Play HAM video on Amiga
Date: Sunday, February 26 2012 @ 14:04:35 CST
Topic: Amiga Tutorials

In this tutorial I want to show you how to play HAM video on your Amiga computer. For better performance you will need some accelerator cards but basic MC68000 and just 1MB chip ram can be enough to play HAM video. There are lot of ways you can transfer created files to your Amiga but most important thing here is to create video file according to some standards. For better results and more FPS you will need more than 800KB/s data transfer between your hard disk or CF card to processor. Basic Amiga 600 and simple CF to IDE 2.5 inch adapter can go about 550KB/s and if you want to use PCMCIA to CF adapter speed is lower and about 430KB/s. So for better results on basic Amiga 600 use CF to IDE 2.5 inch adapter and any CF card will be fine. Video on this configuration will work but with some disadvantages or maybe with audio problems. But please understand that you can't use 24 FPS videos, instead lower them to 15 FPS or less depending on your configuration. Please use software I recommended because this software is tested and can do the job. And remember that anything of this couldn't be possible without work of Damage_X.

Any comments related to problems, suggestions and upgrades related to this tutorial you may post on FORUM. Thank you and wish you nice time with your Amiga :)

Hardware needed:
Windows based computer
Amiga with IDE or SCSI controller ie. Amiga 600, Amiga 1200 etc...
CF card
CF card reader
CF to IDE 2.5 inch adapter
2.5 inch IDE cable

Software needed:
Total Video Converter DOWNLOAD
Cool Edit Pro DOWNLOAD
AVI4HV package

1. Video file preparation

For first stage of video file preparation we will use Total Video Converter. For testing purpose I found video on youtube and i download it in *.flv format using Orbit Downloader software. Start Total Video Converter and click on New Task and then to Import Media Files. Select file and open it and new window will appear. In that window click on Video File then Avi and select Loseless RAW AVI. It is essential to convert any video format you have to Raw *.avi file. After that click on Convert Now and program will start converting your video file. After work is finished go to the location of saved file in *.avi format and move it working directory. With Total Video Converter you can do much more like change FPS or do Video Crop & Resize or change Aspect Ratio, and you can use this options to prevent creating large *.avi files, but lets use this software just for preparation for another software called VirtualDub because in VirtualDub we can do much more.

2. Modifications on Raw Avi file

Now you have Raw Avi file created, but as you can see that file is very large but don't worry about that. Start VirtualDub click FileOpen video file, browse to your video file location and import video. If you see any errors during importing file please ignore them. In next step we need to set color depth. To do that click on Video and select Color Depth.... In next window set Decompression format and Output format to compressor/display to 16 bit RGB (555) and click OK. Now we need to set frame rate, click on Video and select Frame Rate... and on next window Change frame rate. Remember that if you want anything higher than 15FPS you will need faster Amiga or Accelerator card. After that we need to resize our video file and maximum size we can use is 320 X 216. Again click on Video and select Filters.... On next window click Add and open resize filter. After filter is open check Absolute (pixels) and enter resolution you want. Please stay with recommended resolution. You may also try to to enhance motion perception by selecting Interlaced. After this you can back to main VirtualDub window. Now we need to extract audio from avi file. Click File, select Export and choose Raw audio..., and save Mp3 file. After that disable audio clicking on Audio and selecting No audio. Don't use option File -> Save Wav... because in most cases that file will need additional modifications. If you decided to go this way import wav file into Total Video Converter and just save it like regular Wav file. Remember that either way you need to disable audio on avi file before you can export it from VirtualDub. Now all modifications regarding avi file are done and you can save created file by clicking on File and selecting Save as AVI.... Move your Avi and Mp3 or Wav files to working directory.

3. Creating Wav file

Mp3 file you created from VirtualDub needs some modifications, and we need to convert that file to 8-bit mono or stereo Wav file but remember sample rate must be less than 29KHz. For this you can find some audio filters for VirtualDub but since I already extracted Mp3 file from VirtualDub I ll use Cool Edit Pro. Open program and import Mp3 file, go to the Edit and select Convert Sample Type and in next window select 22050Hz for Sample Rate, Chanels Mono or Stereo, and Resolution 8 bit, click OK. Your work regarding modifications of audio file is done, all we need now is to save file in Wav format. Select File and the select Save as.... In next window it is essential to select correct type of file you want to save so in Save as type section select Windows PCM (.*wav) and save file.

4. Creating HAM video file

First we need to convert an join our avi wav files to *.HV file. And for this purpose we will use program called AVI3HV.EXE who is suitable for DOS or AVI4HV.EXE for win32. Either way go to Command prompt by clicking Start and selecting Run. Type cmd and hit Enter. Go to your working directory and type AVI4HV filename.avi, replace filename with filename you created using VirtualDub. So in my situation will be AVI4HV Terminator2.avi. After you hit Enter AVI4HV will start checking informations regarding your Avi file, and if everything is fine enter Y and continue. Remember if you didn't generated valid Avi file or file that is not according to standards established in previous sections of this tutorial program will warn you and you will have go back to generate video file again. After that program will ask you to enter name of audio file you created with Cool Edit Pro. So in my case it should be Terminator2.wav. Program will check your audio file, and only thing left to do is to enter name of output filename. Don't forget extension, in this case it should be *.HV. You can also enable dithering. And now you have it new file in your working directory HAM VIEO FILE.

5. Transferring Ham video file to your Amiga

There are number of ways to transfer your file to Amiga and I ll show you just two of them. One way is to copy file to your FAT formatted CF card, and then use that card together with PCMCIA to CF adapter, but remember starting HAM video on Amiga like this can drive you to speed problems as I noticed an explained at the top section of this tutorial. Second way is better one and it will give you better performance. Idea is to use WinUAE to transfer your files to CF card with already installed Workbench on it. If you don't have Amiga Workbench installed on CF card follow this TUTORIAL. Insert your CF card with Amiga Workbench installation to CF reader and start WinUAE with -disableharddrivesafetycheck command. Assuming that your other parameters in WinUAE like Kickstart ROM are already set and there are no Floppy drives in use go to the Hard drives and click Add Hard Drive and new window will appear. In that window select your CF card connected to your CF card reader. As HD controller you can use IDE0 and it this doesn't work for you try to use UAE controller. Check read/write and click add hard drive and new drive will appear. Now we need to add our working directory so click on Add Directory or Archive... and Select Directory and uncheck Bootable or set Boot Priority to higher value than your CF card is set, click OK and then Start WinUAE. After Workbench is started create somewhere on CF card directory Video. Also you can notice our working directory with all files we used for HAM video preparation. As my working directory is called CF I ll enter that directory, and to see any files in it use right mouse click and go to the Window,then to Show and select All Files. After that there are two files you need to transfer. Most important file is HAMP.RUN and that's our HAM Video player, and second one is our HAM video file with +.HV extension, in my case Terminator2.HV. Just drag those two files into your Video folder. Please keep in mind that transfer of files can take some time depending of size of HAM video file and speed of your CF reader. After transfer is complete exit WinUAE and take your CF card and import in in CF to CF to IDE 2.5 inch adapter on your Amiga and start your system.

5. Play HAM video on your Amiga

Go to Amiga Shell and find location of your Video directory and type HAMP.RUN filename.HV in my case HAMP.RUN Terminator2.HV, hit Enter and video should start. Remember that you need to experiment with video preparation to determine what are the best options for your Amiga system. Thank you for reading...

This article comes from Amiga FPGA Accelerators

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