AVI GOOD versus BEST render options to DVD disc final at DVinfo.net

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Old June 24th, 2004, 05:18 PM   #1
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AVI GOOD versus BEST render options to DVD disc final

I just made a DVD in Architect, having rendered the original AVI in Vegas 5 to mpeg2 using the GOOD default.

I burned the DVD at the highest bit-rate in Architect then compared the DVD to the original AVI--

NOT GOOD. Not good at all.

Very contrasty, less detail.

NOW- Vegas allows me to render the avi with all kinds of options in the render CUSTOM TEMPLATE.

People seem to talk about
GOOD versus BEST settings without exploring all of the options available in EACH of these catagories-- well, why not??

The GOOD option itself has LOTS of things to choose from INCLUDING
custom Template/Video:

MPEG2
VCD
DVD

If my final product is a DVD-- and choosing the default MPEG2 looks worse than the AVI- will choosing DVD improve things?

HOW ABOUT "Video Quality"
The GOOD defaults to a SLIDER in the MIDDLE at apparently the "15" position.
Will moving this to "31" best help?

How about bit rate at 6,000,000 and 15,000 000- will this only effect sound?
How about choosing set bit rate instead of variable?

These are questions I have not found anybody asking yet--

SO-- I am now experimenting and will report the results... if anyone has ALREADY done this, let me know.

There are NO CLUES in the big thick vegas Manual regarding the above options within each GOOD and BEST catagory.

Neil Slade
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Old June 24th, 2004, 06:00 PM   #2
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Some Solutions and Answers

Okay-- progress made as I answer my own questions ;-)

FIRST:
there is a RENDERING WHITEPAPER available here with many details about rendering options:
http://mediasoftware.sonypictures.co...p2.asp?DID=391

SECOND:
When I first rendered, the
>>>DEFAULT RENDERING TEMPLATE came up.

Not good.

Change the default to the final product you want- in my case, making a DVD- choose the
>>> "DVD NTSC" TEMPLATE.

Then, look in the "CUSTOM" tab-
SURPRISE:
1) the quality jumps from 15 to 31 on the slider,

2) The bit-rate allows up to 8,000,000 rather than only 6,000,000

3) and DVD is chosen as VIDEO TYPE rather than MPEG2.

NOW, here is a bizarre thing- each time I attempted to change individual settings, such a MPEG2 to DVD- the program would crash- not so when I just selected the pre-set DVD template....?

I will trust that the Vegas templates chose adequate custom settings for most projects--- we shall see and report back........

Neil
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Old June 24th, 2004, 09:54 PM   #3
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GOOD not so good....

Okay, I re-rendered my AVI using the
DVD NTSC template set on GOOD option in Vegas 5--

There is still a noticable de-generation of quality-- lack of contrast gradiation as well as sharpness.

Son of a gun. Rather dismayed.

The difference between the original AVI file and the rendered MPEG2 for DVD is readily apparent comparing the files right within Vegas, even without bothering to make the DVD itself. The degradation of image is quite obvious.

I am now re-rendering with the DVD NTSC template with the BEST option, at set bit sampling with 9.800.000 chosen for the highest level.

we'll see.........
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Old June 25th, 2004, 02:44 AM   #4
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Well, ofcourse you want a DVD template <g> But as you found
you can work from there on out. All the things with DVD in it are
just presets, nothing more. So yes, you could also choose plain
MPEG2 and change everything manually and get there. It's just
a shortcut that's been done for you.

I find it odd that it looks so different on your machine. I did a
couple of tests on my Lady X episode and the produced DVD
(I believe just the template, not sure) was almost as good as
the original. But, my footage was pretty soft.

MPEG can definitely have a bit of a softening effects. Anyway,
the best encodings usually use VBR (variable bitrate) encoding.
You are doing CBR (constant bitrate) now. I'm not sure from my
mind if the MPEG encoder that comes with Vegas supports VBR
or not...

Anyway the best thing is expirement with different settings and
see what does result in what. As you are doing now, which is
good!! I personally always render at BEST with everything.
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Old June 25th, 2004, 11:59 AM   #5
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MPEG DEGRADE

Yes,

I repeated the process in Vegas with the BEST setting, variable two-pass rendering, with 9,800,000 at the highest-


It was a 3 hour process for a 1 hour video, not too bad, but had I used any effects, I would have expected this would have taken a very long time.

The results were much better than at the highest "good" setting, which frankly was totally unacceptable for a professional DVD project.

I can't imagine anybody rendering at the good default setting for anything but web video- although, and this is pretty bizarre, I used good on my last project of which the original video came from VHS in reasonably mediocre condition. Apparently, if your source material is sharp, you'll see the degrade at anything less that BEST rendering.

It is strange that Vegas wouldn't be really upfront about this.
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Old June 25th, 2004, 12:09 PM   #6
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I haven't seen such wide results between good and best
myself, but that was with Vegas 4. I haven't tested the encoder
for 5 yet.

It is indeed strange the default is good. What I find even more
strange is that most people seem to just leave it at that.
Whenever I see a quality bar I set it to maximum. Or in this
case with a pulldown that has good and best in them I will put
it on best.
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Old June 25th, 2004, 12:13 PM   #7
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If you do a search here, you'll see the difference between "Good" and "Best" (I've posted it several times). For general video, you won't see a difference between the two and "Good" is faster. If you are doing certain things (such as panning photos) then "Best" WILL look better. It all depends on what you're doing.
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Old June 25th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #8
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How sure are you that this has stayed the same with 5, Edward?
I know about what the difference should be. I've been in that
thread where we discussed it. Still I'd rather go with Best to
be safe. The extra rendering time is a non issue for me.

Neil's testing seems to indicate he is getting a very great difference
in MPEG encoding between good and best. More so than I have
ever seen myself. Also more than you suggest is possible, Ed.

Thoughts?
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Old June 25th, 2004, 04:52 PM   #9
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COMEDY of ERRORS

Well, you'll all get a good laugh out of this--

I was very perplexed myself, because I've done two previous projects and NOT noticed a big difference in good and best rendering........

I've been scratching my head for DAYS trying to figure out why the greater contrast (primarily)

THEN IT HIT ME....

The original source material is on a DVD (-R) and to capture, I ran it on my normally fantastic new Sony DVD player into a Pinnacle AV/DV card as analog input. Pinnacle Studio 9 saved the file as AVI.
Exactly my previous routine.

Vegas will NOT allow capture directly through the Pinnacle analog card, so this was a necessity. Previously there seemed to be no codec translation between the Pinnacle AVI and they way Vegas read it and rendered it.

I THEN REALIZED in a sudden enlightenment today, that I was looking at my newly burned DVD through the Sony DVD player- which has a half dozen "PICTURE MODE" choices- in which the player adds or removes contrast and saturation to simulate different viewing environments, i.e. "Cinema Mode 1" "Cinema Mode 2" "Dynamic 1" "Dynamic 2"..etc.

I was looking at the newly made DVD at the most contrasty Sony DVD mode, Dynamic 2, which essentially lookes like over exposed over contrasty vide.

NOT ONLY THAT, but when I CAPTURED the video, I ALSO had this setting applied- which means that my original AVI was over contrasty to begin with.

!!!

This all started to add up when I looked at my current overcontrasty DVD at the customer's house, and it generally looked fine, compared to what I was seeing on my own TV through the Sony player.

*************

Now, I spoke on the phone with Sony Vegas support about this today, and they suggested that I shouldn't expect any MPEG2 to look as good as the original source material, but I was a little leary that this would explain what I was seeing anyway. Sony also suggested that coming in through the analog Pinnacle AV/DV card, then rendering and editing in Vegas might also degrade things a bit.

To get around this as much as possible, I'm doing re-capturing by running the DVD on the Sony player (at STANDARD settings thank you) out through an S-Video cable into a Sony DV camcorder- not onto tape- but then out through firewire into the VEGAS CAPTURE program. This should should eliminate any possible Pinnacle/Vegas codec translations since Pinnacle is totally out of the picture now.

I've read previous that although it can be done, quality is noticably lower when you require such translation between brand codecs.

I would imagine these two changes will now give me considerably better results in the end product, if not un-detecatable differences between the source DVD and my new menu-edited DVD.

I'll post later tonight with the results at both good and best rendering....

Neil
;-) Nothing like figuring out a problem...
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Old June 26th, 2004, 04:23 AM   #10
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Well, I think there is a far better way. You are going from MPEG
to MPEG. That will loose you quality anyway. Then you are going
form digital -> analog -> digital which will loose you quality
again.

If it is a homemade DVD you can just copy the MPEG of the DVD
with any DVD player. You can then reburn it to a new DVD unless
you need to edit it. Then extract the video & audio from the VOB
files with a de-muxer and you can add those files directly to the
Vegas timeline for editing.

If it is a commercial DVD (and you know this is illegal to reproduce
those or parts of them, right?) there are always DVD rippers out
there.

In these cases you keep it all digital with mininum loss. Avoid an
analog path at all cost.
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Old June 26th, 2004, 04:09 PM   #11
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DE-muxer?

What is a de-muxer?

I gather it converts the VOB files into mpeg2

HOWEVER, there are a million of these on the web, can you recoommend freeware that will do this, with easy directions... for both converting video and audio...
thanks
Neil
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Old June 26th, 2004, 05:34 PM   #12
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FINAL VERDICT

Okay, I've now re-done my project with my Sony DVD player set to STANDARD picture-- duh. No "enhancement" on playback.

The output from the DVD player and source DVD was S-Video into my Sony camera, which then went into the computer and Vegas Capture via firewire and captured as AVI.

I edited in Vegas 5.0b, and rendered using the standard DVD NTSC template, set to GOOD, changing nothing under the custom tab.

I then created my menu edited DVD (the original had no DVD menu) with DVD Architech 2.0 and created a disk with the optional bit rate of 9.8 Mbps option since the material was only an hour long, and this would all fit on one DVD.

The newly edited DVD and the source DVD are essentially indistiguishable-
good news for "good" rendering.

Hurray. It pays to check your player playback settings when you capture.
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Old June 26th, 2004, 06:17 PM   #13
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bbTools (bottom of page) is one.

An MPEG2 program stream (what is on a DVD in the form of VOB
files) is a file that contains multiple streams or assests. Assets
for video (MPEG2 video), audio (MPEG audio, AC3, dts etc.) and
things like subtitles.

A de-muxer allows to extracts those streams to get back the
inidividual video or audio streams. Most programs have trouble
directly reading a VOB file but can process the elementary streams.
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Old June 26th, 2004, 10:14 PM   #14
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Thanks

thanks a lot for the bbtools link- I'll try them out

Of course I thought of this but didn't know how to extract the mpegs from the DVD. One program I did try after your post however, worked, but told me it would take 60 hours to process!! I will assume the bbtools will do the work in a reasonable amount of time.

I will mention, however, that although analog in the chain DVD Player-Capture-Vegas-EDIT--create newDVD sounds bad (or worse than all digital) in my experience I've been able to maintain all the quality in the original source material-- even to my surprise.

In the project I've done described above, my finished video was indistiguishable from the source DVD. And I have an extremely discriminating eye. Perhaps with a magnifying glass single frames at a time something might be detectable, but viewing video at normal playback on really good equipment, there was no discernable difference. Mind you, no really fast action in this DVD beyond dancing. Colors, sharpness, detail, everything was there in the end (as it had been in previous projects.)

So, a happy ending.

I'll try the bbtools however.

One problem is that most cameras have a 5 minute auto shut off- so you have to run tape-- not really something you want to do unless absolutely necessary- wears out your camera heads. My Panasonic DVD100, however, allows you to use it as a analog to DV converter and not run tape-- unfortunately, I pulled out the firewire plug (walked away with the camera still plugged into the computer one day) and I need to get this repaired, thus I had to resort to my little Sony DV camera which still had a 1394 plug intact (!)

Later
Neil
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http://www.neilslade.com/lens.html
a list on the bottom of the page

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Old June 29th, 2004, 02:48 PM   #15
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After you demux the DVD VOBs, if you have an ac3 audio stream, you will need to convert it back to wav to load into Vegas. Vegas will not load ac3.

I've heard of a tool called besweet that does the ac3 to wav conversion. I don't do DVD ripping so I can't say how well it works.

Good luck.

Dennis Vogel
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