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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:46 AM   #1
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DVD master questions

I will shortly be getting my first DVD release (a modest 500 copies) and need to supply the company with a finished DVD master which fills me with trepidation. A couple of questions:

How much do DVD-Rs vary in quality - does this matter - can anyone recommend a good brand?

When burning the DVD would it be better to do it at low speed (even 1x) to ensure a perfect burn?

Thanks,

Geoff
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Old October 24th, 2010, 09:07 PM   #2
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DVDs can vary widely in quality. I've used Verbatim without a single problem and that's for nearly 1,000 finished disks. No coasters, no customer issues. Tayio Yuden (not sure the spelling is right) is also spoken of highly.

Many burn at a lower rate than max to ensure a good disk. I know that in the early days of CDs and DVDs that was the case but I don't know about now. I generally burn at max speed and as I said before, no problems, coasters or returns.

You aren't going to burn these yourself, are you? Unless you have a burner tower, or access to one, you will hate being you after about the first 50.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #3
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At a quantity of 500 that is kind of the "break point" for deciding whether to replicate or duplicate. I would have them replicated to ensure higher reliability upon playback on various DVD players. I encode the video stream at 8100kbs and audio AC3 384kbs. Never had a problem with Verbatim DVD-Rs as masters burned at max speed.
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Last edited by Mark Williams; October 25th, 2010 at 06:42 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 03:13 AM   #4
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Thanks Richard. Got some Verbatim discs and it just dawned on my that my DVD authoring software (DVDSP) doesn't allow changing burn speed anyway!

Mark - yes I'm supplying a master copy to a company for replication. As the audio in the work is very important I'm using 16bit PCM (1.5 Mbps) so trying various video bit rates at present. 6.8 Mbps seems the highest average allowable (given the film length - 40 mins) but am trying lower (5.5 looked bad!) to avoid data rate problems on different devices which I have found problematic but then how much should we take this into account any more - the DVD is going to be commercially released mind you? Is your 8 Mbps average or maximum rate?
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Old October 25th, 2010, 06:34 PM   #5
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You should be able to go 8500 kbs total with no problem for a SD DVD. That would be about 7000kbs for your video stream and the rest for PCM audio. But I would really recommend going 384kbs AC3 on the audio which will allow you to go to 8100kbs CBR for the video. I recently did a 53 minute high motion scene DVD for replication using these settings with excellent results and no playback problems reported by customers. Also, how your DVD master looks really depends on a lot of variables.

My workflow to SD DVD after much experimentation is:
- Video shot at 1080i DVCPROHD usiing Panasonic HPX170
- Edited on Edius 5 and export to lossless HQ file.
- Encode HQ file using TMPGE4 to 720x480 16x9 MPEG 2 Elementry Stream file using above settings.
- Drop encoded MPEG 2 file into DVDLAB PRO authoring program, demux video/audio stream, make menues and print to DVD-R master
- Carefully handle and play master on mutiple brand DVD players to check for compatiblity issues.

Hope this helps. Here is a good source information about putting a retail DVD package together Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Also, don't forget prepartion of artwork for the DVD face and case jacket. This can take a lot of time if you do it yourself but you can save some $$$.
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Last edited by Mark Williams; October 25th, 2010 at 09:44 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 11:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Cox View Post
How much do DVD-Rs vary in quality - does this matter - can anyone recommend a good brand?

When burning the DVD would it be better to do it at low speed (even 1x) to ensure a perfect burn?
I ALWAYS stick to Sony...once written, they last a lot longer than most other brands

6.5 Mbps is the standard. This is the HIGHEST bitrate to maintain, whether CBR or VBR. Anything higher than this (maximun is 9) might not be read on old players. Sure you could take the risk, but keep your bitrate less than 6.5 and work your footage/menus/add-ons according to that.

As for write speed, the slower the better. With a good writer it's not justified, but at least you won't worry about it afterwards.

Once you've burned your master, test it on different players and computers. When you're satisfied, try to REPLICATE your discs at a facility rather than copy them (DVD-Rs Reproduction). This will make it easier to read on players. If you're commercially distributing the DVDs (selling them), then you'll need to talk to the facility about the DVD licensing fee.

The other two licensing fees that might come into play are:
1. Dolby (if you're using dolby sound)
2. Copy Protection (there are different methods, they'll tell you what they use and whether or not you need it)

Hope this helps. All the best!
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Old October 26th, 2010, 04:41 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the further responses. It is being commercialy released and artwork, licensing etc is all in hand. My job is to get the DVD master sorted which is quite a headache!

Quite a difference of opinion about bitrates... Sareesh you say 6.5 is maximum - is that just for video or video and audio combined? - if I used 6.5 as average bit rate then with 1.5 for the audio (and yes I do want to stick with PCM as I'ma primarily a sound designer!) that equals 8.0 Mbps total (and so similar if a little lower than Marks' suggestion). Also do you mean average or maximum bit-rate? I know with CBR it's the same but with VBR it can vary considerably so this is important. Strangely on one of the films I found CBR much worse than 2 pass VBR for reasons I can't explain (more pixellation etc) but will probaly stick with that.

Geoff
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Old October 26th, 2010, 08:38 AM   #8
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Geoffrey,
My workflow that I mentioned before was arrived at after weeks of experimentation with different encoding bitrates and 4 different encoders before I got the results that I was happy with. It was very frustrating as I spent much time researching the web for advice.
If you have the time, download the trial version of TMPGEnc - Products: TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress Trial Version Download
It is one of the best programs out there IMO and was the solution I was searching for. The difference in encoder quality is just amazing.
Encode your project at CBR 7000 with PCM audio and then CBR 8100 with AC3 audio. Use motion search set to highest level for best quality. Change setting as needed NTSC/PAL for your intended geographic location. See how this compares to other DVD copies. Also your DVD production house should be able to give you a recommendation for bitrates.
Hope this helps.
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DVD master questions-untitled.jpg   DVD master questions-tmpeg2.jpg  

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Last edited by Mark Williams; October 26th, 2010 at 11:08 AM.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #9
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Thanks Mark and I understand the frustrations of all this with testing and re-testing! I'm trying the 7.0 Mbps CBR and 16bit PCM audio now. Can't use TMPGEnc as I'm Mac only based but Compressor on that platform is pretty good if one uses it correctly (if a little slow) and various threads on this forum testify to its comparability to PC based software as long as one is prepared to wait! Will also ask the DVD replicators though they haven't been that helpful on technical matters so far.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 10:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Cox View Post
Quite a difference of opinion about bitrates... Sareesh you say 6.5 is maximum - is that just for video or video and audio combined? - if I used 6.5 as average bit rate then with 1.5 for the audio (and yes I do want to stick with PCM as I'ma primarily a sound designer!) that equals 8.0 Mbps total (and so similar if a little lower than Marks' suggestion). Also do you mean average or maximum bit-rate? I know with CBR it's the same but with VBR it can vary considerably so this is important. Strangely on one of the films I found CBR much worse than 2 pass VBR for reasons I can't explain (more pixellation etc) but will probaly stick with that.
6.5 is only for video, and it is the maximum bitrate for VBR and the average if you're doing CBR.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 11:23 AM   #11
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An update:

Tried CBR 7.0 Mbps and 16bit PCM audio and it looked good and so far has worked fine on all players I've tried including an old PC which rejected earlier versions.

The DVD production house also though the rates were 'spot on',

Geoff
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