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Old October 15th, 2007, 09:27 PM   #1
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Low Quality Export To Dvd

I have been shooting various hockey games recently and have transfered them to DVD using Compressor 2 and DVD Studio Pro. I must say the quality I get sucks compared to what I watch when in Final Cut Pro. Is there a way to getting a better quality transfer? Something resembling what I have in my Timeline in FCP? I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 06:03 AM   #2
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Hi Scott.

Could you provide some more information about your workflow? Specifically:

a) What codec are you editing in (in your FCP timeline)?
b) Do you export as a Quicktime movie (or Quicktime Reference movie) and then import that into Compressor, or do you export using Compressor directly from your timeline?
c) Are you talking about SD DVD or HD DVD (I'm assuming SD DVD, but need to make sure)?
d) Have you considered upgrading to Compressor 3? According to the Apple website, "Using Apple’s optical flow technology, Compressor 3 produces pristine format and standards conversions — including standards conversions for international distribution and gorgeous SD to HD up-conversions. Change frame rates, convert between progressive and interlaced video, or perform reverse telecine processing — all while maintaining the quality of the original source."

So it seems that Compressor 3 is quite a significant upgrade in terms of general quality.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 01:33 PM   #3
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Hi David. Appreciate your help.

I'm shooting HDV 30p.
I export directly to Compressor 2.
I want the best quality HD DVD- Same as what I see in my Timeline, which looks great. It's just the transfer to DVD that sucks.
Compressor 3 sounds great, but I'm using Comp 2 and don't have access to C3.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:54 PM   #4
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Scott, there have been many threads on this topic, but the link below is one of my favorites. Give this method a try and see if it helps you.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...downconversion
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 05:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Harper View Post
I want the best quality HD DVD
Hi Scott.

Thanks for clarifying about the HD DVD. (I think Michael's link refers to SD DVD.)

I did use Compressor 2 at the start of the year to make an HD DVD. But I'm hazy as to what the options exactly were on Compressor 2 and which one I ended up using.

From memory, you should have 4 options (maybe try each and see which is best for you) for making an HD DVD.

1/ Exporting via Compressor using H.264 to make your HD DVD asset(s).
2/ Exporting via Compressor using MPEG-2 to make your HD DVD asset(s).
3/ Export as a Quicktime movie (but using a better codec than HDV - maybe Uncompressed 10-bit HD [I don't think you have ProRes on FCS 1] or even use AIC) - and import into DVD Studio Pro and do the HD compression (MPEG-2) in DVD SP.
4/ (I'm guessing here) Export as a Quicktime in HDV 720p30 and import that movie into DVD SP. DVD SP might accept it without any further encoding. I've seen posts by people using 1080i footage and apparently this works. I'm only guessing that it will work with 720p footage, but it's worth a try.

If option number 4 actually works, it may even give you the best result, because I suspect that FCP might (when it exports an HDV Quicktime) only re-encode with MPEG-2 the areas where there are cuts, transitions and filters and otherwise leave the footage alone. If this is right (I'll admit that I'm still guessing) then this could give you the closest result to what you see when you look at the footage in FCP.

Those are my thoughts, anyway.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 07:02 PM   #6
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Do you mean export it as a Quicktime Movie or Quicktime conversion?
In the options menu, What should the Frame Rate and Key Frame Rate be set at?

How do the people do it that are delivering a DVD of the end product to a paying customer- like a wedding or something? Surely they must have a way that gets them near perfect results without losing so much quality in the transfer. Thing is, I've never needed to deliver before now. I'm just amazed to find that the product is so low budget looking and there isn't something glaringly obvious that I've omitted or done wrong that has made it so.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 12:01 AM   #7
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Scott,

Just to be clear, you currently cannot burn to HD-DVD on a Mac; the media is available but the burners are not. I've seen some threads where people are authoring HD-DVD content and burning to a dual-layer DVD-9, but those discs do not have the ability to hold and transfer HD resolution, so even though they *might* have made a successful encode to an SD-DVD using HD-DVD assets the media simply can't playback HD-res content because the discs simply weren't made to hold those higher bitrates.

If that's what you've done - used HD-DVD assets and burned to a DVD-5 or DVD-9 and are getting poor results, that's why - both DVD-5/9 have max bitrates of 10.08Mbs; HD-DVD is almost double that.

There is a book that I highly recommend: Compressor 3 Quick Reference Guide; Brian Gary. Although it's about C3 not C2, you'll find all the answers you're looking for on how to best encode your projects for any output, including HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 10:19 AM   #8
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Thanks Robert. If you can't currently burn on a Mac can you burn on a PC? I'm just curious what people are doing that shoot indi-features with their HD cameras, surely they must not be delivering DVD's of such low quality. How do they deliver it?
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 11:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
both DVD-5/9 have max bitrates of 10.08Mbs; HD-DVD is almost double that.
Wait a second - is this limit specified by the original DVD specification (read: valid for regular DVD players), or a true physical limitation of the media? I recall other posts a while ago that reported that HD content can be put on a DVD-R, and the challenges were in finding a HD-DVD player that is compatible with it, plus the very limited length that your video can have (20 or 30 minutes, something like that). Quality was not mentioned there as a top concern, and what you write about the max bitrate is a little contradictory with the limited video length.

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Old October 24th, 2007, 11:41 PM   #10
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The max bitrate is both the SD-DVD spec and a physical limitation. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray lasers are 405nm in size, quite smaller when compared to SD-DVD being at 650nm.

I have yet to see internal HD-DVD burners on the US retail market; they have been available in Japan and the far east for about 6 months but so far have not made it over here.

Delivering HD content as an indie producer is a strange place currently. On the PC side the *only* true HD-DVD or Blu-Ray authoring program is Scenarist from Sonic. DVDSP4 has been able to author HD-DVD since it's first release but without the ability to burn a true HD-DVD in-house the "test burn" concept goes out the window. The idea of creating a hybrid disc by using HD assets on SD-spec media simply can't reproduce true HD-spec content delivery, ever.

I just had this discussion with the two major replication houses we do business with; both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray have minimum orders of 5000 units. Unlike SD-DVD where you can order as little as 50 units for duplication or 1000 units for replication.

What's even more strange, is that Premiere Pro CS3 does have Blu-Ray authoring capabilities, but it's not a *complete* authoring process either on PC or Mac. And again, on the Mac side you just can't burn an authored Blu-Ray disc - yet. Roxio Toast can only burn data to Blu-Ray on a Mac, not movies.

Realistically, it's going to be next year sometime before complete HD authoring/burning capabilities make it to the Mac.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #11
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Interesting discussion. The point about exceeding the spec bitrates on a DVD-5 particularly got my attention.

I know that people have successfully burned regular DVDs for HD DVDs on a Mac and had them play successfully on a Toshiba HD DVD player.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=105578

This has been stated to produce "beautiful HD", but perhaps this is really testing the very upper limits of what the DVD-R spec can comfortably handle in terms of bitrate (i.e. it starts to get outside the recommended "factor of safety" for the disc).

I have successfully played .m2t files burned onto a DVD-5 with a bitrate of 19.7 Mbps on a JVC SR-DVD100 player which was connected to an HD projector and the quality of the HD on the big screen was stunning.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....53&postcount=6

But note that when I burned these .m2t files I was advised not to exceed a burn speed of 1x of 2x or there could be problems. This tends to support Robert's point about these higher bitrates operating outside the usual spec for those discs.

Also note that on Compressor 3, the HD DVD bitrates have been lowered, with presets of 10.3 Mbps and 6.75 Mbps respectively (although these give much longer movie times than previously).

We are definitely in a period of transition when it comes to the practical delivery of HD content to clients. I'm of the opinion that the release of Leopard (new Mac OS) might clear the way for a new DVD SP upgrade (which will handle both HD DVD and Blu-Ray) and then they can release the first Macs with internal burners (hopefully for BOTH Blu-Ray and HD DVD). It's wishful thinking, I admit.

So Scott, if you are looking to put 1 1/2 to 2 hour hockey games onto DVD RIGHT NOW with your Mac and Compressor 2, it might be best to make an SD DVD.

It won't be as good as what you see in FCP. But taking 720p footage and oversampling it into 480 lines (NTSC) will still look far, far better than if you shot the game in NTSC (SD) and made an SD DVD of that.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
It won't be as good as what you see in FCP. But taking 720p footage and oversampling it into 480 lines (NTSC) will still look far, far better than if you shot the game in NTSC (SD) and made an SD DVD of that.

I am using Adobe Suite 2.0 on a PC, and am looking to find a way to take advantage of HD content on my timline, to look the best it can on SD-dvd.

What do you mean use 720p content and oversample it? Or is this only something you can do in FCp?

I shoot in 1080i but obviously have to dow convert to 480 for SD-dvd. The quality is ok but i am looking to more advantage of my original HD content.

Thanks.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 01:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
So Scott, if you are looking to put 1 1/2 to 2 hour hockey games onto DVD RIGHT NOW with your Mac and Compressor 2, it might be best to make an SD DVD.

It won't be as good as what you see in FCP. But taking 720p footage and oversampling it into 480 lines (NTSC) will still look far, far better than if you shot the game in NTSC (SD) and made an SD DVD of that.
So I should be shooting DV, not HDV? Kinda contradicts my sales pitch to people that I have this HD package but I can only deliver SD results. Too weird.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 02:23 PM   #14
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That's right; HD disc content delivery is not yet available for small distribution i.e. single users or one-off DVD's such as weddings or events. But it's coming and just around the corner.

Don't stop your current workflow; it's been proven time and again that content that starts out at higher resolutions/bitrates looks better when compressed down to SD/NTSC resolution.

The fact is, as long as you use the best compression settings available to fit the content on either DVD-5/9 and release it as SD-Widescreen (letterboxed on traditional TV's and full-screen on HDTV sets) your clients probably won't really notice the difference. It's not your fault you can't actually deliver in HD-DVD or Blu-Ray yet and offer your clients the ability to re-issue the content - should they want it - in HD when practical.

It's worth noting, that even on the single-user PC's that have Sonic Scenarist who are authoring Blu-Ray the forums are swamped with bugs reports, quality issues and player/media compatibility problems with burned/duplicated discs. Even when full HD authoring comes to DVDSP it's going to be a while before all these bugs get ironed out. I'd say we've got at a minimum of another calendar year before you can reliably deliver HD disc content and not worry about compatibility problems between players and media.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Scott Harper View Post
So I should be shooting DV, not HDV?
Scott,

no, what David suggests is to keep shooting and editing in HD, and only downconverting to SD when you create the DVD. This is common practice today for many of us, due to the unfortunate lack of a widely accepted high-definition distribution method. The extra resolution will benfit the DVD in that you can produce an incredibly clear and detailed standard-definition image. Plus, a few years from now, if you want to reuse your footage, you can use it in high def.

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