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Old February 22nd, 2007, 04:20 PM   #1
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The Encoding Nightmare Continues...


I posted here a week or so ago about a problem I was having encoding a (fairly complex) 90 minute movie with Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0.

I received some good advice. First, I downloaded (the Trial Version of) Adobe Encore 2.0. I then switched from encoding audio as PCM to Dolby Digital (AC3), which saved me a ton of disc space at no discernible loss of quality (to my great surprise - and delight).

Since then... well, I won't go into the ugly details about how long I've spent trading off quality and compression with the goal of optimizing DVD disc space (4.7GB). The bottom line is the following:

I finally managed to get the project set up just how I wanted it in Adobe Encore 2.0. Ironically, after all the self-educating and experimenting, the best option proved to be setting Encore's "transcoding" settings to "Automatic". This results in an average bit rate of 6.8Mbps and takes up nearly every bit of DVD disc space.

So far, so good.

In fact, I thought I was home free. I went to "Build DVD", did a "Check for Errors" (none), and hit the "Build" button. After several hours of transcoding/building I had a finished folder/disc.

Only one problem: The audio was now out of sync.

The audio plays in sync EVERYWHERE within Encore 2.0, both before and after transcoding. It plays in sync in the Project panel, it plays in sync on the entire Timeline.

However, for reasons I can't begin to understand, it's out of sync after building the DVD (played either from Folder or Disc).

A little additional information: I went through a lot of false starts with Encore 2.0 before I got the project in what I thought was an optimal build state. At one point during these false starts, the program started behaving abnormally. In fact, at one point, it warned me it was about to shut down by saying it had encountered something "abnormal", a word you never want to hear from your computer.

After that, whenever I tried to change the transcode settings, the "Disc" panel would not accurately reflect the change. For instance, lowering the bit rate for a segment of the movie INCREASED the "Disc" space required. This was clearly impossible.

Finally, I deleted all previously transcoded files, restarted Encore, linked all Assets to their original files, grouped these (now italisized) Assets and "Reverted to Original", saved, and restarted Encore again. This appeared to take care of the problem, as I was able to finally set all the transcode settings to "Automatic" and see that the "Disc" panel accurately reflected the optimal use of disc space. At that point, I built and burned.

And that's when the audio went out of sync.

I have a dread feeling I may need to start from scratch to correct this problem, i.e., start a NEW Project and re-import (as Assets) all my individual movie segments again, which exist as Microsoft DV AVI's (output from Premiere Pro 2.0).

The big problem with this (besides not knowing if it will even work) is losing all my DVD Menus. Others may think Encore is a pretty nifty program and, I guess, in theory, it is (especially for flexibility in transcoding). However, I found building simple DVD Menus a(nother) nightmare.

If no one can suggest a fix to the "audio out of sync only in the final DVD Build" problem (which I suspect is probably a no-win "ghost in the machine" type problem, perhaps the result of a corrupted file along the way?), then can anyone tell me how I can rebuild this Project without losing all my DVD Menus?

I have nearly 50 chapter points (and corresponding Poster Marks), and dread the thought of having to rebuild them again with Encore.

Anyway, I'm nearing the end of my rope and any words of advice would be appreciated.


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Old February 22nd, 2007, 09:34 PM   #2
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I'm sorry to hear about your ordeal. I can assure you, Encore is an excellent piece of software - I authored many DVDs without problems. The weak point of Encore is the encoding, the MainConcept codec is kind of poor in comparison with other, relatively inexpensive MPEG2 encoders.

What you have is probably some sort of software problems. Have you played around with different video processing software? Codecs? Installing everything you find on the internet is usually a good start for screwing up your computer... I've been there personally, so I know exactly what I'm talking about. The only way I was able to solve my issues was to reformat my computer. Since then, life is sweet again.
Ervin Farkas
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Old February 26th, 2007, 07:05 AM   #3
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Wiping my hard drive really isn't an option for me (though I do appreciate the reply, Ervin - even if it scared the s**t out of me!), so I've continued to work on my 'little problem' for the past few days.

Here's one more clue to the puzzle that might help trigger a suggestion from someone:

I only have audio sync problems with the final DVD Build when I encode using Dolby Digital (AC3) instead of PCM.

As a test, I re-encoded again last night (starting the process during the Oscars, no less) using PCM as my audio setting in the Adobe Media Encoder (via Encore 2.0). It's now 4AM (couldn't sleep!) and I've discovered that the project (final DVD Build) plays perfectly in sync.

In the "Transcoded" folder that contains the final DVD Build, the video files are AVI, while the audio files are WAV.

This is in contrast to the way the "Transcoded" files are stored when I encode using Dolby Digital (AC3, stereo - also via Encore 2.0). In this case, the video files are again AVI, but the audio files are Cyberlink "PowerDVD". And in the final DVD Build files (which are also Cyberlink PowerDVD files, by the way, for both Builds) the audio slowly drifts out of sync, until it's WAY out by the end of the 90 minute movie.

Could this be my problem?

Could it be that the problem isn't with the Adobe software after all (Premiere Pro 2.0, Encore 2.0), but rather something to do with Cyberlink PowerDVD?

My computer is over 3 years old, and the Cyberlink PowerDVD came pre-installed (by Dell). Is it worth installing an updated version to see if it takes care of my sync problem encoding with AC3 (Dolby Digital)?

Or am I off base here?


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Old February 26th, 2007, 08:56 AM   #4
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Burn a disc with the AC3 audio and test it on another DVD player.
Yossi Margolin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 26th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #5
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I happened to notice a post recently that suggested placing your audio and video scratch disks on the same drive. I had been saving my video and audio on different drives so I decided to try it but ran in to two issues.

The first was that adobe would warn me that "resources are low" and that it may "abruptly shut down." Yikes! Also I noticed that my audio during play back would either not sync or play at all.

I never had this problem when I kept my video and audio in different locations. Is it possible that you have both video and audio on the same drive?
Currently using Panasonic AG AC160 Cameras. Editing with a custom built suite by running the latest Adobe Suite with Matrox.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 04:59 PM   #6
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*****END OF THREAD*****

Just to let anybody know who might be reading, I think it's time to end my Nightmare - and this thread.

I've decided to just go with PCM audio instead of AC3 (Dolby Digital) on the DVD of my 90 minute movie.

At the end of the day, I did a comparison. When I encoded with PCM, the video bitrate came out to 6.5Mbps. When I encoded with AC3 (which was always out of sync on my system), the video bitrate came out to 6.8Mbps. Had I only known this would be the difference 2 weeks ago!

In my opinion, the extra 0.3Mbps isn't/wasn't worth fighting for.

Anyway, I appreciate everyone who took a shot at helping.


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