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What Happens in Vegas...
...stays in Vegas! This PC-based editing app is a safe bet with these tips.


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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:22 PM   #1
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help getting better quality renders for DVD

I'm trying to improve the quality (sharpness and coloring) of HDV captured with a Canon XH A1. When I look at the raw footage (m2t files) from Windows Media Player they look great. Very crisp, good coloring and wonderful contrast. After rendering using Vegas 7 I loose so much detail. I've tried customizing the settings to up the sampling rate (as high as 8.5Mb), to shortening the GOP. These things help but I still seem to loose detail and it seems that the bright areas get blown out and the darks get crushed.

I know I won't get the same quality as the original since I'm dropping from 1080 to 480. But, does anyone have any suggestions on how to approach the quality of store bought DVD movies? FYI I'm using DVDA to author the DVD but I render in Vegas so no rerendering occures during the VOB process.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:30 PM   #2
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Also

Should I transcode my m2t files to avi before editing or just edit in native m2t then render the m2t to an mgeg2?

Thanks
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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Should I transcode my m2t files to avi before editing or just edit in native m2t then render the m2t to an mgeg2?

Thanks
Have you tried editing in cineform then rendering to m2 for dvd authoring?
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Old November 21st, 2007, 05:23 PM   #4
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If you are playing an m2t file in Windows Media Player then the chances are that the colours are [not] being accurately decoded in Studio RGB. The DVD should in theory have the more accurate colours.

Make sure you have the projects properties set to "Best". Do the same on the encoder settings. That should have an impact.

Last edited by Robert Wheeler; November 21st, 2007 at 06:17 PM. Reason: correcting of bracketted "not"
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Old November 21st, 2007, 05:32 PM   #5
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Brian, shouldn't the extra step of transcoding via cinform to AVI theoretically decrease the resolution since I would be introducing another encoding (m2t to avi to mpeg2)? If I go straight from m2t to mpeg2 I cut out one encoding? Just a thought but I'll try converting with the Cineform intermediate first then edit.

Robert, I have the "best" setting in my encoding but I wasn't sur if setting it in the project setting would have an impact. I'll try that too.

Thanks for you help.

I have another question.. if I'm mixing HDV with SD (miniDV) footage should I set my project properties to HD 1080, HDV1080 or DV (720x480)?

Thanks again.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 05:42 PM   #6
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I have the same issues, sometimes when I use a HD WMV file and use that in DVDA, although it compresses it, it does look better when played on HD TV. I have looked into making a HD WMV DVD however, its either expensive, and or alot of work. A guy can get the code from Microsoft to do it. Then its the player, etc after that. I get the best results at 4.8 mb HD WMV 720p render and just putting it on a dvd, no menu or anything, but it can be played on a computer and really looks like it should. I have tried every render including all the Vegas 8 Blu Ray, and I like the 720p the best. As soon as you go from HDV to SD on a dvd all bets are off as far as I am concerned. Ulead and Roxio have DVD programs which will produce HD DVD's. they have a limited number of HD DVD authoring programs out there right now, they run from $99 to $200,000, yes I said $200,000. Imax probably uses that one or least the one for $30,000.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 06:25 PM   #7
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Robert, I have the "best" setting in my encoding but I wasn't sur if setting it in the project setting would have an impact. I'll try that too.
That setting changes the scaling routines, so it is particularly important when scaling HD to SD. I would guess that you would see an improvement.

If you are mixing footage, I would work in a HDV project. It seems to be more efficient to work in HDV in it's native resolution and scale up DV during editing, rather than the reverse. However, it is important to consider that DV actually works in a slightly different ratio to HDV source material. You may need to tweak projects which contain footage from mixed sources to account for this when preparing for SD and HD target formats..
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Old November 21st, 2007, 06:55 PM   #8
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How to Downres HDV to MPEG-2 for DVD.

This is what i do. You want to avoid as much compressing as possible to other formats.

1) Capture your HDV files and edit.

2) Render the final project to Uncompressed.

3) Import the files into After effects. Project should be an HD preset...

4) From After effects use Make movie. Then select MPEG-2 for DVD, and select scale down to 720x480 in the settings. This, I have found will give you the best quality downresing of HD source to DVD.

This is also a good idea to do this when working with DV files. Rendering a DV source to MPEG-2 directly is not as good as Rendering DV to Uncompressed 720x480 and then Rendering that to MPEG-2. It dosnt make sence to me but it works. Pretty much, an uncompressed source will always make for better DVDs. The main problem is the massive file sizes with uncompressed HD.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 08:13 PM   #9
 
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Wow. That's a LOTTA work for no improvement whatsoever.
a) Garrett, "store-bought" DVDs are shot with 35mm film cameras, HDCAM tweaked by very capable DIT's, or other very high end cameras such as the Panavision Genesis. Your video will not match those with a 5K camcorder, it just isn't the same quality source footage. In addition to the camera, lighting, particular attention to luma range, lighting, etc are all part of the game.

b) Editing the A1 footage in a 1080 timeline, regardless of whether you're upsampling DV or downsampling HD is still the best way to start, but then render to the SD DVD stream.

c) Render straight from the Vegas timeline to the highest MPEG bitrate you can afford. That'll beat any encode from SD YUV in AfterEffects or any other tool.

the reason your footage may not look as good in Vegas as it does in Media Player is multifold, but the crux of it is almost always the sizing of the Preview window. The "Scale to fit" option in Vegas is a good one, if used correctly. If used incorrectly, it displays terribly soft, pixelated video. this is one of the reasons I use an external monitor for everything, but a secondary monitor will function just as well, so long as it's properly calibrated.

To get a visually better encode that the encode Vegas offers, one has to really step up the $$. Now that DivX owns Main Concept, that may change, hopefully they won't destroy the kernel around which Vegas is coded. With the preprocessing Vegas does to the video, the Main Concept encoder is very, very good, and has been the winner of several shootouts in the past, particularly with high motion content.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 09:51 PM   #10
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c) Render straight from the Vegas timeline to the highest MPEG bitrate you can afford. That'll beat any encode from SD YUV in AfterEffects or any other tool.
What does that mean? bitrate you can afford? How do you determine that number?
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Old November 21st, 2007, 11:01 PM   #11
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by the time (size) of the project.
IOW, a 60 minute project rendered with AC3 audio (Vegas prefers this) would be an average bitrate of 8 where as a 90 minute project with the same AC3 audio would like to see an average bitrate of 6.497. 120 minutes with AC3 4.826. There are bitrate calulators free on the web and Edward Troxel has a newsletter Vol 1 Number 7 that has a calculator on page 2.
Also remember you can use a CBR or a VBR, do a single pass or a 2 pass (also increases time to render) but you pays your money and takes your choice.
Frankly in the years I've been using Vegas and DVDA I really have not been disappointed with the quality at all. Perhaps a few features yes but quality nope.
HTHs and BTW YMMV :-O
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Old November 21st, 2007, 11:30 PM   #12
 
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What does that mean? bitrate you can afford? How do you determine that number?
There are many free bitrate calculators, and there is one included in the Ultimate S 3 software as well. It's rarely a good idea to go higher than 9.5 for desktop burned DVDs, but anything over 6Mbps usually gives great vid unless you've got serious movement in the scenes.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 01:58 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the great info/advise. I'm tyring to render using 7.3Mb, with a shorter GOP and closed GOP with all short. That should help. I just hope I'm not tweeking the settings too much so that it won't play on some older set-top dvd players. I'm going to be burnig to DL discs so I can afford the higher rate. One thing I noticed is that if I go over about 8.5Mb for the sample rate it can cause problems with some older DVD players.

Douglas, I did notice that I had to really keep the luma down (I have it peaking around 80% now) in order to keep the bright areas from getting totally blown out. I do have a dedicated monitor (LCD) that I calibrate but I know that it still isn't as good as having true monitor to review the colors/brightness levels. The current video I'm working on is of a Chinese dance show so there's a lot of colors and lots of movement.

The DVD's are actually not coming out that bad. Most people who have seen them are very impressed. I think I may just be trying to achieve something that is not possible without spending major dollars on camera equipement and post processing hardware.
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Old November 25th, 2007, 06:06 AM   #14
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i heard somewhere, infact a few places that when it's time to convert to other formats from an original source it's best if a specialized program handles this such as sorenson squeeze as they have better encoders. I wonder which would give better results:

vegas 8> hdv 1080 footage on timeline> render to dvd mpeg 2

or

vegas 8> hdv 1080 footage on timeline> render to uncompressed> convert to dvd mpeg in sorenson squeeze

also i think you have to consider the factor of whether or not you want to deinterlace outside of vegas, if you do then i think it would be a good idea to export an edl from vegas or an uncompressed file depending on your project, load it up in after effects, apply what ever you use (i use magic bullet) and render to dvd.
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