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Newbie question about 1:1 MKV Blu-ray rips, Plex and subtitles.

MoviolaMoviola Members Posts: 16 ✭✭

Hello all. Apologies is this has ended up in the wrong forum, and indeed if it has been asked before (I did do a search but a still needing some direct clarification just so I am completely clear on this matter).

 

I'm currently in the process of making plans to embrace Plex and moving all my video content to a media server. This task will require my ripping over 500 Blu-rays and I'm rather keen to do straight 1:1 MKV rips of my library to avoid any loss in quality (I'm quite aware what this will cost me in storage). Where I am a little confused right now is with the issue of Plex and subtitles. I own quite a substantial number of foreign films, and no doubt a number of English language films that may be interspersed with some foreign subtitled scenes. 

 

My question is, does Plex insist on transcoding whenever there are subtitles, regardless of whether the stream is a direct feed into a PHT Client running on a capable computer (a mac Mini or NUC into the TV/Home Theatre for example)? This seems to be the impression I am getting, in which case it rather renders my having a Plex library of 1:1 rips pointless, but I just want to get some clarification. I understand Plex transcoding from the perspective of streaming to other devices around my home like an iPad, but my intention is to keep the feed going to my TV/Home Theatre free of such things. 

 

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 20,471 Plex Ninja

    As long as we are indeed talking about Plex Home Theater (PHT) as client, in a local network (not remote) and a hardwired network, then you can say transcoding won't be happening.

    But as soon as you change the client (plex web or the smart tv clients or practically any other client) transcoding won't be avoidable,

    because:

    1. many clients have a bandwidth limit which is often surpassed by 1:1 BluRay rips

    2. almost no other clients understand the subtitle formats used on BluRays

    3. as soon as you limit the bandwidth in the client's settings (even in PHT!), transcoding will kick in

    4. transcoding can be enforced (which is a preference in many clients), so verify this preference is 'off'

    You can choose not to display the subtitles since they reside in a separate data stream. If you have trouble with unwanted transcoding, this can be a workaround.

    Just try ripping some BluRays for a start.

    - Get yourself MakeMKV, mkvtoolnix and mediainfo as your basic toolbox.

    - Get a good desktop player as well (for Windows I recommend VLC or MPC-HC)

    - Learn about the differences between normal (full), forced and closed caption subtitles and how to tag 'forced' subtitles in a mkv file.

  • MoviolaMoviola Members Posts: 16 ✭✭

    Many thanks. The central PHT client connected to the TV would indeed be hooked up via LAN and would probably run off a Mac Mini, or Intel NUC. Fair chance the server would reside on the same unit too (fetching data from the NAS). I've been playing around with MakeMKV...etc for the last day or so, as well as handbrake actually as I've been trying to decide whether I could live with smaller high quality transcoded files that I could make myself. It'd save me money on storage but I just don't think I have the time to give up to transcoding that many discs. :) I'm perfectly happy with Plex transcoding on the fly to my other devices, but if I'm definitely safe with PHT set up to the TV as described then that's terrific news. I'll run some tests over the next week or so.

    Thank you again.

  • hatflixhatflix Members, Plex Pass Posts: 374 Plex Pass
    Moviola wrote on May 1 2015, 6:45 PM: »

    Hello all. Apologies is this has ended up in the wrong forum, and indeed if it has been asked before (I did do a search but a still needing some direct clarification just so I am completely clear on this matter).

    I'm currently in the process of making plans to embrace Plex and moving all my video content to a media server. This task will require my ripping over 500 Blu-rays and I'm rather keen to do straight 1:1 MKV rips of my library to avoid any loss in quality (I'm quite aware what this will cost me in storage). Where I am a little confused right now is with the issue of Plex and subtitles. I own quite a substantial number of foreign films, and no doubt a number of English language films that may be interspersed with some foreign subtitled scenes.

    My question is, does Plex insist on transcoding whenever there are subtitles, regardless of whether the stream is a direct feed into a PHT Client running on a capable computer (a mac Mini or NUC into the TV/Home Theatre for example)? This seems to be the impression I am getting, in which case it rather renders my having a Plex library of 1:1 rips pointless, but I just want to get some clarification. I understand Plex transcoding from the perspective of streaming to other devices around my home like an iPad, but my intention is to keep the feed going to my TV/Home Theatre free of such things.

    Thanks in advance.


    Every bluray I have is ripped to full size MKV. Here is how I dealt with subs:

    1. I have a Mac system
    2. I do not watch foreign, subed movies, but if I did, I would only care about English subs. I.e. I never need a selectable track, I only, personally, care about forced subs.
    3. I rip the movie and all English subs using makemkv with both the main sub selected and the forced only selected. Overkill, but I only want to rip once.
    4. I then use mkvtools to extract the subtitle tracs
    5. I process the extracted tracts using bdsup2sub and it tells me after the two second scan how many tacks have forced subs. Usually this ends up with a track with only the forced subs in it. For instance, instead if 500 subs, there are 7 and 7 are flagged forced.
    6. I go back to makemkv and with do one of two things. If no forced subs, I remux so that only audio and video are in the container or I select the forced track and burn (hardcode) the subs in so there are only audio and video tracks left, but I have my forced subs.

    If there are subs the processing time can take a few hours, otherwise maybe 15 min post rip.

    There is a spreadsheet somewhere (I'll try and grab the link) that is updated with movies that have forced subs. I always check this first. If it is not listed, i rename the file in makemkv to the correct Plex naming convention and rip directly to my library. No post processing at all.





    Philip
  • MoviolaMoviola Members Posts: 16 ✭✭
    edited May 2015

    Appreciate your input, Philip. Thank you so much.

    To save you any trouble, would this happen to be the spreadsheet you're referring to?

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkGO8UqErL6idDhYYjg1ZXlORnRaM3ZhTks4Z3FrYlE&usp=sharing#gid=20

    I'll make a note to download BDSup2Sub, but how are your hardcoding any subtitles into a 1:1 mkv? Have I missed an option in MakeMKV to do this?

    Since it's a holiday weekend here in the UK I decided to dive into this sooner and I bought myself a little Blu-ray USB drive on Saturday morning. I spent some time over the weekend doing tests and grabbed Criterion's Blu-ray of La Dolce Vita to try the subtitles. Everything worked just fine (I'm ripping and playing back everything on a Mac too). Playback via PHT was just as Otto had assured, and I was pleased with the transcoding of subs with playback on my iPad too. 

    I'm slowly but surely getting a grip on a general workflow. It's going to be a lengthy task working through my entire collection, but clearly it is going to be worth it. I'm only sad it has taken me so log to embrace the idea of moving my library onto a server. My old Oppo region free modified Blu-ray player is a little long in the tooth, struggles with some new releases and the disc drawer behaves erratically, and I own more movies than I have space to display them these days so it's a chore rummaging through boxes just to find what I want. I'm really loving what I have tested of the Plex experience so far. 

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 20,471 Plex Ninja
    edited May 2015
    Moviola wrote on May 4 2015, 10:46 AM: »

    I'll make a note to download BDSup2Sub, but how are your hardcoding any subtitles into a 1:1 mkv? Have I missed an option in MakeMKV to do this?

    If you want to store the full quality of the BluRay, you must not hardcode subtitles.

    Hardcoding means, the subtitles will be made part of the video picture. This process is also called 'burning in subtitles'.

    And no, neither MakeMKV nor mkvtoolnix can do it. If you really want this, you need other tools (like Handbrake for instance). But keep in mind that this is a Re-compression process and therefore not lossless.

    The best way quality-wise is to keep the subtitles as a separate datastream within the video file. The process of merging video, audio and sometimes subtitle data streams into one file is called 'multiplexing' or 'muxing' for short.

    This, you can do with mkvtoolnix, if the resulting file should be an MKV.

    This method has the added advantage to support several different subtitles (like for instance more than one language or a director's commentary subtitle track or a 'closed caption' track you only activate for granny), which you can activate or deactivate freely.

  • MoviolaMoviola Members Posts: 16 ✭✭
    edited May 2015

    That's what I thought re: hardcoding subs. Thanks for the clarification. On movies where there may be a separate subtitle track covering forging language dialogue in an English speaking film (take Toy Story 3 for example from the Google spreadsheet where Buzz speaks Spanish), will I need to select that track manually in Plex before playing the movie for it to recognise it, or can I flag the track so Plex knows automatically to refer to it as a regular blu-ray player would? Is that where MKVtoolnix is required?

    My workflow basically breaks down as follows:

    Feature Films/TV Episodes

    1:1 rip of film, main audio track, audio commentaries (if I know they are ones I want to keep) and relevant subtitle track(s) in MakeMKV

    If an audio track on a disc happens to be LPCM then I am letting MakeMKV convert that to FLAC.

    Special Features

    1:1 rips in MakeMKV of any video special features that I want to archive, but then I am transcoding them via Handbrake (with a helping hand from Don Melton) as for extras I am happy enough to take a small hit on quality and to save some space. It's good to know I can hardcode/burn in subtitles in Handbrake for any foreign documentaries/interviews that often crop up on Criterion or Masters of Cinema...etc Blu-rays (as I sit here I have an Austrian documentary ripping from the Criterion Blu-ray of The Third Man right now where I will have to do this coincidentally enough).

    You certainly get to know all the discs in your collection inside out by the time you do all this. Just another 450+ to go. :)

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 20,471 Plex Ninja
    Moviola wrote on May 4 2015, 12:16 PM: »

    You certainly get to know all the discs in your collection inside out by the time you do all this. Just another 450+ to go. :)

    Have fun! :)

  • hatflixhatflix Members, Plex Pass Posts: 374 Plex Pass
    Yes that's it!

    Hard coding does technically do a modification to the file so a virgin file will not result, but compression is not required. I use mkvtools to do this. I typically get a resulting file 1-2gigs larger than the virgin file and has the same bitrates. This is good enough for me to say they are full sized.

    But this is only a handful of movies for me and I found this process to work really well so that I never think about subs after I have added the movie to my library.


    Philip
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