Encoding ASF files to play on Aiptek DV3500 camera

posted in Encoding
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Hi. I have had an Aiptek DV3500 pocket cam for a while, works great as a poor man’s camcorder, but a few weeks ago it occurred to me that if I could encode video files in the camera’s format I could use it as a portable mini video player.

The camera records ASF files ('IMG_0001.ASF') etc with bitrates of around 200-600kbps. The underlying video codec is 'ISO MPEG-4 Video 1 []' and audio is IMA ADPCM.

I’ve mucked about with VirtualDub, WM Encoder 9 and VIDTOASF.EXE, but can’t crack it, best I get is white noise on the screen and broken audio.

If I could get the ISO MPEG-4 Video 1 [] codec to appear in VirtDub that would help, but it doesn’t. The camera comes with Ulead Video Studio SE and the codec I’m guessing is bundled with the drivers.

Any hints or clever ideas would be much appreciated. This is just an intellectual exercise, but it is starting to drive me mad!

All the best, Glenn (Belfast) reply


Windows Media Encoder 9 will produce videos with MS’s ISO MPEG-4 v1 codec (fourcc MP4S). This option is only available if you choose constant bitrate (CBR) encoding for the video.

Here’s a brief walkthrough (if you have time to read it). I’ll assume you have your original video file ready. Start Windows Media Encoder. You’ll get the wizard. Pick convert a file. Select your file, then for “How do you want to distribute your contents” pick 'File Archive'. Click next a couple more times. UNCHECK “begin converting when i click finish”. Then click finish. Now click on properties. Sources pick what you want to include/exclude (video and/or audio). Now for the compression tab click on edit then click on new (under import/export). Type a name. Video should be CBR by default. Just pick ISO MPEG-4. Set your framerate at the bottom (depending on what your player supports). Then click on add and add a bitrate. You can use K and M to shorten (for example 400 K, or 10 M). Then set your audio format, video size, frame rate, buffer size, video smoothness, and keyframe interval to your own liking. Click apply, then click start encoding. reply


That’s great! I was using Win98, but I have gotten hold of a laptop with XP and WM Encoder 9 on it. Only problem now is, how do I get from the WMV file to an ASF file? I know they are similar, but are they the same?

Thanks for your help, much appreciated. reply


I’ve never bothered to read the asf/wmv specs in detail, but from my experience the two extensions have been used interchangeably. So the short answer to your question is just rename the extension from wmv to asf.

For the conscious-minded, asf is usually associated with the older NetShow codecs (Duck TrueMotion, VDOWave, ClearVideo, Vivo H.263, MS H.263, MS MPEG-4 v1, v2, and v3), while the wmv extension has been associated with the newer Windows Media codecs (Windows Media Video 7, 8, 9, Windows Media Screen 7 and 9). Use for Microsoft’s ISO MPEG-4 v1 and v1.1 and Microsoft’s MPEG-4 v1, v2, and v3 has been ambiguous. Also it appears wmv files have a few additional features to them which the old asf files didn’t have, notably the ability to generate popups, and the presence of DRM (digital rights management). Other than that it’s agreed that they’re the same container.

More generally
asf - advanced systems format*
asx - asf shortcut
wmv - windows media video
wma - windows media audio
wmx - wm shortcut

*Oddly I remember when I was using Windows 95 and installed activemovie, asf files were called ActiveMovie Streaming Format.

For more details http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/format/asfspec.aspx reply



The plot thickens. I tried re-naming the WMV to ASF and got a picture, but no sound. Is there anyway of encoding the WMV sound to IMA ADPCM or am I scoobied?

Also the FourCC is coming up M4S2 and I can’t find a reference to that anywhere. Anyone got any ideas? I feel I am this close... lol

Thanks in advance.

Glenn, Belfast. reply


Which videos are coming out as M4S2? The ones from your Aiptek or the ones out of Windows Media Encoder?
For clarification
MP4S - Microsoft ISO MPEG-4 version 1
M4S2 - Microsoft ISO MPEG-4 version 1.1
(P.S: At present only avicodec (http://avicodec.duby.info) can read fourcc info for windows media files)
I’m unsure if they’re both compatible with your Aiptek (P.S: I looked on the Aiptek site and I saw a DV3100 and a DV5300, but no DV3500).
Now, for converting audio to a specific format. Assuming your original file is an avi, you open the file in VirtualDub, then for audio, pick full processing mode. Then audio again, pick compression and choose your compressor. Then pick file, save wav, and it’ll save the compressed audio. For the video stream you can just produce it in wme 9 without audio. Now I don’t know how you’d multiplex (join) the two streams together into one file though. reply


The AIPTEK is producing files with FourCC M4S2. I have been able to produce files using VirtualDub and VidToAsf that have good unbroken audio, but broken pyschadelic video.

Changing the FourCC code causes VidToAsf to fail with the message 'codec not installed on your system.'

Is there any way of producing 'ISO Mpeg-4 Video 1' files in VirtualDub? Can a suitable file be created using DivX with a profile or even better does anyone have a codec for doing this? reply



>> Is there any way of producing 'ISO Mpeg-4 Video 1' files in VirtualDub?
No, because the ISO MPEG-4 codec is not unlocked for use with avi. Even if you made an asf with that codec, then used a direct stream copy to change the container from asf to avi (using something like asftools), you wouldn’t be able to play the avi in Windows Media Player, because the codec isn’t unlocked for use with avi.
Another possible problem (which is trivial, since the first totally overrides it), is the fact the codec is probably a DirectShow codec, and VirtualDub only works with VFW (Video for Windows) codecs (that’s why you don’t see it listed on the list of codecs when you make your conversion in VirtualDub).
P.S: Do your MP4S files produced by Windows Media Player play ok (just the video) on the Aiptek? I’m just curious to know if M4S2 is backwards-compatible with MP4S.

>> Can a suitable file be created using DivX with a profile or even better does anyone have a codec for doing this?
I don’t know. I’m not even sure if DivX and XviD are 100% ISO compliant in their implementation of MPEG-4 (or if it depends on the profile(s)) you pick). I know 3ivx claims to be more ISO compliant than either DivX or XviD (who may be tweaked to optimize their performance with the avi container), but this is beyond the scope of my knowledge. You really have two choices - ask in the DivX/XviD/3ivx forums (or even Microsoft) for the correct combo of settings (if anyone knows), or try tweaking with every possible combination of settings (profiles, levels, etc) until you get a working result. reply


I have a panasonic sv-av25 camera/media player and I too have come a cropper to this .ASF stuff. Need to convert avi (divx) files to asf but cannot find anything on the web that’s any kind of help! reply


Did you solve the problem where the video is all crazy? i am having the same problem reply


To be honest, I’ve given up.

To do this you would need an ISO Mpeg-4 V1 codec in something like VirtualDub (there isn’t such a thing), then change the FourCC to M4S2. Finally you would use VIDTOASF to convert. If a suitable VFW codec ever appeared this could be done quite easily. :(

All the best

Glenn. reply


ok then. i did a little movie with my camera and then compared the properties of that movie to the one i converted and they are the same and it still goes crazy on the camera but works fine on the computer. hopefully someone can work this out for us reply


I have a Mustek PVRA1 that also uses the MP4 Codec with ASF file extention. I think if you use the Encoder software included with the PVRA1 you’ll be able to view movies...

Resolution = 320x240
bitrate = ???
Audio = Mono
Codec = MP4 reply


To the panasonic sv-av25 guy
Can you check the fourcc of the file with avicodec (http://avicodec.duby.info)? It’s on the 'video' line.

To Glenn
>> If a suitable VFW codec [for MP4S] ever appeared this could be done quite easily.
That’s very unlikely, as Microsoft is trying to push everyone towards the DirectShow architecture, and away from VFW (which many, many people argue is much better suited for use with the avi container).
P.S: Did you ever get the video working? I was wondering if the MP4S videos produced with Windows Media Encoder 9 could be played without audio on the Aiptek (which handles M4S2).

To Joe
Fourcc’s have four characters (hence the name fourcc!). Thus MP4 cannot be a fourcc. It can be an extension (for the MP4 container). But you state the extension as being asf. You should re-feed the file into avicodec (http://avicodec.duby.info) and see what the 'video' line says. reply


What encoding software comes with the Mustek camera? Can it be downloaded from anywhere? reply


Hi I’m the guy with the panny av25, here’s the fourcc info

Video : 1.8 MB, 826 Kbps, 25.90 fps, 320*240 (4:3), MP4S = ISO MPEG-4, Supported

I’m also interested in the mustek software if available to download :) reply


anyone? reply


(to the panasonic av25)
If you’re trying to produce MP4S videos from your divx movies follow the steps in my first reply on the first page (get Windows Media Encoder 9 first http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5691ba02-e496-465a-bba9-b2f1182cdf24&DisplayLang=en). It’s possible the sv-av25 may require specific bitrates, resolutions, keyframes, etc, so you may have to tinker a bit with the settings to get things working. reply


i have aiptek dv 3500,the pictures seem black.dark and ghostly?why, or coz of my laptops lcd screen? reply


Most likely reason is that you are filming in too low a light. The Aiptek works best on a bright day or in a very well lit room. Low light performance is not great.

Hope this helps. reply


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