Pure python Matroska / EBML parser
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README.md
__init__.py
atomic.py
container.py
data_elements.py
element.py
header.py
parsed.py
sortedlist.py
specdata.xml
tagdata.py
tags.py
utility.py

README.md

python-ebml

Module to parse a Matroska EBML file.

This module is not packaged for public distribution. The code is well-documented and usable, however, so I decided to make it available in its current state in case anyone finds it useful. If you are interested in making an honest package out of this code, contact me and I can help maintain it. Or if you prefer, just clone the repository and do all the work yourself.

Overview

An EBML file is a sequence of EBML Elements, one after another. An Element consists of a two-part header encoding the Element ID and its data size, followed by that many bytes of data. The Matroska specification defines some number of EBML IDs, which can be found in a Matroska project file called specdata.xml. Each defined ID has a human-readable name, e.g. 'Segment'. The semantics of the data depend on the Element type. EBML defines the following primitive Element types:

  • Master: the data is a sequence of child Elements.
  • Unsigned, Signed: the data is an integer in big-endian form.
  • String, Unicode: the data is a string encoded in ascii or utf-8.
  • Float: the data is a 4-byte or 8-byte floating point number.
  • Date: the data is an 8-byte signed integer representing the number of nanoseconds since the Matroska epoch.
  • Binary: the data is opaque.

The Matroska EBML Element specifications are stored in a special-purpose dictionary called MATROSKA_TAGS which is used to create Elements of the appropriate class when reading them from a stream. This module defines the following classes for reading, storing, editing, and writing the data in a Matroska file.

  • Header: stores and manipulates the Element header.
  • Container: stores child Elements. This is subclassed by ElementMaster and File. As File is not an Element (it has no header) neither is Container.
  • File: facilitates reading and writing Elements from a stream.
  • Element: base class for all EBML Elements.

Immediate subclasses of Element:

  • ElementMaster: Inherits both Element and Container.
  • ElementAtomic: Base class for all kinds of Elements that actually know how to interpret their data. Subclassed by ElementUnsigned, ElementUnicode, etc.
  • ElementVoid: Element that ignores its data on read and writes undefined values.
  • ElementUnsupported: An element this module does not support. It cannot be resized or written.

This module provides the Parsed descriptor, which is a convenience class that allows Master Elements to read and write the data in child Elements using attributes. For instance, the ElementInfo class has the segment_uid attribute; if info is an instance of ElementInfo then info.segment_uid reads and writes the value of its child SegmentUID. If no such child exists, reading info.segment_uid returns a default value, and setting it creates the child. This is much easier to use than, say,

uid_elements = list(info.children_named('SegmentUID'))
if uid_elements:
    return uid_elements[-1].value
else
    return default_value

The ElementSegment class takes advantage of Parsed descriptors to give easy access to the segment metadata. Classes using this facility: ElementEBML, ElementSegment, ElementSeek, ElementInfo, ElementTrackEntry, ElementVideo, ElementAudio, ElementAttachedFile, etc.

Reading

The Container.read() method reads a list of children. It calls Container.read_element() for each child, which checks if the Element is already loaded; if so, it returns that Element, and otherwise it reads the header and creates the appropriate Element instance. It then calls Element.read_data(), which for Master Elements will recursively call Container.read(), and for Atomic Elements will read, decode, and store its data. A Void Element will skip over its data.

The Container.read() method supports a summary option, which causes it to call Element.read_summary() instead of read_data(). The purpose of summary mode is for large master Elements to read their metadata without reading the entire Element, which may not even fit in memory. Currently the Elements implementing read_summary() are ElementMasterDefer and ElementSegment. The former simply skips reading its children in summary mode, and the latter intelligently finds its metadata using SeekHead entries without reading its Cluster entries, which generally comprise over 99% of the file. For the other Elements, read_summary() simply calls read_data().

An Element stores its state of loadedness in the read_state attribute. Container.read_element() will in fact read a partially loaded Element when not in summary mode.

File implements the read_summary() method, which calls read_summary() on each top-level child. By default, the constructor of File runs read_summary().

Writing

This module supports in-place modification of Matroska EBML files. In theory it supports creating such files from scratch, except that it has no facility for creating EBML Header elements (beyond doing so "by hand") or for writing elements incrementally (so any data to be written must be stored in memory). The system for in-place modifications is described here.

When modifying potentially very large EBML files, it is important only to write the elements that have actually changed. The following are the ways in which an Element may differ from its state in a stream:

  1. Its position in the stream can be changed.
  2. It can be resized.
  3. Its value can be changed.
  4. Child elements can be added, deleted, or moved.
  5. It can be created programatically.

The Element.dirty property is True if any of the above conditions holds. It is calculated as follows. An Element stores the position in the stream at which it was read along with its original size, so that it knows if either has changed. An ElementAtomic also stores its original value (or a way of recognizing its original value). An ElementMaster recursively checks if any of its children is dirty. An element not read from a stream has no stored position or size, so it is always dirty.

The Container.write() method writes its children to a stream. It only writes children for which the dirty property is True. For each such child it calls the Element's write() method. Master elements will recursively call the container's write() method, and Atomic elements will encode and write their data. A Void Element just seeks the stream. An Atomic Element which is not dirty should reproduce the byte stream used to read it when write() is called. Performing modifications may place a Container (e.g. a Master element) in an inconsistent state. For example, a child element might grow, so that its data overlaps the beginning of the next element, or a child might be deleted, which leaves empty space. A Container's state is said to be consistent if the following hold:

  1. The first element starts at relative position zero.
  2. Element i+1 starts immediately after element i ends.
  3. The container's children are allowed children by the Matroska specification.
  4. Required children (as defined by the Matroska specification) are present.
  5. Children that are required to be unique by the Matroska specification are in fact unique.
  6. Every child container is consistent.
  7. The values of non-container children are consistent with the Matroksa specification (e.g. are contained in a specified range of values).

If a Container is an Element, it must satisfy the following properties in addition: 8. The end of the last child coincides with the end of the Element's data. 9. Its parent is not None.

A Container will generally refuse to write its contents to disk if it is in an inconsistent state. To facilitate putting the Container in a consistent state, it provides the rearrange() method, which should be called before write(). This method rearranges the Container's children, potentially shrinking and moving them, so that there are no overlaps, recursively calling rearrange() on each Master child. It deletes and creates Void elements as necessary, and supports several options for controlling its behavior. The Container may be in an inconsistent state after calling rearrange() if its contents violate the Matroska specification in some way (e.g. if it has an impermissible child).

The Segment Element has a more intelligent normalize() method. It generates a SeekHead element at the beginning of the file with links to its children. It tries to move the more important children before the Clusters, and moves the rest to the end of the file. Its requirements for consistency are also a bit more specific than the ones outlined above.

Viewing

Each Element implements __repr__() and __str__(). The former returns the class name and some size information, whereas the latter also includes some information about the contents of the Element. The return value of each should fit on one line.

Element instances also implement the summary() method, which returns a summary of the Element contents. By default, summary() returns the output of __str__(). The output may span multiple lines, although it is not terminated by a newline. Container instances implement two additional methods, print_children() and print_space(). The former recursively runs __str__() on all child Elements (up to a specified recursion depth) and concatenates them with indentation in a newline-terminated string. The latter returns a newline-terminated table summarizing which child (and descendent) elements occupy which blocks of space.

Example

Load a Matroska file:

from ebml.container import File
ebml_file = File('The_Blues_Brothers.mkv')

Output:

INFO:ebml.container:Read summary in 0.084 seconds
print(ebml_file.summary())

Output:

File: stream=<_io.BufferedReader name='The_Blues_Brothers.mkv'>, size=27147770837, 2 children
ElementSegment Segment (12+27147770785 @40): 11 children
    Segment UID: CE:C4:57:4C:E0:1E:AD:7C:14:D7:2C:84:44:B4:8E:50
    Title:       'The Blues Brothers'
    Duration:    8866.94 seconds
    Time scale:  1000000 nanoseconds
    Muxing app:  'libmakemkv v1.8.9 (1.3.0/1.4.1) x86_64-linux-gnu'
    Writing app: 'MakeMKV v1.8.9 linux(x64-release)'
    Seek entries:
        Chapters:     1907
        Cues:         27147145828
        Info:         2944
        Tags:         27147331697
        Attachments:  27147336885
        Tracks:       1292
    Attachments:
        ElementAttachedFile: 'myth_metadata.xml' (application/xml), 21232 bytes: 'Master XML metadata'
            UID: 34:4B:C9:07:67:3D:6B:E5
        ElementAttachedFile: 'cover.jpg' (image/jpeg), 200376 bytes: 'Cover image'
            UID: 7C:F7:FC:C9:FF:1F:F1:AD
        ElementAttachedFile: 'fanart.jpg' (image/jpeg), 212080 bytes: 'Fan art image'
            UID: E9:EF:E2:31:8C:12:E3:49
    Tracks:
        ElementTrackEntry: video lang=eng codec=V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC num=1 uid=1
            Flags: enabled default !forced !lacing
            ElementVideo: dims=1920x1080, display=1920x1080, aspect='free resizing'
                Stereo:     mono
                Interlaced: False
        ElementTrackEntry: audio lang=eng codec=A_DTS num=2 uid=2: 'Surround 5.1'
            Flags: enabled default !forced lacing
            ElementAudio: channels=6 sampling=48k
        ElementTrackEntry: audio lang=fra codec=A_DTS num=3 uid=3: 'Stereo'
            Flags: enabled !default !forced lacing
            ElementAudio: channels=2 sampling=48k
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=eng codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=4 uid=4
            Flags: enabled default !forced !lacing
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=spa codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=6 uid=6
            Flags: enabled !default !forced !lacing
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=fra codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=8 uid=8
            Flags: enabled !default !forced !lacing
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=fra codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=10 uid=10
            Flags: enabled !default forced !lacing
    Tags:
        ElementTag: MOVIE (50), 67 tags
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'TITLE' => 'The Blues Brothers'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'DIRECTOR' => 'John Landis'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'GENRE' => 'Comedy'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'ACTOR' => 'Dan Aykroyd'
                ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'CHARACTER' => 'Elwood Blues (as Elwood)'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'ACTOR' => 'John Belushi'
                ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'CHARACTER' => "'Joliet' Jake Blues (as Jake)"
            ...

Get the main segment of the file:

segment = next(ebml_file.children_named('Segment'))
segment

Output (__repr__() version):

<ElementSegment [18:53:80:67] 'Segment' size=12+27147770785 @40>
str(segment)

output (__str__() version):

'ElementSegment Segment (12+27147770785 @40): 11 children'

Add an attached file with the Segment.add_attachment() convenience function.

with open('banner.jpg', 'rb') as f:
    banner_contents = f.read()
attachment = segment.add_attachment('banner.jpg', 'image/jpeg', 'Banner image')
attachment.file_data = banner_contents
attachment.summary()

Output:

"ElementAttachedFile: 'banner.jpg' (image/jpeg), 104464 bytes: 'Banner image'\n    UID: 07:10:12:34:11:A3:F1:43"
print(ebml_file.summary())

Output (note that it lists the new attachment):

File: stream=<_io.BufferedReader name='The_Blues_Brothers.mkv'>, size=27147770837, 2 children
ElementSegment Segment (12+27147770785 @40): 11 children
    Segment UID: CE:C4:57:4C:E0:1E:AD:7C:14:D7:2C:84:44:B4:8E:50
    Title:       'The Blues Brothers'
    Duration:    8866.94 seconds
    Time scale:  1000000 nanoseconds
    Muxing app:  'libmakemkv v1.8.9 (1.3.0/1.4.1) x86_64-linux-gnu'
    Writing app: 'MakeMKV v1.8.9 linux(x64-release)'
    Seek entries:
        Chapters:     1907
        Cues:         27147145828
        Info:         2944
        Tags:         27147331697
        Attachments:  27147336885
        Tracks:       1292
    Attachments:
        ElementAttachedFile: 'myth_metadata.xml' (application/xml), 21232 bytes: 'Master XML metadata'
            UID: 34:4B:C9:07:67:3D:6B:E5
        ElementAttachedFile: 'cover.jpg' (image/jpeg), 200376 bytes: 'Cover image'
            UID: 7C:F7:FC:C9:FF:1F:F1:AD
        ElementAttachedFile: 'fanart.jpg' (image/jpeg), 212080 bytes: 'Fan art image'
            UID: E9:EF:E2:31:8C:12:E3:49
        ElementAttachedFile: 'banner.jpg' (image/jpeg), 104464 bytes: 'Banner image'
            UID: 07:10:12:34:11:A3:F1:43
    Tracks:
        ElementTrackEntry: video lang=eng codec=V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC num=1 uid=1
            Flags: enabled default !forced !lacing
            ElementVideo: dims=1920x1080, display=1920x1080, aspect='free resizing'
                Stereo:     mono
                Interlaced: False
        ElementTrackEntry: audio lang=eng codec=A_DTS num=2 uid=2: 'Surround 5.1'
            Flags: enabled default !forced lacing
            ElementAudio: channels=6 sampling=48k
        ElementTrackEntry: audio lang=fra codec=A_DTS num=3 uid=3: 'Stereo'
            Flags: enabled !default !forced lacing
            ElementAudio: channels=2 sampling=48k
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=eng codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=4 uid=4
            Flags: enabled default !forced !lacing
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=spa codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=6 uid=6
            Flags: enabled !default !forced !lacing
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=fra codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=8 uid=8
            Flags: enabled !default !forced !lacing
        ElementTrackEntry: subtitle lang=fra codec=S_HDMV/PGS num=10 uid=10
            Flags: enabled !default forced !lacing
    Tags:
        ElementTag: MOVIE (50), 67 tags
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'TITLE' => 'The Blues Brothers'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'DIRECTOR' => 'John Landis'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'GENRE' => 'Comedy'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'ACTOR' => 'Dan Aykroyd'
                ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'CHARACTER' => 'Elwood Blues (as Elwood)'
            ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'ACTOR' => 'John Belushi'
                ElementSimpleTag lang=eng def=True: 'CHARACTER' => "'Joliet' Jake Blues (as Jake)"
            ...

Where did the attachment go? Here's how the segment tracks its space:

print(segment.print_space())

Output:

1> 0          --131         | 0          --131         |         131 bytes: [ 0] SeekHead
1> 131        --1292        | 131        --1292        |        1161 bytes: [ 1] Void
1> 1292       --1877        | 1292       --1877        |         585 bytes: [ 2] Tracks
1> 1877       --1907        | 1877       --1907        |          30 bytes: [ 3] Void
1> 1907       --2944        | 1907       --2944        |        1037 bytes: [ 4] Chapters
1> 2944       --3102        | 2944       --3102        |         158 bytes: [ 5] Info
1> 3102       --3968        | 3102       --3968        |         866 bytes: [ 6] Void
1> 3968       --27147145828 | 3968       --27147145828 | 27147141860 bytes: ***NO CHILD***
1> 27147145828--27147331697 | 27147145828--27147331697 |      185869 bytes: [ 7] Cues
1> 27147331697--27147336787 | 27147331697--27147336787 |        5090 bytes: [ 8] Tags
1> 27147336787--27147336885 | 27147336787--27147336885 |          98 bytes: [ 9] Void
1> 27147336885--27147770785 | 27147336885--27147770785 |      433900 bytes: [10] Attachments

As far as the segment knows, it's still in a consistent state, because attachments are actually grandchildren of the Segment.

attachments = next(segment.children_named('Attachments'))
print(attachments.print_space())

Output: you can see that it still only has 6 bytes allocated to the new attached file.

1> 0          --21313       | 0          --21313       |       21313 bytes: [ 0] AttachedFile
1> 21313      --221749      | 21313      --221749      |      200436 bytes: [ 1] AttachedFile
1> 221749     --433893      | 221749     --433893      |      212144 bytes: [ 2] AttachedFile
1> 433893     --433899      | 433893     --433899      |           6 bytes: [ 3] AttachedFile
1> 433893     --433899      | 433893     --433899      |           6 bytes: ***OVERFLOW***

The call to segment.normalize() is the most intellegent, catch-all method for recursively rearranging an mkv file without moving Cues or Clusters (i.e. the parts that take up 99% of the file). Of course, in this case it doesn't have to work very hard since the attachments are already at the end of the file.

segment.normalize()
print(segment.print_space())

Output: note that Attachments has grown.

1> 0          --131         | 0          --131         |         131 bytes: [ 0] SeekHead
1> 131        --1292        | 131        --1292        |        1161 bytes: [ 1] Void
1> 1292       --1877        | 1292       --1877        |         585 bytes: [ 2] Tracks
1> 1877       --1907        | 1877       --1907        |          30 bytes: [ 3] Void
1> 1907       --2944        | 1907       --2944        |        1037 bytes: [ 4] Chapters
1> 2944       --3102        | 2944       --3102        |         158 bytes: [ 5] Info
1> 3102       --3968        | 3102       --3968        |         866 bytes: [ 6] Void
1> 3968       --27147145828 | 3968       --27147145828 | 27147141860 bytes: ***NO CHILD***
1> 27147145828--27147331697 | 27147145828--27147331697 |      185869 bytes: [ 7] Cues
1> 27147331697--27147336787 | 27147331697--27147336787 |        5090 bytes: [ 8] Tags
1> 27147336787--27147336885 | 27147336787--27147336885 |          98 bytes: [ 9] Void
1> 27147336885--27147875312 | 27147336885--27147875312 |      538427 bytes: [10] Attachments
print(attachments.print_space())

Output: now there's enough space for the attached file.

1> 0          --21313       | 0          --21313       |       21313 bytes: [ 0] AttachedFile
1> 21313      --221749      | 21313      --221749      |      200436 bytes: [ 1] AttachedFile
1> 221749     --433893      | 221749     --433893      |      212144 bytes: [ 2] AttachedFile
1> 433893     --538420      | 433893     --538420      |      104527 bytes: [ 3] AttachedFile

Save the changes to the file:

with open('/dev/null', 'wb') as f:
    ebml_file.save_changes(f)