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Tariq Peter January 30th, 2013 03:45 PM

DVD Quality
 
Hi All,

I have filmed and edited a 1080p video in FCPX and now trying to supply a DVD to my client. I have tried a a wide variety of settings but the DVD looks plain old awful on a 32" plasma tv or laptop. It looks great on a 32" CRT TV. The client has complained now 5 times and I have no idea what else to do. Can anybody recommend any settings which they feel are safe?

The footage is 25p and filmed at 1920x1080. I am using apple compressor to compress the movie.

Thanks

Bruce Watson January 30th, 2013 05:08 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tariq Peter (Post 1776202)
I have filmed and edited a 1080p video in FCPX and now trying to supply a DVD to my client. I have tried a a wide variety of settings but the DVD looks plain old awful on a 32" plasma tv or laptop. It looks great on a 32" CRT TV.

If you want it to look great, you'll have to supply the client with a blu-ray. DVD can't, by definition, handle anything close to 1920x1080. IIRC in PAL land a DVD is good for a maximum of 704 x 576 at 50i. And this will probably look fine on an old 32" analog CRT TV, but not so good on a new 32" plasma HDTV.

Tariq Peter January 30th, 2013 06:34 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Hi,

I have supplied them with both a DVD and Blu-ray however they hated the quality of the DVD. They basically said that they have watched a large majority of home made family DVD's created from things like iMovie and the quality is far superior from what I have supplied. I can only but it down to the encoding settings but have no idea why the quality is as bad as what they have said.

Robert Benda January 30th, 2013 06:53 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
are they watching these iMovie's on their big screen TV? Their laptop is more likely, and that is much easier to make it look good.

William Hohauser January 30th, 2013 11:07 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Difficult clients.

What are the steps,you are,taking to create this DVD? How long is the project? How are you exporting the project? Are you using the DVD presets or making your own adjustments? What are these adjustments? Have you tried to make a DVD directly out of FCPX using the Share menu?

Dave Partington January 31st, 2013 03:57 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
I've never been happy with the quality of DVDs from compressor / FCPX. We use CUDA downsizing algorithms in Premiere Pro exports to do the resizing, but I have to admit I dislike this solution.

If you watch a DVD after watching the Blu-ray you'll hate it.

If you watch a DVD after editing 1080p, you'll hate it.

Have they told you specifically what they don't like about the quality? Is it aliasing? Is it noise? what's the problem exactly?

Can they supply you with a home DVD you can use to compare against?

How long is the video on the DVD? i.e. how much did you squeeze on ?

Tariq Peter January 31st, 2013 07:01 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Hi,

I have two videos the first is 15minutes and the second, 1hour 10mins. Both on separate DVDS and both look pixelated

Workflow

Export the movie from FCPX using Share and select Pro Res 422 creating a High Res Movie.
Import the movie into compressor and use the following settings

Video Format
Format = PAL
Frame Rate = 25
Aspect Ratio = 16x9
Field Dominance = Progressive

Quality
One Pass CBR - 7.8Mpbs
Motion Estimation - Best

Gop
Gop Structure = IP
Gop Size = 6

Frame Controls = Off

The Output leaves the video looking extremely blocky with no smooth lines, almost like http://www.softize.net/wp-content/up...e_vreveal1.jpg

Watching the videos back on my own 21" monitor I would have to agree. When I play any Hollywood DVD the quality is amazing.
I understand they use the best encoders in the world but surely with the source footage I have I should be getting a better quality video.

I was looking at CinemaCraft only to read - IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT : WE have discontinued sale of all CINEMA CRAFT products, which promptly put that idea to bed.

Sareesh Sudhakaran January 31st, 2013 09:53 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
If your Prores results look fine, then obviously it's the encoding process that's at fault. Your settings look okay for 25p. 'Pixelation' is unacceptable, even for consumer grade encoders. It's not rocket science.

It might be a good idea to take the project to another facility to keep this client happy.

And you don't need the 'best encoders in the world' - I have achieved excellent results with Premiere Pro and Encore. Common DVD players upsample to Hi-def, and GPUs do it too.

Does this problem occur with all your projects, or is this the first time? Did it work when you tested this workflow prior to commencing this project?

Craig Terott January 31st, 2013 11:25 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Between 2008-2009, I spent literally weeks upon weeks of time trying to get my DVDs to look better, to no avail. Ultimately I have concluded Quicktime is the culprit.

You can only improve things by tweaking settings - but the root cause is Quicktime crappy scaling from HD to SD. There's no fix.

Here's the ultimate customer service solution: Ask for the DVD back. Produce another Blu-ray, purchase a Blu-ray player ($59). Ship them their new Blu-ray player and Blu-ray. Wha-la ...happy client.

William Hohauser January 31st, 2013 11:34 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
I have created dozens upon dozens of DVDs from HD master files and never encountered pixelation of any sort. Unless there's an issue with downscaling PAL HD in the DVD encoding process I would suggest you try the short program using the DVD preset in Compressor. Do not change any of the settings especially the GOP. You could also try creating a DVD directly out of FCPX. See how those come out.

You can also first use Compressor to make a downscaled PAL SD file and then use that file to make a DVD from the presets. See how that works.

Eric Olson January 31st, 2013 12:41 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tariq Peter (Post 1776315)
Watching the videos back on my own 21" monitor I would have to agree. When I play any Hollywood DVD the quality is amazing.

I would suggest taking the good bluray disk to a PC and ripping the HD video files. Then use HCenc with Avisynth and Dan Isaac's hd2sd scripts to create a high quality DVD compatible downconvert.

HC Encoder | BitBurners.com
http://avisynth.org/mediawiki/Main_Page
http://3dvp.com/hd2sd_sd2hd.zip

In my opinion, this free software gets closer than any other software under $1000 to the encoding and downscaling quality of $50,000 pro solutions. If you are good with computers, it is also possible to run this software under the Wine windows emulator on Linux and likely OSX as well.

Rickey Brillantes January 31st, 2013 01:28 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Tariq, I also have issues with my burn DVD's, pixelated as well, and looks horrible while watching it on my HD TV. I found out that if your using Compressor, change "same as source which is the default from the output fields in Frame Control "to progressive". It will give you much better results, no more pixelating in my experienced.

Tariq Peter January 31st, 2013 06:10 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Hi,

I have tried progressive and hoping this may work out. I have actually just met the client and watched the video on her TV, I have to say she is being extremely picky but I can understand why.

She has a DVD player and a 40" HDTV, now I did try and explain that watching a video which is being stretched to fit a 40" TV will cause a loss of quality I am limited to the amount I can do.

I could see the issues she was having, faces in the background seemed blocky, and edges were not rounded. It just seemed a like a heap of pixels in the background instead of faces which I have not seen before when watching DVDs on my HDTV.

Rickey Brillantes January 31st, 2013 06:56 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Pixelating is highly visible on TV's with matte screens, compared to glossy screens, specially those small heads in the background, looks like Lego people or MINECRAFT which my kid is playing right now.

Good luck and let us know the result of the changes.

David Knaggs January 31st, 2013 07:25 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tariq Peter (Post 1776315)
Quality

One Pass CBR - 7.8Mpbs

Hi Tariq.

Run, don't walk, to your computer and reset your quality mode from "One Pass CBR" to "Two pass VBR Best".

Quick!

James Manford February 1st, 2013 02:52 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Knaggs (Post 1776458)
Hi Tariq.

Run, don't walk, to your computer and reset your quality mode from "One Pass CBR" to "Two pass VBR Best".

Quick!

+1

This will make a SIGNIFICANT difference.

Im not a user of MAC, I video edit on Sony Vegas and AVID.

But when it comes to converting. 2 PASS is essential. My DVDs look good as Blurays when it is upscaled on a bluray player (no exaggeration here!) and they look fine on older DVD players, with none of that blockiness you describe.

William Hohauser February 1st, 2013 07:20 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
2-pass can make a big difference with some files but others will only get a very subtle improvement for all the additional time it might take to encode.

CBR might be your problem here as a scene with "small faces" might have too much detail to encode without a modest amount of pixelation, however 7.8 is towards the top bandwidth for the video stream already. Also setting the GOP to 6 (MPEG streams for DVDs are normally 15) will reduce the quality of the image so more keyframes can fit into the stream and it might adversely affect some DVD players. This is why I suggest using the presets as a test.

Mark Williams February 1st, 2013 09:37 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
2 Attachment(s)
Tariq,

I don't work with FCP since I am on a PC but I do have a lot of experience with DVDs both replicated and duplicated. After going thru several months a while back experimenting with the best encode from HD to SD for DVDs I arrived at an acceptable solution. I export a lossless file from the timeline and encode with TMPgne4 (now Video Mastering Works 5). I encode to mpeg2 using pretty much the standard settings and get excellent results. I have included a screen shot of my settings. These are the settings that I use for replicated discs. For duplicated discs I lower the video bitrate to around 7600. A fully functional trial of VMW5 is available if you wish to try it.

David Dixon February 1st, 2013 10:29 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
I don't suppose your Mac is old enough to still include a copy of iDVD... I get great results from that, with the right workflow. If that's an option, let me know and I'll pass along my workflow details. It still works great on the latest version of OSX.

Otherwise, definitely use 2-pass VBR, and usually pixellation involves a data rate set too low.

Also, is the FCPX project prores??? I just export using Current Settings. You aren't inadvertently adding in recompression here are you?

Martin Phillips February 1st, 2013 11:47 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
I've found it best in compressor to do it in 2 stages:

1) Take your 1080p 25 ProRes master file and Downconvert it to PAL SD 720x576 (select 16:9) (should be a preset you can adjust)

Once you have a ProRes PAL (interlaced) master use this to make your MPEG2

2) I use 6.5 CBR for DVD-Rs - seems to be safe for glitchiness. Check for 'Upper field first' at both stages.

Compressor doesn't (in my opinion) like trying to downconvert and encode to MPEG2 at the same time. Even though it's 2 stages it does them pretty quickly.

William Hohauser February 1st, 2013 02:47 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
I agree with this method for problem HD files except for the CBR. VBR works for me.

David Knaggs February 1st, 2013 05:33 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Just to clarify so that my original message doesn't get further diluted, I did not say just to use "2 pass".

I said to use "Two pass VBR Best".

Because there is quite a difference in quality between "Two pass VBR" and "Two pass VBR Best"

The title of this thread is called "DVD Quality".

So what does the official Compressor manual by Apple say will give you the "best possible quality that the Compressor MPEG-2 encoder has to offer"?

Here is a direct excerpt from the Compressor 4 user manual:

"Two pass VBR Best: This mode devotes more effort to its internal decision-making process than does two-pass VBR. Encoding time for “Two pass VBR Best” is slower than it is for “Two pass VBR,” but it provides the best possible quality that the Compressor MPEG-2 encoder has to offer. This mode provides outstanding quality at bit rates of 3–3.5 Mbps and above for standard definition (SD) video."

http://help.apple.com/compressor/mac...ual%20(en).pdf

There's nothing wrong with your bit rate. 7.8 is very robust. So, if you're still having problems (blocky pixels), then you need to specifically engage the "internal decision-making process" of the encoder.

If that doesn't fix it, I could then suggest another 3 or 4 settings to change which might better engage the optical flow technology available to Compressor to enable it to better position the pixels in each frame. But the "one pass CBR" was the thing that really leapt out at me when I looked over your settings. It's massive. If you don't believe it, look at what the manual says.

Everyone on this thread really wants to help you end this professional nightmare quickly (unhappy client due to last minute encoding glitch) and the fact that you've already had about 20 pieces of different advice already, shows what a great community and helpful bunch DV Info'ers really are.

Dave Partington February 1st, 2013 07:22 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Martin Phillips (Post 1776605)
I've found it best in compressor to do it in 2 stages:

1) Take your 1080p 25 ProRes master file and Downconvert it to PAL SD 720x576 (select 16:9) (should be a preset you can adjust)

Once you have a ProRes PAL (interlaced) master use this to make your MPEG2

2) I use 6.5 CBR for DVD-Rs - seems to be safe for glitchiness. Check for 'Upper field first' at both stages.

Compressor doesn't (in my opinion) like trying to downconvert and encode to MPEG2 at the same time. Even though it's 2 stages it does them pretty quickly.

Interesting. I just tried this but saw no visible differences on the final DVD.

I'm still taking my ProRes files from FCPX in to Premiere Pro to export to MPEG2 using the CUDA card for scaling the images because I find I get far fewer alias/moire problems. It's also significantly faster too. If any one has settings for compressor that are better than this and faster, I'm all ears!

Bill Davis February 1st, 2013 10:39 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Just a question, you're not using Proxy files for your editing are you?

I ask because you say one of your videos is over an hour long, so it wouldn't be unusual for someone to be working in Proxy.

If so, go into your FCP-X Preferences files and switch to Original Media before you make your master.

Also, FCP-X does not use Quicktime unless you add a stage to do that. It's based entirely on AVFoundation which has none of the Quicktime issues.

The first thing I'd do is make sure you're out of Proxy and in Original Media quality - then use the internal FCP-X DVD burner to make a quick direct DVD of the short file.

I'd expect the quality there to be extremely good. If not, you have an issue with transcoding or compression. If the quality of that short run DVD is good to excellent, you know the problem is downstream with your settings.

Hope that helps.

Craig Terott February 4th, 2013 11:05 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Williams (Post 1776573)
Tariq,

I don't work with FCP since I am on a PC but I do have a lot of experience with DVDs both replicated and duplicated. After going thru several months a while back experimenting with the best encode from HD to SD for DVDs I arrived at an acceptable solution. I export a lossless file from the timeline and encode with TMPgne4 (now Video Mastering Works 5). I encode to mpeg2 using pretty much the standard settings and get excellent results. I have included a screen shot of my settings. These are the settings that I use for replicated discs. For duplicated discs I lower the video bitrate to around 7600. A fully functional trial of VMW5 is available if you wish to try it.

The problem is specific to Mac.

John Nantz February 4th, 2013 03:25 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
David - I just discovered I have a copy of the last iDVD application, 7.1.2 (1158), and would like to give it a try. Hadn't really paid any attention to iDVD before and just recently I copied it to my editing computer because of it's ability to do a menu.

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Dixon (Post 1776589)
I don't suppose your Mac is old enough to still include a copy of iDVD... I get great results from that, with the right workflow. If that's an option, let me know and I'll pass along my workflow details. It still works great on the latest version of OSX.

I would really like to see or get your Workflow Details.

Hopefully you read this.

David Dixon February 5th, 2013 07:24 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Yes, I will pass along some tips on iDVD - will have to be later today though.

David Dixon February 5th, 2013 08:54 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Using iDVD…

I don't do complicated conversions - just do a Current Settings export from FCP 7 or X - it can even be a reference movie.

Use that movie directly in iDVD and let iDVD do all the downsampling and conversions. I've had people tell me they can get better quality by doing all this with multiple steps and third party programs. That might be true, but I've always been so pleased with iDVD that I never explored more complicated methods. My disks look great on HDTVs, and I've always felt that since you're taking the video down to widescreen standard def on the DVD anyway, the quality of the TV upscaling is probably more important than anything.

If you are using stills, they always say you should resize them much smaller for video. That's true up to a point. If they are too small you may get jagged lines after all this resizing and conversion.

If you don't like the themes in iDVD (I do) there are some included that are pretty simple and you can use your own still or video as the background of the contents screen. There is an Inspector that lets you customize a lot of the Contents screen options - length of loop, music selection and volume, etc.

Then just go to the Project Menu and choose Project Info...

On that screen, be sure and set the Aspect Ratio to match your video (16:9, etc.) and set the Encoding to Professional Quality. This will get you 2-pass VBR. Encoding will take longer but the quality will be better and you will probably be able to fit a longer video on the disc. I never run into pixellation with this method. It defaults to Best Performance (1-pass CBR) and starts encoding in the background. When you switch to Pro Quality it will warn you that this will delete all the encoding already done - just ignore that.

Other things I've learned the hard way:
--Don't make the text for the title or buttons too long - I've seen that make burns fail. Just keep it to a single line with 2-4 words. If you need more than that, include it on the background image instead.
--I recommend exporting to a disc image (File-->Save As Disc Image...). You can then use that in Disc Utility to burn multiple copies quickly.
--You probably already know that burning at slower speeds (4-8x) helps insure that the disc will successfully play on a wider range of players.
--And, this all works even on Macs with no optical drive. You can burn to an external drive or just move the disc image file to something with a DVD drive to burn it.

Hope this helps...

Eric Olson February 5th, 2013 11:54 AM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tariq Peter (Post 1776202)
I have filmed and edited a 1080p video in FCPX and now trying to supply a DVD to my client. I have tried a a wide variety of settings but the DVD looks plain old awful on a 32" plasma tv or laptop. It looks great on a 32" CRT TV. The client has complained now 5 times and I have no idea what else to do. Can anybody recommend any settings which they feel are safe?

Did you shoot the footage on the MK3 or XHA1? If on both do you notice a difference as to which downcovereted more clearly? I ask because there is sometimes a discussion of hidden aliasing that can cause artifacts in later processing.

I just noticed you are creating a 25p DVD. Are you masting this as 25 PSF in 50i or native 25p? Most TVs have the ability to detect and remove the 2:2 pulldown of 25 PSF, however, there is a good chance that older plasma TVs or DVD players don't. Check the .VOB files on the DVD using mediainfo to see if they are reported as progressive or interlaced.

MediaInfo

John Nantz February 5th, 2013 03:59 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Dixon (Post 1777330)
Using iDVD…I don't do complicated conversions - just do a Current Settings export from FCP 7 or X - it can even be a reference movie.

That's my favorite workflow: K.I.S.S.

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Dixon (Post 1777330)
If you don't like the themes in iDVD (I do) there are some included that are pretty simple and you can use your own still or video as the background of the contents screen. There is an Inspector that lets you customize a lot of the Contents screen options - length of loop, music selection and volume, etc.

Then just go to the Project Menu and choose Project Info...

On that screen, be sure and set the Aspect Ratio to match your video (16:9, etc.) and set the Encoding to Professional Quality. This will get you 2-pass VBR. Encoding will take longer but the quality will be better and you will probably be able to fit a longer video on the disc. I never run into pixellation with this method. It defaults to Best Performance (1-pass CBR) and starts encoding in the background. When you switch to Pro Quality it will warn you that this will delete all the encoding already done - just ignore that.

This is a wealth of good information.

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Dixon (Post 1777330)
If you are using stills, they always say you should resize them much smaller for video. That's true up to a point. If they are too small you may get jagged lines after all this resizing and conversion.

I have used stills a few times in the past and there were problems but basically due to the file size being too small. I tend to take pictures with small file sizes to keep storage to a minimum. I've got some projects coming up that will benefit from stills so this is good to know.

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Dixon (Post 1777330)
Other things I've learned the hard way:
--Don't make the text for the title or buttons too long - I've seen that make burns fail. Just keep it to a single line with 2-4 words. If you need more than that, include it on the background image instead.
--I recommend exporting to a disc image (File-->Save As Disc Image...). You can then use that in Disc Utility to burn multiple copies quickly.
--You probably already know that burning at slower speeds (4-8x) helps insure that the disc will successfully play on a wider range of players.
--And, this all works even on Macs with no optical drive. You can burn to an external drive or just move the disc image file to something with a DVD drive to burn it.
Hope this helps...

All this really does help. The good part about burning slower is the lifespan is longer.

By the way, have you ever used Compressor? If so, did you use it in conjunction with iDVD? And if so again, where did you fit it in in the workflow?

Thanks again for all the good information, it is really useful.

David Dixon February 5th, 2013 06:11 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Glad to be of help! I only use Compressor when I'm converting an export from FCPX to h.264 to upload to YouTube or Vimeo.

John Nantz February 11th, 2013 03:33 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Davis (Post 1776741)
Just a question, you're not using Proxy files for your editing are you?

I ask because you say one of your videos is over an hour long, so it wouldn't be unusual for someone to be working in Proxy.

If so, go into your FCP-X Preferences files and switch to Original Media before you make your master.

Also, FCP-X does not use Quicktime unless you add a stage to do that. It's based entirely on AVFoundation which has none of the Quicktime issues.

The first thing I'd do is make sure you're out of Proxy and in Original Media quality - then use the internal FCP-X DVD burner to make a quick direct DVD of the short file.

Question: Is the suggestion to change the Preferences to "Original Media" ONLY because of the long one-hour video file? Or, is that a good "~standard" procedure if one doesn't necessarily want a QuickTime file?

I guess the default for a Master File is a QuickTime format.

P.S. David: Thans for the reply and feedback.

Bill Davis February 20th, 2013 07:59 PM

Re: DVD Quality
 
The way I understand it, if your timeline is linked to Proxy files (which are reduced in size and resolution from the original media) then X will use those as the sources when you Share your work.

Obviously, if you're just doing email client updates or are looking for iPhone or iPad size versions, Proxy files are great, so there's no reason to up-rez before you Share.

But if you're looking to final master for high rez, it just makes sense to have your project use the highest quality source files.

So switching the links to the Original Media will ensure that X encodes masters from the highest quality sources.


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