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Old October 22nd, 2003, 06:56 PM   #1
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Why does my rendered footage look like crap!!!!

Hi there...

I'm new to the whole MiniDV format/concept, so perhaps this has to do with the format, but I'm going to ask for some specific help here:

1) I shot 5 hours of good footage in Chicago recently with the DVX100 and when played back over TV (directly through the RCA cable) or on the viewfinder, it looks great!

2) However, when I capture it from the DVX100 through Firewire to my PC using Ulead Medio Studio Pro 6.0 (which captures it as an .AVI file) and then I take that footage and add sound or whatever or just start editing clips together using the same Ulead Media Studio Pro 6.0, the final product looks much worse...

I've rendered the footage to both .AVI and dumped it back on tape as well as rendered it out to .MP2 for DVD, and it looks the same...

All of the beautiful shots that come through straight out of the camera to analog TV now look really jagged and edgy and noisey.

Can someone help me and let me know what's going on?

Is it my PC (I have a 950MHZ, 256MB RAM, 200GB harddrive with DirectX 9 and latest Windows Media Player) ???

Do I need to upgrade my CODECS somehow? (and if so, some pointers please)

Is it the program (Ulead) I'm using?

Simply put...I my final rendered project to look just like the smooth shots I have on the native tape when viewed straight from the camera to TV.

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks a ton!
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 07:26 PM   #2
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Don't worry, unless your DVD doesn't play well on a standalong DVD player. I had this problem with my PC with MPEG2 AVI files. You just need good MPEG2 codecs, which are usually installed by your authoring program. If you have a recent graphics card, they should include a software DVD player that enables at least some acceleration of MPEG2 decoding. nVidia cards GeForce3 and after do this. Also, they ship a nice DVD player called nvdvd.

Otherwise, search for mpeg2codec_installer . However, try to use only one MPEG2 codec package. They seem to install themselves
over one another and mix stuff up.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 07:42 PM   #3
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Hi,

Sorry. I misread your post in that you actually did play the MPEG2 files from a DVD. Bummer. Are there any MPEG2 options to play with, such as field-order and interlace?

Also, you're not actually cramming five hours of video on one DVD, right? That's a lot of video.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 09:01 PM   #4
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Tell us some more info:

What camera settings did you use to shoot?

What capture settings in Ulead?

What render settings for the AVI file?

What settings for print to tape?

It's probably a field/framerate/codec issue.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 09:28 PM   #5
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Thanks guys for the responses.

Actually I HAVEN'T put it on DVD yet but I figured if my .MPG looked like garbage on my PC then it would look like that on DVD as well but maybe not.

Only reason I think that is because when I made it AVI and put it back out to tape it had the jaggedy thing going on too.

I used the F5 settings on the camera to shoot in 24p mode (non advanced).

I used Ulead to capture as an .AVI and then dumped out to both .AVI using the MS Codec as well as .MPG with the bit rate cranked up as well.

It doesn't look HORRIBLE, it just looks crappy compared to the original native footage. For example I was on a roof in Chicago and filmed a pan across the city rooftops, not too fast, but it was a pan....in the original footage from just hooking up the camera and playing over the RCA cables, everything looks fine. However when I capture it into .AVI (there doesn't seem to be ANY choices in ULEAD MEDIASTUDIO PRO 6.0 as to what the settings are...just default 29.9 fps, AVI) and render it back out to DV AVI or MPEG it looks choppy.

Thanks again for any help....does this sound like a CODEC thing? Would it look bad on a DVD player...meaning will what I see on the PC be exactly what I get on DVD?
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 09:52 PM   #6
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This sounds like my first experience with playing MPEG2 files on a computer. Ok, if you haven't verified the video on a standalone DVD player, I bet it's your codec and the interlacing problems.
Before I started using the MPEG2 codecs that were installed by NVDVD (nVidia's software DVD player product), videos with still content were ok but kinda fuzzy. As soon as there was motion, the vertical lines just spread out horizontally in a zipper-like effect.
Try burning a small amount of video to your DVD and check it on the player. You're probably ok there.

You may also have a CPU/disk performance issue when playing back DV or MPEG2 files. Use the Windows Task Manager to gauge your CPU usage. Software DVD players have been optimized far more than Windows Media Player.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 11:11 PM   #7
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It's hard so say with that info. If you shoot 24P normal, you are getting a 29.97fps file that has 23.97 fps footage with 2:3:3:2 pulldown applied.

Ulead should treat it as 29.97 and edit away though avoid judder frame edits (you will seem them onscreen).

Don't capture/render/print at 23.97 or 24fps. Make sure you set the field order right. (lower first for most codecs).

I just don't enough about Ulead to be sure.

Try downloading the demo of DV Filmmaker (www.dvfilmmaker.com) and process your footage their and see how it looks.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 01:26 PM   #8
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Thanks for the tips guys....It's not really a 23.9 vs. 29.9 issue I don't think...it's very much just that "zippery" effect when watching the final rendered product, whether in .AVI or .MPEG.
Not UNwatchable, but noticeably different then the beautiful native footage.

An associate of mine who I asked this about says:

"MS DV codec is not recommended. Part of the reason I went with the Pinnacle solution way back when is because it uses the Sony codec which is time tested and true. People laughed at me for spending $1200 Canadian retail on it at the time... but not I laugh at those buying an $30 firewire card :) The card itself processes the codec using its hardware as opposed to software codec. These days with computers being Soooooo fast it is hardly an issue. Back then though I was editing DV using a Pentium2 266MHz with a whopping 256MB of ram without any problems."

Should I upgrade my cheap firewire card and go with a Pinnacle firewire card?

Or do you think the second I dump it to DVD and play it in a real stand alone DVD player it will look great?


Thanks!
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 01:42 PM   #9
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"Should I upgrade my cheap firewire card and go with a Pinnacle firewire card?"

As long as your firewire card isn't causing dropouts, I don't see why you should waste money on another one. Firewire is just a transfer mechanism, it doesn't affect quality if you have a cheap one (unless it causes drop-outs). Now, you could try another DV codec but that isn't connected to firewire in any way.

"now look really jagged and edgy and noisey."..."zippery"

What it sounds like you're describing to me is interlacing. When you look at it on your non-interlaced computer monitor, you'll see horizontal lines around movement areas. Is this what you are describing? When played back on TV (after being burnt to DVD) you'll never see them, since TVs are interlaced.

"Actually I HAVEN'T put it on DVD yet but I figured if my .MPG looked like garbage on my PC then it would look like that on DVD as well but maybe not."

Put it on DVD, again I believe you are descrbing interlace artifacts. Your computer monitor is non-interlaced, your TV is interlaced. Big difference in the way interlaced footage looks between the two.

The great thing about the DVX is it's progressive modes. If you want to avoid interlacing, shoot 30p or 24p and get rid of interlacing forever.

Another issue could be Ulead. I've never used their software, but they very well could have a bad mpeg encoder that mucks up your footage. Also make sure and set the encoding settings to high (like 6000+ kbps)
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 01:52 PM   #10
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"I used the F5 settings on the camera to shoot in 24p mode (non advanced)."

Ack, I missed that. So you did shoot progressive. Forget about what I said above about interlaced. Or, actually, maybe not. Since you rendered out in 29.97, you may still be seeing the interlaced fields from the MPEG rendering added for standard 60i NTSC. Try it from a DVD and let us know.

It very well could be a codec issue though.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 02:13 PM   #11
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So does it make sense then if I rendered the product to an .AVI file and then dumped it back to DV Tape, and watched it on my TV that it would still have the zippery effect then?

Because it did...but I guess I'm simply recording exactly how it looked on my PC to tape and of course it would look that way on TV....

Anyhow...still haven't tried playing straight to DVD yet, but will very shortly and let you know how it is.

But as far as rendering to .AVI using the MS DV Codec and then taping that directly back to DV tape and then using RCA cables to watch it on TV, it looked "zippery" still.

thanks for your help!
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 02:57 PM   #12
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Try straight to DVD and read your DVD authoring package documention for interlacing options.

>Should I upgrade my cheap firewire card and go with a Pinnacle >firewire card?

I had the MPEG2/AVI zippering problem even with my Pinnacle firewire card. If you want to spend money on a good software DVD player and MPEG2 playback codec, go to nvidia.com and
buy NVDVD. At the very least, try the trial demo:

http://www.nvidia.com/page/nvdvd_downloadtrial.html

I did have some problems in that I had installed another MPEG2 codec that inserted itself ahead of the nvidia MPEG2 codec, so read the FAQ if you still have trouble.

You can drag & drop MPEG2 movies onto nvdvd (or other software DVD players) to check out your footage. I just tried an MPEG2 file on another computer. In Windows Media Player 9, I see the horrible horizontal "zippering" . The same file looks great when dropped onto NVDVD.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 03:02 PM   #13
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If you viewed it on a TV after printing back out to tape, then it probably isn't an interlace issue. Unless....hmm...out of curiousity, are you setting field order anywhere? Most of the time it should be set to "lower", so if you set it to "upper" it will probably look really strange, each half frame will be backwards in time, before jumping ahead a frame in time quite possibly causing what you are seeing.

But other than that, either something is going wrong during your workflow or it's some kind of codec/compression issue. If you can let us know your project and render settings it might help shed some more light on it.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 03:17 PM   #14
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Hmm...I just downloaded NVDVD and am watching the MPEG I created on my computer through NVDVD and it looks the same exact way it did through Windows Media Player 9.0

Hmm...

perhaps I will try posting a test file in a moment on my website to see what you guys think...stand by
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 03:30 PM   #15
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Where can I find out if I'm actually using the NVDVD Codec? Tried looking through the Help section of the player and on the website...I want to make sure that that's the Codec I'm using....any ideas?
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