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Old October 20th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #1
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Why does DVD Architect want to recompress everything?

I'm trying to put together a Blu-ray with DVD Architect 5.
I rendered out a short test video and audio file (both have identical file names).

The video was rendered with Main Concept AVC, Max Bitrate 38 MBit, Avg Bitrate 32 MBit.
If I go to Optimize Disc, it says in order to avoid recompression I need to "use a compliant MPEG-2 video file". I've set the project to AVC, and the recompression settings also say AVC, so what's that all about?

I rendered the audio file from Vegas as an AC3 Studio file .ac3.
Same thing, DVD Architect wants to recompress the audio, and to avoid recompression I need to "use a compliant PCM wave or an AC-3 audio file". Well I've got an AC-3 audio file, so what the hell?
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Old October 20th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #2
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I don't know anything about DVD Architect, but one thing jumps out at me. It is asking you for a compliant MPEG2 file and you keep giving it AVC. AVC isn't MPEG2, it's MPEG4, also known as h.264. Both the format and codec are different.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 09:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Gotzinger View Post
I'm trying to put together a Blu-ray with DVD Architect 5.
I rendered out a short test video and audio file (both have identical file names).

The video was rendered with Main Concept AVC, Max Bitrate 38 MBit, Avg Bitrate 32 MBit.
If I go to Optimize Disc, it says in order to avoid recompression I need to "use a compliant MPEG-2 video file". I've set the project to AVC, and the recompression settings also say AVC, so what's that all about?

I rendered the audio file from Vegas as an AC3 Studio file .ac3.
Same thing, DVD Architect wants to recompress the audio, and to avoid recompression I need to "use a compliant PCM wave or an AC-3 audio file". Well I've got an AC-3 audio file, so what the hell?
You have a couple of choices.

You cannot just use any old AVCHD file to burn to BluRay. It has to be in a specific format, just like Mpeg2 files being prepped for DVD burning. So, instead of using Mainconcept's encoder, choose the Sony AVC encoder, and choose one of the bre-built templates.

Or, you can use the Mainconcept Mpeg2 encoder and choose one of the BluRay templates. Either will work just fine in DVD Architect, and you won't have to recompress. But you cannot burn a high bitrate AVCHD BluRay from Vegas or from any other home burning application that I know of.

The audio does want to recompress for some reason. Not sure why.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 05:09 AM   #4
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So, instead of using Mainconcept's encoder, choose the Sony AVC encoder, and choose one of the bre-built templates.
Well, that's a problem. Sony AVC crashes Vegas every time I try to render. Ever other codec works flawlessly :/

Now, I really didn't want to use MPEG2, is the maximum bitrate 48 MBit/sec? I have a feeling this will not suffice for the grainy material I need to encode but I guess I can try.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 11:32 PM   #5
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It's been a while since I used DVDA5, but as I recall, I was able to have it not re-encode the 5.1 audio by rendering out the audio in Vegas separately. Then when the movie file with audio was imported into DVDA5, I would point the selection of the audio track over to the separate audio file. It would thereafter smart render it without re-encoding.

I also found through trial and error, that the DVDA5 AVC video rendering although painfully slow and with not too many parameters to choose from, actually rendered with incredible quality, better than the encoders in Vegas, either the Mainconcept or Sony AVC. Although it is slow, and not too many adjustable parameters, there is one parameter that it does give you control over, the bit rate! It lets you choose whatever rate you want! I eventually settled for 18mbps, which meant AVCHD disks could play from regular DVD media in quite a few standalone blu-ray players.

With the Sony EX1 generated .mxf files, Vegas will smart render these very quickly, thus a blu-ray authored disk would go through only one re-encode, from mxf to AVC, by DVDA5. The quality of those disks were very high.

This was the best quality AVCHD method, better than mpeg-2, and better quality than the faster but poor quality low bitrate encoders in Vegas, (Mainconcept and Sony AVC).

Hope that helps. It's slow, but if you have the time for quality renders, it's better.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 05:53 AM   #6
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Tom,
thanks for the input. I think DVD Architect uses Sony AVC as well, but maybe it's a newer implementation?

Either way, I did a test render yesterday with MPEG-2 and 39 Mbit/sec constant video bit rate, and the results look great. And what's more, DVD Architect does not want to recompress, woohoo! At 39 MBit, the film will fit on a 25GB Blu-ray and fill it out almost all the way.

Even the audio works without recompression now. I had split it up into a separate .ac3 file before as well, so I'm not sure why it works now. But it does, so that's great.

The only problem that remains as of now are the black and white levels. As suggested in the other thread I started, I kept everything within 0 and 100 IRE. But once the video is rendered and played back, I get washed out colors with no proper white and black. Mainconcept MPEG-2 was set to 709.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 10:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris Gotzinger
I think DVD Architect uses Sony AVC as well, but maybe it's a newer implementation?
It seems to be a 'different' implementation. I don't believe you can choose 18mbps AVC with the Sony AVC encoder in Vegas (as I recall), at the least it won't smart render in DVDA5 at anything other than the template settings.

And yes, 39mbps mpeg-2 is going to look great on 25GB Blu-ray media for sure, but 18mbps AVC (from DVDA5 encodes) is about nearly as good, a lot more efficient, and you can put it on AVCHD (regular DVD blank media) and because of the low bit rate plays back on a lot of Blu-ray standalones, with full menu functionality, 24p, chapters etc.

For proof of concept, I actually just use TSMuxer and AVCHD-ME to put native .mxf onto a USB flash drive, or DVDA5 and AVCHD-Patcher to play from a PS3 with full menus, even 24p playback, from a USB flashdrive. It's so much faster than burning rewritable BD for small projects, and at any bitrate you want from the flash drive. The native .mxf plays back at 30-40 mbps VBR on the PS3. That's just another subject, there are so many playback options now, but unless it is required due to project size, the one I avoid is BD media due to expense and slow burns.
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Old November 26th, 2009, 09:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris Gotzinger View Post
The only problem that remains as of now are the black and white levels. As suggested in the other thread I started, I kept everything within 0 and 100 IRE. But once the video is rendered and played back, I get washed out colors with no proper white and black. Mainconcept MPEG-2 was set to 709.
I see this with Adobe Encore when I have tested its encoding engine.

Flat colors with a milky grey look.

When I use files encoded from Edius, the blacks are correct.

I think Encore uses Mainconcept as well. Maybe there is a setting somewhere to change?
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Old November 30th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chris Gotzinger View Post
I'm trying to put together a Blu-ray with DVD Architect 5.
I rendered out a short test video and audio file (both have identical file names).

The video was rendered with Main Concept AVC, Max Bitrate 38 MBit, Avg Bitrate 32 MBit.
If I go to Optimize Disc, it says in order to avoid recompression I need to "use a compliant MPEG-2 video file". I've set the project to AVC, and the recompression settings also say AVC, so what's that all about?

I rendered the audio file from Vegas as an AC3 Studio file .ac3.
Same thing, DVD Architect wants to recompress the audio, and to avoid recompression I need to "use a compliant PCM wave or an AC-3 audio file". Well I've got an AC-3 audio file, so what the hell?
For the former, I discovered that the MainConcept AVC files as rendered in Sony Vegas will never be compliant with the DVD Architect Pro's AVC protocol regardless of the resolution and bitrate. As such, you ended up transcoding those files to MPEG2 in Vegas before you authored the disc. Otherwise, if you had allowed DVD Architect to recompress the Vegas-processed MainConcept AVC file, you would've found that it could take up to 20 to 30 minutes just to recompress a 1-minute clip. For files imported from Vegas, the only types of AVC videos that are compliant with the DVD Architect AVC engine are those files which had been rendered using the Sony AVC encoder to AVCHD files which are of only 1440x1080 interlaced (50i or 60i) resolution with a 1.3333 anamorphic pixel aspect ratio (1920x1080 AVCHD files are not compliant when rendered in Vegas). If you want to author high-bitrate, full 1920x1080-resolution AVC files onto Blu-Ray using DVD Architect Pro, you will need to use a non-Sony video editing product to render the AVC video in order to avoid recompression.

In addition, if your target Blu-Ray disk size is less than 25GB and the overall bitrate of your imported AVCHD video clips is higher than 18 Mbps (or the overall bitrate of an imported MPEG2 video clip is higher than 28 Mbps), the video will be recompressed.

For the second, the AC3 Studio encoder makes AC-3 files that are compliant only when used in a standard-definition (720x480i60 or 720x576i50) DVD (not Blu-Ray) project. These files are not Blu-Ray compliant, and thus require recompression. (After all, AC-3 files made using the AC3 Studio encoder are intended for use in DVD Architect Studio, whose most recent release still supports only standard-definition authoring.) You will need to use the AC3 Pro encoder in order to make a Blu-Ray compliant AC-3 audio file for use in DVD Architect Pro. Otherwise, if your copy of Vegas Pro is still in the trial period, and you need to make Blu-Ray compliant audio, you will need to render the audio from the original video clip(s) to Linear PCM files (using the Sony Wave64/.w64 format) in Vegas before importing them into DVD Architect Pro since you cannot use the AC3 Pro encoder without paying for and activating your copy of Vegas Pro.

Last edited by Randall Leong; November 30th, 2009 at 01:07 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:23 AM   #10
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In addition, if your target Blu-Ray disk size is less than 25GB and the overall bitrate of your imported AVCHD video clips is higher than 18 Mbps (or the overall bitrate of an imported MPEG2 video clip is higher than 28 Mbps), the video will be recompressed.
It's quite the coincidence that you wrote this post yesterday. Because today I tried to create a Blu-ray project for test reasons (just to make sure my workflow is correct).

And even though "Optimize Disc" tells me that my 39 Mbit MPEG2 files do not need recompression, when I try to make a Blu-ray disc, the software tells me that the bit rate is above 28 Mbit and thus too high.

I'm so p*ssed off about this POS software now. Blu-ray specs clearly allow bit rates up to 40 Mbit for the video stream. There are plenty of commercial Blu-ray MPEG2 discs with constant video bit rates of 40 Mbit. Sony is the fricking inventor of Blu-ray and their authoring program can't handle high bitrate content?

It's so ridiculous, I finally found a way to stop DVD Author from wanting to recompress. And when I try to make the disc it tells me it wants to recompress. WTF, this is so ridiculous.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 08:00 AM   #11
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Chris,

There is only so much available for consumers to write the BluRays. The REAL software that has access to the full specs costs a LOT of money. Both Sony's and Sonics Pro level authoring programs are around US$16,000.

So while its frustrating, it's livable.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chris Gotzinger View Post
I'm so p*ssed off about this POS software now. Blu-ray specs clearly allow bit rates up to 40 Mbit for the video stream. There are plenty of commercial Blu-ray MPEG2 discs with constant video bit rates of 40 Mbit. Sony is the fricking inventor of Blu-ray and their authoring program can't handle high bitrate content?
Actually, Sony did not originate the Vegas program suite. Sony acquired the software through its purchase of Sonic Foundry's media software division back in 2003. As such, the Blu-Ray support in Vegas and DVD Architect Pro is rather half-baked (though still better than that of many other software authoring suites in its price range, which always recompress HD video no matter what).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Gotzinger View Post
And even though "Optimize Disc" tells me that my 39 Mbit MPEG2 files do not need recompression, when I try to make a Blu-ray disc, the software tells me that the bit rate is above 28 Mbit and thus too high.
That's a bit strange. I get a similar warning--but it specifies that the bitrate ceiling mainly applies if I'm using a red-laser disc (recordable or rewritable DVD). This means that recompression is recommended, but is forced upon if I specify a disc capacity of 8.5 GB or 4.7 GB in the Blu-Ray project properties. (The available disc sizes for Blu-Ray projects in DVD Architect Pro are 50 GB, 25 GB, 8.5 GB and 4.7 GB.)
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:36 PM   #13
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@Perrone:
But that's the funny thing about it. I don't need anything fancy, with BD-J and whatnot. I don't even need menus. But I DO NEED good image quality.
There is simply no reason for them to cripple the bit rate. I'm never gonna buy a $16,000 product.

@Randall:
Pretty sure I was set to 25GB, I'll have to re-check.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:48 PM   #14
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Okay, I checked again.

The warning reads:
"The overall bit rate for "video1" is greater than 28 Mbps. The overall bit rate is too high for burning Blu-ray onto a DVD."

It does sound a bit strange, but right below it leaves no question as to what media type I've selected:
"Estimated project size: 1923 MB (8.0% of 25,000 GB media)"

And I cannot click NEXT or FINISH because they're greyed out.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 06:22 PM   #15
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Chris, if as you said you don't need menus, use TSMuxer. It's free. Maybe you can't afford the price?

And if you do need menus, use multiAVCHD. It's also free.

Both programs will accept your bit rates, even if they are non-compliant.

I have never seen 40 mbps CBR mpeg encodes on commercial disks, they are always variable, but I suppose it's possible.

If you let DVDA encode to AVC at the combined 28 mbps average bit rate, you will see it spike to 40 mbps which is the max for Blu-ray. The DVDA AVC encoder is VBR and does a good job, much better than any of the AVC encoders in Vegas. (and slower). And I think you should be mindful that not all Blu-ray players read BD-R/RE disks at the same bit rate as a commercial Blu-ray ROM.

The DVDA AVC encoder is very good. DVDA will also accept compliant 5.1 audio from the Sony Pro encoder in Vegas. DVDA also accepts compliant 25 mbps mpeg-2 video Vegas if you rendered to the Blu-ray template settings without deviating from the default parameters.

Render the video and audio separately, even if your mpeg-2 video contains audio, you can redirect it to the other audio 5.1 elementary stream from Vegas Pro AC3 encoder that you encoded separately.

I've been through all of this with Vegas and DVDA. Everybody makes the same mistakes, trying to render something from Vegas that deviates from the Blu-ray template, then b!tches when DVDA insists on recompressing it. The better option (if you are going to use DVDA at all) is to have Vegas keep the video in the native format (no recompression), then let DVDA render it out to AVC, only one recompression that way. I agree, you don't want to recompress twice, once in Vegas and again in DVDA. But unless you strictly render the video from Vegas using the unmodified Main Concept mpeg-2 Blu-ray template parameters, that's exactly what will happen when it gets to DVDA, recompression.

Or, just don't use DVDA, use TSMuxer and or multiAVCHD to author your blu-ray project. Either one accepts just about anything, even the non-compliant streams. Whether you will get a disk that plays in every Blu-ray player is doubtful, but it will no doubt play in some, like the PS3.
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