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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:12 AM   #1
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DVD-R quality

now bare with me.
DVD-R quality doesn't seem very good. If I make a wedding DVD and put maybe 2 hours of footage with menus, the DVD picture quality seems to suffer. I am never able to put the max quality since there is so much information going into it. My question is, what DVD format do professionals use in the movie industry to put their movies onto DVD? because the quality of those DVD's are as good as it gets, and with much more footage than what I am putting on. or a better question is whats the difference between what i am doing at a consumer/prosumer level compared to what the industry is using. my DVD's are looking like crap.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:41 AM   #2
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Yes, you're right, I once made a documentary (for myself as a souvenir) of 70 minutes, with extras worth at an hour extra footage, and menu's, and the picture quality of the dvd was HORRIBLE.
So I divided the extras and main documentary over 2 discs.

Most of our technology (consumers) exists out of 1 layer discs.
Most dvd burners now CAN write in dual layer (2 layers). I have such one as well, BUT those Dual Layer blanc discs are very expensive (aren't they about 10-15 euros? In Europe?)

But that's what professionals use. Because of the extra layer they have 8.5 gigabyte instead of 4.7 gigabye AND they probably have much better encoding programs than we do on our home computer ;-)
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:57 AM   #3
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thanks for the info
thats what i thought was going on.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Morikawa
now bare with me.
DVD-R quality doesn't seem very good. If I make a wedding DVD and put maybe 2 hours of footage with menus, the DVD picture quality seems to suffer. I am never able to put the max quality since there is so much information going into it. My question is, what DVD format do professionals use in the movie industry to put their movies onto DVD? because the quality of those DVD's are as good as it gets, and with much more footage than what I am putting on. or a better question is whats the difference between what i am doing at a consumer/prosumer level compared to what the industry is using. my DVD's are looking like crap.
What encoder are you using?
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:00 PM   #5
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I hear ya, brother...

I just recently tried to pack a 105 minute wedding video, plus menus, onto a single layer DVD. I fought for a week trying to get rid of horrible compression artifacts on a couple of clips. I finally gave up and delivered it on 2 discs. I've been blaming it on Apple's iDVD and hoping that when I can afford final cut studio, things will improve.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:41 PM   #6
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Also, it's my understanding that feature films use hardware based compression that allows them to encode at a much lower bitrate.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 07:55 PM   #7
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I think you're catching on that it's not the FORMAT that makes ANY difference in this. ALL DVD's are just buckets for bits. Whether it's a Plus R or a Minus R or an RW, if it's single layer - it's all the same size bucket.

The quality (or lack thereof) comes from the encoding and compression schemes employed.

Simple CBR (constant bit rate) encoding treats every frame the same - so a simple to compress scene like a talking head against a white wall takes the SAME data space on the disc as a "nightmare to compress" scene like tree leaves waving against a sky which has each pixel changing value for every frame.

More sophisticated encoders like VBR (variable bit rate), and particularly the multi-pass bit rate encoders - "look ahead" and figure out where the tough to compress sections are, and reserve a larger portion of the bit bucket for the harder to compress scenes.

The hardware that Hollywood uses, and the compressionist responsible for the master encode, can carefully ASSIGN differing compressions to different scenes and maximize quality. But you'll notice that even hollywood releases often get split onto two discs to avoid overrunning the bit bucket and revealing compression artifacts.

BTW, the "dual layer" idea DOES get you a double sized bit bucket, but remember that at some point the laser needs to "track" from the end of one layer to the beginning of the other and that can cause a layer switching pause. That "pause" might be important if you're in the middle of a critical scene.

Bottom line. Quality authoring and compression is often more complex than just "stick in a DVD-R and hit BURN"
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 09:03 PM   #8
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No wonder we get frustrated sometimes by the quality of our DVDs...

Can we expect our $100 encoder to work like the $38.000 Cinema Craft Vivo??? See http://www.cinemacraft.com/eng/xtream.html.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 09:43 PM   #9
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May I ask what software you are using to create your discs? This maybe this is your problem, most software will compress more for larger ammounts of footage so it can get it onto the DVD so depending on the ammount and the settings of compression you will get bad or good as others have said.
Most software packages or more of the higher end ones allow you to control the compression on the final ouput maybe this is set incorrectly in your case.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:09 PM   #10
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I think I'm about to have a nightmare...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis
Simple CBR (constant bit rate) encoding treats every frame the same - so a simple to compress scene like a talking head against a white wall takes the SAME data space on the disc as a "nightmare to compress" scene like tree leaves waving against a sky which has each pixel changing value for every frame.
Just so happens that tonight I'll be encoding my first outdoor wedding, shot on the edge of a lake, with lots of waving trees, grass, and water. I'll be attempting to dump 79 minutes of this onto a single layer--with iDVD!!

I AM TERRIFIED!!!
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:21 PM   #11
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As long as your menus aren't that complicated (lots of video in the menus), you shouldn't have a problem with iDVD on your project, Stephen. If you do use video clips in your menu, make them short and compress them yourself before you put them in the menu. That'll save space in "the bucket" for your feature video.

The main problem with iDVD is that it looks at the amount of info that needs to go into the bucket and decides on the bit-rate for you. If you turn down the bit rate enough, you can get 8 hours of video on a single layer DVD. Not that I would ever do that, but you could.

With the later versions of iDVD, you can (and I have) put just short of 2 hours (about 105-110 minutes) of video on one disc. Just keep the menus simple and you'll be fine.

I usually work on projects that are very short (15 minutes max) and I run into the opposite problem. iDVD cranks the bit rate up to 8 and I always seem to find people with older DVD players that won't read a disc encoded above a bit rate of 4. I've bought more than 1 DVD player for a client and just written it off as a cost of doing business (granted I get them the less expensive players).

Good luck, Stephen...

Hope this helps some one,
Kevin
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 12:32 AM   #12
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Any opinions on outputting the NLE to tape, then reinputting it to the computer and then burning the DVD? Might going from the tape version of the NLE reduce compression issues and perhaps give one a better quality copy?
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 12:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessandro Machi
Any opinions on outputting the NLE to tape, then reinputting it to the computer and then burning the DVD? Might going from the tape version of the NLE reduce compression issues and perhaps give one a better quality copy?

Nooooooooooooo......
The compression is happending within the DVD software (producing the discs) not with your footage I'm sure it's top notch BTW :-)
If anything I'd invest in better DVD software I've used Encore and never had problems everything comes out just as it went in depending on grading of course ;-)
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Harding
Nooooooooooooo......
The compression is happening within the DVD software (producing the discs) not with your footage I'm sure it's top notch BTW :-)
If anything I'd invest in better DVD software I've used Encore and never had problems everything comes out just as it went in depending on grading of course ;-)
That's not what I was talking about. It's generally wise to make a tape back up once the NLE Master is completed. I'm suggesting that if one is having trouble making a high quality DVD copy, it might be wise to first export the NLE timeline to tape via firewire (since this step might happen anyways), than reimport the tape directly to the DVD authoring program. I'm not saying to do this on every job, but it might be worth trying if one is not happy with the DVD quality prior to trying this method.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:15 AM   #15
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Are you guys doing interlaced or deinterlaced (progressive) DVD's. I use Premiere, and I was doing a disk with some wide angle scenic shots. I normally leave everything interlaced, but in this case it just looked nasty. So I dried render to deinterlaced .avi DV file, and encode from there, and ended up with a much sharper image.
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