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Old January 2nd, 2010, 07:27 PM   #1
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Blu Ray AVCHD or H.264/MPEG2 HD

I am making a standard DVD of my niece's school play to help raise money for her school, and the play is only 20 or so minutes. As a way to increase revenue, I also want to provide the play in HD, most likely using a double-sided single layer DVD (Side A has the SD DVD and Side B has the HD version).

So, my question is whether to make the HD a Blu Ray compatible AVCHD or a computer playable file using H.264 or MPEG2.

Here are my thoughts and concerns:

For AVCHD: it can play in any Blu Ray player and also PCs with compatible playback software. However, I highly doubt that many parents have the necessary playback software (which can play Blu Rays) but at least they should be able to play the AVCHD down the road when they get a B-R player.

For H.264/MPEG2 file: more and more people are using their computers to watch movies; so, many parents probably will have the software to watch the HD version right now or can easily download the software - for this, I was thinking of Quicktime. However, I am not very familiar with Quicktime besides using it for After Effects proxies and web deliverables. My concern is being able to export from Premiere or AE at 20Mb/s or higher bitrate.


Thanks
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 07:43 PM   #2
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hd won't work on a dvd and bluray is too expensive, so stick to standard def.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 08:06 PM   #3
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Here's a more practical solution: do everything in HD, then just master out to a variety of formats, depending upon what people have. You'll likely burn a zillion regular SD DVDs and a handful each of a bunch of other formats that people want. It really doesn't take any extra effort, just a little more transcoding time while you go and have dinner.

But I might question the assumption that any form of HD version would generate "extra revenue.' In my experience people not only won't pay extra (so far) for HD, they actually have to be convinced that HD is better.

And always make sure you warn people that interlaced video always looks crappy on a computer, even if their screen resolution supports HD (which it likely doesn't).
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 08:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
hd won't work on a dvd and bluray is too expensive, so stick to standard def.
LOL! And I thought I was a pessamist!

I put HD on DVD all the time, and it works fine IN SOME PLAYERS. Just did it last week in fact. Most Sony and Samsungs do fine with them, and some others do too.

BluRay costs me about $2.60 a disk. Less than a miniDV tape. Never heard anyone complain that dv tape was too expensive.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 08:36 PM   #5
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That's because you're not mass-duplicating and distributing DV Tapes. And also because there isn't an "SD format" tape that costs 25 cents.

Which BD blanks do you use, and from where? Prices are getting pretty reasonable....

(BTW, Sony MiniDV Premiums are $1.69 at Costco this week....)
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 08:42 PM   #6
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I guess I should explain it a little better.

You can take a regular DVD and make a 'mini' blu ray by using AVCHD. Everything is the same as blu ray except the size.

Also, I am encoding and burning everything, and then taking it to the school for parents to buy, so they won't have any choice of format. Their only choice will be to spend $$ on a regular dvd or $$$ on a double sided dvd with SD and HD versions. Its for a private school and they have run into some funding issues so all revenue from these DVDs goes directly to the school. Its my money and time for the DVDs, and if I can get some parents to spend a little extra for the HD version, then I'm happy.

Furthermore, it was recorded with an EX1 using 1080p 30fps HQ(35Mb).
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 08:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Which BD blanks do you use, and from where? Prices are getting pretty reasonable....

(BTW, Sony MiniDV Premiums are $1.69 at Costco this week....)
I usually end up with Verbatims. But sometimes imations or Sonys. Sony's are never cheapest. The last time I bought 50GB disks TDKs ended up being cheapest. I just burned two of those tonight. Thanks to Hollywood demand, the 50GB disks are still commanding a huge premium.

I can remember in June 08 when I bought my first BluRay disks, I paid $49.99 each for the 50GBs, and $29.99 for the 25GB. My last order a couple months ago, I paid like $2.63 for the 25GB, and $17.99 for the 50GB.

I moved off Tape so long ago, I haven't really priced them in a while. I think we went tapeless in '05.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 08:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
I guess I should explain it a little better.

You can take a regular DVD and make a 'mini' blu ray by using AVCHD. Everything is the same as blu ray except the size.
My suggestion is to do a DVD-9 with the standard def version on it, and put two bonus files on it. An mp4 file, and a windows media file. Both in HD. That should let them be able to play the disc in a DVD Player, Mac or PC with equal ease.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 09:32 PM   #9
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Here's my long answer:

If the main purpose is to raise more money HD doesn't achieve that goal. You have to charge substantially more just to make the same amount as you would with SD DVD. You could offer bluray but to recoup your cost for the burner and media will be difficult to do. There is only so much you can charge and customers for this type of thing aren't going to pay over a certain amount. So unless you're dealing with an affluent community it doesn't make sense.

While the best option I've heard is including extra Hd footage that can be played on the computer, I doubt that would be a significant factor in a dvd sale. Either a parent wants one or they don't.

He got an HD camera and wants use that to utilize the picture quality to generate sales. Unfortunately it isn't as simple as that. If you want to tinker around with HD which it sounds like you do, then knock yourself out just be prepared for spending lots of time encoding. I also stand by what I said about HD on a DVD not working. If you think you can I'll take my hat off to you.


If you want to increase revenue here are a few suggestions.

1. Promote the DVD. Pre sell it. Hand out order forms to everyone in the show so the parents will get it. Have the MC, if there is one, announce DVDs are for sale. Include order forms in the program. Have someone at a table during intermission collect orders handling the money and able to make change. People are most likely to buy then and there not after they go home.

2. If you want to include something on the DVD that will make parents want to buy. Film interviews and behind the scenes of the kids getting ready, practicing, or celebrating afterwards. Parents are buying it to see their kids so the more face time you get the more likely they're going to buy it. I know this stuff isn't high tech. Boring huh.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; January 2nd, 2010 at 10:05 PM.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 10:21 PM   #10
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Pete, I am not using Blu Ray so there is no 'extra' cost to recoup.

You can take a regular dvd and encode it using AVCHD to make a 'mini' blu ray; thus, encoding HD on a dvd.

The play has already been recorded. Bringing in donations/revenue for the school was an afterthought. However, a world-renowned pianist is a teacher and coach at the school and he puts on a large performance every year with the students. Last year, they had it recorded and the cameraman was absolutely horrible, so I should be able to shoot it this year, and make a profit too. Pete, I like and appreciate your ideas - thanks.

Perrone, I like your idea of two video formats. I think this is what I shall use.
Also, do you know whether any blu ray players besides the PS3 can play other formats like Divx/Xvid? (for example, a Xvid file burned as data onto a CD or DVD plays just fine in a Playstation 3)

Thanks for your input.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 10:27 PM   #11
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I don't know why you couldn't play the AVCHD files on a computer. You can author as BluRay AVCHD, and even if they don't have a blu-ray player, so long as you record to DVD-9 as the physical medium, they should be able to play it on the computer.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 11:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Pete, I am not using Blu Ray so there is no 'extra' cost to recoup.

You can take a regular dvd and encode it using AVCHD to make a 'mini' blu ray; thus, encoding HD on a dvd.
Things are moving quickly in this field so maybe AVCHD will work. I've read about compatibility issues, thats why I suggested going all the way and burning bluray discs. You might not find it that fun if customers start calling you up, especially if its involving a lot of ppl. I've tried encoding H264 on dvd without success. Good luck and tell us how it turns out.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 12:27 PM   #13
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Burning Blu-Ray "compatible" red-laser DVD disks is just begging for a headache. If more than a handful of folks with stand-alone Blu-Ray players try playing them, you'll be getting complaints from the (disappointed) ones with incompatible players. Heck, you'd even have some compatibility problems burning Blu-Ray disks.

I'd use Perrone's suggestion, but do it cheap and simple - by burning two separate (single layer) disks, and packaging them in a two disk casings. Single layer DVD disks are a lot easier to work with, and cost less.

Actually, with only 20 minutes, you could fit it all on one single layer, mixed format, DVD. Do the HD at 720p and you can get pretty good quality at 8Mbps with both H264 and WMV (with most footage). 3 versions of a 20 minute video, all encoded at 8Mbps, is almost ideal for fitting on a single layer DVD.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 12:49 PM   #14
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Excellent point Robert. Yes, if it's only 20 minutes long, then three versions should pose no problem fitting on a single layer disk. Especially if using multiple pass VBR for the h.264 and WMV versions. Most people watch computer video far less critically than stuff on "TV".
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 12:51 PM   #15
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The more I think about it, it would be a breeze to burn 20 minutes of a school play onto a mixed format, single layer DVD - with the DVD complaint version of the video, and two 720p HD versions for computer playback.

School plays aren't exactly akin to non-stop car chases, for motion. You've got some flexibility there to compress the DVD video version, likely down into the neighborhood of 4Mbps VBR, if need be, and still look just fine. That leaves plenty of room for decent 720 line HD encodings of low motion video. Unless you are shooting 60i, or shooting with an EX1 or better cam, there isn't a whole lot of benefit in going for 1080 line encodings anyway. Any HDV cam, or an HMC150/HVX200/HPX170 only really resolves/records 800 lines max, of effective resolution, anyway.
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