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Old January 19th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #1
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Please help me select best rendering settings for my project

Hi. Want to create a custom template for rendering out a Vegas 9 project and for viewing with an Xstreamer Pro on a 32" 1366X768 LCD TV.




Here are the technical details:

Material is shot 1080-50p AVCHD. Then converted to .avi files with Cineform codec using NeoScene.

The streamer specs say it can play the following formats:
ASF / AVI / DIVX / FLV / IFO / ISO / M2P / M2TS / M2V / M4V / MKV / MOV / MP4 / MPG / MPEG / MTS / RMVB / TP / TRP / TS / VOB / WMV

with video codecs:
XVID SD/HD / MPEG1, VCD 1.0/2.0, SVCD / HD MPEG2 (up to MP@HL 1080i), ISO/IFO/VOB/TS / HD MPEG4 SP/ASP(720p/1080i/1080p), Xvid/H.264 BP@L3, HP@4.1 / WMV9/VC-1 AP@L3 / RealVideo 8/9/10, up to 720 @ 30P / DviX 3/4/5/6/7 (license only)

and audio formats:
AAC / AC3 / DTS / FLAC / FLC / M3U / M3U8 / M4A / MP1 / MP2 / MP3 / MPA / OGG / PCM / RA / RM / WAV / WMA

and audio codecs:
Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD/DTS HD Master Audio, High Resolution, LBR / 7.1 down-mix / WMA Pro, Dolby Digital AC3 and DTS (license only) / MPEG I Layer 1, 2, 3 (2-CH) and MPEG II Layer 1, 2 (Multi-channel) / LPCM, ADPCM, FLAC, ACC, WAV and OGG Vorbis/RA1/RA-cook/RA-lossless


Currently I'll be viewing the finished product on a HD READY 32" LCD - 1366X768. I would prefer to render to full HD resolution, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea when viewing on a 1366x768 display.

Please tell me what would be the best rendering settings I should select in this case. Thanks!
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Old January 19th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #2
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So many choices!

Were it me, I'd start with one of the WMV HD templates out of Vegas, and see how it works. It's really a very solid codec and encoder, with excellent performance.

But, you have lots of other choices, if I was unsatisfied with WMV or wanted to do some serious benchmarking, I'd look at:
QT/MOV using MP4
.MP4
XVID/h.264 (I'm not that familiar with XVID, but the h.264 may have great performance, especially if hardware playback?)

As for settings, try the high-bitrate templates, eg. 8Mbps or more for 1080i/p.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 10:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for your input Seth! I'll give those a try.

So if I choose to render out full HD resolution at best bit rate available, you think it will play out fine on a 1366X768 display?

thx
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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:36 AM   #4
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1080-50p playback is dependent on the TV - it *should* work just fine, with the TV itself downsampling in hardware. If optimization of file storage is important, or if there are downsampling errors such as frame drops, the next step would be to try some 720p.

Is this a recent TV? Here in the U.S., any TV made in the last three or four years should do this trick effortlessly.

Do you have HDMI between the box and the TV?

You do have access to the box and TV? I'd say to try some stuff and see how it works. If you're doing this blindly for someone else's setup you'd want to find advice from someone more familiar with the xstreamer.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #5
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Hey Seth,
Actually, yes. I'm gathering this information for someone else. If you might recall, sometime back I was asking for this same person how to create SD DVD from AVCHD because several options we tried resulted badly. In the end, he decided that it made no sense to bang his head against the wall over it and went ahead and bought a streamer.

The streamer connects to the TV via HDMI cable.

I'll have to ask him about his TV and its capabilities of handling progressive material.

We'll run a couple of tests as you suggested and I'll get back to you with how they turned out.

Thanks!
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Old January 28th, 2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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Using the 6.7 Mbps HD 1080-25p Video default template - the video plays fine, but the frame size and proportions are off. I did not see the result myself, as I am helping out a friend here, but as I understand there are two issues:
1. the image is letterboxed all around, from all four sides.
2. the aspect ratio is not right. He says it looks more like 4:3, while his tv screen is 16:9.

I'm guessing this can be fixed by using custom settings, but I'm not completely sure what to do and I don't want to give him wrong information.

Here is what I'm thinking. Please tell me if I'm correct or not:

1. The 6.7 Mbps HD 1080-25p Video default template has size set to 1440x1080 which is in fact 4:3. So I'm guessing he should change this to 1920x1080 or just select "keep original size".

2. Pixel Aspect Ratio is set by default to 1.333 (HD 1080). From my experience with HD material so far, it has always been square pixels. There is an option to set pixel aspect ratio to 1.000 (Square), so possibly this is what he should select?

Please let me know. Thanks!

(besides the video size and letterboxing, it played fine) :)

- - - - - - - -
update: it turns out the same WMV file plays fine on the computer.... hmm. so does this mean all is fine and that it is just a matter of his settings on the TV?

Last edited by Adi Head; January 28th, 2011 at 02:20 PM. Reason: update
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Old January 29th, 2011, 08:20 PM   #7
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Well, from this distance it's difficult to know what's going on, really.

However, when it comes to distribution codecs, the pixel aspect ratio flagging that takes place *frequently* breaks down. And HDV's PAR of 1.333 is probably the least supported of any of them. This can be a problem with WMV, QT, FLV, F4V, MP4, you name it.

My general recommendation is avoid the problem altogether, by rendering with square-pixel settings. This would be attacking the problem at in the rendering setup, not the player settings. There may be a solution to non-square pixels on his player, but maybe not! And, this particular issue shows up again and again - going square-pixels only seems to be the most consistent solution.

In which case the rendering templates of choice would be 720p (1280x720), or 1080i/p (1920x1080). If those aren't showing up, create them in the Custom dialogs, and specify a PAR of 1.0.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 10:15 AM   #8
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Hey Seth,
Your advice seems to have solved the frame size issue, but it seems we're not quite there yet. He rendered a 6.7Mbps WMV file with the following settings:
Mode: CBR
Frame size: 1920x1080
Pixel aspect ratio: 1.000 (square)
Frame rate: 25
Seconds per keyframe: 5
Override default compression buffer: 3
Video Smoothness: 90

When playing the file with his streamer (viewing on LCD TV) the image was fine, but the video froze after just a couple of seconds.

So my questions now are:

1. If we stay with the MWV what do you think we should chage in our rendering settings?
2. Optionally you suggested maybe rendering to mp4 file with h.264 codec. In the Render Settings window I can see a few mp4 options - MainConcept AVC/AAC, Sony AVC and XDCAM EX. I've looked into all three and can't find an option to select the h.264 codec in either of them. Can you explain how we might try rendering to mp4 (h.264)?

Thanks!! :)
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Old January 30th, 2011, 11:53 AM   #9
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Ouch!

A fix for the existing WMV settings *may* be a lower bitrate. It's worth trying 4Mbps - this may not look the best, but would help to isolate the playback problem. If it is necessary to go lower, 720p might play better than 1080i/p.

Otherwise, it looks like a lot of trial and error is ahead for your friend. MP4, AVC, AVCHD, and h.264 have only slight differences between them. As I understand it, they're all using the same basic encoding schemes.

Looking back at your first post, the flavors to try might be:
MOV MPEG-4.
Sony or MainConcept AVC, choose the MP4 extension in the custom dialog (I think it's Sony's that allows this)
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Old January 30th, 2011, 12:40 PM   #10
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Hey Seth, thanks for the reply. Just a couple of questions regarding your suggested settings:

1. concerning the option of rendering to MOV. I'm not so familiar with rendering to this format. The templates give several compression levels (28.8 Kbps - 3 Mbps) and a "no compression" option as well. Which to choose? Then there's the question of codec to select. I understand he should select MPEG-4 Video, right? Lastly, there's the Audio tab and several audio formats to select from. By default this menu is set to QDesign Music 2. Yet, I don't see that particular format listed among the formats that my friend's streamer can read. In fact, all the formats there are new to me and I'm not sure what he should pick.

2. then there's the issue of me not finding the h.264 codec you mentioned. I can only find h.261 and h.263. Is the h.264 a codec that I (and my friend) should download from somewhere and install?

The Sony AVC (MPEG-4) option seems pretty straight forward. No questions there. Once I have the two questions above cleared up, I'll relay the three options over to my friend and ask him to test them out.

Thanks so much for you help! :)
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Old January 30th, 2011, 10:34 PM   #11
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No one can really predict the look at various bandwidths, because every video clip places different loads on an encoder. Noisy video, handheld camera, poor lighting, subtly gradated color; they all take more bitrate to look acceptable. With that out of the way, an MOV MPEG4 or h.264 at 1080i/p at 4 to 6Mbps is probably in the right range. The correct template may not exist - go into the custom dialog, make one, and save it!

Uncompressed audio for the MOV would be fine, at 16bit 48KHz. This might be called PCM or LDPCM or LPCM, depending on the encoder.

Again, MPEG4, AVC, and h.264 are basically the same codec. Different encoders, and even different releases of the same encoder call this codec "family" by different names. If he doesn't see h.264, choose MPEG4 or MP4, etc.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 04:12 AM   #12
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Hi Seth, thanks.

We'll try the MOV route next. Here are the settings I'm going to recommend to him (according to what I figured). I'd really appreciate it if you could take a few moments and just go over them to see if maybe there is something I should change.

I selected 3Mbps template as a starting point and then made custom changes to it.

The Video Tab
please note following changes to the original template:
Frame size: 1920x1080
Frame rate: 25 fps
Video format: MPEG-4 Video
Target rate, KBps: 720 (template was 360)
Keyframe every (frames): it was set to 30 by template, I figured that maybe this has to do with the NTSC frame rate of the original template. Since we are in PAL zone, I changed this to 25. I have no idea if this was the right thing to do.
http://i54.tinypic.com/2hn5e7o.jpg

The Audio Tab
http://i51.tinypic.com/29l08pf.jpg

Thanks!
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Old January 31st, 2011, 10:46 AM   #13
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Everything looks fine, audio and video, except bitrate.

720Kbps is suitable for standard def or smaller of a well-shot talking head. It is 0.7Mbps.

Bump that up to about 5500Kbps (5.5Mbps)... Depending on the content, this may look fine.
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