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Latest stable version is 1.0.0. (Local copy)
Latest development version is 1.1.8. (Local copy)
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Manpages: gopchop, mpegcat, and gtkspu.

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gopchop - MPEG2 GOP-accurate editor
Development Version: 1.1.x
Released under GNU General Public License
Kees Cook (

This tool is used for people wanting to take sections out of MPEG2-PS 
files without re-encoding the resulting frames.  The idea is to write 
specific "Group of Pictures" (GOP) sections to a new MPEG2-PS file.  These 
GOPs will decode correctly (in theory), and the gaps won't be noticed.  I 
wrote this tool to edit commercials out of MPEG2 files produced by my 
KFir MPEG2 capture card.  Using this tool for anything else is really beyond
the scope of its design.

For gopchop to work, you need two things installed: GTK-1.2, and the 0.4.0
version of mpeg2dec (see  Newer versions
of libmpeg2 may or may not work, depending on the API changes.

"./configure" should do the trick.  If you some pre-3.0 version of gcc,
you may have Issues(tm) compiling (and running).  I'd recommend using
3.0+ of gcc and g++.  If you have both packages installed (RedHat 7.2),
you can run "CC=gcc3 CXX=g++3 ./configure" to force configure to use
the right compiler.

I'm still inexperienced when it comes to making and using "./configure" 
files, so for computers that are not mine, you might have to fix things to 
get everything to compile.  If you find stuff that needs correcting, 
please email me and I'll update it.  :)

These are the commands I type to build gopchop:

make install

If things blow up with autoconf or automake, you can try rebuilding the
configure script:


If things still resist working right, please email me, and hopefully we can
figure it out.  :)

Using gopchop
The basic way to use gopchop is like so:

 1) Run gopchop.
 2) Select an MPEG2 with "File / Open".
 3) Drag the slider to the first GOP you want to have in a clip.
		(You can disable "Edit / Preferences... / Auto Refresh" to seek
		 faster, and then click "Refresh" to see where you
		 are in the file.)
 4) Click "Start Mark".
 5) Drag the slider to the last GOP you want in the clip.
 6) Click "End Mark".  (If you drag the slider somewhere before the
		first mark, "End Mark" will not do anything.)
 7) Repeat steps 3 through 6 to select all the clips you want saved.
 8) Drag clips up and down to reorder them in the Clip List window.
 9) To delete unwanted clips, select it, and hit Del or Backspace.
10) Save the clips to a new MPEG2 with "File / Export".

If you want to save different clips, select "Edit / Clear" and start 
over at step 3.  If you want to use a different source MPEG2, select "File 
/ Close" and start over at step 1.

At present, I don't support saving clips from multiple different MPEG2 
source files.  In the future, perhaps.

This is a *LOSSY* process on MPEGs that have open GOPs.  To close a GOP, I
must toss B-Frames at the start of a GOP.  If you were to mark each frame in
an MPEG for splicing in gopchop, you would end up with fewer frames than you
started with.  To "close" an open GOP, I must toss those B-Frames.  To
stop this behavior, uncheck the "Drop Orphaned Frames" option in the
"Preferences" window.

Right now, there are several options available in gopchop.  The are in the
"Edit / Preferences..." window:
  Video Output Driver
    Select which video driver you want to use for playback.  The Xv drivers
    correctly handle aspect changes.
  Default Run Speed
    To the right of the "Run" button is the "speed" bar.  Normally,
    this is "1" by default.  It represents the number of GOPs to move forward
    while in "run" mode.  Things can get broken-looking depending on your
    source MPEG2-PS, if you set this above 1.
  Run Loop
    With this on, playback of the stream (via the "Run" button) will loop
    back around to the start when it passes the end of the stream.
  Auto Refresh
    With this on, any time the current GOP changes (via "Prev", "Next", or
    "Run"), the GOP decode window will be updated.  If you're scanning
    through a long stream, it's faster to turn this off, and just click the
    "Refresh" button when you want to see where you are.
  Drop Orphaned Frames
    With this on, all the B-Frames at the start of an open GOP on a clip
    boundry will be removed from the stream.  This is available so that
    the decoders that don't pay attention to the "edited" GOP flag won't
    get confused by the orphaned B-Frames.
  Adjust GOP Timestamps
    This adjusts all GOP timestamps to start at 0:00.0 so that they don't
    jump ahead at cut points.
  Force Prepended System Header
    Adds a Pack with a System Header for unusual streams that need it.  May
    be needed for some DVD authoring tools.
  Drop Trailing Pack with System Header
    During an export, this drop the final Pack if it contains a System
    Header.  May be needed for some DVD authoring tools.
  Ignore Program End Codes
    Continue parsing the input stream even if a "Program End" code is seen.
    This is useful when working on concatenated MPEG files.
  Ignore Errors
    This will disable the error tracing normally done when loading a
    stream.  This is handy if you broken or weird stream that you still want
    to try and load, but you don't want to get spammed by all the diagnostic

VOB Files
Since DVD VOB files are MPEG2, you can use gopchop to pull scenes.  
HOWEVER, gopchop is not a DVD-authentication tool.  I might go look at 
libdvdread, but I require an mmap-able file interface (like, say, a direct 
filesystem "open" call).  If you have unencrypted DVDs, or can get the 
unencrypted VOB somewhere to use "open" on it, gopchop should have no 
problems with it.

What to expect during MPEG2 loading
Please keep an eye on your standard error output.  If you have a file that
gopchop doesn't like, you'll hear about it during load on stderr.  If you
want to have gopchop ignore all errors during a load, just check the
"Ignore Errors" option in the "Preferences" window.  This is handy for some
formats that have repeating harmless errors.

Usually, when gopchop loads an MPEG2, there will be some "errors" near the 
end of the file.  These errors can generally be ignored.  They have to do 
with how your MPEG2 was created, and expected packet information or 
end-of-file codes might be missing.  That's perfectly okay.

I didn't implement parsing for every MPEG2 System packet header out there.  
It's in my TODO list to do it, but you might not be able to load some 
MPEG2s.  The error will say something about "Need to write a parsing 
routine".  Email me if you run into this, and I can get it finished up for 

If you have an MPEG2-PS file that doesn't have GOPs correctly built, you may
need to remultiplex your MPEG2-PS file first.  I recommend using "mplex" from
the siemens DVB tools:

If your MPEG2-PS file doesn't map single Packs to each Frame, gopchop may
also get freaky.  If your MPEG2-PS file doesn't start GOPs on video packet
boundries, you may see artifacts at the split-points.  If you see the warning
"Whoa: I-Frame number X seen in the same GOP!?" this is probably the cause.

At present, gopchop is not very memory efficient or fast (I was trying to
get it to just _work_ first).  It will allocate about 10% of the MPEG2-PS
file's size in memory.  For example, if you have a 1GB MPEG2-PS file, expect
that gopchop will end up allocating about 100MB of memory to load it.

How it works
I scan the MPEG2 for a full list of System packets, then examine the
Program Element Stream packets they contain.  In the video PES, I look for
GOP headers (and Picture headers).  Each GOP is then mapped back to the
System packets that contain it (a full GOP can span multiple VES packets,
and multiple System packets).  When a GOP is saved to a new file, the
entire System packet list for that GOP is written as a byte-for-byte copy
from the source MPEG2. In theory, this will take any audio streams along
for the ride.  So far, so good.  :)

In the "Info" box, the "Offset" column shows the system packet offset
(for GOPs) and the video packet offset (for Pictures).  The "Bytes"
column lists the bytes contained by all the system packets (for the GOP),
and all the video packets in a Picture.  You'll notice that the Offset
plus the Bytes don't add up to the next Picture's Offset.  This is because
there is stuff between the video packets.  :)  The GOP "Bytes" and "Offset",
however, should add up to the next GOP's "Offset" value.

The settings under the "Preferences" window are automatically saved to
".gopchop/options" in your home directory.

libmpeg2 (and libvo) sometimes just up and segfault when they bring up a
window.  In porting to libmpeg2 0.4.0, I haven't seen this problem any
more.  Hopefully it's gone.  If it's not, let me know, and I'll continue
to try to isolate it.  (Actually, now I see it again at the end of some
weirder streams.)

Some audio streams don't take kindly to be chopped like this.  However, 
they usually have CRC to detect problems.  For example, when I snipped
together some scenes from a DVD, and then played it back with "MPlayer",
the AC3 audio stream reported CRC errors and gracefully dropped the garbled 
packet.  As for the playback, I didn't notice it at all.

gopchop assumes that all GOPs will appear in the first video PES packet of 
a System packet.  Technically, this might not be true, but in practice, 
this seems to happen.  As a result, gopchop could fail to load some 
"unusual" MPEG2 files.  If you have some examples, please email me, and 
maybe I can fix my code.  :)  (BTW: I've found a snippet of a DVD I have
that does this, so I'm working to make things saner now...)  Generally,
gopchop works best with hardware encoder streams, rather than software
generated streams.

Since gopchop doesn't alter the stream it writes back to disk, things like
time-stamps are really bizarre.  In players like MPlayer, you'll see the
time-stamp during playing jump forward at each splice point.  In fact,
this seriously breaks some players, and I'm hoping to figure out how to
get around it.  I've taken a quick look at "gop-fixup" by Mark Rages, and
I'm hoping to generalize his code and add it to gopchop.  For more info:

The "correct" way to edit MPEG2-PS files is to just set the "broken" flag
in the GOP, and the decoder will throw away the B-frames following the
I-frame in an open GOP.  However, it seems that at least libmpeg2 doesn't
honor the "broken" flag, and I bet other decoders don't too.  Therefore,
I've done BOTH: I've set the "broken" flag, AND removed the B-Frames.
I'm worried that this will break time sync, but it's the only way to
stop from having decoding artifacts due to the B-frames in the open GOP
referring to some previous P-Frame that doesn't exist any more.  If you
want to NOT drop these orphaned B-frames, uncheck the "Drop Orphaned
Frames" checkbox in the "Preferences" window.

During video display, the aspect ratio is ignored in everything except
the "Xv" drivers.  Doing software resizing for the other drivers is pretty
low on my list of things to fix since gopchop isn't technically a viewer.  :)

Special Features
If you're really bold, you can try the --pipe command to hook your up
a different viewer instead of the internal drivers.  I've only played
with "mplayer" doing this, and it does a pretty good job.  Nasty A/V sync
problems appear if you try to skip around with gopchop's "auto-refresh"
still selected, so try it without that option.

Acknowledgements (also see the "AUTHORS" file)
Kirsten for not kicking me out of the house while I hacked the first version
of this together for a week straight.  :)

Paul for having lots and lots of commercials to edit out of huge KFir MPEG2s.

Various people from the KFir MPEG2 list ( for guiding me
towards this program's basic design and helping to stomp bugs, especially:
	Warren Young (
	Marcus Metzler (
	Bram Stolk (

Brian ( for being so patient with my broken builds.  :)

My fantastic "beta testers" who didn't know they were getting into beta
testing until it was too late:
	Chris Chiappa 		(TiVo Extraction)
	Stuart L. Morris 		(TS-to-PS)
	Wolfgang Goeller 

libmpeg2 and libvo authors:
 * Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Michel Lespinasse 
 * Copyright (C) 1999-2000 Aaron Holtzman 

David Philippi for pointing out some ugly buffer strategies I was using.

Tomi Ollila for pointing out a problem with how I used libmpeg2's states,
	the lack of proper fseek/fseeko usage, and some example MPEG2-PS

Tom Pfeifer, Ivo Koethnig, Klaus Brandl, and others for great example
	MPEG2-PS files that I've used to test parsing and crashing.

Bryce Harrington for reorganizing the project, building the new website,
	and showing me how bring life back to the GOPchop community.

Tony Mancill for hunting down a 3 year old Xv bug that was crashing everyone.

Random Stuff
There are two cool utilities included in this package.

One is called "mpegcat" and has lots of options.  It's basically been my
tool for testing ideas for a new file parsing routine.  You can also extract
streams with it.

The other is called "gtkspu" and is used to display SPU bitmaps (DVD subtitles,
menus, etc).  It's really a quicky program, but it works for what I basically
wanted it to do: show me what a given SPU stream had in it.

See the "ABOUT-NLS" file for "gettext" details.  To create another 
translation template, go into the "po" directory, and type:

  msginit -i gopchop.pot -o CODE.po

where "CODE" is the expected lang code.  To update an existing .po file
from a changed template, type:

  msgmerge -U CODE.po gopchop.pot

To test your language, gopchop must be installed (so NLS libs can find
the translation files), and you'll need to specify a "full" locale:

  LANG=fr_CA gopchop

Kees Cook (

Thanks to: