[FFmpeg-devel] Integrating the mod engine into FFmpeg - what is the best design approach?

Michael Niedermayer michaelni
Fri Jul 16 20:50:57 CEST 2010

On Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 04:15:26PM +0200, Vitor Sessak wrote:
> On 07/16/2010 03:46 PM, Sebastian Vater wrote:
>> Hello dears!
>> I had a discussion with Vitor and Stefano about the best way to
>> integrate the mod engine into FFmpeg.
>> Vitor's idea doing this was (quoting him from the mail):
>> Note that in the way we are suggesting, the MOD decoder decodes the bulk
>> of the file to a format-independent Big Sound Struct (BSS). With our
>> approach:
>> 1- The MOD demuxer will do three things:
>>      a) Probe if a file is a .mod
>>      b) Extract metadata
>>      c) Pass the rest of the file in an AVPacket.
>> 2- The MOD decoder does just one thing: decode a AVPacket to a BSS. It
>> does not know anything about the player (it doesn't even know _if_ it
>> will be played or converted to other format or fed to a visualization 
>> code).
>> 3- Libavsequencer does just one thing: transforming a BSS in PCM audio.
>> It knows nothing about file formats (it don't care or know if the BSS
>> was made from a MOD file or recorded from a MIDI keyboard).
>> That's why we insist in starting with the implementation of MOD ->  XM
>> conversion: it is much simpler than MOD ->  PCM conversion, it doesn't
>> need an implementation of libavsequencer.
>>                           mod file - metadata                      BSS +
>>                                                              sequencer 
>> MOD file -->  MOD demuxer -------------------->  MOD decoder  
>> ------------------>  application
>> Vitor summarized the advantages of his approach as follows:
>> 1- Good coding practice enforcing code modularity
>> 2- Allows for conversion from a format with more features to one with
>> less doing no mixing or sampling
>> 3- Makes each file format very modular (just reading the bitstream and
>> filling up BSS)
>> 4- Better integration with the way FFmpeg works ATM
>> 5- No libavsequencer needed to do conversion or visualization or edition
>> 6- No need for new API calls for applications that want to access the
>> BSS (just plain old avcodec_decode_frame())
>> 7- At last, giving a simple goal to the SoC: getting all the code
>> besides lavs/ committed.
>> Since I mostly agree to his approach now, I decided to take that solely
>> as a starting point of discussion.
> That is a pretty good description of what I initially suggested. I'd like 
> just to add that in this approach, the decoder would output the BSS as some 
>> I see just one disadvantage here, simply extraction of metadata and
>> removing it, passing the rest to AVPacket requires parsing of all module
>> files twice and also manipulating them (correct the offsets, etc.). This
>> would require duplicate code in the demuxer and decoder, which I would
>> like to avoid, if possible.
> And your first idea did not have this problem. Since it is not a bad idea 
> either, I'd like to explain it to see what the rest of the community think. 
> In Sebastian's original approach, the demuxer would decode the file to a 
> BSS an output it in an AVPacket. It would them define a CODEC_ID_SEQUENCER, 
> and the decoder would be just a wrapper to libavsequencer to make the BSS 
> -> PCM conversion.
> The advantage of this approach is that the concept of demuxing/decoder does 
> not make much sense for these formats, so this avoid the artificial 
> distriction. Moreover, it makes a nice distinction of transcoding from one 
> MOD format to other (with -acodec copy) to decoding it to PCM. The 
> disadvantages is that API-wise it's less clear for external applications to 
> get the BSS data (reading the AVPacket payload). Besides, all the 
> bit-reading API is part of lavc.

dont forget that we would like to be able to store mod in avi/mp4/nut
together with a video stream. If AVPacket.data is some kind of struct
this is not cleanly possible anymore


Michael     GnuPG fingerprint: 9FF2128B147EF6730BADF133611EC787040B0FAB

The misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.
-- Epicurus
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