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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).

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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:09 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Novato, CA
Posts: 1,774
Getting the best picture from A1 with Vegas

I'm not sure if this should go here or in the Vegas threds. But, I'm using a XH A1 to shoot dance shows, plays and other stage events. The A1 seems to do a great job of capturing details and getting coloring (I'm using the VividRGB preset with a slight tweek to bring down the reds). When I look at the raw m2t files using Windows Media Player they look great. I use Vegas 7 to edit and render. When I look at the mpeg2 file I'm trying to use for the DVD it seems that the bright areas ar overblown and anything dark gets totally crushed. Also, there is a huge loss in detail. I'd expect it since I'm going from 1080 to 480 but still, comercial DVD's have a level of detail and contrast that I'm just not able to get. So I have a couple of questions about the workflow and rendering settings.

1. Should I transcode all video's after capture to avi before editing?

2 What are the settings people are using for the rendering to get the best looking videos when making DVD's. I'm using DVDA to author the DVD but I render using Vegas so that DVDA does not rerender when creating the VOB's. I've tried pushing the sample rate to 8.5Mb, shortening the GOP, everything, but I can't seem to produce an MPEG2 file equal to the store bought DVD's.

I'd appreciate any help.

Garrett Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 22nd, 2007, 07:46 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
Posts: 3,884
You wont EVER get to a store bought DVD quality with an A1, You'll come close, but not to the same extent, for the simple fact that most of what you see is either sourced from film, or uncompressed 4:4:4 HD.

Thats the first thing.

Secondly, most commercial DVD's are using 2 to 4 to even 6 times multiple passes with transcoders such as CCE SP. This beast works very differently to DVDA, and the price reflects this. DVDA uses the Mainconcpet encoder, although good and very fast, doesn't come close to colour renditions as CCE does. Canopus Procoder comes a close second to CCE in colour, but does not retain sharpness as the Main Concept offering.

OK, now thats out of the way, the next thing to look at is your footage. Is it blown out on the outset? What are your Knee and Black levels set to?
What kind of colour processing are you doing? Are you doing this colouring through Mt2s or intermediate AVI's?

All these elements bare a weighing factor in the final output. Are you using unsharp mask when downconverting? Make sure you use your scopes and RGB histogram. With Vegas, levels and Curves are your friend. You can salvage up to 2 stops with these alone. Add 32bit float rendering, and you can easily double that.

Hope this helps
Peter Jefferson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 9th, 2007, 02:00 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 288
I have been using Cinema Craft Encoder (CCE) Basic which is quite cheap and a mere fraction of the cost of the full version. While it lacks many of the features of the full version it still has the same basic algorithms for encoding. You let it create your mpeg file, and then send that to your DVD software. The increase in detail over Vegas' main concept encoder is remarkable.

Pat Reddy is offline   Reply

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