Last updated: February 18, 2011
|MKVToolPack 2 - User's Guide|
1. Installing and uninstalling MKVToolPack 2
Please read the README file that comes with the application.
2. Using MKVToolPack 2
Although MKVToolPack 2 has a totally different user interface, its fundamental structure hasn't changed much. This User's Guide may tend to skip some steps that have already been explained. If you feel that this User's Guide does not give you the answer you are looking for, please also refer to MKVToolPack 1's User's Guide.
MKVToolPack 2 (hereafter, MKVToolPack) supports a DropOpen feature. That is, you can drag and drop a multimedia file directly onto the application icon. Whatever the file format is, dropped upon, MKVToolPack will inevitably launch itself. And depending on the file format, MKVToolPack will read its data under a particular component.
The following is a list of file formats that MKVToolPack reads with its DropOpen feature.
Whether the application is already running or not, if you drag and drop a Matroska-container movie file (.MKV) onto MKVToolPack's icon, the application will read it under the Unpack component. If a media format is not supported, MKVToolPack will still launch itself and stay with the introduction screen without reading the file. That being said, the introduction screen is there partly so that the application finds a place to stay even when an unsupported file format is imported.
When you first start out with MKVToolPack, we encourage you to open Preferences. Under the Settings tab, you may want to set up your default export folder. By setting a default export folder, when you import a file, MKVToolPack will automatically point to this folder as an export destination.
MKVToolPack can clear up the entire content of the default export folder. If you click on the Clear button, you will be prompted to confirm that all files in the default export folders will be deleted. Click on No to abort it.
This component allows the user to extract raw media tracks out of an imported Matroska-container file partly so that they can pack them into a different media container like AVI, MOV, MP4.
MKVToolPack 1.x allowed the user to import a file with the OpenFolder dialog as well. MKVToolPack 2 comes with a bigger media drop box on all components, and the OpenFolder dialog is deprecated. Of course, if anyone feels that selecting a file with an OpenFolder dialogue will be a plus, we can put it back. For now, anyway, drag and drop a Matroska-container file onto the media drop box. And MKVToolPack will read the data and display some numbers on its display window. Also shown in the middle of the application window are the names of the media tracks found in the file. You do not have to extract all media tracks. Therefore, select only ones that you want to extract in the media track list. You can extract up to five tracks at a time.
In order to extract media tracks, make sure that at least one track is selected in the media track list. Also, if you want to export raw stream files somewhere else other than your default export destination, click on the Select button to set a new destination. Finally, click on the Unpack button. And the export process will begin immediately. You can abort it at any time by clicking on the Abort button.
If the export destination is set to Desktop, you probably won't have a hard time locating exported raw stream files. Even if it's set to some other folder or volume, you won't have to look very far. Simply, click on the check button next to the Select button. And MKVToolPack will open the folder at the export destination. Or click on the check button above to find the original video clip.
UnpackAll is a multiple-file version of Unpack. That is, the user can drag and drop multiple MKV files at a time so that MKVToolPack can break them all up into raw tracks, automatically creating new folders. MKVToolPack can extract raw tracks out of up to 15 files at a time. As explained in the FAQ page, MKVToolPack will not give you an effective progress window. While exporting media tracks, System's rainbow wheel will take over the entire application with no possibility of aborting the process. So you probably want to use UnpackAll when absolutely necessary and want to let it do the job while you are preoccupied with something else but MKVToolPack.
UnpackAll's media drop box looks a little different from that of Unpack. UnpackAll lets you drag and drop more than 1 MKV file at a time. When you import one or more movie files, MKVToolPack will not show numbers on the display window. It will only show file names and their data sizes in the media list at the center of the application window. But every time you select a different file in the media list, MKVToolPack will individually access and read its data and then show numbers on the display window. By the way, you cannot drag a row to change the order appearance as UnpackAll involves a few more hidden lists.
After extracting raw stream files out of a Matroska-container movie, what can we actually do with them? PackMP4 will give you a simple solution. Repackage them into an MP4 movie! But PackMP4 has some serious limitations.
Just think about the reason why the original video and audio tracks were packed in the Matroska container in the first place. Matroska is a wonderful multimedia container that allows the user to package audio, video, subtitle tracks into one container, supporting many different media formats. How about MP4? It's an MPEG-4 container format that is primarily designed to contain MPEG-4 stream tracks. That being said, other media formats like AC3 and WAV are not of course supported.
Anyway, switching to the PackMP4 tab, you may notice that you have another different media drop box. This media drop box indicates that it can accept mutiple files including audio tracks. You can also drag and drop subtitle tracks. In order to repackage raw media tracks into an MP4 movie, PackMP4 requires that you set a frame rate. If necessary, select a video track and click on the Info button to find out how its frame rate is set. This media information will also tell you whether or not an audio track uses SBR. (What's SBR?)
If you are ready to pack imported media tracks into an MP4 movie, click on the Pack button. If at least one of the media tracks is not supported, MKVToolPack will give you a warning. Then you may have to deselect the track whose media format is not supported. If everything goes well, MKVToolPack will open a progress window. And a video file being exported will be automatically named Video.mp4.
PackMP4 will run two steps in exporting a video file. Note that the progress bar will stop at 99% during Step 2. MKVToolPack relies on MP4Box, a command-line tool developed by GPAC Project for the task of packaging media tracks into an MP4 movie. And this command-line tool does not explicitly display the number of 100 before ending the process, which can be somewhat problematic for software programmers. Therefore, MKVToolPack will literally count 5 seconds and then close the progress window. If it fails to do so, you can manually close it by clicking on the Abort button after several seconds. And there will be no damage to the file being exported at this phase. If the progress bar reaches 99% during Step 2, it is not possible that the export process is failing.
As we explained with the previous version, MKVToolPack is not perfect when working with PackMP4. MP4 movies that are packed with PackMP4 can only be used for viewing. You cannot transcode these MP4 movies. You cannot edit them by cutting frames, either. That's not because data is not flatten. Some say it's QuickTime's bug that does not allow the user to edit or export these MP4 movies. If you open one with QuickTime, its Inspector window should show that the data size is 0.
Hopefully, we can find a better alternative to MP4Box in the near future. There are a few third-party alternatives like Subler.