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Old October 23rd, 2010, 12:19 PM   #1
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DVD Discs Capacity

All of the DVDs I've made so far, have mainly been less than an hour. I'm doing a project now that will turn out to be about 1 hours 40 minutes in length.

When using Premiere Elements on my PC the final quality of the end-product was directly proportional to the length of the video, so in one case while burning a video, the Premiere program indicated that the entire video could be burned but at a drop from High to Medium quality. Hence, 2 discs were used.

Now I'm using Final Cut Express 4 on the Mac and would like to place all of the 1 hour and 30 minutes on one disc at the highest quality possible. After digging up on this site and on Google, the answers seem to point to bit rates and compression and not the actual discs.

So is compressor software (e.g. Sorenson) essential in a case like this, or will Final Cut Express 4 along with iDVD be quite suitable for doing the job?
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 12:28 PM   #2
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Looks like I'm answering my own post! hah hah.... The disc will hold up to 120 minutes of high quality anyway. However, if anyone still has anything extra to add, or useful suggestions, they'd be greatly appreciated!

:-D
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 12:38 PM   #3
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Hello,

You are correct that in the end it is all about the bitrate. I can store 8 hours of video but it may not look so great. What you will need to do is figure out the math to get the highest bitrate that leaves just short of the 4.3GB footprint of DVD-Rs Also keep in mind that the audio has to go on there too. Make sure that it is in compressed format and not a WAV which will eat up lots of space.

With an hour 30 of content you should be able to do the Audio @ 128KBit which should sound great for talking etc. and leave about 5500-6000kbit for the video. If you do 2 pass encoding VBR this should look fantastic.

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Old October 23rd, 2010, 03:45 PM   #4
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What about dual layer discs? They can hold over 8gb of content.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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What about dual layer discs? They can hold over 8gb of content.

Have you had much luck with them? I tried some when they first came out but only 2 out of the 3 I sent out only 2 said they worked. The third's DVD player had issues with the video on the 2nd layer. Mind you this was when they were first out some time ago so I havent experimented with them since. I usually do sporting events so I can get 2 and a half hours of good content on my disks without issue. I use FFMPEG to compress my HDV down to a video and audio stream to burn with Adobe Encore for burning.
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Last edited by Josh Chesarek; October 23rd, 2010 at 04:04 PM. Reason: forgot the quote
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 04:02 PM   #6
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What about dual layer discs? They can hold over 8gb of content.
Some people are using them, and if you are going to try it make sure you use +R DL and not -R DL. There are major differences between how they handle the layer split and I don't have a single DVD player that will play the -R DL whereas 4 out of 6 will play the +R DL. The 4 out of 6 number should also give you an indication of compatibly in the market place.

I NEVER ship a dual layer disc because so many players won't play them reliably - I really wish they would because it would solve a lot of problems.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 07:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for all your comments. I'll look for the right settings (bit rates) before burning.

I've never worked with dual layer discs. Is the burning process the same? I'd like to hear some more about it.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 07:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your comments. I'll look for the right settings (bit rates) before burning.

I've never worked with dual layer discs. Is the burning process the same? I'd like to hear some more about it.
Bitrates should be done during the rendering when exporting from your NLE. As for working with DL disks usually its just a setting for the project and selecting a dual layer disk as the media or destination. Some DVD packages have some more advanced options that let you select when the 2nd layer is used. You usually would do this during a scene cut to reduce the possible momentary glitch as it switches layers but that all depends on the player.

-Josh C.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 01:04 PM   #9
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I'm going to go with the usual disc holding 1 hour 20 minutes maximum video and use the bit rates you suggested. Thanks again, much appreciated.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 12:41 PM   #10
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I'm going to go with the usual disc holding 1 hour 20 minutes maximum video and use the bit rates you suggested. Thanks again, much appreciated.
Looks like you're confusing 1 hour and 20 minutes with 120 minutes. They are not the same.

Since it sounds to me like you are using iDVD, here are a few things to be aware of:

iDVD uses its own built-in compression process, so using a dedicated compression application such as Compressor or Sorenson to create the mpeg-2 file prior to moving it to iDVD is not necessary, and likely won't work anyway.

iDVD applies its own bit-rate designation to the footage. At its quickest setting "Best Performance", iDVD applies a broad-base bitrate within a set range to the entire video, and this setting allows for a maximum of approximately 90 minutes of footage.

At the higher settings 'High Quality" and "Professional Quality", iDVD analyzes the contents first, and determines the appropriate bit rate to apply scene by scene. (The difference between these two is that "Professional Quality" works more effectively for better audio.) This process takes a while because it is a two-step process for scanning and then compressing. This process allows for a maximum 120 minutes (2 hours) of content, but you must also be wary of timing factors applied for your menus. (In rare instances, iDVD may errantly create menu interfaces in repeating 15 minute loops, eating up a lot of your available space.)

With moving menus, and such, I think it is safe to say you should be able to get an estimation of 1 hour and 57 minutes of your feature content onto the DVD - give or take.

Hope this helps.

-Jon
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Old October 27th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #11
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Looks like you're confusing 1 hour and 20 minutes with 120 minutes. They are not the same.-Jon
:-), yes, I know one is 2 hours, the other is 1 hr and 20 mins.

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Originally Posted by Jonathan Jones View Post
Since it sounds to me like you are using iDVD, here are a few things to be aware of:

iDVD uses its own built-in compression process, so using a dedicated compression application such as Compressor or Sorenson to create the mpeg-2 file prior to moving it to iDVD is not necessary, and likely won't work anyway.

iDVD applies its own bit-rate designation to the footage...-Jon
I've been using the "Professional Quality" setting.

Still, I noticed a drop in quality from the original video to the DVD video.

It seems that Sorenson is the answer to that. So since you're saying that using compressor software would be essentially useless when using iDVD, what would I burn the final DVD with, if I went ahead and used Sorenson? There's no option in Final Cut Express 4 to burn (which is surprising, because Adobe Premiere Elements can encode and burn from within the program).

Sounds like I have to fork out more money to buy another program. Say it ain't so ...?
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Old October 27th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #12
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It ain't so.

Of course there is a drop in quality from the original footage to the DVD. That's how it works with MPEG2 at DVD bit rates. iDVD can make high quality DVDs but is limited in other ways. If you are thinking of spending $800 for Sorenson Squeeze (a great but limited program which will make a file that iDVD probably will not recognize), why not just get Final Cut Studio and get everything you need, including burning DVDs from within Final Cut, for $1000?
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Old October 27th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #13
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If you are thinking of spending $800 for Sorenson Squeeze (a great but limited program which will make a file that iDVD probably will not recognize), why not just get Final Cut Studio and get everything you need, including burning DVDs from within Final Cut, for $1000?
Well, the currency's exchange rate makes these programs very expensive. So, I bought Final Cut Express 4 instead of Studio because of my budget. The Sorenson that I was considering was Sorenson 5 and costs $158.00.

However, it looks like I can't improve on the quality using Sorenson if it's going to be burned in iDVD.

I didn't realise beforehand that Express 4 does not directly encode and burn DVDs.

Last edited by Helen Habib; October 27th, 2010 at 01:37 PM. Reason: Edit.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 04:09 PM   #14
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A new copy of Sorenson 5 for $158 isn't a bad deal and an upgrade to 6.5 is $300 so it's a real deal if that's a program you need.

The trick with judging DVDs is to watch it on a real TV, not the computer monitor. Computer monitors will always give you a harsh view of the DVD, especially if you have the original footage to compare it with. DVDs are standard definition and most computer DVD programs zoom into the image to fill the computer screen (which is higher resolution), taking a low resolution image and making it worse.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 11:46 AM   #15
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Hmm...I thought that Sorenson was a must, but it doesn't appear so.

I see what you mean about the TV being a better quality medium to look at the DVD. It really does look better than on the PC monitor.

So it looks like iDVD will take care of the best quality possible before burning.

Thanks again for all the replies.
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