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Old October 2nd, 2005, 11:58 AM   #1
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FCP 4 to DVD problem, please help.

Hi all

I'll be as concise as I can.

I shoot in PAL on a Sony Z1, edit in FCP 4. Everything prints perfectly to tape, no degradation or quality issues.

However, I'm struggling to achieve decent results when trying to burn DVDs of my sequences. This is my procedure:

File-Export-Quicktime Movie (self contained).
Drag exported file into either iDVD or Toast.
Burn.

With Toast, the video on the resulting DVD strobes and stutters, especially during movement. With iDVD the quality is generally poor, albeit with less stuttering.

Am I doing something wrong or am I just expecting too much of Toast and iDVD? I was expecting to get a perfect copy of my sequence, but it's like watching VHS.

Do you have to buy an expensive programme to get really good quality? From what I've read, it may be all about the encoding method, and maybe iDVD just doesn't do it very well?

Thanks in advance

Damian
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 03:35 PM   #2
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I use the same workflow and tools with superb results. However, I am using SD content not HDV. I don't know if Toast supports HD yet. Ditto iDVD 4. You may need to go to iDVD 5 to get HDV support.
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 03:55 PM   #3
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Hi Ernest, thanks for the reply. I should have said I am using SD footage, not HDV.

I'm intrigued that you get such good results - could you share some of your settings with me please, stuff you feel may be relevant such as FCP A/V settings etc?

Many thanks

Damian
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 04:14 PM   #4
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I would highly recommend buying DVD studio Pro and using compressor to write to MPEG2. You may be able to pick up an older version very cheaply. DON'T buy any version before 2!!! 2 was a million times better that 1.5.

You will get better quality with compressor in most situations, because there is no intermediate encoding stage. Compressor will render and encode to MPEG2 straight from the original source footage.

You will also be able to author proper DVD with all the bells and whistles...you will never look back!
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 05:11 PM   #5
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There is no loss of quality exporting from FCP to a self contained file and dropping it into Toast or iDVD as the DV original source is not recompressed but is only copy-gathered into a single file. You can save some exporting time and disk space by unchecking "Self Contained" and letting FCP create a reference movie that "refers" to the original source.

I can't think of any A/V settings that would affect this workflow. You are Exporting to QuickTime Movie and not "With QuickTime Conversion" right?
How does the exported file look when played in Quicktime (don't forget to turn on the High Quality setting for the video track under "Show Movie Properties".

In reading your post again, I had the thought that the problem may be with the equipment you are viewing on. Are you viewing the DVD on the computer or a DVD player and Television?

Strobing is usually from some combination of Frame Mode/Progressive video and interlaced output equipment. I am not an expert on this so I won't even try to diagnose.

I have seen strobing on my progressive scan TV/DVD combo whereas the same DVD plays fine on interlaced playback systems. Stuttering is, in my experience, a result of the DVD player not being able to read and display the data in realtime. This could be a problem in the player or data errors during the write operation resulting in overload of the player's error correction. Perhaps there is a cheap blank media problem too. Again, if it plays fine in a computer where DVD playback is more robust, then it would point to the playback equipment. Unfortunately, there are differences in DVD players.

I am not inclined to believe you need to upgrade your compression software. What you have should result in perfectly good results (assuming the usual differences between DV played on a TV from tape and MPEG2 from a DVD). Then again, if the poor quality you are seeing is due to you having a more refined eye than I, then there's nothing else to do than upgrade the compression software.
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 09:49 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

Ernest, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response. I work for BBC TV so I guess I'm accustomed to broadcast quality, but even so I was disappointed with the quality of my DVD efforts. A colleague tells me it'll never look as good as DV, so maybe I'm being too picky.

Mike - I think I've found a cheap copy of DVDSP 3, so I'm going to go for it. Thanks for the advice.

Cheers

Damian
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