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Old July 30th, 2012, 01:20 AM   #1
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Is this the best that I can do?

Camcorder is Panasonic HDC-SDX1, 1920 x 1080
Vegas Pro 8
My PC cannot work with the raw footage without hiccups, so I use NeoScene to convert to .avi
Vegas Pro 8 has no problem with this on my "old" PC.

Rendered project to MainConceptAVC/AAC (*.mp4)
Frame size Custom: 1920 x 1080
Profile: Main
Frame Rate: 29.970 (NTSC)
Field Order: None (progressive scan)
Pixel aspect ratio: 1.0000
Number of reference frames: 2
Variable bit rate: Maximum 14,000,000 bps, Average 10,000,000 bps

Audio sample rate: 48,000 Hz
Bit rate: 320,000 bps

The resulting .mp4 file is 642 MB for a 20-minute long video.
I play it back with Arcsoft Total Media Theater.

I CAN STILL SEE SOME VIDEO ARTIFACTS. In fact, when playing on the Vegas timeline, and I enlarge the Preview window to fill my 2560 x 1600-resolution monitor, I see MUCH less, if any, video artifact. Is that because the timeline video is in .avi,and the finished video is compressed to .mp4?

WHAT CAN I DO DIFFERENTLY SO THAT THE FINISHED VIDEO HAS NO, OR VERY LITTLE ARTIFACTS? Render to a different format? Change some of the settings?

Any suggestions are appreciated! Right now, the final video is of a worse quality than what came out of the camcorder.

Thanks!!!
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Old July 30th, 2012, 02:01 AM   #2
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Re: Is this the best that I can do?

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Originally Posted by Norris Combs View Post
when playing on the Vegas timeline, and I enlarge the Preview window to fill my 2560 x 1600-resolution monitor, I see MUCH less, if any, video artifact.
Each time a video is transcoded from one format to another something is lost. Depending on what is lost the result can look better or worse. For better, the wavelet transforms used in Cineform can reduce blocking, banding and 4:2:0 color artifacts while the motion estimation used in H264 can reduce image grain and noise. For worse, you have seen the results.

You've already identified the weakest link in your workflow as the MainConcept H264 encode. The easiest solution is to increase the bitrate from 10 mbit to 25 mbit. A more difficult way to increase quality would be to use a different H264 encoder such as x264.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 06:28 PM   #3
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Re: Is this the best that I can do?

Thanks Eric,

The Easy way: you suggest to increase the bitrate from 10,000,000 to 25,000,000, that's the "Average" value. What should I select as the "Maximum"?

The Difficult way: use a different encoder. Since the current encoder I'm using is Vegas, does this mean I have to get an entirely new NLE?
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Old July 30th, 2012, 10:02 PM   #4
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Re: Is this the best that I can do?

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Originally Posted by Norris Combs View Post

The Difficult way: use a different encoder. Since the current encoder I'm using is Vegas, does this mean I have to get an entirely new NLE?
No, just export an 50mbps 422.mxf, or a dnxhd.mov from Vegas then drop it into Handbrake and export a x264 file from there.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 11:13 PM   #5
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Re: Is this the best that I can do?

Thanks Gerald,
I redid the encoding using Phil Lee's method. Now waiting for the encoding process to finish. The Lagarith file played back with excellent quality, no artifacts that I could see.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 03:21 AM   #6
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Re: Is this the best that I can do?

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Originally Posted by Norris Combs View Post
The Easy way: you suggest to increase the bitrate from 10,000,000 to 25,000,000, that's the "Average" value. What should I select as the "Maximum"?
The maximum video bitrate for blu-ray is 40 mbps, but for safety I would set the maximum to 35 mbps.

The main difficulty in using x264 with Vegas is that DVD Architect tries to recompress x264 encodes so you will need different blu-ray authoring software.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 01:42 PM   #7
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Re: Is this the best that I can do?

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Originally Posted by Eric Olson View Post
The maximum video bitrate for blu-ray is 40 mbps, but for safety I would set the maximum to 35 mbps.

The main difficulty in using x264 with Vegas is that DVD Architect tries to recompress x264 encodes so you will need different blu-ray authoring software.
Using the x264 encoder results in a .m2ts file that's 5.5 GB, video quality is excellent, no more artifacts that I could see. Does DVD Architect ALWAYS compress, or does it do so only to fit the available space on a disc? I have double layer DVD-Rs that's 8.5 GB capacity, so my video easily fits. What blu-ray authoring software do you use? Is it freeware?
Thanks!!
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Old July 31st, 2012, 08:49 PM   #8
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Re: Is this the best that I can do?

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Originally Posted by Norris Combs View Post
Does DVD Architect ALWAYS compress, or does it do so only to fit the available space on a disc?
From what I understand x264 uses macro block adaptive field frames, MBAFF, to encode interlaced material, but DVD Architect doesn't know how to multiplex such video streams. It would appear that progressive should work, but I've never managed. Usually I just increase the bitrate on the encoder built into Vegas and use DVD Architect to burn a BD-R.

Note that DVD Architect does not author AVCHD catalogs. The difference between a BDMV blu-ray catalog and an AVCHD catalog is only a few flags in a certain file, but some blu-ray players won't play high-definition video from a DVD without those flags.

If you are satisfied with an AVCHD disk with only one track that plays in a continuous loop starting from the beginning each time it reaches the end with no menu, then the free software tsMuxeR will work. The output from tsMuxeR can also be edited in an extremely tedious way with the free software BDedit to add menus, playlists, button actions and so forth.

In summary, I don't have a convenient blu-ray workflow for x264 and Vegas. I've heard that Encore will multiplex x264 video files, but that only comes bundled with Adobe Premiere.
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