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Old March 20th, 2009, 11:44 PM   #1
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SD DVD from 1080i footage - blurred etc.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I'm asking for assistance with a problem that has had me stumped for two months now, and with busy season (almost) upon us, I'm petrified that I'll have to revert to my VX2100s and leave my EX1s sitting in their boxes for another season. In order to make my problem and attempts to resolve it easy to read and absorb, I've laid this post out in sections.
I understand that everyone's busy (me too), but I'd really appreciate some help. I don't even know where to go to pay for the help I need, what it would cost, and what guarantee of success there'd be, but I'm hoping that one or more of you experts will be able to help me help myself.

DESIRED OBJECTIVE
Create NTSC SD DVD from footage shot on EX1 at 1440x1080i 29.97fps.
DVD needs to play well on a variety of TV/player combinations - CRT, LCD, Plasma, etc;
Material - Cheerleading competition. Wide variation in motion speeds.

PROBLEMS
Blurred motion - quite severe - much worse than anything I've seen in SD from SD footage.
Lines in brickwork shimmering or walking (sorry - I don't know the correct term to use)
White lines on floor (gymnasium) shimmering/walking when horizontal, jagged when "diagonal" across screen.
Tried viewing on DVD player + SD CRT TV connected by S-video; BluRay player + HD LCD TV connected via HDMI; DVD player + HD Plasma TV
DVD content not suitable for handing out to customers.

As was said in response to a post on a very similar problem in December:
"I'm still finding this problem amazing. I just render using sony vegas. Render to mpeg-2, burn with dvd architect. I get stunning quality."

I'm amazed too. So many people say that this should be simple. A few people are hitting the kind of problems that I have. I'm using Sony cameras and Sony software and started with "default" settings. It's all compatible - I should get good results. Many people are. I'm not. Therefore, us sufferers are doing something that's so obviously wrong, perhaps you experts out there aren't even daring to suggest it. Goodness knows how many posts I've read trying to find a solution...

I'm half-convinced that it's something to do with the settings I'm using to down-rez from HDV to SD, but cannot be sure. Also, I don't have a clue which settings...

SUMMARY
I've not tried everything (if I had, I would've solved the problem). I've tried to be selective. Read, think and try. Make incremental changes. etcetera etcetera. I've now run out of ideas, and much as I don't want to take the time of generous contributors here, I don't see many other alternatives.

All help gratefully received.

At the risk of making a long post longer, here's as much relevant information as I can think of.

SETUP:
Footage shot on Sony EX1 at 1440x1080i 29.97fps. Manual Iris, Steadyshot off (cam on tripod), most/all other settings "automatic". No Picture Profiles setup.
Cards copied to computer using Sony Clip Browser 2.00.00.438 (Last update 2008/07/01).
Footage exported to MXF for NLEs in Sony Clip Browser. (I copy then convert so I have two copies...)
Editing and rendering (to MPEG-2) in Sony Vegas Pro 8.0c (Build 260)
Authoring in DVD Architect 5.0a (Build 173)
Computers: Intel Q6600(?) quad core (6 weeks old) on ASUS Mobos with 2GB RAM, running XP SP3.

OBSERVATIONS:
Clips look beautiful in Sony Clip Browser (when paused as stills, and when playing) - slight blurring around fast moving limbs (expected).
Load into Vegas timeline - varying results in preview window, but none anywhere near as nice-looking as browser.
Render and create DVD - the above problems occur.
*** "Peculiar" Observation ***:
When viewing the *PAUSED* footage in the Preview window, "Preview/Full" quality seems to give the least bad picture. If I increase to "Good/Full" or "Best/Full", I get the blurred and ghosted arms and legs when playback is paused.

SETTINGS I'VE TRIED (incomplete list)
Project:
NTSC Widescreen DV template, HDV 1080 60i template.
Variations (tried after reading various forum posts) include selecting different field orders and pixel format (8-bit vs 32 bit)

Event Switches:
Reduce De-interlace flicker: tried on and off

Track FX:
Tried adding 0.001 & 0.002 Vertical only Gaussian blur (as per a couple of posts I read). This made the picture sharpness sub-VHS quality even though I used the minimum possible setting.

Render As:
(I realize that some of these merely override the project settings, and that setting these the same as the project settings possibly achieves nothing, but I'm trying to be thorough)
Project | Rendering Quality: I've tried Best, Good and Preview Video | Field Order: I've tried Lower, upper and none
Bit Rates etc: Variable; two pass; Max=9608000; Avg=5912000; Min=3544000 (as calculated in "Mark's Bitrate Calculator" recommended on this and other forums - yields a "Very Good Quality" rating)
Advanced Video | Allow Field-based Motion Compensation: Tried on and off
Advanced Video | Closed GOPs: Tried on and off
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Old March 21st, 2009, 12:39 AM   #2
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How long does your build in DVDA take, and what length program are you working with?

Is it possible that DVDA is recompressing your mpg that was output from Vegas? If so, this would be noted in the "Make DVD" message list in DVDA.

I'm a little concerned about 9.6Mbps as the peak bitrate. Although it is (barely) within the DVD standard, in practice a peak of 8.5Mbps has produced better results across more players. Too high a bitrate out of Vegas will cause DVDA to recompress, which *really* affects DVD quality.

The general settings you should be using:
*Match project settings to the properties of your media. If you're using the HDV (not the HQ) setting on your EX1, that would be 1440x1080, upper field first.
*Set render quality to "best" when downrezzing from HDV to SD for DVD.
Use the default Main Concept / DVDA template, except for the "best" render quality and bitrate settings.

When all else fails, try a workflow where DVDA does the compression to MPEG. Render out of Vegas as an avi, using the "HDV 1080-60i intermediate" template. Pull that file into DVDA, it will do the compression, check that against your previous DVDs.

PS: High motion sports like cheer are going to have better looking motion when shot 60i. Your post suggests that's what you did, but you might want to double-check this as well.

PPS: Are you *sure* you're working with HDV, not the EX1 HQ mode footage?
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Old March 21st, 2009, 01:25 AM   #3
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Your peculiar observation about the preview window is actually something I've experienced when editing AVCHD, its' something odd about the playback approach Vegas uses, looks horrid, but if you edit in lower settings and render, you shouldn't see anything in the final.

The only thing I saw was you say you're shooting 29.97fps - is that progressive? If you shoot progressive and render interlaced, you can have problems, seriously bad ghosting, etc... done that in SD actually myself, it's ugly.

You might try the DVDA template (in Vegas), widescreen 24p, or 30p? OR, shoot 1080i?

Render short sections, with various settings, then burn a sample DVD, document each setting carefully and see what plays back the best. There are so many settings, lots of places to cause trouble... where's the "easy" button when you need one!?

Keep at it, you'll get something that looks great I'm sure - I struggled to get HD 1920x1080 that would burn to a regular DVD and play back nicely on a BR player... turned out that a lower bitrate cured stuttering playback issues, had to alter the "standard" template a bit to get the best results.
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Old March 21st, 2009, 07:20 AM   #4
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Try shooting in 720p 60?

John
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Old March 21st, 2009, 08:46 AM   #5
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I use Edius 5 and Vegas 8 to edit but certainly find TMPGenc Xpress to do a much better job of encoding to SD than either. I either use HQ file from Edius or HDV from Vegas and let TMPGenc do the SD encoding complete with AC3 audio. You might try the trial and see if this solves your problem. I find Vegas to be the poorest of all the encoders I have at downconverting.
From your post I assume your using the EX1 in HDV compatible 25Mbps mode. I would stay in this mode and complete you edit and output in standard 1440x1080i HDV output template. Then let TMPGenc encode for SD DVD. I usually set limit at 8Mbps and set so that the disc is not much over the 4G mark on the template in TMPGenc. This gives the best compatibility for most players. TMPGenc is good in that it allows you to fine tune data rate and visually see the effect on how the disc is being filled.

Ron Evans
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Old March 21st, 2009, 10:00 AM   #6
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Thanks for suggestions thus far - "muchly" appreciated...
> SETH:
The program going to customers will be 87 minutes. I'm playing with a four minute selection of clips, but using compression settings for a 100 minute program calculated using "Mark's Bitrate Calculator" (recommended here and on other forums). I'll drop the max bitrate and see what happens.

The build in DVDA is taking seconds; no message is appearing, so no re-compress is taking place.

Sometime during the night (one of the countless times I woke up thinking about this), I wondered if I should try rendering to AVI. I'll try this today, along with other suggestions on this thread.

Regarding your PPS - I believe I am (but I begin to doubt myself when things are going this badly!) The clips in the "Project Media" window show
Frame rate: 29.970
Field Order: Upper Field First
Pixel Aspect: 1.333
Frame Size: 1440x1080
In the top right of the camera's screen, it says SP 1080/60i.

> DAVE:
From your first paragraph, I infer that I shouldn't obsess on the preview window quality. I'll try not to! (I'm the obsessive type, so may be a tough try!)

Regarding your 29.97fps/progressive question. See settings above in response to Seth's PPS.

You suggest using progressive templates - is this connected with your thought that I might have shot progressive? If not, I'll try it...

You've actually described what I'm doing - change a setting, render a short section, change a setting, render the same section,(Repeat a few times until I get impatient) burn a DVD and play it. With so many settings (and therefore so many combinations) I definitely need that "easy" button! (which I assumed was what the templates are...)
But yes - I"m going to keep on plugging away...

> JOHN:
Dave's post says that he got horrible results shooting progressive and rendering interlaced, so if I shot 720P I'd have to render progressive, and I don't know enough to know how good the "cheap" DVD players are at taking a progressive picture and interlacing it for "ye olde CRTs".
As well, this doesn't help me for the two jobs that I have on the bench at the moment. But I will research this suggestion for future jobs.

> RON
Your suggestion (about rendering out of Vegas in 1440x1080i HDV) aligns nicely with Seth's. I've seen many, many posts about TMPGenc, but haven't needed to try anything else in the past. I'll try Seth's suggestion and if I'm still in trouble, I'll take a look-see at TMPGenc.

Once again - thank you all. If you or anyone else have other suggestions, please share!
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Old March 21st, 2009, 10:31 AM   #7
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I get excellent sd/dvd from vegas and my EX1, 720/50p gives the best picture but all formats downconvert very good, people comment on the picture quality.
You can render progressive in vegas if you want, it'll make no difference as there's not a progressive burn template in architect,not for sd anyway, so it'll just get converted to interlaced there, so just let vegas do it.

I've posted a screen grab of my render template, here

How are your EX1 > SD-DVDs looking? - Page 3 - The Digital Video Information Network

obviously change the resolution for ntsc.

As far as i know, the project preferences are for your viewing pleasure only, ie making footage playback correctly, the render template alone decides the final outcome.


Paul.
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Old March 21st, 2009, 03:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Kellett View Post
I get excellent sd/dvd from vegas and my EX1, 720/50p gives the best picture but all formats downconvert very good, people comment on the picture quality.
You can render progressive in vegas if you want, it'll make no difference as there's not a progressive burn template in architect,not for sd anyway, so it'll just get converted to interlaced there, so just let vegas do it.

I've posted a screen grab of my render template, here

How are your EX1 > SD-DVDs looking? - Page 3 - The Digital Video Information Network

obviously change the resolution for ntsc.

As far as i know, the project preferences are for your viewing pleasure only, ie making footage playback correctly, the render template alone decides the final outcome.


Paul.
Why a frame rate of 25.000 Paul?

John
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Old March 21st, 2009, 04:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Peterson View Post
Why a frame rate of 25.000 Paul?
He's in the UK so he's dealing with PAL, not NTSC.
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Old March 21st, 2009, 05:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kujbida View Post
He's in the UK so he's dealing with PAL, not NTSC.
Ah, should have looked at his profile. Thanks.

John
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Old March 21st, 2009, 11:33 PM   #11
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There's one important project setting that has not been mentioned, and it definitely does affect the actual render, not just the preview.

That is the deinterlacer. When you are converting HD to SD you must choose one of the deinterlacer choices in project properies, "blend" or "interpolate", versus the default "none".

Yes, even when going from interlaced HD to interlaced SD, Vegas still needs this set for the scaling to SD to look correct.

What is yours set at? Try blend and let us know what happens.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 08:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene Kosarovich View Post

That is the deinterlacer. When you are converting HD to SD you must choose one of the deinterlacer choices in project properies, "blend" or "interpolate", versus the default "none".

Yes, even when going from interlaced HD to interlaced SD, Vegas still needs this set for the scaling to SD to look correct.
I think this might even be true for any effects in Vegas as it has to have a progressive frame to create the effects. When doing my tests between getting Vegas or Edius or TMPGenc to downconvert I tried all the settings and none are as good as TMPGenc in downconverting though Edius was close. Setting to "none" was of course really bad. Setting the render to Best solved some of these problems though.

Ron Evans
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 11:52 AM   #13
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Some progress!

Quick update - I'm messing with the de-interlacing options, and seems to have a decent looking picture on my 40" Samsung LCD TV. Still not looking good on CRT, so need to re-check my test settings and do more testing before providing a fuller report.
Thanks all for your continiung interest & support.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 04:39 PM   #14
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More detailed progress report and next steps/questions

Here's an update on my testing yesterday & this morning, following advice offered.

I observed little or no improvement from adding vertical gaussian blur to an otherwise "vanilla" 720x480 Widescreen template.
Rendering to AVI using the HDV 1080-60i intermediate template in Vegas, then re-rendering the AVI to MPEG-2 in Vegas showed some improvement, though not enough. My one attempt at rendering to AVI and letting DVDA compress to MPEG-2 was spectacularly unsuccessful (could be I screwed up the field order settings in Vegas).

Eugene's suggestion is what has partly hit the mark. I received a similar suggestion from a fellow member of the Calgary Professional Videographer's Association. He said (and I quote)"All NLEs have difficulty with this. In general it is difficult to take interlaced HD video and reduce it to SD resolution and maintain acceptable quality."
He says that the solution is to de-interlace the HD video PRIOR to scaling it. He described how it's done in Premiere, and also provided another method - "framerserving" using two freeware products - Debugmode and AVISynth.

So... I tried a few different combinations within Vegas, and I now have a nice looking picture on my 40" Samsung LCD TV + Samsung Bluray player.
HOWEVER - on a 27" Sony CRT TV + Panasonic DVD player connected with S-video, the white lines on the (gymnasium) floor and some other narrow lines are still alive and/or jaggy. Other problems (e.g. lines in gym wall blockwork "walking", fast motion ghosting etc) seem to have gone away.
Clearly, I need to do some more work.

Here's what I did to get the nice pic on LCD TV.
> Selected "HDV 1080 60i" PROJECT template and changed de-interlace method to "Blend"
> Selected the "NTSC DVD Architect Widescreen" RENDER template, and changed Field Order to "None (Progressive"). > (I also dropped the bitrates as per Seth's suggestion. I used 8M, 6M, 192K).
My 4mins 9secs sample rendered in 10:19 (computer specs in post#1 above) with no effects/filters - just one video track.
> Authored using standard 720x480 WS DVD settings in DVD Architect.
Prepare time for my trial DVD (four x four-minute trials) was seconds, so DVDA appears not to do anything with the MPEG-2 files that it receives (I was half-expecting it to interlace them, but what do I know...)

Nest steps and QUESTIONS:
a) Try to verify that the settings I used are causing Vegas to de-interlace PRIOR to scaling the material. (I'm not sure how I'm going to do that yet).
b) Download "Debugmode" and "AVISynth" and see how they work, then see what I can build.
c) Try and find out if downscaled HDV footage can be played on an SD CRT TV with no jaggies in diagonal lines and no shimmering in horizontal lines.

If anyone knows the answers to a) and c) above (or knows where I can find the answers), please pipe in.

Once again, thanks for your interest - hoping someone out there has the final(?) piece of the puzzle.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 11:52 PM   #15
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Why did you render to progressive? I would think that would cause the CRT issues you describe.
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