.qp_max=0", "ratecontrol.qp_step=0", "ratecontrol.bitrate=0", "ratecontrol.vbv_max_bitrate=0", "ratecontrol.vbv_buffer_size=0", "ratecontrol.vbv_buffer_init=0", "ratecontrol.ip_factor=0.000000", "ratecontrol.pb_factor=0.000000", "ratecontrol.aq_mode=0", "ratecontrol.aq_strength=0.000000", "ratecontrol.mb_tree=False", "ratecontrol.lookahead=0")
adm.audioCodec(0, "Aften")
;adm.audioSetDrc(0, 0)
adm.audioSetShift(0, 0,0)
adm.setContainer("MKV", "forceDisplayWidth=False", "displayWidth=1280")

Now create a new Powershell script somewhere.  Replace the reference to and avidemux_cli.exe to point to the appropriate paths on your system;

# Converts a video file to the following format:
# Video Codec:  x264 AVC (MPEG4 Part 10)
# Audio Codec:  AC3
# Container: MKV

  [string]$profile = "c:\util\",

begin {
  if (! $target) {
    write-error "Fatal:  Must provide target folder!"

process {
  $file = $_
  if ($_ -and $target) {
    $sourcename = $file.FullName
    $targetname = (Get-Item $target).FullName + "\" + $file.BaseName + ".mkv"
    c:\util\avidemux\avidemux_cli.exe --load "$sourcename" --run "$profile" --save "$targetname" --quit

end { }

Now that’s done, you can process a whole bunch of AVI’s in the current folder to the folder D:\Scratch like this;

dir *.avi | makemkv.ps1 -target D:\Scratch
And you're done.  Phew.

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