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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 June 23rd, 2009, 07:14 PM   #1
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Getting good quality AVC files

I recently bought Western Digital's WD TV box, quite an amazing little device for showing HD footage easily. I want to take some 720p EX1 footage and export it from Vegas to an h264 encoded file so I can play it back on the WD TV.

I've done a couple of tests, but I can't seem to get anything that looks really great. I've been using MainConcept AVC with these settings:
1280x720
reference frames: 5
variable bit rate max:9, avg: 8
audio: 48k, 128.

They look ok, but there's a lot of blockiness. I've seen blu ray conversions of commercial movies at 5k data rates and they look amazing! I wonder if it's just the source material? It's a stage show with a lot of black, smoke, and moving lights. Am I expecting too much?

Any tips? I'm trying to increase sales by playing an HD set of clips from the show on a flatscreen in the company's lobby.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 04:55 PM   #2
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Have you tried encoding to any other format that the WD TV would play? I mostly take HDV material; edit in Vegas and play it back as .M2T HDV and it looks great.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 05:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Greis View Post
Have you tried encoding to any other format that the WD TV would play? I mostly take HDV material; edit in Vegas and play it back as .M2T HDV and it looks great.
Has anyone done a comparison of the Sony vs the Main Concept codecs in Vegas?
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Old June 25th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #4
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Yes, I have tried the HDV preset and it did turn out well. I wanted to experiment with AVC, hoping to see some advantage with the smaller file sizes. I did another the other day at 10meg constant, and that resulted in acceptable quality. I'm hoping to fit an hour show in under 8gig (the size of the flash drive I was hoping to use). The HDV preset I used had a 20meg data rate, so there's half, which is pretty good.

The thing that I find amazing is that I've seen plenty of re-encodes of commercial bluray movies that look astounding that are only at 5meg data rates. These encodes are being done by x264, an open source encoder (all this info about the file comes from MediaInfo, a great tool for examining media files, btw). I'm wondering if I need to do some frameserving from Vegas to an x264 encoder or something to get that kind of quality at those rates. The other thing that affects my results is probably that my footage is at 30fps and movies are at 24. Encoding those extra frames may be a big difference in data rate to get the same quality.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #5
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Here is the best workflow I can offer, to produce AMAZING AVC/AAC encodes.

Export out of Vegas using a lossless codec, I suggest this one:
Lagarith Lossless Video Codec

It WILL produce big files, however, they will be lossless (doesn't everyone have like 10tb of storage by now?) This intermediary file can be deleted after you have your final product.

With your lossless render, use a program called MEGUI to make your final .mp4
MeGUI - x264/XviD/lavc/Snow encoder with MP4/MKV/AVI output & audio - Doom9's Forum

Warning: megui is a hard program to learn how to use at first, there are several tutorials, but if you learn it properly, and avisynth scripting, you will produce AMAZING .mp4 files.

Yes, I use this in a production environment.

-Adam
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Old June 27th, 2009, 02:51 AM   #6
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Do you have any settings or other tips to pass along for that workflow? Data rates or other configurations?
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Old June 27th, 2009, 10:04 AM   #7
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Hi,

My advice is, use the extensive list of profiles available. They are expertly maintained, and if you stick to them, you will get excellent results. Do not stray from the profiles, unless you are ABSOLUTELY certain what you are doing (changing the bitrate is ok).

Also, if you have a multicore machine to render, you may want to look at this addition to avisynth:
http://avisynth.org/mediawiki/MT

Whew, that plugin makes my encodes fly on my core i7 4ghz machine, but is buggy and may cause megui to behave strangely sometimes.

-Adam
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Old June 27th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #8
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Ok. For HD content, which profile do you use?
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Old June 27th, 2009, 05:04 PM   #9
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It REALLY depends on your target device. Since I deliver content through my website, I prefer to use something that is really compatible, so i use the "quicktime" profile. I'm sure there are some others in there that support quicktime, but I never got around to testing them.

BTW, windows 7 has native support for mp4/AVC now, so you may also want to try the DXVA profiles...

-Adam
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