mini dv to dvd, how to get highest quality? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Cross-Platform Post Production Solutions > Distribution Center > DVD Authoring


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 5th, 2008, 09:22 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 133
mini dv to dvd, how to get highest quality?

I'm an audio guy, but my son and I have a video production business together. We have a little over one minute video we shot which will be shown on a 17 inch tv/dvd combo player at a trade show. The piece will loop the video throughout the day at the show. Its a cheap player ($279) and we're not really too happy with how some of the footage looks after authoring to DVD. We checked the disc on one of the displays that will be used and the display is part of the problem, but we're still thinking the video should look better than it does. This is after trying many different settings etc.
The original footage is mini dv, shot on a Canon GL2. The lighting is good and the subject matter is two people standing and talking to camera. No moves just a fairly wide shot. We're editing on Final Cut Studio and going to DVD studio via Compressor. The people are wearing red tops and we color corrected to help the issues that causes, but I would describe the quality as looking like a vhs copy. Any suggestions? Is it possible to do any better? Would burning at a slower speed help? We have a bunch of versions to make and need to get this figured out today. All help would be appreciated!
Regards,
Bernie
Bernie Beaudry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2008, 10:34 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Billericay, England UK
Posts: 4,711
First thing to ask Bernie is when played side by side, is the DVD a lot worse than the original Mini DV edit master tape? It shouldn't be - DVDs are mightily compressed, but the colours and sharpness hold up well - it's the graininess that increases if you have rapid picture changes (fades, dissolves etc) and have used a low bit rate.

So if the DVD does look worse that the tape then I suggest that it may be the MPEG compressor or the bit rate. Use a CBR of 7 or 8 mbps and it should be indistinguishable from the original for all intents and purposes.

Speed of burning won't help you at all, and neither will changing blank media. How does this set-up look playing a Hollywood DVD? Maybe there's a fault in the wiring? Or in the TV set-up?

tom.
Tom Hardwick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
Personally, given the display that you will use (a cheap 17" TV/DVD combo), you might as well just use a cheap standalone DVD recorder and hook it up to the camcorder's analog outputs or, if you have a recorder with FireWire input, use the direct FireWire connection.

When I have compared DV transfered to DVD the above ways to using a PC to author the DVD etc, it isn't possible to tell the difference on a conventional, small TV. Indeed, I was hard pushed to see any difference on a proper video monitor.
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,124
I'd second John's comment - I frequently use a standalone cheap DVD recorder wired through firewire, and the results often look so close to the original that it's difficult to tell which one is which - and it's much quicker, of course.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 133
I appreciate your input. I am aware that we might get better quality by going to a recorder, but we have 38 different versions to do and they all need to loop automatically on these displays. Yes, there are 38 displays, and 38 different versions. So is your suggestion to go from Final Cut, back to tape, and then record the versions one by one onto the separate DVDs? How would we get the looping then? We've had input about this quality issue from some other knowledgeable people here at home and they're saying we can't expect it to look that good because of our original source material, mini dv, is compressed too and that's where the quality is going down. I'm glad you've had good results but we can hardly say the DVD is close to the same looking as the output of our edit.
Thanks,
Bernie
Bernie Beaudry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2008, 11:54 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
First thing to ask Bernie is when played side by side, is the DVD a lot worse than the original Mini DV edit master tape? It shouldn't be - DVDs are mightily compressed, but the colours and sharpness hold up well - it's the graininess that increases if you have rapid picture changes (fades, dissolves etc) and have used a low bit rate.

So if the DVD does look worse that the tape then I suggest that it may be the MPEG compressor or the bit rate. Use a CBR of 7 or 8 mbps and it should be indistinguishable from the original for all intents and purposes.

Speed of burning won't help you at all, and neither will changing blank media. How does this set-up look playing a Hollywood DVD? Maybe there's a fault in the wiring? Or in the TV set-up?

tom.
The original source tape looks somewhat better than the DVD, in spite of pulling all of the tricks out of the bag. The DVD isn't unusable, its just not what we or the client expected. We did notice that the analog out of Final Cut (looping through the camera) into a monitor didn't look so good either. But that's not how we're outputting. The quality issue can be described best as slight pixelation in the fine details of the faces and a bit of smearing in the reds. We should have shot it a bit closer but it looks pretty good on the tape and inside Final Cut. That's why its so frustrating!
Thanks,
Bernie
Bernie Beaudry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2008, 11:57 AM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
First thing to ask Bernie is when played side by side, is the DVD a lot worse than the original Mini DV edit master tape? It shouldn't be - DVDs are mightily compressed, but the colours and sharpness hold up well - it's the graininess that increases if you have rapid picture changes (fades, dissolves etc) and have used a low bit rate.

So if the DVD does look worse that the tape then I suggest that it may be the MPEG compressor or the bit rate. Use a CBR of 7 or 8 mbps and it should be indistinguishable from the original for all intents and purposes.

Speed of burning won't help you at all, and neither will changing blank media. How does this set-up look playing a Hollywood DVD? Maybe there's a fault in the wiring? Or in the TV set-up?

tom.
The client put a dub of a hollywood movie in (Top Gun) and it looked pretty good to them. Of course we told them it wasn't a fair comparison.
Thanks,
Bernie
Bernie Beaudry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2008, 01:21 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
If the results are that poor then something is wrong in the workflow.

For testing purposes, render FCP's timeline to DV and send it to the camcorder via FireWire. Compare it to the original and DVD versions. Make sure you are viewing all of them on the same video monitor/TV (i.e., not the computer).

What does the DVD version look like on the Mac?

Can you post example frames from the original and DVD version so we can have a look?
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2008, 12:01 AM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Miller View Post
If the results are that poor then something is wrong in the workflow.
I have to agree with John here, from the sound of it, it really seems like the breakdown lies somewhere in the workflow. Yes, mini-dv is definitely a compressed video format, but a lot of great pro-quality work can be captured with that medium.

So, lets see if we can narrow down potential fault points in the workflow.

What is your method of capture of the GL2 content into Final Cut?

Are you certain that you are editing with properly calibrated monitors?

What settings are you using for capture and your timeline?

Instead of burning the DVD from DVD Studio Pro, trying building a disc image (.img) first, and then mount the image on the Mac and open the file using the Mac's DVD player. I'd be interested to find out how the DVD disc image looks in comparison to the discs you have burned so far.

-Jon
__________________
"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2008, 12:46 AM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 133
Thanks all for your help!
My son did come up with a better work flow that has really helped. It turned out to be a work flow issue. Before, he was doing a standard dv capture, then outputting to compressor to convert to MPEG2 and then burning the DVD. Instead he captured using ProRes 422HQ and then let DVD Studio handle the MPEG2 compression. The finished discs look a lot closer to the original footage. As I write this he is burning and checking the 39 discs that will be delivered tomorrow. I had a feeling there was a way to make this work better and I'm proud of him for figuring it out. All of your points were valid and good ideas and we appreciate your input! We've both learned a great deal about DVD authoring since starting and trying to complete this project. If you ever need audio advice I'm your guy. Been doing it for 30 years.
All the best!
Bernie
PS
We still have the crappy displays to contend with but at least it looks better on a good monitor. That tells us we got all we could out of the video source.
Bernie Beaudry is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Cross-Platform Post Production Solutions > Distribution Center > DVD Authoring

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:09 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network