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Old January 6th, 2004, 04:39 AM   #1
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Burning DVD etc

Hi

After reading a few very different views (MPEG-2, Fincal Cut Reference Movie, etc etc etc) on this I was wondering if there was a DEFINITIVE answer to the question:

'What's the best format to use when burning a DVD?'

The film I have is approximately 90 seconds long and I want the quality to be the highest achievable. The software I have is Final Cut Express 1.01, OSX 10.2.6, QuickTime 6.3 and iDVD 2.1.

Thanks.

PS I see that iDVD is now on version 3.1 - is this worth doing, is there a way for me to upgrade straight from 2.1 to 3.1 (the Apple site only seems to have upgrades from 3 to 3.1) and is it FREE?
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Old January 6th, 2004, 07:04 AM   #2
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Highest achievable will not be be posible with iDVD. iDVD is capable of fair to good quality, but lacks the necessary features to get the best possible quality. I would suggest DVD Studio Pro, as the next step up.

DVD's, by the standard, are MPEG-2. You can burn data DVD's that contain project files, clips etc. but data DVD's will not play your footage.

The upgrade from iDVD 3 to 3.1 is free. However, to upgrade from iDVD 2 there is a $30 charge. Because of the size of iDVD, the charge is for the discs to put all the software and extras on. MacWorld is this week and iDVD may be getting an upgrade to version 3.x or 4. You may want to wait and see what new products are announced.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 07:26 AM   #3
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Thanks Jeff.

So to clarify should I export from Final Cut as MPEG-2 and then get hold of DVD Studio Pro to do the burning?

Is there a noticeable on screen difference in quality between DVDs burned in iDVD and those burned in DVD Studio Pro?
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Old January 6th, 2004, 07:33 AM   #4
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You need to use iDVD or DVD SP to author the DVD. This is where menus are added etc. The actual encoding of the original edited footage to MPEG-2 is where the quality is maintained or lost. Some people use Cleaner, some use Compressor and there are others. The MPEG-2 files are brought in to DVD SP, authored, then burned. Many people use Toast to burn the MPEG-2 files, feeling it produces a more reliable disc than DVD SP.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 07:45 AM   #5
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Sorry, I think I misunderstood you.

I guess what you refer to by quality in your first post is the menus, backgrounds etc achievable in iDVD are limited. Understood and that is fine - as a professional Graphic Designer I should be able to work around this.

My primary concern is the quality of the actual video footage (the 'film' itself) when it plays back on a television via a DVD.

Sorry to be a pain about something that is probably very straightfoward but I'm getting a little confused by mentioning other software like 'Cleaner and Compressor'. Are MPEG-2 files generated from Final Cut not good enough to put through iDVD or DVDSP? I do also have Toast.

Could you talk me through the ideal process please. Thanks again.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 08:26 AM   #6
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I'm not 100% sure about iDVD (I don't use it), but my understanding is it does it's own encoding to MPEG-2 and has virtually no controls for adjusting the bit rate (which controls the quality). iDVD adjusts the bit rate internally using one rate for short programs and another rate (lower quality) for longer programs. This is not user adjustable and the quality my suffer depending on the length and quality of the original footage. Also the type of encoding (single pass) is not as conducive as the more complex methods used in other software.

DVD SP is not an encoder and you can use Compressor if you have FCP 4 to encode your footage. Many people think Cleaner does a better job (higher quality) of encoding.

The best route is probably for you to do a couple of tests with iDVD and determine if the quality is good enough for your intended usage. If not, you need to look at combinations of other software to achieve your desired results.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 08:34 AM   #7
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Right - that makes more sense now, thanks.

It does seem a fairly complicated process with varying results for something that seems so simple...
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Old January 7th, 2004, 02:24 PM   #8
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I am having some problems with IDVD and my installed burner. Its a superdrive and I have IDVD and DVDSP both will work only with rw- discs but the burner is suposed to do -/+ i asked the helpdesk but they dont know either... One other question is do I have to use compressor to encode my fcp film and then pull it in IDVD or can I just import the movie as it is? When reading the manual IDVD actually says fcp files should have a mov. ending so must I export as a quiktime movie? That will cost me a lot of resolution. I was hoping to export the movie as self contained and have full uncompressed film on the dvd.
Help anyone??
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Old January 7th, 2004, 08:29 PM   #9
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The Superdrive is -r/w only. It cannot do +r/w. However you can go down to the computer store and purchase an internal PC DVD +R/W drive and install it in the Mac and it will work fine with Toast. Don't know if DVDSP would recognize it or not. But you don't need to be limited to a Superdrive.

Also I have yet to see any Mac DVD drive that cannot read a DVD+R disc. Even the lowest end eMac reads DVD+R discs perfectly fine.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 06:22 AM   #10
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Got somewhere!! the problem I have is that when I bought the mac, they asked me if I wanted a burner that could do both..... I got the sony but I figured it out: it is called 'superdrive' but when checking in the system profile I found out it is not supported by the computer!!!! Nothing I will burn in IDVD and DVDSP will therefore burn. My retailer told me that by upgrading to 10.3 the sony might be supported but frankly he didn't sound to sure, so can anybody tell me if 10.3 supports superdrive with are not dedicated burners and the software will recognize it?
Because otherwise I am going to get them to install an other burner.....(any suggestions witch model I then should use?)
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Old January 8th, 2004, 08:55 AM   #11
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Pioneer makes Superdrive, not Sony. I don't think Pioneer has a +- drive yet. I could be wrong.

Just go down to the store and get one of the +- Memorex cheapie drives. That'll work.... at least with Toast.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 09:04 AM   #12
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Apple installed some +/- SuperDrives when the Pioneers were in short supply a year ago or so. But the firmware used did not recognize the + capabilities of the drive. I think the latest Pioneer DVD burner (AO6) is capable of burning +R/RW discs via Toast. I don't think Apple firmware/software supports +R/RW burning, thus the need for Toast.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 07:53 PM   #13
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Has anyone experimented with running a burner such as the Pioneer A06 in a firewire enclosure?

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