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Old February 8th, 2008, 07:37 PM   #1
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Getting an uncompressed Quicktime file out of FCP for maximum DVD quality.

I have a 94 minute sequence of DV content that I want burned to a DVD. When I use the default DV-NTSC codec in Final Cut Pro I get a 22 gb Quicktime file. When I burn the DVD in iDVD I get artifacts presumably because of the transcoding, so I've been trying to figure out the best way to get an uncompressed video out of Final Cut.

For some reason, the Apple "Uncompressed 10-bit" codec doesn't work for me anymore - FCP tells me that it's gone. I tried using the free Blackmagic 10-bit codec, which improved the clarity of my image, but created a strange wavy effect. When things move the picture appears "rippled" and the result is dizzying. What is causing this effect and what codec should I use instead for better quality?
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Old February 8th, 2008, 08:02 PM   #2
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Why aren't you using DVD Studio Pro? It's much better than iDVD, and not that much harder to use.

What you need to do, is compress your video to MPEG2 using Compressor. The built in encoding in iDVD is terrible compared to what you can achieve using Compressor.

I don't see any reason to export as uncompressed first, I'd go straight to MPEG 2 out of Compressor.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 08:04 PM   #3
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Try using Compressor and DVD Studio Pro.

There are plenty of posts here discussing various work-flows to get from FCP to DVD Studio Pro. Have a bit of a search around...
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Old February 8th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #4
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First try reinstalling QT. Go to for the procedure. This should help you find your lost 10 bit codec.

Export the movie out of FCP as a QuickTime movie (not a QuickTime conversion) using the existing settings then import this into iDVD. Make sure iDVD is set to Professional settings in Preferences. Should fix you right up.
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Old February 9th, 2008, 07:44 AM   #5
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Best workflow?

It's still an open question to me what's the best workflow. After experimenting many and many hours, I'm still not convinced that what was described earlier in this forum, to go over 8 or 10 bit uncompressed QT delivers the best result.

Be careful, because I'm living in a PAL country, and Compressor and even QT may behave quite differently from US, additionaly, I'm working with FCP 5.1.4 and Compressor 2.3.

With perfect HDV 50i footage going over 10 bit uncompressed introduces a lot flickering and frame trailing. It's not a worse as having f.i. a wrong field order, but it's really not acceptable for me. 8 bit is better then 10bit (explain this?), only slightly, but still those artifacts are irritating with non-tripod video. However, purely from the point of view of sharpness, this delivers the best result.

Doing a downconvert from the timeline via Compressor directly, is a story as such. Tweaking higher level frame settings, even in the most ultimate positions (don't mention the rendering times... here we get into a completely desoriented situation) does not deliver me any good interlaced video. Again, a lot of frame trailing. When you walk from frame to frame, oh, boy !!!!

But in the most standard mode, when choosing frame-settings 'off' or 'automatic', I'm getting the best results in this respect, surely with the last one.

Maybe subjective, but to my feeling, there's also a difference to keep the 'squeezed' 4:3 mode and put stretch it into 16:9 pan-scan in the DVDSP desplay mode settings of the track, or go to 16:9 directly in compressor (a bit worse, strange enough). So I choose 'SD Automatic'... which delivers me a 4:3 output...

This 'direct method' has some serious counterbacks: maybe subtile, but contrast/brightness seems a bit lighter to me, and surely: it's less sharp then the 10/8 bit uncompressed workflow.

There are three problems according to me:

HDV is based upon a (serious) lossy MPEG2 post-production codec, with I frames. Translation in completely newly positioned I frames within SD will only result in additonal quality loss.

Going from HD interlaced to a newly 'generated' SD interlaced video is again affecting the quality. 1080i to 576i is not really the most perfect mathematical scale down to do so.

And last but not least, the eternal discussion about sharpness. Scaling down, again to the not perfect mathematical equation between HD and SD, though theoretically easier, doesn't help you either. Also here, QT... compressor, whatever are having glitches.

You can surely spend a lifetime over this, but I haven't found the golden bullet for getting a sharp and non-flickering, fluent PAL (mind the standard...), with 'moving footage' (as much as the HDV original really is good). Everything I do, remains compromise compared to the original.

I had expected more. I even tend to say now, I you want SD, stick with an high end SD camera as they still exist - it makes your 'FCP-life' a lot easier.

If anyone should have the 'magic trick' for PAL, tell me. But don's say it's over uncompressed video, because I don't believe it anymore, or going over to FCP 6.0 and compressor 3.0, which is as far as I can read in this forum not really offering you a new dimension in this respect.
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