Using madVR for high-quality video playback

How to get the highest-quality video playback

This article will show you how to get the high-quality video playback on your Windows PC. I will show you how to use madVR, a very popular high-quality DirectShow video renderer that uses the power of your graphics card to provide fast and very high-quality video playback.

DirectShow

DirectShow is a software component system from Microsoft. With DirectShow, a developer can create a video player that supports all video formats on the market. This is possible without having to implement all the video formats. Players can also support new video formats without doing any update to the video player software. So pretty awesome, let’s dig more into how DirectShow works.

How DirectShow works

A DirectShow filter is a piece of software packaged in a file with the .ax extension. Filters are registered in the windows registry. Video players then query the Windows registry for filters. The application can then build a filter graph to transform frames from a video into pixels on the screen.

Let us break down the simplest type of DirectShow filter in an application.

First, the application uses an input filter to read the video file. The input filter sends the data to a decoder filter. The decoder filter decodes the video stream and sends it to a render filter. The render filer puts the pixels on the screen.

The reader filters are typically installed by default in Windows. Some older decoder filters are installed with Windows and you download more yourself and install them. These type of video decoder filters are often called codecs. Then there are standard render filters installed with Windows, you can also download and install your own render filters. These custom render filters usually do different types of filtering to reduce artifacts caused by the compression in the video files.

The naïve way to build a filter graph is to let directshow automatically connect the pins. Unfortunately, this simple approach often does not work very well due to filter incompatibilities. More advanced video software has lots of code to reliably manually construct the filter graph.

High quality video rendering

madVR is a very popular high-quality DirectShow video renderer that uses the power of your graphics card to provide fast and very high-quality video output.

Key madVR Features according to their homepage:

  • MadVR does High bitdepth processing (32bit per component)
  • It has high quality algorithms for scaling, sharpening, debanding, dithering etc.
  • It does Smooth motion playback without 3:2 pulldown judder even at 60Hz
  • Using forced film mode it turns 60i movies into perfect 24p
  • It has a very reliable playback using automatic fullscreen exclusive mode

To summarize, you will get better video playback quality with madVR. The improved quality is especially evident when you play older low-quality videos. To do its magic MadVR needs several decoded video frames. Because of this, it will take a few more moments until you see the first rendered image compared to using more basic renderers. If you are after high-quality video output madVR is the way to go.

How to install MadVR

Download the madVR zip file from their homepage and unpack it. Make sure to unpack to a folder where you can keep the files. Since madVR does not come with a normal windows installer the software will be installed to where you unpack the zip file.
Go to the unpacked folder, right-click on the install.bat file and select “Run as administrator”. This will register the madVR Directshow filter (madVR.ax) in your computer’s registry so that programs can find it.

Selecting to use MadVR for high-quality video playback

The integrated video player in Fast video cataloger, https://videocataloger.com/download natively supports MadVR. However, it is but it is not selected by default.
Start Fast video cataloger, open the preferences and go to the “Video Player” tab.
From the “Video player to use” dropdown menu select “Direct + madVR”. This will tell Fast video cataloger to use special code to build a filter graph using the madVR high-quality renderer.

madvr selected for high-quality video playback

Using the madVR renderer

Fast Video Cataloger 6.1 released with virtual video editing and extended thumbnail properties

I am more than happy to announce that Fast video cataloger 6.1 is now available for download.

Download the latest version from the download page

Virtual video editing

In version 6.1 it is now possible to create virtual videos by combining sections from videos in your collection. It is basically an advanced playlist maker that allows you to create playlists of whole video clips or just a part of a video. You can use this to make a quick early draft before doing video editing or just play like a normal video. The playlists are not altering video files in any way and you can make playlists of videos in different formats and resolutions instantly without doing any type of re-encoding that would lead to quality loss. It is also super quick.

Video playlist window

Create a new virtual video playlist from the playlist window and then select a current playlist. There are three basic ways to populate your video playlist.

  • Add whole video clips to the playlist by right-clicking a video and selecting “add to playlist”.
  • Add a video segment by right-clicking a thumbnail and selecting “Add to playlist”. Doing that will att the segment from the time of the selected thumbnail to the next one. If you hold down shift while selecting add to playlist you simply add a short segment (you can select the length from preferences) from the time of the thumbnail to the playlist.
  • Right-click the camera icon in the video player to add a clip from the time where the video player is currently in the playing video.

You can re-order your clips with drag n drop after they have been added.

Extended thumbnail properties

Another new function in version 6.1 is the ability to add extended properties to thumbnails and to use that in searches. You could, for example, add a description to each thumbnail explaining the scene in words. Access this functionality from the video details window.

We have extended the scripting interface so you can leverage these new functions in your own custom solutions and we have added some more samples to give you a good start when doing your own video solutions based on fast video cataloger.

.webm video format is now a recognized video format

webm video files are recognized as standard video files

We have today released Fast video cataloger 6.02 with webm supported as a standard video file format. In the past it was possible to add webm either by adding the file specifially or setting webm as a custom video format in preferences. You can always do it that way with rare video formats. Fast video cataloger supports directshow filters so it supports rare formats and formats we have never even tested or are aware of as long as there is a directshow filter. Webm is becomming more common so we added it to the list of default extensions. When you add a folder it will treat your webm files just like it does with all other video files.

Docking framework updated

We have updated the docking framework that lets you configure your user interface across one or more displays. The update fixes a number of probolems where docking in some configurations did not work as expected. Remember that you can always reset your layout to the default if you want to start over with your layout. And if you are not using layouts you really should try it now.

Shortcuts to custom actions

You can now assign shortcuts to custom actions. You can, as before, crete custom action to launch external tools, access web resources or run custom scripts. By using custom actions you can integrate Fast video cataloger with your other software and workflows.

Imporved capture of wmv files

We have improved capture of wmv files. When you captured some type of bad wmv files the program could timeout when the video files were read from slow devices or over network.

Download the latest version of Fast video cataloger from videocataloger.com/download/