Copying source file to working directory

Hi. New to the community and MCEBuddy, and so far I’m very encouraged by the quick responses to questions, and knowledge sharing in this group.

I tried searching for my question, but couldn’t find any information on this. My question is regarding the “Copying source file to working directory” step. Is there a way to eliminate this step completely to speed up conversions? My files to be processed are on an external drive E: and so I created an E:\Temp folder and designated that folder in the expert settings for the conversion task hoping to get rid of the copying source file step or at least make it quicker. The thinking here was that maybe it was slower when copying from E: to C:. Well, that not only didn’t work, but it made that step take even longer.

Can someone who is more familiar with what is happening under the hood help me understand what is going on, and what is the best practice for this step and the temp folder. Thanks!

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I would also add that the external drive access is far slower than your primary or internal drives.

Also, if your external drive is a large capacity drive (e.g. 6TB or bigger), it very likely is using SMR technology (how they write the magnetic fields on the disk) and this is very, very slow for writes and decent for reads. It is tuned for archive media storage where you write a few times and read a bunch.

If you have the space on the primary or internal drive (e.g. a “D” drive), you might want to keep the temp folder there.

You probably also want to defrag your external hard drive - it will be slow - defraggler (from Piriform who makes CCleaner) took 3 days to defrag an 8TB external Seagate (SMR drive, too) with 6TB on it. It took a day and a half to defrag my media drive, which is a 4TB internal drive that was fragmented like crazy since it records media and is used for game storage (all the updates fragment the files to heck), with one large recording having over 50,000 fragments. The 8TB backup drive just had large backup files and it just takes forever to move disk blocks around since they have to go over the USB connection too.


Thanks guys. This is all very helpful information. I think I’m going to leave the temp directory on C: and I cleaned things up on C: to make more room for MCEBuddy to work. I now also have a better understanding of why the copying is done, and that’s not a logical step that I want to eliminate anymore. Defragging is a good idea that I had forgotten about.

I had MCEBuddy (is there a shorter nickname? Like MCEB) churn through a bunch of Plex DVR recorded movies, and it worked through them like a champ. I’m going to be able to free up 2/3 of the storage going through all these DVR’ed .ts files.

Myself, I’ve moved on from MP4 and straight to HEVC (H.265) and MKV containers. It’s more work on the encode, but I routinely get 80% compression from OTA HD TS recordings (1.2GB to 180MB or so). And they’re 4K-ready (4K is all H.265/HEVC encoded).

The MKV files can contain all the metadata, so no need to keep separate poster images, subtitles, EDL or NFO files.

I record with HDHR DVR (even though Plex lifetime has DVR too) and process with MCEBuddy (remove ads, transcode to H.265/HEVC and MKV and plop it into Plex’s library for playback wherever (the Tivo has a Plex App built-in, and I’ve waited for the Plex app to go on sale (free) to load onto the phone and tablet accounts. Or watch via browser.

I’m new to all this so pardon my question if it is a dumb one, but why do you create both HEVC and MKV files? I’m familiar with MKV because I’ve ripped my DVD’s and Blu-ray’s to that format to back them up, but I’m not as familiar with HEVC.

I definitely want to choose the best future proof option going forward. I’ve only processed about 10 OTA movies via MCEBuddy to MP4 so I can definitely switch going forward.

HEVC uses H.265, and is a specific container and content encoding format, like MP4 is a specific container and uses H.264, another encoding format. Like TS is the container and MP2 is the encoding DVDs and HDTV use.

MKV is a media file format, like MP4, AVI, and TS are file formats. MKV has some features that the MP4 format doesn’t have.

HEVC and MP4 are confusing because they are informally used to refer to both the encoding and the file format. The problem is that MP4 is locked to the H.264 encoding, much like DVDs are locked to TS format files and MP2 encoding, and HEVC are locked to the H.265 encoding.

MKV is not an encoding, but is just a container, much like AVI format files can contain different stream encodings, for both audio and video. MKV has chapters, like MP4 files, but not like AVI. An MKV can have an H.264 (MP4) stream, or an H.265 (HEVC) stream or many other encodings, as long as you have the codecs.

MKV can also contain subtitles and menus, but the complete replacement for DVD menus while using MP4 or HEVC encoding instead of MP2/TS files never materialized. Probably never will, since media servers (DLNA, Plex, Kodi, XBM, Emby, and countless others, with streaming have pretty much replaced DVDs now.

Ok. Think I understand now. You’re creating MKV container files with H.265 encoding.

So you are choosing HEVC MKV in the dropdown list for the “Profile” field for the conversion task?

Do Apple iOS devices need Plex to transcode such files to stream?

Yes, I’m using the HEVC MKV profile.

I don’t know if Plex has to transcode on the fly as I don’t have any Apple products.

You would have to dig into Plex’s profiles for the devices to know for sure. Or try it and see if Plex is chewing CPU trying to transcode them. I haven’t had any problems so far, and that’s playing back on a Tivo Roamio which probably doesn’t have HEVC/H.265 codec support. If your Plex plays them back just fine, then it doesn’t really matter if it is native or Plex is transcoding.

Anything that supports UHDTV or 4K should have native HEVC/H.265 support if that helps.

Thanks. I’ll test it out and see what happens when streaming from an iOS device.

When you switched to HVEC MKV, did you re-encode your MP4 files or did you leave them there and going forward you started encoding HVEC MKV? I guess, in other words, I’m just wondering if your file collection has both formats or do you only have HVEC MKV now. Thanks, again.

Stuff I’ve already recorded, unless it’s over a GB, I dont bother. When I do decide to re-transcode (remember, it is a lossy process, so each transcode makes it worse), I use Handbrake with a relaxed compression setting since the source has already been compressed once (not counting the original broadcast).

I don’t use MCEBuddy because it is tuned to automate processing the recordings workflow. Handbrake gives me tuning I can tweak per each file depending on my source quality. Some shows run on both the HD (first run, prime time) and the SD side channel (repeats), so I want to keep the HD recording if that’s what got recorded.

I use VirtualDub for manual cuts, but am looking at MCEBuddy Custom Cuts to see if that works better for me. Custom Cuts uses MCEBuddy to process the file under the hood.