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Old October 11th, 2005, 10:16 AM   #1
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HDV to SD. Best method?

How do you guys downrez HDV to SD so that it keeps most of its clarity and sharpness? Most DVD's I have seen look almost as sharp as an HDV file, so how is it done?
(I have seen this topic before but I can't find it now)
Thanks
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Old October 11th, 2005, 10:21 AM   #2
 
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I just do it straight across. Sometimes I'll add just a tad of unsharp mask when doing it, but otherwise...in Vegas, straight across.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 10:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
in Vegas, straight across.
Forgive my confusion, I'm sorta new at this. When you mean straight across, do you mean, you take the HDV downconversion straight from the camera to SD on Vegas? Or do you work in the DV intermediary and do a "straight across" downconversion only when exporting to a DVD format or other file?

My understanding (albeit limited) was that working in HDV and a DV intermediary codec (like Cineform) and then downconverting to SD when making a DVD or final file was the best way. I read somewhere on DVXuser that a straight HDV to SD downconvert from the camera to the software didn't produce that nice an image -- worse than say a higher end prosumer SD like DVX100. (But I could've misread that.)
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Old October 11th, 2005, 11:20 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Kirkpatrick
Forgive my confusion, I'm sorta new at this. When you mean straight across, do you mean, you take the HDV downconversion straight from the camera to SD on Vegas? Or do you work in the DV intermediary and do a "straight across" downconversion only when exporting to a DVD format or other file?

My understanding (albeit limited) was that working in HDV and a DV intermediary codec (like Cineform) and then downconverting to SD when making a DVD or final file was the best way. I read somewhere on DVXuser that a straight HDV to SD downconvert from the camera to the software didn't produce that nice an image -- worse than say a higher end prosumer SD like DVX100. (But I could've misread that.)
I'll take either the m2t to SD, or the CineForm to SD. As far as the comment regarding the DVX etc...I hope you misread that, but you may not have. I recently have read a couple posts that were so far out in the ether it made my head spin.

Shooting HDV and allowing Vegas to downsample produces an SD image superior to anything I've seen, including SD footage from the new XDCAMs.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 12:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Kirkpatrick
...I read somewhere on DVXuser that a straight HDV to SD downconvert from the camera to the software didn't produce that nice an image -- worse than say a higher end prosumer SD like DVX100. (But I could've misread that.)
An HDV downconvert from WHAT camera? On my Sony HVR-Z1U the downconvert from HDV 1080i to SD from the camera is awesome. Clearly better than anything an SD camera could have produced. Sony Vegas does a slightly better job at downconverting than the Z1 but Iíve read the Premiere Pro does NOT! So if youíre using Sony Vegas, you can get the absolute best quality by capturing as M2T and letting Vegas downconvert. If you are using Premiere Pro you will get the BEST quality from a Z1 by downconverting with the camera. I canít speak for other cameras.

~jr
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Old October 11th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #6
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Kevin

I presume you are asking about workflow details. If not I apologise for my pedantic response. Iím somewhat new to this also but for what itís worth hereís what I do:

I place the Cineform avi on the timeline in Vegas 6c with File, Properties set using the HDV 1080-60i (1440x1080, 29.970 fps) template. I do what little editing I need to do then select all the video then go Edit, Switches, and check Reduce Interlace Flicker, then go File, render as, save as type: MainConcept MPEG-2 (*mpg) then template: DVD Architect NTSC Widescreen video stream leaving the default settings as is, i.e. no audio and video rendering quality: Good. I render with those settings then come back and render the audio separately as an ac3 file ready for creating a Vob file in DVD Architect.

Now having said that I have no idea if this is the Ďbestí workflow but Iím impressed with the quality. I trust my comments are of use and would be most grateful if someone can suggest a superior workflow.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #7
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John, why would you not choose Best for video quality?

Maybe it is just my footage, but I noticed a straight render from HDV to SD makes it look like it was shot in SD.
Having seen SD that certainly does not look like it was shot in SD, I am wondering how to get this very sharp, clear look.
I thought maybe there were some plugins or setting that I could use.
Thanks
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Old October 11th, 2005, 01:50 PM   #8
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Good question Kevin! I recall reading somewhere, I seem to recall someone, maybe it was David Newman, my apologies if it was not, saying that Ďbestí is barely noticeably better than Ďgoodí and it takes longer to render but I might be confused; wouldnít be the first time!

Hopefully someone will post the absolute Ďbestí workflow in detail, as in step by step beginning with Cineformís avi and ending with a DVDA compliant mpeg2 file, as Iím all ears and keen to learn. This kind of discussion about HDV and Vegas is so why Iím here.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCully
Good question Kevin! I recall reading somewhere, I seem to recall someone, maybe it was David Newman, my apologies if it was not, saying that Ďbestí is barely noticeably better than Ďgoodí and it takes longer to render but I might be confused; wouldnít be the first time!

Hopefully someone will post the absolute Ďbestí workflow in detail, as in step by step beginning with Cineformís avi and ending with a DVDA compliant mpeg2 file, as Iím all ears and keen to learn. This kind of discussion about HDV and Vegas is so why Iím here.
To Kevin: I'd respectfully suggest it's your footage.
To John: As Edward recently re-posted the information that Sony released back in Vegas 2.0: you'll want to render to Good, unless your project is made up mostly of stills/graphics. http://vasst.com/?v=training/VegasFAQnew.htm#preview has a listing of what Sony has indicated the various render/preview settings are processed as.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 04:23 PM   #10
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Douglas - The thing is, it looks beautiful in HDV. Like how film downrezzed to DVD looks. So I can help but thinking I should be able to come to a better, sharper, downrezzed final product.

Plus I have read a workflow off this board that improved my tests with HDV downrezzing, except I can't find it now. I'll try a yahoo search...
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Old October 11th, 2005, 05:52 PM   #11
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Have you tried downrezzing to 24P or 30P SD? I feel that a downrez to interlaced SD doesn't look as sharp as a downrez to progressive SD. I did some tests recently and the my 24P renders looked really sharp.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 06:06 PM   #12
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Yeah I've tried that. Hmmm, maybe and unsharp mask would help? Ill try some stuff.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 09:49 PM   #13
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Hmmm...

I'm wondering whether any of you guys have considered Bit-rates in your quest for DVD quality improvement?

The Bit-rate default settings for DVD 'Render As' templates in Vegas is not exactly optimum. The 'secret' to any good quality DVD master MPEG2 is to get the Bit-rate as close to maximum as you can get it!!

This is why DVD Shrink can put such good quality on a single layer DVD from a Dual layer "hollywood" double layer disk. i.e. the source Bit-rate is almost at the maximum, yet the compression algorithm has already defined the areas that receive the effects of maximum compression, so when the bit-rate is lowered by DVD Shrink to fit in the smaller space - the compression isn't applied to regions that would compomise quality to the point of being outrageously noticeable... If you have some idea of how JPEG compression operates on a still image; then you'll appreciate how it's motion counterpart works on moving images.

I also understood that the "Good" setting when Rendering a project in Vegas, was not the optimum image quality setting; as it's pixel blending algorithm is "bilinear scaling without integration", where-as "Best" uses "bicubic scaling with integration".

To quote Vegas help notes: "If you're using High Resolution stills (OR Video) that will be scaled down to the final output size, choosing BEST can prevent artifacts".

So here's what I have found to work pretty well... Render As> Select template> MPEG2> DVD Architect WS, then hit Custom> Project tab - Video quality - BEST> Video tab - Video Quality...slide to HIGH - Variable Bit-rate - Two pass - Max. 9,300 - Av. 8,000 - Min. 6,200

If you want to get funky with the other tabs, like the Advanced Video tab - you can... but the only real thing you might find usefull there is the "Allow motion compensation" setting and the "DC co-efficient" setting (that's Colour bit depth!!).

If you want to include sound (or not!!) then use the Audio tab to enable simultaneous audio encoding to the format and Bit-rate you can set...

You may notice that if you use these settings I've outlined; that the template type when you return to the "Save Render As" dialogue box after hitting OK has changed to (Untitled). This means of course; that until you save the adjusted template as a new named template, you have to adjust those custom settings for every DVD level render you make (same thing goes for WMV9 HD output).

The programmers of Vegas create the program so that any clutz can hit a button to render something... and voila!! they've got something to enjoy. That button has the no-pain Default setting applied to it. It's the "I'm not a tinkering, quality addicted perfectionist, who only wishes there was some way to improve what this thing does" type of persons' perfect setting.

You want more from a program - sometimes you just gotta dig...
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Old October 11th, 2005, 10:03 PM   #14
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The "Good" quality setting uses a bilinear resizing method. The "Best" setting uses Bicubic resizing. Anything where you're scaling video looks best using the "Best" setting. I know that using the "Best" setting adds a lot when you are doing photo or title animation and also when you are rescaling video as in 4:3 to 16:9 aspect ratio changes. I suspect it would make a difference in downrezzing as well.
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Old October 12th, 2005, 07:01 PM   #15
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I haven't been using mpg2 compression yet. I've been trying to get a sharp uncompressed downrezzed video first. But Ill try that, Steve.

I found that the unsharp mask works well to bring out the dark parts and sharpness.
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