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Old September 21st, 2007, 12:07 AM   #1
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iDVD vs DVD Studio Pro

Just a quick question... I'm completing a project in the new FCP Studio 2. I'm new to FCP, so learning the program and its 2000 plus pages of manuals is quite time consuming... I'm thinking of authoring this project in iDVD to save the time of learning DVD studio Pro (deadline looming!).
My question: as the content is much more important than the title menu appearance (the content is to be shown on Burundian TV via the DVD, so the menu is solely for function), is the final image quality authored in iDVD inferior to DVD studio Pro, and if so, why?
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Old September 21st, 2007, 12:58 AM   #2
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It shouldn't be.

However, I believe that iDVD allows only CBR (constant bit rate) encoding, assigning the same data rate to all scenes, regardless of their complexity.

DVD Studio Pro allows the author control of a number of encoding parameters including multi-pass variable bit rate (VBR) encoding - which can result in overall quality improvements IF THE OPERATOR KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE DOING!

DVDSP is a MUCH more complex tool, and if you're going to try to use it, you'd better be prepared to spend some serious time learning how to operate it, it's no where near as simple and intuitive as iDVD.

So the answer is that the difference in quality you could expect would depend largely on the length and complexity of the source materials you're trying to encode and the skills of the person doing the endocing and authoring.

Good luck.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 01:26 AM   #3
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wow, qweeksdraw Mcgraw

Hey, thanks for the lightning quick response! The project will be ten one minute spots. they are all interviews with very simple transitions, with 10 second intros (music, slow mo, single word title) and two logo-titles to end. sooo, not a lot of space taken...
is there a simple DVDSP workflow (ie: one that my inexperience won't mess up!) that you could suggest?
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Old September 21st, 2007, 05:49 AM   #4
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I have done tests with both IDVD 6 and 7 and DVD Studio Pro 4.

As a result of the tests, I never use IDVD.

If content is important forget about IDVD

Here is a link to a site with lot of help. You might find what you need.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 08:39 AM   #5
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I've never really learned DVDSP but I did come across a tutorial for how to use it for making a dvd without any menus and chapters. Dead easy to follow. It was a tutorial that was designed for DVDSP 2 but works on DVDSP 4 and I would imagine other versions as well. I thought I had found on Ken Stone's site but if its there, I don't know where. Had a title of something like Simple DVD.

I do have notes which I could post (have to make them intelligible to others first) if you're interested. You'd get the encoding capabilites of DVDSP just minus all the bells and whistles.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 09:35 AM   #6
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Definitely interested!!!! I would be grateful for any info, and thankful for your help.
It never ceases to impress me how useful this site is, and how ready people are to offer their time and knowledge.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 10:03 AM   #7
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Here's an old thread where I more or less coached someone through the steps of using DVD SP (and Compressor) for the first time:

Compressor has been updated since I did that post though. And the tips regarding PAL would have to be changed to NTSC, of course.

To make it easier, I'll give a cut and paste below of excerpts from my posts in that thread:

DVD Studio Pro

"In your "Graphical" tab, there should be a blue "Menu1" and a green "Track1".

Also, to make a simple menu background, go to the Palette and click either the Stills or Video tab, import whatever you want and drag it into the menu window.

A simple way to add a button to this new menu (there is more than one way, I'm just showing a simple one) is to go to the Palette and select the tabs Styles>Apple>Buttons, then scroll down and select a button type (I used "Mosaic Square Blue" on a recent job and it worked really well) and then drag it to the menu window (go from Graphical view to Menu view beforehand by clicking the Menu tab). Then change the wording from "Button" to "Play".

To make a simple title for the menu (and remember to activate the Title Safe function), go to the Palette and select Styles>Apple>Text, then scroll down and drag whichever you like into the Menu window. Then put in your wording and position it.

Import your .m2v and .ac3 (or aiff) assets (click the Import Assets icon), then drag them into the green "Track1" in the Graphical view. Note that both of your assets should have the same name, e.g. "Concert.m2v" and "Concert.ac3" so that DVD SP (DVD Studio Pro) will link them both together properly. If you have files called (for example) "Concert16:9_2-pass6Mbps.m2v" and "ConcertDolby2.ac3" (or whatever) change them both before you import.

(You can get your .m2v and .ac3 assets in the first place by exporting to Compressor directly from your FCP sequence.)

Now you just have to link everything up. In the Graphical view, click the grey background, then go to the Inspector window, which should now be titled "Disc" and check the drop-down menu for "First Play". It should already say "Menu1", but if it doesn't, go to the First Play drop-down menu and select Menus>Menu1>[Menu].

Now, activate the Menu view and click your button to activate it. The Inspector window should now be headed "Button". In the Inspector, activate the drop-down menu next to "Target" and select "Tracks and Stories">Track1>[Track].

The finished DVD will now bring up the Menu as the first thing after inserting the DVD, and when you press the "Play" button it will play your movie (Track1).

Now you have to tell your DVD player what to do after it finishes your movie.

In the Graphical view, click "Track1" to activate it, then go to the Inspector and activate the drop-down menu next to "End Jump". Select Menus>Menu1>[Menu] if you want to go back to the Main Menu. Or select something else, like "Tracks and Stories">Track1>[Track] if you want it to loop.

While still in the Inspector (with Track1 still active) check Display Mode drop-down menu and select "16:9 Letterbox" if your footage was shot in 16:9 (or "4:3" if you shot it in 4:3).

Also, just click the grey background in the Graphical view and check in the Inspector that your DVD Standard is SD DVD and your Video Standard is PAL."

Compressor (earlier version)

"Correct. You can either create them (.m2v and .ac3 files) with Compressor, or import your Quicktime into DVD SP and get DVD SP to demux and encode the Quicktime into an .m2v and an audio file."

"I wasn't recommending that you use DVD SP to do the encoding, I was only saying that you can if you wanted to (in case things were getting too complex).

I always recommend (for best quality results when working in native HDV) to export directly from the timeline to Compressor and get Compressor to create your .m2v and .ac3 files. You then import the .m2v and .ac3 into DVD SP. Note that DVD SP will NOT do any further compression on the .m2v and .ac3 files. It will just accept and use them as they are. So your Build/Format times in DVD SP are actually very rapid.

The AIFF file is uncompressed. The .ac3 file (Dolby) is compressed, but the quality is superlative and I always use it.

If you use the larger AIFF file for your DVD, that will give you less bitrate to play around with for your visual quality and menu structure. If you've got an extremely short movie on your DVD then it wouldn't matter much, but the more (longer) the movie is, the more critical the allocation of your bitrate is and that's why I think Dolby (.ac3) is such a winner.

I've also given lots of tips in other threads on how to maximize the visual quality of your DVD using Compressor. The only thing I would modify from my earlier posts is concerning the max. bitrate. In the Inspector tab of Compressor version 2.3 (after you have selected your MPEG-2 for "DVD: Best Quality 90 minutes - 16:9" or whatever) under the "encoder" tab and then under the "Quality" tab, I now only set the max. bitrate to 8.3 Mbps and the average bitrate to 7.0 Mbps for movies which are less than an hour long. (I used to recommend a max. of 8.9 but have now modified my approach following a post by Nate Weaver.)"
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Old September 21st, 2007, 10:04 AM   #8
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iDVD is fine. But it's very limited.
Turn off the apple logo, create a custom menu (as much as you can), then you're fine. But it won't have anything that cool.
You'll need DVD Studio for more complex features, like subtitles, and for somewhat better encoding.

However, if it's a short project, it shouldn't matter that much anyway.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 10:56 AM   #9
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just to reinforce a point already made--the primary difference is the sound quality you can generate from DVD Studio Pro is substantially better. that alone makes it worth using.

there's a pretty good quick n dirty tutorial in the Apple Pro Training Series book on DVD Studio Pro--worth the money. it shows you pretty basic use as well as providing advanced training for more complex video output. the book has a section which cuts straight to the features you'll likely need the most, simplifying what appears initally as a kinda complex interface.

usually i can figure this stuff out on my own, but for some stupid reason, i had a mental block about DVD Studio Pro until i picked up the book which sifted through the complexities of the program for me.
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 09:43 AM   #10
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Okay found it. It was on Ken Stone's site. This was written some time ago using earlier versions of FCP and DVDSP. I've used it with DVDSP 4 and FCP 5.1.4. It should work with other versions as well.
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Old September 28th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #11
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thanks all for the input. Was rolling the dice for an easy solution, but as always, the easy route is invariably the least rewarding. Time to hit the books and learn DVDSP ASAP...
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