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Old December 26th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #1
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Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

Hi - Recently I've been learning Blender which is an amazingly robust program given it's freeware. I've been using it to work up 3D animations about <= 1 minute in length. When you get the animation done, the recommended rendering option is to let the program create PNG or JPG files for each frame of video. From there you can use Blender's sequence edit to assemble the still frames into a video. None of the formats are compatible with DVDA. In that DVDA wants to compress or recompress the video. That said I began using ffmpeg and x264.exe with the hopes I could encode the sequence of PNGs into a DVDA compliant video stream. So far, after a considerable number of attempts, I've been unable to accomplish compliant encoding. DVD Architect does read the encoded video but wants to compress or recompress it. It's been quite frustrating to say the least.

What I wound up doing was to import 1800 stills into Vegas setting the timeline duration for each image to 1 frame. I thus encoded the image sequence using one of the templates (in this case 16Mb/sec blu-ray AVC) and it worked fine on the DVD Architect side.

Although the Sony Vegas approach works, I was hoping for something a bit more efficient. My question is...... Has anyone been able to encode a PNG image sequence using ffmpeg or x264.exe that has produced compliant video for DVD Architect?? IE with no compression or recompression. If so, would they share their method and settings?? I've searched high and low for this information and gotten lots of hopeful information but nothing seems to work. Many thanks in advance for any help someone can provide.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #2
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Re: Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

You might do better with this question over in the Vegas forum! There's lots of discussion there about pros & cons & methods between Vegas and DVDA.

You mention wanting a "more efficient" workflow. There are really only 3 choices in workflow:
1. Render a BR-compliant clip out of Blender.
2. Render a good quality Digital Intermediate file out of Blender, and allow DVDA to compress it to BR-compliant.
3. Render a good quality DI file out of Blender, and create a BR-compliant file with Vegas or another compressor.

If you've already ruled out #1 and 2, you're going to have to do compression in some NLE or compression program. There's lots of discussion on creating Blu-Ray files for DVDA over in the Vegas forum.

Image sequences are good in Vegas, and many animators import into Vegas by opening image sequences...
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Old December 27th, 2011, 12:45 PM   #3
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Re: Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

Personally, I import to Vegas. From there, I can render to a Cineform Master. I render from that to go to the web, DVD, BD, etc. Alternately, you can render in Vegas to a BC compliant format that will not need any additional compression.

Aside from opening two programs, is there a problem with this workflow?

In general, I would always want an editing pass in Vegas as I might want to add titles, audio, fade in/out, etc.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 07:54 PM   #4
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Re: Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

Quote:
Hi - Recently I've been learning Blender which is an amazingly robust program given it's freeware. I've been using it to work up 3D animations about <= 1 minute in length. When you get the animation done, the recommended rendering option is to let the program create PNG or JPG files for each frame of video. From there you can use Blender's sequence edit to assemble the still frames into a video. None of the formats are compatible with DVDA. In that DVDA wants to compress or recompress the video. That said I began using ffmpeg and x264.exe with the hopes I could encode the sequence of PNGs into a DVDA compliant video stream. So far, after a considerable number of attempts, I've been unable to accomplish compliant encoding. DVD Architect does read the encoded video but wants to compress or recompress it. It's been quite frustrating to say the least.

What I wound up doing was to import 1800 stills into Vegas setting the timeline duration for each image to 1 frame. I thus encoded the image sequence using one of the templates (in this case 16Mb/sec blu-ray AVC) and it worked fine on the DVD Architect side.

Although the Sony Vegas approach works, I was hoping for something a bit more efficient. My question is...... Has anyone been able to encode a PNG image sequence using ffmpeg or x264.exe that has produced compliant video for DVD Architect?? IE with no compression or recompression. If so, would they share their method and settings?? I've searched high and low for this information and gotten lots of hopeful information but nothing seems to work. Many thanks in advance for any help someone can provide.
The problem is with DVDA. It will not accept x264 output. If you match the project properties, it will even show compliance as No Recompress, but at the conclusion of the process it will error out.

Issues with certain players/authoring applications - Authoring a professional Blu-ray Disc with x264
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Old December 28th, 2011, 10:09 AM   #5
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Re: Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

Seth, Jon & Tom - Thanks for the information. After many failed attempts, I came to the conclusion that building a compliant feed to DVDA with either ffmpeg or X264 currently wasn't possible. As for research, I've been to many sites looking for a solution to include Sony's. One guy (I can't remember where) had worked up command lines for all the popular DVD authoring programs to include DVD Architect 5. His claim was these command lines would avoid recompression. But his solution didn't work for me.

Reaching out here was my last gasp on finding someone that has actually done this. After reading the replies, I'm going to consider it a "no can do" at the moment. No harm done and I learned something in the process.

As mentioned, I'm importing my PNG image sequence into Vegas and letting it render the video stream DVD Architect needs. And it works fine, albeit somewhat less convenient than running a batch job to crunch through the images. I'm very happy with Vegas and DVD Architect but felt exploring ways to link them to other "non Sony" products would be of interest to some. For example, Photodex's ProShow Producer does output an mpeg-2 file that DVD Architect reads without compression. I was hoping to discover a similar solution for Blender.

Many thanks again for the information. Happy New Year to all!!
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Old December 28th, 2011, 12:51 PM   #6
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Re: Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

Scott,
About 5 years ago, I made a short SD video using Blender animations as a background. I just rendered the animations to an uncompressed AVI file. I then composited it with some green screen video I had shot, and rendered the result to a DVDA-friendly file and burned a DVD. No problem.

I'm not sure I understand your concern about compression in DVDA. Are you concerned about the time it takes to recompress? Or have you seen some compression artifacts in the rendered file?

- Ken
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Old December 28th, 2011, 11:50 PM   #7
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Re: Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

Well, I'm on a Mac, so things are a bit different then working on a pc. But I render my blender animations out to png still images. Then I use QuickTime to create an image sequence, then I export as a prores file. On a pc there has to be some way to take those image files, and create an image sequence, and export to your DVD authoring program?
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Old December 29th, 2011, 02:16 PM   #8
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Re: Sony DVD Architect 5 & Blender

Ken - I'm doing the same thing with blender animations for backgrounds. Currently mine is 60 seconds (1800 PNG images). The re-compression time in DVDA is ridiculous. As previously mentioned the Vegas solution is working and reasonable with rendering times. Output quality is excellent. Currently no complaints and I'm just pursuing curiosity with alternatives.

It's trying to locate some "non Sony" rendering engine that produces a compliant DVDA file that's been the perplexing part. All my efforts with x264 and ffmpeg have failed.

I was thinking if I could discover a working command line (x264 or ffmpeg) then a batch file could be run to create the video stream (created from Blender PNG files) ultimately passed to DVDA. So far "no can do". This would be just another option to get a job done that might prove helpful to a few others out there. My thinking anyway.

Jeff - I concur with "there has to be some way to do this". On that note I went on somewhat of a tear to discover it. But, as of late, I haven't been able to discover it using x264 or ffmpeg. I'm wondering if Sony has taken steps to avoid making the use of freeware applications like Blender, x264 and ffmpeg too easy. Just a passing thought I had. Perhaps something will surface here. In the meantime, I'm OK with using Vegas to encode my image sequence.

Thanks for the posts.
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