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Old April 18th, 2006, 03:29 PM   #1
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Compressing Files

I have asked this question several times, but never found an answer I really understood. When I render my finished Vegas project, I end up with HUGE files. Whether I render as .avi, .wmv, .mov, or .mpg (mpeg2).

This time, because I need to get this on a DVD, I rendered as .mpeg2. I've heard answers that say something about adjusting bitrate? But I don't know where to do that, how to do it, or what it means. And change to what bitrate? I changed the audio from 224 down to 128, but I don't think it helped the file size too much.

My project was shot on a Panasonic DVX-100, and I want the final .mpeg2 file (or even better, the product on the DVD) not to lose too much quality from the original footage I captured. My project is about 2.5 hours long (I filmed a festival), and I need to be able to burn it first onto one or two CDs (600-700mb each). However, my rendered .mpeg2 file turned out to be about 6.5gb.

How can I compress this file by a factor of about 6? And will that drastically decrease the quality of my video? Should I use an application outside of Vegas to compress? If so, what application and how exactly (step-by-step) do I compress it to about 1gb (or something that can fit on two CDs)? I think this will require splitting the file into two segments as well (to fit on two CDs), so how do I do that step-by-step?

Or should I just re-render my Vegas project? If so, what exact settings do I need to choose to have my final .mpeg2 file be around 1gb, more or less? I need specific step-by-step instructions, because the answers in the past like adjusting bitrate or whatnot were hard for me to understand.

The reason I need to first get this onto CDs, and not the final DVD, is that I don't have a DVD burner. The club I taped the festival for wants the file in .mpeg2 format on CDs, so that they can take the file(s) from the CD(s) and copy it onto their computer, then burn into onto a DVD using the DVD burner they have. There is absolutely no workaround to not using CDs - we can't use flashdrives, external harddrives, transfer through the internet or messenging services, email, etc. because of certain limitations, whether physical or otherwise.

Thanks so much in advance!
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Old April 18th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #2
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6.5 gigs for 2.5 hours of good-quality video sounds about right, but there's also room to reduce it some. But you probably don't want to if your guys are going to author and burn the DVD. Give them as high-quality as you can.

In any case, reducing by 6 times will seriously compromise quality, maybe to the point of unwatchability.

You can define regions on your timeline and render them separately (by checking "render loop section only" in the render box). Looks like you'll need 10-11 of them to fit them each on DVD.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 03:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
This time, because I need to get this on a DVD, I rendered as .mpeg2. I've heard answers that say something about adjusting bitrate? But I don't know where to do that, how to do it, or what it means. And change to what bitrate? I changed the audio from 224 down to 128, but I don't think it helped the file size too much.
Take a look at vol 1 #7 and Vol 4 #1 of my newsletters. The short answer is, go to File - Render As, pick MPEG2 as the format, Pick the proper preset, and then click on "Custom". The video tab is where you set the bitrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
My project is about 2.5 hours long (I filmed a festival), and I need to be able to burn it first onto one or two CDs (600-700mb each). However, my rendered .mpeg2 file turned out to be about 6.5gb.
You can change the bitrate to get 2.5 hours on one DVD but the quality will start to take a hit at that length. 6.5Gig sounds about right for 2.5 hours using the typical defaults. Two DVDs would be better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
How can I compress this file by a factor of about 6? And will that drastically decrease the quality of my video? Should I use an application outside of Vegas to compress? If so, what application and how exactly (step-by-step) do I compress it to about 1gb (or something that can fit on two CDs)? I think this will require splitting the file into two segments as well (to fit on two CDs), so how do I do that step-by-step?
Fitting on a CD will cause an even greater quality hit. Even 2 CDs will cause a quality hit. However, your best option may very well be to go to WMV but you'll still need a fairly low bitrate. Try it with 512k preset. Then adjust up or down from there for size.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #4
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But does .wmv work to be burned onto a DVD? I thought that DVDs used mpeg2 encoding.

So what you're suggesting is that I keep the 6.5gb file, burn it onto 10 or 11 CDs, give it to the club, and they will take all these clips and make two DVDs out of it?
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Old April 18th, 2006, 06:51 PM   #5
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Given that you say CDs are absolutely the way you need to go, then yeah, if you don't want to lose any quality, it's what you'll have to do.

If you render a WMV file, it can be converted to MPEG-2 for DVD, but you'll take a quality hit.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 08:18 PM   #6
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As I said in my post, you render to MPEG2 for DVDs and you can change the bitrates as I specified.

However, you then mentioned CDs. For CDs you need even tighter compression which WMV can give you but it won't be playable in most DVD players. I guess you could try a VCD which is actually MPEG1.

So which do you really want? DVD or CD? Your post mentions both so I tried to answer for both.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 09:51 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. The end product is DVD. However, in order to get the file to the right person who will then make the DVD is the problem. It seems the only way to do this is to burn the file onto CDs, give it to the guy, who will then make the DVD from the files on the CDs. Granted, this is a very ineffective way, but unless you guys can come up with another solution...I don't know.

I was thinking external harddrive, but they don't have any, and I am unwilling to lend out my external harddrive because it contains a bunch of sensitive personal information. And uploading and then downloading 6.5gbs to the web seems unfeasible, especially when the club needs the file...basically now. Even one extra day is a huge hit to their schedule.

I believe they really want their festival to be able to be played on a DVD player as a DVD. So, I probably have to go with .mpeg2.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 10:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
Thanks guys. The end product is DVD. However, in order to get the file to the right person who will then make the DVD is the problem. It seems the only way to do this is to burn the file onto CDs, give it to the guy, who will then make the DVD from the files on the CDs.
Ok, that sounds very impractical. CD is really NOT an option. Do YOU have a DVD burner? If yes, Render again and this time change the bitrate small enough to fit on ONE DVD or render into two pieces. Now burn these MPEG2 files to DVD as a data DVD. Then the person on the other end can put the MPEG2 file into their authoring program.

If you do not have a DVD burner, I'd recommend buy another external drive, using that to send it to them (after reencoding to the proper size OR as two pieces) and then have them send it back once they're done.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 11:31 PM   #9
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You are making projects using a DVX100a, for a customer that has an urgent time requirement. You have rendered an MPEG2 file which is 6.5GB for 2.5 hours (which seems about right). You don't have a DVD burner, only a CD burner. You want to end up with a DVD.

Your problem is not encoding. Your problem is transporting the rendered MPEG2 file.

You can either:

a) Slice (or re-render) the MPEG2 into 15 minute slices, and burn each of these onto a CD (it will take 10 or 11 CDs), and give them to the guy at the club to splice them together and burn a DVD. This will probably take anywhere between 4 to 18 hours, depending on how much re-rendering you have to do. The final DVD will be very good quality, since you're using what sounds like a decent rendering.

b) Buy or borrow a dual-layer DVD burner (about $60 last time I checked). Author the DVD directly from the MPEG2 file you've already rendered. Given that you're using pro-level gear and have time pressure, this seems a pretty obvious way to go.

There are other options, like rendering to a more compressed format, burning that to CD-Rs, then reauthoring back to DVD MPEG2, but that will take almost as much time as a) and will dramatically worsen the quality of the final product since you're going from MPEG2 to (WMV|MPEG4|whatever) and then back to MPEG2.

In simple words - there is no way to take a DVD quality MPEG2, compress it to 1/6th of its current size, then re-expand it to MPEG2 again without losing (a lot of) quality.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 06:22 PM   #10
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Yeah, thanks for the advice. I'm asking if it is at all possible on their side to get an external harddrive, but I don't know yet. As far as buying a DVD burner - sure, they aren't THAT expensive, but the problem is I don't have a constant enough use for a DVD burner that I would want to buy one for myself. Also, I am doing this project for the club out of goodwill. In other words, there is no pay involved. The time urgency is because for them, the club is about to end for the year (summer break soon), so they want to have this out asap. The DVD making part will be on their end and they understand that. They just need the actual .mpeg2 file to be able to make the DVD. My problem is how to get them that .mpeg2 file, and it seems the only way to go is several CDs or external harddrive. Even with several CDs, I would have to splice up the project, and on their end, recombining the segments might prove to be a technical difficulty. Their club is able to make DVDs, but overall has limited technical knowledge, and I am not sure they will know how to put the clips back together. So, I am hoping that the external harddrive solution will work out, but...yeah.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 07:12 PM   #11
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Do you know what software they have to author and burn a DVD? Do they have software to join mpeg2 files? Will they make one or two DVD's from your project? There is no short cut from the advice you have already been given however if the club doesn't have the needed software they are not going to be able to finish the project having been given a bunch of files on many CD's. Assuming they will make two DVD's you could encode for this in segments and ship them files on CD's( about 12 CD's). They will then need something like Vegas or Womble to combine these files to feed to an authoring program ( even Nero) and then burn. Just having a set of files and burning to a DVD will not create a playable DVD just files on a DVD that would be playable on a computer ( one at a time) but not a normal DVD player.

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Old April 19th, 2006, 08:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
As far as buying a DVD burner - sure, they aren't THAT expensive, but the problem is I don't have a constant enough use for a DVD burner that I would want to buy one for myself.
Do you use a CD burner very often? If the answer is yes, then replacing your current one with a DVD burner would be a very wise investment for a variety of reasons.
More and more training packages are being released on DVD.
They're a great medium for doing backups of things like images (I'm currently at 7 GB and climbing!!) or other large files.

As far as shrinking your original file, google for a program called DVD Shrink. I understand that the author was hired by Nero and consequently "shut down" his site. It is out there though. It's a utility that you can use to shrink your original 6.5 GB file down to DVD size with minimal quality loss.

Good luck with whatever route you take.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 03:48 AM   #13
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H.264

How about a MPEG-4 solution.

Get the ffdshow codec and choose the H.264 setting ... set the bitrate to a low setting... see what you get.. might be good enough to get 2.5 hours on 2 cds. My buddie has about 10 hours of his own work on his ipod using h264 not to meantion the tons of audio on there too. Try the exporting to psp if you dont have ffdshow... I think it uses h.264 too.
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