Kirara Encoder: Portable Multimedia File Encoder for Windows (free)

“Kirara” is completely free, open source multimedia encoder front-end that uses the “FFMPEG” library (an extremely powerful, multimedia library, that handles almost all the popular multimedia formats) as the actual encoding engine. Kirara is also highly portable as it comes with a compressed archive format (plus a standalone installation file as well).

It has a pretty user friendly looking UI and a hell lot of functions too. One in particular that I love most is it’s ability to let you “crop” video content. As most knows, DVD videos or a lot of commercially released videos come with Black borders around them (usually being used to show additional info such as the artist details, logos etc).

So the removal (cropping) of those ugly Black borders helps a lot while reducing the output file size and the quality itself, because now we can use those bytes “reserved” by those Black borders, to raise the actual bitrate of the multimedia file.

Sweet “Kirara” running in Windows 7 😉 …

Anyhow, as usual, let me give you some of its main features …

*. As mentioned before, thanks to the FFmpeg integration, it supports huge number of both codecs and multimedia container formats such as: MP3, OGG Vorbis, AAC, FLAC, Nero audio, WMA, WAV, MPEG 1/2 & 4, FLV, MKV, AVI, H263/264, Windows Video 7/8, the “evil” Divx ;-), Xvid or just copy streams without encoding are just a few to mention.

*. Also has some built in presets for popular mobile devices such as: Apple (iPhone/iPad/iPod etc), Cowon Jetaudio players, Blu-Ray, Mobile phone formats such as 3GP are again just a few to mention.

*. Crop, change bitrate, add video filters (such as noise filters, image sharpening, deinterlacing etc), change output resolution (you can you either the built in ones or can manually define according to your preference), applying few built in resizing filters, flip or rotate images, change FPS (frames per second) and more.

*. Concerning “Audio Settings”, you can change: bitrate, audio codec, sample rate, change channels, add volume normalizer filters (audio gaining) etc.

*. Add/Remove subtitles, change the font (Bold, Italic, Underline etc) , change colors, size, embed the subtitle into video or put the subtitle separately into the container format (the best option as a user can always enable/disable the subtitle), change subtitle position etc.

*. You can also set an output file size limit, enable or disable putting the meta-data automatically (a file holds info such as Album name, artist, Title, year etc of a multimedia file). If you’re quite familiar with “FFmpeg”, then you can pass command-line parameters for controlling FFmpeg too.

*. Has a built in media info viewer that shows source file’s audio/video codec data, FPS, bitrates and other details.

*. Shows a preview while encoding.

*. Has a built in multimedia player  (“mplayer” actually) for showing previews or playing files.

These are just few of its massive features to mention :).

Although “Kirara” is an extremely new tool yet it worked without any issues whatsoever while I was using it. If you wanna give it a go, then please visit this Kiara project home page.

Personal favorite, it lets you crop the heck out of anything (videos only ;-)) …

Optional stuff …

I just thought some might be interested in knowing Why or What video cropping is necessary (in simple terms of course). So I saw an opportunity and I thought of adding few words here :).

Why cropping those Black Regions around a video is so important?

Now, I won’t be going into all the details. But as a simple explanation … have a look at the below screenshot.

As you can see, I’ve highlighted the “unnecessary” Black Regions showed between the Blue and Red borders (and let’s call it number “1”). This is what we have to get rid of because to display any color it takes a reasonable amount of video data, so do these black regions.

The actual video content is shown within the Blue border (let’s call it number “2”).

I’ve also marked a logo in Yellow, which as said before, is being displayed in the outside Black region itself (some video makers use this space for branding purposes etc as well).

Why is it there?

Well, it helps to properly display the video content (without stretching etc), if your monitor does not have the correct display ratio.

For instance, let’s say that I was watching a video file with a display ratio of 16:9 (display ratio is calculated by: width /height) but my monitor only supports 4:3. So in full screen, the video cannot occupy the whole screen, due to the display ratio incompatibility between the video file and my monitor. So what would happen is that, the video will be stretched while playing, as an attempt of 16:9 ratio trying to fit into a 4:3 one (as illustrated below).

Here’s an example of a stretched video due to a display ratio incompatibility (video: Despicable Me Trailer) …

But if there were an area in the video file, that “fills” the video from top and in the bottom (usually) where the stretching occurs. Then the video should display without any issues, as now it can fill the whole screen without stretching the actual video area, because the “Black regions” will “fill” the “gap” automatically (as illustrated below).

This is the purpose of these embedded “Black regions” in some of these video files.

But here’s the same video file now displaying properly, thanks to the added Black Regions (top and bottom, marked in Red) …

Some say that, in the old days, most DVD players etc couldn’t automatically create and add these Black regions into the playing video, thus the movie creators had to include “Black regions” in video files in order to correct those display ratio related issues.

Then why the heck remove it?, wouldn’t it create incompatibilities?

Well, almost all the modern DVD/Blu-Ray players and software players etc can add these Black regions automatically while playback (it’s added lively and is done without adding anything to the original file).

So why waste “precious” data for something that’s not really needed, anymore?

So, because of that, we can safely crop it out from the source file, so you’d have a video output with the same quality but is smaller in size OR you can increase the bitrate a bit (proportion to the removed bits = Black Regions) which ultimately resulting in a more quality output video content.

That’s why most people recommend that you crop a video properly. That’s putting it into extremely simple terms, I hope my words weren’t confusing :). Good luck.

3 thoughts on “Kirara Encoder: Portable Multimedia File Encoder for Windows (free)”

  1. Thanks for the nice article. The only ffmpeg front-end on windows I knew about till now was Winff (http://winff.org). Compared to what I just read in your article about Kirara, Wniff is nothing 😀

    The only downside though is that its not available for GNU/Linux. Though we have a hell lot of GUI front-ends available out there for GNU/Linux, but it usually makes sense to use the same applications across platforms.

    P.S.: For GNU/Linux take a look at Arista Transcoder: http://www.transcoder.org.

    Reply
  2. Thanks, I was looking at the qwinff then after lot of surfing I found this Kirara.
    Qwinff requires QT4 SDK which is a huge 500 MB download plus other utilities in order to work so I think Kirara is more user friendly.
    However, you explained very well its use but I couldn’t find any info regarding installation instructions and requirements, even on the developer web link provided there is no information.

    PS: thanks for explaining black regions 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi ‘rialto’,

      I just re-downloaded Kiara (also realized that the URL has been changed, updated the post as well).

      The installation is very simple. Once you have finished downloading it, double click on the installer and follow the on-screen instructions (it doesn’t really allow any manual options, so it is pretty straight forward).

      Sadly though, in my Windows 8, the video previewing feature under cropping does not work … other than that, I still like it :).

      It is difficult to give a system requirements for these kind of apps as it very much depends on what you use it for (audio encoding needs little but it will vary a lot with videos — depending on the codecs etc).

      Reply

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