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Old October 15th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #1
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SD DVD coding question - HELP!

I've been trying to maximize the quality of an SD DVD-R made from Prospect HD footage. My workflow is 1920 x 1080 compositing in After Effects 7.0, and then edit sequences in Premiere, and then convert to widescreen SD DVD (interlaced) and burn to DVD. I tried the technique listed on the Cineform website, but the graphics of my After Effects comps look awful. Text in particular looks rough and unimpressive. SD DVDs authored from After Effects footage look MUCH better (text, etc..) when shown on my 1080 46" LCD screen.

What am I doing wrong? My client is not pleased! Should I be rendering the After Effects composition in 16 bit vs. 8 bit (until down-rez is done to SD)?

Thanks for any help on this!

Stuart
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Old October 15th, 2007, 09:58 PM   #2
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O.K. I tried a 16 bit render, brought the file into PPro 2.0, rendered out as a CF 720 x 480 widescreen avi file, brought the file into Vegas, rendered it as an MPEG-2 (VBR, high bit rate), brought the file into DVD Architect, and made the DVD. There is a SLIGHT improvement in the appearance of the fonts from the original After Effects comp, but still nothing to write home about.

There must be a better way than creating an original After Effects comp in SD - especially considering this client will be getting an HD-capable player soon. In spite of this, I watched another one of my clients playing one of my productions originally done in SD (in After Effects) on a 1080 LCD screen and it looked beautiful (as it did on my own Sony 46" 1080 LCD screen).

Very frustrating...
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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:04 AM   #3
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When are you down-res'ing, using what tools? Interlace or Progressive target? If interlaced, why? Remember an LCD is inherently progressive.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:12 AM   #4
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David,

I should clarify - the client has a plasma. I'm a bit confused with progressive vs. interlaced. The original footage being used was shot as 1080i (actually HDV) with the Canon XH A1. The After Effects graphics are being rendered as interlaced to match the footage. The footage has a lot of movement in it in the form of large flames, so progressive might make it look choppy (?).

I'm down-rezzing in PPro 2.0 using the presets suggested on your website. Should I set final output at HD Optimized or one of the film scan presets?
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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:18 AM   #5
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Does your CineForm downres look bad or your resulting DVD? Even plasma is progressive. There is also no reason for interlaced these days, as all the new displays are progressive. SD DVD is the issue, it can only support 30p a 480 line or 60i at effectively half that (when converted to progressive 60p.) Try a deinterlace when SD downscaling to progressive, it looks much better.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #6
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O.K. I'll give that a try. Do you have any suggestions on which program/tools to use for the de-interlace? Is PPro 2.0 good enough, or should I try it in After Effects?

BTW, the down-rez looks fine. It's the DVD that looks lousy.

Thanks.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #7
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Try the deinterlace option within PPro first. As "BTW, the down-rez looks fine. It's the DVD that looks lousy", this might indicate you are not liking the away the TV is deinterlacing the content live.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #8
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I'm trying PPro 2.0 as we speak. I will then try burning this to a DVD and see how it looks...
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Old October 16th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #9
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Hi Stuart

I use the same set as yourself... PPro 2.0 & AE 7.0
Personally I don't think PPro does a very good job of downscaling at all...better off using the camera.

Otherwise have you tried using After Effects to rescale, I find it looks way better. Once you have the sequence in SD you can add titles in either PPro or After Effects and they look great.

As to deinterlacing... I like Magic Bullet best but its painfully slow, or Virtualdub Smart deinterlace with the Lanczos 3 filter is pretty good if you're in a hurry...

Finally I've been messing around with TMPGenc 4.0 to encode and while I find the PPro Mainconcept acceptable the TMPGenc looks sharper to my eyes...

cheers
Gareth
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Old October 16th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #10
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I've been frameserving (Debugmode) to TMPGEnc 4 Express from PP2 and now from CS3. Much, much better than Premiere's scaler/encoder.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #11
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If your CineForm export looks good, then you can also use HDLink (part of Aspect HD install) to resize and deinterlace to your SD output. We use high-quality Lanczos filters for resizing.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #12
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Thanks. I'll try that. I also just completed a test where I rendered out to 864 x 486 square pixels, brought into DVD Architect, and then burned the DVD. It looked better than the original project rendered to a 1.2 pixel aspect ratio...
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Old October 17th, 2007, 01:19 AM   #13
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If you want interlaced DVDs from 1080i HDV footage, the highest quality should be achieved by using AE. Finish you PPro edit and export 1080i CF avi. Import that into AE, ensuring that the field dominance is correct (likely upper), and make new comp. Resize comp and footage to 720x480 1.2 PAR. (Optionally add Sharpness filter at 20, and/or Levels Filter clipped to 16-235-SD Safe) Export with the "field renderer" set to lower field first in the render settings. I recommend exporting directly to MPEG2 in AE, but you could export it to CF or uncompresed AVI for encoding elsewhere. If going directly to MPEG2, make certain the "lower field first" is also selected in the MPEG encoding settings. After many different variations, this is the workflow my company settled on for optimal DVD source files from HD footage, Cineform or otherwise.
If you want progressive DVDs, Premiere should do Okay at that, but the same steps in AE should improve that, minus the field render settings.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 03:25 AM   #14
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Stuart, the XH A1 delivers an interlaced stream with a progressive approach. That its called 24F by Canon. The same system as the XH L1. So the images captured fron that camera (the one i use) have to be edited in a progressive project, not interlaced. They are "progressive".

So forget about deinterlacing or rendering interlaced compositions from AF.

Life can be simplier...
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Old October 17th, 2007, 06:56 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I think I'll try the After Effects approach since I do so much of my work there anyway. It's slow to render on my "old" dual xeon from 3.5 years ago, but my new quad core machine (HOPEFULLY coming today) should speed things up a bit.
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