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-   -   VHS is better than DVD (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/dvd-authoring/27301-vhs-better-than-dvd.html)

Justin Morgan June 9th, 2004 06:57 AM

VHS is better than DVD
I have found that when I burn a DVD the quality is actually worse than when I record to VHS. Surely this can't be right?!

I'm using iDVD 2.5 - if I export from Final Cut with 'Quicktime' (MPEG-4) the footage looks horrible - the image is all patchy and messy especially on dissolves. If I export as 'Final Cut Movie' the image quality is perfect but the footage is jerky - especially noticeable on pans.

My output to VHS is perfect.

What's the problem here?

Jeff Donald June 9th, 2004 08:09 AM

How long is your material?

Justin Morgan June 9th, 2004 08:48 AM

It's only 111 seconds.

Edward Troxel June 9th, 2004 09:05 AM

Umm.... DVDs are MPEG2 - NOT MPEG4.

Justin Morgan June 9th, 2004 09:17 AM

Oh must be MPEG-2 then. Sorry for the false info.

Mark Sloan June 9th, 2004 02:49 PM

Maybe he DID mean MPEG-4. Unless you have DVD Studio Pro you don't do ANY export to MPEG-2 from FCP to use iDVD (right?). You can just put your FCP movie in iDVD and burn away, of if you do the QT thing just leave it as DV. MPEG-4 would explain why it looks horrible, QTs conversion to MPEG-4 is lousy... can't wait for Apple to fix it.

Peter Moore June 9th, 2004 04:49 PM

Export from Final Cut Pro with DV or uncompressed. I don't know what your other options are, but that will solve the problem.

Justin Morgan June 10th, 2004 02:13 AM

After a bit of checking I've noticed that the exported files are okay (a Final Cut Movie) looks the best - it is after the DVD has been burned and is played back that it is poor. Does this mean that iDVD 2 just isn't good enough?

Rob Lohman June 10th, 2004 02:27 AM

Is iDVD doing any MPEG encoding? If so, what settings are you
using? Do NOT expect a program to do magic for you. Programs
rarely work their best with the default settings. MPEG encoding
is a real "craft" requiring changing settings and fiddling with them
till you get it perfect!

Justin Morgan June 10th, 2004 02:36 AM

I'm pretty sure iDVD just does it all for you - no settings at all 'just wash and go'.

Jeff Donald June 10th, 2004 05:35 AM

iDVD is an entry level program that has fixed settings for the encoding. It uses one setting for short programs and a lower setting for longer programs. None of the encoding settings are user adjustable. If higher quality results are desired than I suggest you look at DVD SP.

Mark Sloan June 11th, 2004 02:16 PM

The latest version of iDVD does have a setting for something like "Encode in background" in the preferences, I think it is only available if the disc is under 1 hour, but that might affect the quality. In general though, I believe it only has 3 compression settings that it does automatically, 1 hour and less, 1 hour to 1.5 hours, over 1.5 hours. Mine have all looked great (not so good on the monitor, but on a TV).

Justin Morgan June 14th, 2004 02:28 AM

Well, I really don't understand what's going on. My footage is only 111 seconds so iDVD should be using the best quality settings.

I've been examining my files before burning and have noticed that:

Exported as 'Final Cut Movie' the footage is slightly soft - ie blurred, the movement is smooth (not jerky).

Exported as Quicktime using 'best' quality the footage is crisp, the movement is smooth (not jerky) but the colours are very patchy/blocky like a mosaic (this is bad throughout but is very noticeable on dissolves).

Once burned to DVD the footage is:

Quicktime version - perfect except for the patchy and blocky colours.

Final Cut Movie' - slightly blurred footage but the movement has become jerky (it's like this throughout but is especially noticeable on pans).

So does nobody else have these problems? What can I do or try?

The quality is unnacceptable and I'm thinking of upgrading to Final Cut 4 and iDVD 4. I really resent having to do this though and it will be very expensive.

Rob Lohman June 14th, 2004 02:39 AM

Exporting to QuickTime says nothing. QuickTime is just a wrapper
for codecs. The question is which codec is being used. Each codec
has its own settings and footage it works best on.

In such cases you want to go with uncompressed (especially
since it is such a short movie). So when exporting there is
hopefully an option button, or advanced or settings etc. Pick
uncompressed as codec and that's all you should have to do.

I'm not a Mac person so I can't check on how this is supposed to

Justin Morgan June 14th, 2004 02:49 AM

When exporting to Quicktime I get a button that says 'options' when I click that I get a pop-up window that has a slider for quality - I slide it up to 'best' (the highest setting). I'm also un-selecting the 'prepare for web streaming' option. Can't see anything else I should be doing. Am I missing something?

PS why is the 'Final Cut Movie' version blurred!? What's that all about?!

Jeff Donald June 14th, 2004 05:20 AM

Justin, see my post above. iDVD is an amateur product and as such is not going to deliver the quality you want. Upgrading to iDVD 4 will probably not be a big enough improvement in quality to meet your expectations.

In FCP you should be choosing Export. How are you getting your file out of FCP?

Justin Morgan June 14th, 2004 07:45 AM

I am going to 'Export' and have tried both Quicktime and Final Cut Movie. Both give unsatisfactory results.

Even if iDVD is an amateur product (less features etc) - you should still be able to burn a DVD without it completely ruining the footage. Surely that is just the BASIC function of it - without that the product is a non-product - completely useless.

Or maybe the problem is Final Cut Express. If that is the case then Apple should not even be selling it - it should be withdrawn - what is the point of it if at the end of the day the DVD quality is crap.

Dan Euritt June 14th, 2004 01:22 PM

justin, one problem here is that you don't know the bitrates that your mpeg2 is being encoded at.

so talking about software settings is a waste of time, if you can't quantify the end result.

i can't help you because you are on a mac, but surely there must be an easy way to look at the file you just encoded, and see what the frame rate, bitrate, frame size, etc., is.

Jeff Donald June 14th, 2004 01:45 PM

The issue is not Express. It uses the same encoder as FCP and I can assure that FCP produces great quality output. iDVD is given away free with new computers. It's free! You can not adjust the bit rate. My son who is ten, why wife who is 42 (gonna get in trouble for that one) and my father who is 83 all use iDVD and are happy with the results. However, their expectations are lower than yours. I rarely use iDVD because I see artifacts from the encoding in some of my scenes.

Mark Sloan June 14th, 2004 04:45 PM

When you do an export there is an options button on the save dialog box, but you must first select export movie to Quicktime movie. Then, when you click options you will have more options. :-) You will have the ability to set three things: Video settings, Audio settings and I believe the third has to do with Internet. For the Video settings click the first button I think, it adjusts the codec. A new screen will allow you to choose the codec, use uncompressed. Another thing to check is the size. Click that button and make sure it is set to full DV size (if you use current settings you might get something weird). For Audio, make sure it is uncompressed audio. For Internet... you can just ignore. Those settings are for if you want to stream your QT movie. Check the size of your final output. A DV QT movie is 1GB per five minutes so 2 minutes would still be 400 MB or so and uncompressed would be even larger. THEN you can be sure by opening the movie in QT and doing get info to see the codec used. Sorry if this isn't exactly right, at work I use PCs and don't have access to a full version of QT.

Justin Morgan June 15th, 2004 02:30 AM

Thanks to everyone that has helped me try to get to the root of this problem.

I have now managed to resolve the problem with the Quicktime version (but not the Final Cut Movie version) - the results seem adequate.

A bad workmen always blames his tools - as they say. I was just missing an option hidden away where 'miilions of colours' could be selected rather than 'thousands of colours'. I only found out by clicking get info on the exported file from within QT and saw that it said 'thousands'. Simple really - doh!!!

Thanks very much again to everyone for helping me out with this.

PS I think I'm going to upgrade to DVDSP for future projects. Cheers!

David Phillips June 22nd, 2004 01:10 AM

Another thing worth checking is your leads. Are they all plugged in correctly. We had the same problem when we first set-up our DVD system. We use a 28 inch widescreen as a monitor and had one of the scarts going the wrong way. It occured that the problem was more serious, so we overlooked it 'till the end. Wish we'd done it first.

Alessandro Machi July 3rd, 2004 12:00 PM

What is a scart?

Jeff Donald July 3rd, 2004 12:30 PM

It is a standardized European audio/video connector that replaces our RCA connectors.

Alessandro Machi July 3rd, 2004 12:37 PM


Is it passive?

Do you have a picture?

Jeff Donald July 3rd, 2004 12:48 PM

Best picture I could find, try entering a search in Google.

Rob Lohman July 3rd, 2004 04:14 PM

A better picture of the SCART connector

Scart carries both video and audio. It normally carries composite
but can just as well carry s-video. It also is two way. So with one
cable you send video and audio to and from a device.

If I remember correctly it can also do RGB. It is much used here
in Europe.

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