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Old June 28th, 2009, 02:20 PM   #1
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DVD quality: still curious about something

I've read lots of articles about the best settings and workflow for going from FCP-QT Pro-Compressor-DVDSP, and followed the advice. I've also learned why my HDV footage looks pretty bad when seen on DVD with my 50" plasma.

Text is especially problematic, with jaggies there even when I use a font like Helvetica and add a drop shadow.

My question is, what do big commercial movie companies do to make their SD DVDs look so much better? Even a 50 y.o. movie like Singin' in the Rain looks 100x better.

Is it because they shot on film, or the quality of the hardware/software they use to master the DVD, or ... something else?
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Old June 28th, 2009, 02:49 PM   #2
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Philip,

It's both. Starting with the highest possible source quality (like film, even old film) makes a big difference. As good as DV and HDV look these days, they are video that has already been compressed. Compressing them further for MPEG-2 can sometimes produce artifacts. Secondly, the Hollywood studios are not using Compressor. Compressor is average at best at producing good looking MPEG-2 video. The studios are using either proprietary encoders or top end systems from Sony, Cinemacraft, Sonic and the like.

I believe Cinemacraft makes an encoder for Macs, though it costs a bit. Otherwise just keep your source footage looking as good as possible, and use the highest bit rates you can when going to MPEG-2.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:03 AM   #3
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Thanks. I tried the demo of BitVice, and the results were about 10 percent better. Not enough to justify the cost, as this is a VERY low budget video.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:21 PM   #4
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One of the most important factors in the quality of the mpeg file when working with HD/HDV footage is the downscaling algorithm used. Both Adobe software and Apple software are plagued with bad algorithms. You can get studio quality downscaling results using free programs such as AVISynth or Virtual Dub. Unfortunately for you they are for PC. I'm not sure if they work in parallels or if you even have that.

You could then use a free program like HC Encoder for the mpeg encoding which will also provide near studio quality results. The only thing it doesn't support is selecting custom bitrates for particular scenes/frames like the expensive studio programs can. HC Encoder is also a PC program... I'm not sure whats available for the mac that is comparable to these applications. Most of the programs designed to do this high end encoding are made for the pc.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 02:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Geddes View Post
HC Encoder is also a PC program...
I've also got some realy good results from the free winff: WinFF - Free Video Converter
It produced much better results then what premiere cs3 could do.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 06:04 AM   #6
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Thanks. I might try those with Boot Camp.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #7
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read this post http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/high-defi...sion-test.html
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Old August 5th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #8
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So other than the very good PQ I got from Toast 10 (for unknown reasons), the basic rule is that you need to be in Windows to get high quality results. Amazing, when the Mac is so widely used for creative work.
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