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Old December 10th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #1
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Need help! HD Downconverted footage

What is the best method of encoding for DVD? My final DVD's look GREAT on an SDTV and not good on an HDTV. It looks slightly blurry and I have clients telling me that too. It's about time I figure out the best way to encode for the best possible quality. Any suggestions? I do have TMPEG but I have no idea what the correct settings are. Nothing has come out right since I've tried it!

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Old December 10th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #2
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SD DVDs are never going to look great on an HDTV. They are carrying 1/6 the data full HD does.

If I came to your house and took 5/6 of your money away you'd be pretty "blurry" too!
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Old December 11th, 2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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I'd suggest downsizing the edited footage with AviSynth or VirtualDub, using Lanczos resizing, before encoding as MPEG-2 for the DVD authoring. I've never seen an NLE that did resizing very well (most suck).
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Old December 11th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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Robert is right, however, getting a good SD downscale to play on SDTV is one thing. Asking a DVD player to upscale SD Mpeg2 DVDs to HDTV size is quite another. The data is just not there. It can look "ok" if the mpeg2 encode is pristine, but frankly, most of us are not doing pristine encodes.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #5
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I dunno but this all seems a bit negative to me - I've had very good results doing this using Compressor (Mac). You need to get the settings right but on my relatively modest HDTV SD DVDs don't look that much different from the original HDV footage.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Cox View Post
...SD DVDs don't look that much different from the original HDV footage.
That's prophetic.

Start shooting some high end HD and the disparity becomes monumental.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:52 PM   #7
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Yeah you're no doubt right Perrone - I've not the chance (yet?) to work at the higher end. Still when you compare SD DVDs made from HDV to SD footage the difference is also large so it's all relative.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:58 PM   #8
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I can only imagine how the film guys felt when they saw VHS tapes of their work... it must have torn their hearts out.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #9
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At the time, on a whale of a lot of television sets, a feature film on VHS didn't look a whole lot different than a broadcast of the same film. The actual achieved resolution with a heck of a lot of older CRT televisions wasn't much better (if at all) than an iPod.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 10:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amie Spiridigliozzi View Post
What is the best method of encoding for DVD? My final DVD's look GREAT on an SDTV and not good on an HDTV. It looks slightly blurry and I have clients telling me that too. It's about time I figure out the best way to encode for the best possible quality. Any suggestions? I do have TMPEG but I have no idea what the correct settings are. Nothing has come out right since I've tried it!

I use New Tek's VT5 editor and DVD Workshop!
Amie - how much material are you trying to fit on a single DVD? (e.g. how long is your video)? And, how much motion and variability (light, movement) is there in your material?

You'll need to crank up the bitrate so it's close to the 'legal' limit for DVD and use the best possible quality encode available in your sw (sorry I don't use TMPEG so I can't say there), but you'd want to look for a 2 pass VBR encode (for example). Legal limit including audio is around 9.5 megbits/sec so you'll want to encode to a high average, say 8.5 - 9 megabits with say 9,000 or 9,100 peak (I know it may be confusing).

Also, you'll want to reduce the work the encoder does on any noise in your content to save those bits for your valuable content. So, if your material is very dark, you'll want to apply some noise reduction or crush down the blacks a bit in your source so your encoder isn't trying to encode those.

But, if your material is too long or has tons of motion (think high activity sports), you just may not be able to get the bitrate high enough to look good on an HDTV with an SD disk.

It takes a little experimenting and learning a little about what is happening in the encoding ... but if you reply back with more info maybe others too who use TMPEG will also pick up on it and give you some feedback ...
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Old December 12th, 2009, 02:20 AM   #11
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For typical footage, (assuming a good encoder and proper settings) 8mbps MPEG-2 essentially gives you visually lossless compression for DVD video (standard definition - 720x480). While technically you can go higher according to the DVD video specs, there isn't much point (you simply won't see any visual difference), and I think heard somewhere that there can be playback issues with some players when pushing to edge of the specs (don't know tho - never tried it).
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Old December 12th, 2009, 06:36 AM   #12
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Robert you are right that some players will choke too close to the edge and in fact some pickey players will stop if the DVD goes over spec while the cheaper, less pickey players might not care ... and if Amie is encoding with VBR, there could be a spike that sends it over, so you are right that she needs to be careful in this case not to go too close.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 09:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
That's prophetic. Start shooting some high end HD and the disparity becomes monumental.
Recently I got a movie on a hard drive, plugged it into my WD HD player and fed that via HDMI into my 57" HD TV. Watched it, being convinced it's an HD movie.

Later I checked the file on my PC and got blown away to see that it was 720x320 - I could not believe my eyes.

Bottom line: it's all relative. It depends A LOT on the upscaling. Most TVs have a very poor upscaling capability; I am fortunate to have a high end Mitsubishi... also, the WD player does a very good job at upscaling, pretty much at par with the TV - most of the time I let the WD do the upscaling.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 09:56 AM   #14
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Later I checked the file on my PC and got blown away to see that it was 720x320 - I could not believe my eyes.
Yes, but we are talking deliverables. You can't depend on someone having a great upscaler when you deliver a product.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Bottom line: it's all relative. It depends A LOT on the upscaling. Most TVs have a very poor upscaling capability; I am fortunate to have a high end Mitsubishi... also, the WD player does a very good job at upscaling, pretty much at par with the TV - most of the time I let the WD do the upscaling.
Agreed, it is relative. However, upscalers (and downscalers) do a MUCH better job with a clean signal. I've looked at some of my own HD work downscaled. The stuff I've shot well is amazing. The stuff where I've had far too little light, or had to make compromises... not so much.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 01:26 PM   #15
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There are factors you can control and factors that you simply cannot control. All you can do is deliver the best image possible (given format limitations), and hope the viewer has something better than junk to watch it on.
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