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Old February 19th, 2004, 09:22 AM   #1
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Motion Menu to Still Frame Problems

Hi,

I'm having some interesting problems creating menus for my latest DVD project. I've created some short motion clips that lead up to a still frame for the actual menu. The still frame was created by exporting the last frame of the motion clip from Premiere Pro as a TIF file. In the ReelDVD project, I link the motion clip to the still frame clip. Simple and straightforward.

When creating my menus this way, I see two problems with the still menu portion during playback from DVD:

First, the still frame is noticably darker than the actual video.

Second, the still frame "shifts and stretches". Things don't line up.

What I've tried as a workaround to these problems: In Premiere Pro, I found a check box in the export frame settings labeled "Deinterlace video". When I check that, the frame no longer appears darker than the video.

For the "shifting and stretching" problem, I've tried resizing my still menu TIF to 710 x 480, and that helps some, but there is still some noticible shift when the still menu appears on the screen.

Does anyone know what's going on here? I would think a 720 x 480 frame exported from the 720 x 480 video would display at the same aspect ratio.

Thanks!

Tim
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Old February 20th, 2004, 05:55 AM   #2
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No it won't. Why? Because still file formats only know 1.0 pixel
aspect. Thus your authoring program is assuming it needs to
scale the picture. There are two solutions:

1) export a 1 frame MPEG2 file from Premiere. This is what happens a lot and what still menus on DVD are as well. I would choose for this probably

2) export the frame and open it in a paint program with good sample routines. Now resample the picture to 648x480 (WITHOUT maintaining aspect ratio) and feed that to your authoring application
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Old February 20th, 2004, 06:59 AM   #3
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Tim,

I have had that problem before, but I can't remember how I got around it :(

I take it your using Photoshop to create the menu? make sure that you have locked aspect ratio.

It might be worth trying to export the frame as a targa, bmp or JPG to see whether that helps.

reel DVD will not except any files that do not conform to the video standard resolution i.e. 720x480 NTSC/ 720x576 PAL

Solution 1 from Robs list might work, but I doubt solution 2 will?

This is a DVD issue and not Premiere. What version of REel DVD are you using?
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Old February 20th, 2004, 07:33 AM   #4
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That's what I'm trying to solve, that problem. If it won't accept
other sizes you will have to somehow let it know that it is already
in the correct aspect ratio. You cannot give it a file at 720x480
in 1.0 pixel aspect ratio and then assume it knows it isn't (which
has proven not to work). So either it accepts other sizes or you
must tell it that it isn't 1.0 PA. If that isn't possible then the only
option will be my first solution I think.
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Old February 20th, 2004, 01:51 PM   #5
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Oh, duh! Of course the pixel aspect ratio thing. I should have known better. I'm not sure ReelDVD accepts 640x480 assets. Maybe if I resize to 720x540 (4:3 ratio) it may work. I'd rather resize vertically, not horizontally. I think any detail loss would be minimized that way. I'll try it.

However, I'm interested in the first option Rob suggested, exporting a single frame MPEG. How would I use that? Would I need to loop it? Won't the DVD "crash" if I don't provide a Next link? Or will ReelDVD recognize it is a single frame and treat it as a still menu?

I'm using ReelDVD 3.1.0.xxxx Came with my Matrox RT.X100. I'm also using Premiere Pro, and both Paint Shop Pro (supports PSD files) and Photoshop LE to edit my menus.

Did my comments on "deinterlacing" the exported still frame to solve the dark image problem make sense?

Thanks!

Tim
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Old February 20th, 2004, 07:35 PM   #6
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<sigh> I'm getting nowhere with this...

I tried the 1-frame MPEG. ReelDVD doesn't like that. It requires a minimum of 3 frames per clip. Ok, I obliged, and gave it a three-frame clip. Huh, now it doesn't know it's a menu, so it plays, reaches the end, and .... that's it. DVD over. No pausing for menu stuff.

Next I checked the aspect ratio thing. In Premiere Pro, you can tell it what pixel aspect ratio to export. I selected square 1.0, set the size to 720x540 and exported a TIF file. Well, the result is, it still "jerks" when the motion clip ends and the still frame appears. I tried 640x480, 1440x1080, TIF, BMP,...they all do the same thing.

I'm starting to wonder if there's a bug in ReelDVD. It's as if it resizes regardless of the size it was in to begin with. I don't get it.

Is there anyone with ReelDVD that can give this a try? I'm looking for more suggestions.

Thanks,

Tim
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Old February 21st, 2004, 06:29 AM   #7
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Hi Tim,

I use ReeLDVD 3.0.3 so if I have time later I'll try it. I have seen this behaviour before but can not rememember how I got around it :(

If you wish to repeat your 3 frame MPEG file then connect the next command to its previous command that way it will keep on repeating over and over again until you hit a button.

Cheers,

Ed
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Old February 21st, 2004, 10:49 AM   #8
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Hi Ed,

I thought about repeating the 3-frame MPEG, but as a menu, ReelDVD resets the selected button to the first button each time you enter the menu, so it would be impossible to select any options.

I'm wondering if any other DVD Authoring products exhibit similar behavior, or if it's unique to ReelDVD.

Tim
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Old February 23rd, 2004, 10:52 PM   #9
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Success! I figured out the motion to still menu problem. Rob, you're hunch was correct. A 1-frame MPEG was the key.

First, I don't know why, but the 1-frame export to MPEG is working with ReelDVD now. I must have done something wrong before when it didn't work. This time, I set the Work Area to the last frame of the clip, and exported using the built-in Adobe MPEG Converter. When I added this 1-frame MPEG to ReelDVD, it prompted me to set it as a still menu.

I tried a number of combinations of compression techniques, interlace and progressive, CBR and VBR, and came to a conclusion: CBR is best for still menus. Using VBR on a 1-frame MPEG looks bad. Lots of artifacts and blocking. CBR cleans it right up.

I'll probably stick to CBR for my menus, either interlaced or progressive. I saw little difference in quality, and the file size increase is relatively small.

Ed, is this what your solution was?

Tim
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Old February 24th, 2004, 05:31 AM   #10
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I'm glad to see it worked! I'm assuming your issue with the menu
changing size is also fixed now? Yes, you should definitely use
CBR (I would go with a very high bitrate like 8000 to maintain as
much quality as possible in that one frame) since it is only one
frame.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 09:30 AM   #11
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Rob,

Yes, the issue with the still menu changing size is now resolved. It does still bother me that you can't import a TIFF into ReelDVD without it changing size. I have an incident open with Sonic right now. Maybe they can answer that question.

Importing a TIFF directly into ReelDVD is still better quality than the 1-frame MPEG. I will continue to experiment with the compression rate and quality. So far, I'm satisfied.

BTW, the Email Notification check box on this forum doesn't seem to work. I'm not receiving emails when you reply. I thought this used to work. Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks for the help!

Tim
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Old February 25th, 2004, 02:45 PM   #12
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That feature should work. It does required you to view the thread
after the first reply to get notices if others reply. If you keep
having problems please send an e-mail to chris@dvinfo.net
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Old February 26th, 2004, 09:44 AM   #13
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Tim,

I tried your problem, and it seemed to work for me at home. taking still image from last fame (tga) of movie and the creating menu on it.

I'm glad you managed to work it out.

cheers,

Ed
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Old February 26th, 2004, 09:51 AM   #14
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Ah, I figured it out. My ISP's spam filter is catching it as advertisement for some reason. I'll fix that. Thanks!

Tim
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Old February 26th, 2004, 10:03 AM   #15
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Ed, even though I have a work around, I'd like to pursue how you made it work by exporting a frame. Can I contact you offline?

Tim
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