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Old April 4th, 2009, 06:03 PM   #1
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Help. Looks Great Until I Go To DVD

Hey All,

A quickie for you.

I edit using FCE and shoot with a Sony HVR-V1u, and burn to DVD with Everything looks great when its on the computer (30 inch screen)...but looks like garbage on DVD burns with either IDVD or DVD Studio Pro. VERY pixelated and frankly nothing I would want as a representation of my work.

What is the best export to use when burning to DVD? SD and HD formats appreciated. I need it to look as creamy as it does on screen.

Thank so much!

--C
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Old April 4th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #2
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How are you exporting your project?

Back in the day I exported as a QT movie and dropped it into iMovie... but found myself having some really bad artifacts and pixelating. Not sure if I changed a setting or if all of a sudden FCP did something wacky... who knows...

Anyways, I now export from FCP straight to Compressor... and the results have been quite nice. In fact, I haven't exported to QT ever in the past 3+ years.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 06:49 PM   #3
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DVDs are in standard definition. You are shooting in HD. It's best to look at DVDs on a standard definition TV or with a DVD player that can upres for HDTV monitors. DVDs will never look good on a 30 inch computer monitor (unless you take a few steps back) especially if you directly compare them to the original footage.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #4
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Blake. That says a lot...thanks!

William. I am shooting in SD on these projects (turning HD off)...even in HD, though, it has had similar issues. Good point, though, and I should have elaborated.

So in essence, is there (if I had to) a setting in FCE to export in (either movie or QT conversion) which yields the best results.

Thanks a million. Keep em coming!

All the best,

--C
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Old April 4th, 2009, 10:30 PM   #5
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Final Cut Pro and Compressor (and presumably FCE) all do a TERRIBLE job of downconverting from 1080i to 480i. They are ok for 720p, but just terrible for 1080i. Strangely enough, Quicktime Pro (or the "QuickTime Conversion" export from FCP) does a pretty good job of it.

I always use the "QuickTime Conversion" export from FCP to downres my 1080i timelines to 720x480 anamorphic ProRes (do not put the material on a 480i/p timeline first, or else FCP does the downconversion and ruins it). Then I bring this ProRes file into Compressor for MPEG-2 compression. This gives far superior results to letting FCP or Compressor do the actual downconversion.

I'm not sure if FCE has the "QuickTime Conversion" export (not the same as "QuickTime Movie" export), but you could instead export a 1080i AIC codec video (which is very good quality) and then do your downconversion in QuickTime Pro or any other program which has a better downsampling algorithm.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #6
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Jason,

WOW! Awesome info and I cannot thank you enough for the input.

It really is amazing, to me, that for all the plusses I love about FCP and FCE (especially for the 90 percent I use it for web material) that we have to do this sort of dance to burn to a DVD and get good results. Nevertheless, 'knowing' what I need to do when someone asks for something on DVD....the knowledge to make it 'pop' really helps.

I owe you all a beverage of choice.

Regards,

--C
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Old April 5th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #7
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Going along with what Jason said...

I convert to ProRes422 on capture/transfer, then use Compresser to encode to MPEG-2.

Results? AMAZING.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 05:25 PM   #8
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To clarify about my suggested workflow, the conversion to ProRes isn't the important part. If you send 1080i material of any codec (even ProRes) directly to Compressor and have Compressor downres it to 480i, it will look terrible. The key point is that you need to use the "QuickTime Conversion" export in FCP to do the actual step of changing the resolution. It doesn't matter what codec you use in this step, if you have the disk space then uncompressed would be ideal, or if ProRes is too big for a long project then DV50 would be pretty good too (although I wouldn't go down to DV25 if you want to maintain the best quality).
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Old April 6th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #9
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Most of my conversions have been 720p to DVD and they have come out great. The couple of times I've done 1080i I've used Compressor to create a SD 16:9 DV file before making the MPEG2 file since that seemed to take less time than waiting for Compressor to go from 1080 to MPEG2 and the client could use the SD file.

My question here is, does converting 1080i files outside of Compressor extend to h.264 internet files as well?
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Old April 6th, 2009, 09:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post
Going along with what Jason said...

I convert to ProRes422 on capture/transfer, then use Compresser to encode to MPEG-2.

Results? AMAZING.
Thanks again guys. While I did do this and the results improved greatly, I notice some pixel wash around the titles....while the video content is heads and tails better.

I shot in HD1080i, did the down-convert in the camera and it looked amazing. Still, with the titles, it looks great on SD on the computer...clean and crisp....still those titles are giving me a pain on DVD conversion.

Is there a setting in FCP or FCE for the best titling or is it just 'hit and miss'.

Thanks a million. You guys are fantastic.

--C
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Old April 6th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #11
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You should try compression markers in FCP (don't know if those are available in FCE). Put them where the title appears in full, not before the fade but at the frame the title is full. This will tell the compression algorithm to make a new key frame.

Titles are always a difficulty even in frame based codecs like DV. You should try to experiment with custom MPEG2 settings as the presets Apple provides are for programs of 90 minutes or more.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Doud View Post
I shot in HD1080i, did the down-convert in the camera and it looked amazing. Still, with the titles, it looks great on SD on the computer...clean and crisp....still those titles are giving me a pain on DVD conversion.
--C
I've always had the best luck using 8-bit Uncompressed sequences when doing titling in SD. I lock my picture in Prores or Whatever sequence, then nest that in a 8-bit sequence, add my titles and voila! crisp, clean edges, no jaggies etc...

Keep in mind this is for SD.
Doesn't seem to be a problem for me when editing HD.

AND I'll second the use of compression markers, it is amazing the difference using them and not using them... a lot of work? yes. worth it? if you want professional results, yes.

I get tired of people bad mouthing Compressor when they don't take the time and learn a little bit about it, and how well it can work when you know what you are doing. Although the presets work ok, you can do so much better than a simple "click here for awesome" search here for info, this forum has been invaluable to me learning these programs... remeber take whatever ANYONE says with a grain of salt though, only your personal experiences with a program is what matters to you in the end.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 04:57 PM   #13
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I tried using Jason's idea of letting Quicktime scale the video from 1920x1080 to a 720x480 anamorphic ProRes HQ file. I got very excited because the scaled down ProRes HQ video looked VERY good within Quicktime Player, but unfortunately when I compressed it to MPEG-2 using Apple Compressor (Best Quality 90 minute preset) my video still looked crappy, just like it had when I went directly from FCP (1920x1080 30p) to Compressor. The edges vibrated and just looked pixelated.

So maybe I'll do some more testing with the other suggestions from this thread. Things like Compression Markers and different quality settings in Compressor. Anyone have any good settings for videos less than 30 minutes in length?

Anyone purchase the CRAM Compressor presets? I'm wondering if they would be helpful?
http://www.compressorpack.com/
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis View Post
Anyone purchase the CRAM Compressor presets? I'm wondering if they would be helpful?
CRAMCompressor
Given the time & effort that you guys are investing to try & get decent results I would think that trying these at just $39 is worth it. If it doesn't work for you just ask for refund.

Cheers

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Old April 12th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #15
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Sounds like Nigel wants one of us to be the guinea pig and purchase the CRAM presets. (just poking fun at you Nigel....just a joke) :)
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