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I've got a decent bitrate DVD rip of an animated TV series, and before sending it to it's forever home (currently my PS3's extra HD space), I was wondering: can you take existing m4v files and make them somehow "better" losslessly? Maybe adding more seekable points, or optimizing headers, or sprinkle in more video chapter marker thumbnails, or ...?

H264 MPEG-4 AVC, 720x480

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No and yes.

For one, you cannot magically pull out more information from the video you have. On the other hand side, you can try to use NVIDIA's AI-Upscaling, which works fine on documentaries and nature, but it turns humans into horrible creatures. The Ai practically guesses what information is hidden between the pixels, so it's not 100% accurate.

But just thinking about the problem at hand should make it clear, that there's nothing "hidden" between blurry pixels. There just isn't enough information in the stream and you cannot simply enhance the video like you see in csi:miami. You can try using post-processing, such as sharpening, upscaling to 4k using Red-Giant's plugins (which are expensive though) and enhancing contrast. All of that is just post-processing though, so if the file's a turd, you'll be polishing a turd.

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  • Oh, completely - not trying to get more from what I've got. I was thinking more along the lines of "if you take a regular mp4 file, and add in more thumbnails at even intervals, it will make seeking faster". Or "if you run it through this process, you can make sure MP4 'Fast Start' is enabled." – Benjamin H Feb 6 at 0:26
  • @BenjaminH I did not even know about "Fast Start". Anyway, what you can do is ensure maximum playability of your files, for example by deinterlacing them with the best deinterlacer you can find instead of letting your TV or media player doing it. To me this would be the number one thing I would do if I ever bothered with doing something like this. For example, my Sony Blu-Ray player is horrible at deinterlacing, and I see combing all over the place when I watch The Simpsons from a DVD. – Rusty Core Feb 8 at 3:18
  • Cool, thank you! I think I'm going to delete this question (kinda opinion) but these were good suggestions! – Benjamin H Feb 9 at 18:33
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No, there are not commonly accepted ways to optimize a pre-existing mp4 file without full re-encoding.

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