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The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old November 27th, 2002, 12:12 PM   #1
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Film Look: Straight to DVD

A lot of the discussion in the film look threads assumes that the footage will eventually be transferred to film for projection.

What about most of us whose work will be seen on DVD only?

What works, what doesn't when mastering high-quality film-look DVD's? What software and what settings do you use? How are the results?
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Old November 28th, 2002, 09:09 AM   #2
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I wish it were as simple as using this and that setting.... It is not!

Here is a list you can do to make sure you get the highest quality:

1. have a good story
2. have good actors
3. shoot/light/dress it properly
4. shoot with a high quality camera (at least mini dv)
5. edit your master
6. color correct, add masks etc.
7. output DIRECTLY to a HIGH QUALITY mpeg encoder
8. author your DVD
9. burn the DVD and/or have it pressed

Now a couple of notes. If you transfer your footage from one
application to another (todo color correction for example) use
no compression or a lossless compression codec so that you will
not LOOSE any quality.

The same holds true for the stage to the mpeg encoder. Currently
the two best (in my humble opinion) software mpeg2 encoders
for PC:

1. TMPGenc (good and cheap) www.tmpgenc.net
2. CCE (very good and expensive) www.cinemecraft.com

Both have demos and I suggest you look at those. If you search
on this board for words like mpeg, cce or tmpgenc you will find
some other threads that point you to settings etc.

The best way to make mpeg in a nutshell is to use a progressive
source, variable bit rate encoding with a good encoder.

Good luck!
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Old November 29th, 2002, 02:40 PM   #3
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Rob,

From the other threads in this section, the consensus seemed to be that a post-house could do the best job in transferring NTSC video to film using 60i input.

You are recommending that the source be 30p for transfer to DVD. Good, that is what I wanted to shoot anyway.

I ran across Rui del-Negro guide for TMPGENC settings for high-quality. There are three places that refer to interlaced vs not, Encode Mode, Video Source Type, and Deinterlace (none). So I assume the settings are the non-interlaced option for Encode Mode and Video Source, and DeInterlace (none) should not be checked?

Here is the guide: http://pwp.netcabo.pt/0165394101/TMPGEnc_Template.html

Once you produce the MPEG2 files, what program do you use to master (Menus, Chapter Points, etc) and burn the DVD?
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Old December 2nd, 2002, 11:17 AM   #4
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The best DVD mastering program I've seen is Maestro. I don't know if it's available anymore though. But if you can find a used copy on ebay or something I highly recommend it.

The thing about 30p or 60i also confuses me. I've gotten inconsistent answers from people as to whether DVD soource mpegs can be 30p or if they have to be 60i.

In any event, though, even if your source material is in 30p (for the less smoth "film motion" look) the conversion to 60i should look flawless on a standard TV. Even on an HDTV which will convert the 60i back to 30p automatically, it should still look very good. The best would be a 30p source with a progressive scan DVD player and HDTV monitor. Then it should look incredible.

I didn't understand the comment earlier about capturing the video directly to a high quality MPEG-2 recorder. Are you suggesting not to use DV tapes at all and output the S-video output into an MPEG encoder? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of digital?

And if you're suggesting to send the Firewire DV output into an MPEG encoder, what's the difference between that and using digital tapes?
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Old December 5th, 2002, 12:20 PM   #5
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Tom,

When going to film 60i might be better indeed, but that depends
upon the post house as you pointed out. For DVD I would make
it in the format you shot. So interlaced remainds interlaced and
progressive remains progressive. Now if you still have to make
a choice about progressive vs. interlaced I personally choose
progressive cause that (in my humble opinion) looks the best
on all the systems (TV, computer & projector etc.).

You are correct about Encode Mode & Video Source; they should
both be set to progressive (I don't know if it is actually called
that since I do not have tmpgenc running here at the moment).
You should not use any de-interlacing since the material
is already progressive.

There are a lot of DVD authoring packages around from very
simple and cheap to very complicated and expensive. I still have
to find a good site/article about all of them with the differences
so people can choose the best. The authoring package that does
EVERYTHING is Scenarist, which the big boys use as well. It is
very very difficult to work with and highly expensive. I'm sorry
to say that at the moment I don't know an easier/cheaper
program since I just haven't tested any myself. Sorry for that.

Peter,

I can tell you 1000% sure that DVD can both have progressive
(what most hollywood titles use!) as well as interlaced footage.
It is no problem at all. What will look the best is a whole different
ballgame ofcourse.

In your piece about 30p to 60i conversion, that is actually what
your DVD player will do when confronted with 30p or 24p footage.
It will automatically output it as 60i (otherwise TV's would not
understand the signal).

I could not find the comment about high quality MPEG-2 recorder.
I do know that hollywood uses dedicated hardware MPEG2 encoders
to speed up the encoding process. They probably also have a
better quality.
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Old December 6th, 2002, 03:30 PM   #6
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Rob,

I am a small time guy shooting dance and theater on a Canon Optura Pi - in progressive mode. (Saving up for a GL-2.)

I am currently using Ulead DVD Movie Factory, and have had good success with the trial version of Ulead DVD Workshop. I have tried the trial version of other programs but they all seem to crash. My needs are fairly simple: I want a play first clip with my credits, and a menu that allows you to select individual dance pieces or acts, or to play thru continuously. The menu is usually single level, and I would like to select my own background and layout, possible with some music playing underneath it.

So for me Ulead DVD Workshop fits the bill. (Over at DVDRHelp.com, almost 50% of the people on the forum use Workshop, and Movie Factory is in 3rd place, so I am not alone.)

Since I have noticed any great difference between the reviewing the raw footage on the TV and watching the DVD, maybe I don't need to worry about the DVD conversion. But since my stuff is not currently being broadcast, I don't have to worry about broadcast legal signals, and it will not be transferred to film so I can concentrate on delivering the best possible quality to DVD.

Random question: Are all hardware encoders single pass? If so wouldn't dual pass VBR software encoders deliver a better compromise of size and quality?

Thanks to all for the feedback.
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Old December 9th, 2002, 07:00 AM   #7
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Tom,

I'm always a big fan of use what you can afford and like and what
works for you. So if Ulead DVD Movie Factory works for you and
you like the end result then stick to it!

As far as hardware encoders go I highly doubt they will be single
pass only! I'm 99,9999% they aren't. I've read an article a couple
of years back that those machines allow a person to go to the
footage to optimize encoding for specific sequences or frames
even, so that bit allocation will be optimum.

Those machines probably are quite versatile, but very very
expensive as well (as most dedicated and professional machines
are).
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Old December 10th, 2002, 08:26 AM   #8
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Question about Optura PI

Tom...

Could I ask you some questions about your Optura PI off list? Please e-mail me at: michael@hintlian.com

Thanks.

Michael Hintlian
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Old December 10th, 2002, 08:37 AM   #9
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Michael,

There are many Optura PI owners and past owners in the community. You can search for answers using the search button in the upper right. Or better yet, post your questions so that all in the community can benefit from the additional input. Thanks.

Jeff
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