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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 03:54 AM   #1
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How do I get good quality?

Hello. I have recently bought a Canon GL2 (actually XM2 since I am from Sweden). My initial tries to get the exellent quality from the dv tape to a file have not been succesfull. I have choosen dv capture in the capture menu of, for exmaple, premier 6.5 but after exporting the product as an avi or mpg there is always something wrong with the picture. On some tries I see pixels, the colour balance at least appears twisted, sometimes the picture gets jumpy but have better overall quality though takes up less diskspace then a huge non-jumpy pixelated file, and the quality of the overall picture quality isn't really even near compared to watching from the camera on tv (s-video cable). Now why is that?

Is it not possible to get the same quality as on tape through the editing process?!
I have seen Barry Goyettes (he uses Final Cut Pro) testvideo (, found via a link in the GL2 watchdog articles section), and if I could get that kind of result I would be very pleased. Can please anyone help me? I have access to Vegas 4, Premier 6.5 Pinnacle Studio 8.3. I would like to learn Vegas 4 better, but as a newbie I don't get half of the things they write about..deinterlacing, which format to choose etc..and the manual is 300 pages long...

So, basically, can anyone tell me how to get good final material from the GL2 using for example Vegas 4? Time is not a problem, neither disk space, I just want the same (or at least very close to) quality as that I see on Tv through the camera (like the Barry Goyette video for emaple). The files I want to make are supposed to be seen on tv, not first hand on the computer, though if you can get good quality on both, that would of course be the best. But I rather, as a first step, have a huge final project file on my computer then a bad quality one on a cd. I have an athlon xp 2200+, asus motherboard, creative audigy with firewire, 512mb ram, asus geforce 4 4200 tv-out card, cd-burner

I would very much appreciate if someone could teach me these first steps.

/Fredrik, Sweden
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 06:31 AM   #2
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Good Quality

A couple of things to check: are your project settings correct? When Premiere opens do you select DV PAL? Have you viewed any of your captured material back to TV via the Canon? It hasn't happened to me but I've seen others suggest you shouldn't judge the quality by what you can see in Premiere's viewing windows.
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 06:45 AM   #3
 
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There's not much that can go wrong during the captue of DV formatted material. V4 will automatically select the format parameters of the imported DV image file (avi). The biggest loss of quality usually happens when the editted file is exported. If you're exporting to MPEG, you've got to set the compression data bitrate higher than 3000 kb/sec in order to get good quality output. DVD (which is a subset of MPEG2) allows bitrates up to 8000 kb/sec, which results in excellent compression quality.
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 09:07 AM   #4
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Yes I have choosen dv and it saves a file that is ca 3.6mb/sec (in Vegas, but I think I choose about the same in Premier; maximum quality). Now, the quality isn't bad...it's really quite good, and perhaps it will look even better on tv (?) but except for one big thing (I hope I can explain this in english:) )
: ther is a sort of a fringe or "moving-pixel-border" around, especially sharp, angles. In my footage the quality as a start of the shoot is fine.

But then after having turned the camera towards a colourful flower, there it is: a clearly visible, annoying fringe or frame (..or border...I don't know the exact name in english, but I hope you know what I mean) around the edges of the flower leafs. The same fringe is around other things later in my test. Candles, newspapers...well all sorts of things, and it looks really ugly and annoying in an otherwise fine picture.

I have seen this in other peoples footage as well, but for example in Barry Goyetts testvideo, there isn't anything to be seen of the annoying "pixelborder".

Can I get rid of the fringe or is it impossible?!
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 09:21 AM   #5
 
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I'm not sure, but, it sounds like you may be describing what's called "mosquito noise". This is an inherent disadvantage of the compression algorithm used by all DV codecs. It appears at areas of sharp edges, especially where there is a high contrast ratio across the edge. The workaround is to apply a slight blur to the image, in post, that reduces the sudden change in contrast. For more info on mosquito noise you can visit www.adamwilt.com
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 09:56 AM   #6
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Thanks Bill. Now I atleast know what it is. It's the "noise" that I was after.

Just to be sure: is this noise going to be there already after capture? If it is, then we are talking about the same things, cause when watching the captured file before exporting, I can clearly see the noise.

I checked the www.adamwilt.com and read a little about DvSoft. Does anyone know if that is the best program availible (since the adam wilt page was from 2000) ? Have anyone/everyone done this to your footage? Is it possible to get away all all the noise, or are these "bluring-program" just able to get the picture slightly better?

I'm asking you and others that read this the question cause me being a new cameraowner I don't want to believe that there aren't any programs that can fix this. I mean it's clearly visible and annoying. And I haven't notised this noise in amateur movies on the net. And since there are good cameras I kind of supposed, before buying the camera, that editing the material would't ruin the otherwise fine picture that dv cams can produce.

Well if anyone can fill me in on this blurring, and wether or not I should expect to (after having learned from you guys and the editing programs) see an equally good picture after editing as on the tv before editing, I would be most grateful and know more what to expect of my dv footage, e.g. either have to realise that it isn't perfect (or near so) after editing or that it can be....
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 09:57 AM   #7
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Since you have a CD-burner I understand that you output VCD or SVCD and, in my experience, it is very difficult to get good quality VCD/SVCD from DV material. VCD is 1,150 kb/sec, whilst SVCD is some 2,520 kb/sec. To get good quality you have to go for DVD. The build in Mainconcept encoder that comes with Vegas gives, at least for me, very good quality but to view this on a TV-set you will have to invest in a DVD burner. The problem with DVD burners is that there are two competing formats (- and +) and they both have pros and cons. I have HP DVD200i which writes to DVD +rw/+r. If I where to get a new burner I would go for the Sony combo burner that writes both formats. The Sony combo burner is some SEK 4,300 (www.dustin.se).
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 10:53 AM   #8
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No I didn't mean how to get a good quality on cd or dvd. My concern is wether or not it is possible to take away the mosquito noise entirely and if I should expect to see the same quality in the finished project as it is on the inital dv tape. If the file then is huge, so that I would have to compress it later to be able to fit it, for example, on a dvd, is a later problem.

My question concerns wether or not it is possible to get an equally good pictures as is on dv tape after editing (no matter what size). And since I have seen dv amateur movies that are perfect, that doesn't suffer from mosquito noise. I saw a Canon Xl1s (or Xl1) being used Time-Trekkers on the Discovery channel, with no noise, there isn't any noise (or other ANNOYING defects) in Barry Goyettes video, even viewed in full screen mode (http://homepage.mac.com/barrygoyette/iMovieTheater7.html), and I have seen other homemade dv movies that doesn't have this defect....so it's a general question about quality...what to expect...and I just can't believe (don't want to believe) that there aren't any products and codecs out there that isn't good enough for a crystal clear picture since there are cameras that can produces those kinds of pictures.

That could be said about .mp3 for music; cd:s have good enough quality, and mp3 satisfied the demand for smaller but (depending on khz and kb of course) equal quality;
Dv cameras have good enough quality, but does the codecs and programs in the editing process or do I have to be satisfied with a quality inferior to that on the original dv tape?
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 11:02 AM   #9
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To clarify: I have heard that there isn't supposed to be a visible quality loss while editing (if only adding fades and titles for emaple), but I have not yet managed to come near that myself, so it doesn't seem to be that easy.

As an example the mosquito noise. Can I get rid of that using some program (what?) and in the end get a "quality loss free file" that can be compared to the initial footage on tape or is that a myth, only, in fact, speaking in technical terms not the real viewing experience?
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 12:46 PM   #10
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Bill is correct on what sounds like mosquito noise. Barry use Macs and FCP which use the QuickTime Codec. Codec comparisons usually show that the QT Codec is a little softer than some and it hides the mosquito noise. But being softer has drawbacks in other areas.

The sample video Barry has posted is also compressed for distribution on the web. This compression also hides noise and other artifacts.
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 02:10 PM   #11
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thank you for your answer. I discovered that if I exported a dv pal captured file in .mpg or.avi the noise dissapeared. The quality is still really good on screen..can't really see much differense. So the noise is gone, thank god.
If I instead choose to export the original dv pal (3.6mb/sec) to dv avi (which makes a huge file) in premiere, the noise is ten times more visible. So basically better quality picture, e.g. not much compressed and a large size makes the noise clearly visible.

Is there any way of retaining the quality (or very near so..) but getting rid of the noise?

And what is really the mosquito noise?! Why does it exist after capturing when it doesn't on the original tape?
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 02:15 PM   #12
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I get the best results on PC SW/HW if I leave everything in native DV AVI format until the very last step. SW permitting, I don't compress until the project is ready for DVD. This requires a lot of drive space and at least a 500 meg of RAM etc., but it seems to be worth it.

Best of luck.

Tom
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Old February 22nd, 2003, 02:34 PM   #13
 
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True mosquito noise is generated the first time the codec (in the camera) compresses the output of the ccd to DV format. The mathematical expressions used to convert the data stream can, metaphorically, be seen as curve fitting routines. Any mathematician will tell you that curve fitting routines don't deal with abrupt edges very well. They try to smooth out the edge. The net effect is that the mathematical output oscillates a little bit before completely damping out. It's the first oscillation after the contrast change that you see as mosquito noise. There are subsequent oscillations that are, by then, damped enough to not really be able to see, but, they're there in the math of it all.
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