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Quality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD

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Carlos AngeliQuality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:01:07 pm

Hi, I wonder if there are any particular procedures that commercial DVD's are submitted to, in order to achieve a certain quality.

I have built several DVD's for clients using Premiere and Encore and have noted the following:

-Using Dynamic Link to export to Encore is faster than exporting an MPEG2-DVD file and then importing to Encore, on the expense of quality loss.

-After the DVD is created in Encore, Video and typography in particular, lose crispness.

I realize this results can/ should be expected because of DVD's standard quality, but the difference seems to me more obvious than in a commercial DVD.

Any thoughts on the above would be really appreciated. Thanks!


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Jeff PuleraRe: Quality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:47:51 pm

Hi Carlos,

Hollywood DVDs are starting off with a very high quality source to start with, usually film. Next, the MPEG-2 encoding solution can cost upwards of $40k, and is operated by a skilled Compressionist that will manually tweak the encode settings of each individual scene to maximize quality.

If you can tell use more about your workflow, myself and others can make suggestions to help improve your results.

What is the source video - DV, HDV, AVHCD? 1080i, 1080p, 720p?
Sequence settings?
MPEG-2 encode settings?

There are many variables and adjustments that can be made to get the best results.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Carlos AngeliRe: Quality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:42:17 pm

Hi Jeff,

the client usually sends me a movie trailer (NTSC/ usually 1080p but also 1080i or even PAL). I put some still images for the background along with the movie theater logo, on a Photoshop file and send it to Premiere. I then put together, both background image(psd) and movie trailer in a Premiere sequence.

--Sequence settings: NTSC/ 720x480/ Fields: Progressive. *This varies according to source file.

As I have to scale down the original video to fit the sequence, I use flicker removal after some bad experiences with flickering subtitles.

Then, I export using a preset: MPEG2-DVD Match Source Highest quality. After that, I import video and audio files to Encore, set the timeline and menu and save as an ISO file. Finally I burn the DVD.


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Jeff PuleraRe: Quality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:57:20 pm

Hi Carlos,

I would recommend editing in a sequence to match the source footage, like 1080p for instance. This keeps the quality as good as can be while adding titles, graphics, etc. , rather than scaling it all down to SD immediately.

When edit is completed, then you can export to DVD. Rather than "Match Source", choose "NTSC Wide screen high quality" preset, or add "progressive" to that choice if suitable.

Under the VIDEO tab, manually configure the encode rate as CBR 8 (7 if you want to feel safer about playback compatibility).

Last thing - at bottom of AME window, check the box for "Maximum Render Quality" - this improves the downscaling quality.

This should yield better results for you

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Carlos AngeliRe: Quality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 5:26:33 pm

Thanks Jeff. So, you are suggesting to keep the settings at 1080p and scale down the video on the AME settings?


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Jeff PuleraRe: Quality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:06:21 pm

Correct, you have 1080p source footage? Edit at 1080p. When finished, you can then export to HD or SD destinations. Vimeo or YouTube HD, Blu-ray, DVD, etc.

You should get better downscaling when using MAX RENDER in AME than when dropping HD clips into an SD sequence

Jeff


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Michael BrassertPerfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:00:24 am

I had been agonizing for a long time on how to do a perfect hd to sd. I finally came up with a perfect simple solution that works better an anything short of a Snell Alchemist. I playback the HD movie on my monitor and shoot it with my SD camera. It comes out perfect.



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Carlos AngeliRe: Perfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:51:06 pm

Hi,

Jeff, Your advice helped me improve the final SD video, so thanks a lot.
Michael, I don't have an SD camera, but thanks for the tip. I'd have never thought of that.


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eric pautschRe: Perfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 17, 2012 at 1:36:25 am

Im pretty sure Micheal is joking....at least I hope he is!!

Here's a really good tutorial which yields the absolute best results using AVISnyth and Virtual dub-- not for newbies though

http://www.bellunevideo.com/tutdetail.php?tutid=12

and more

http://www.precomposed.com/blog/2009/07/hd-to-sd-dvd-best-methods/

and more

http://www.precomposed.com/blog/2010/10/hd-to-sd-dvd-cs5-revisited/

and

http://www.lafcpug.org/Tutorials/basic_hdvideo_to_dvd.html



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Carlos AngeliRe: Perfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 17, 2012 at 11:09:22 am

Thanks Eric, I'll look in to them and make a comparison against my current workflow. I'll comment on the results.


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Michael BrassertRe: Perfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 17, 2012 at 3:05:13 pm

Extremis malis extrema remedia. :-)

Shooting a monitor works better than you might think and I have gotten better results than many other methods and much faster. I have done this in the past when I was desperate.

I also recently achieved acceptable results downscaling in After Effects and compressing in Episode with some smoothing.

I just ordered a Cuda card as I have heard that downscaling with Cuda uses the much better Lanczos algorithm.

Often I wonder what they were thinking when they came up with HD, not to mention 160+ video formats. I just shot a show in DvcPro 50 SD 16:9 and it looks great. Most people think it is HD. It was shot with a Panny SDX 900. The images blow away my XDCam HD camera. This show looked better on a SD DVD than any hd material downscaled.



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Carlos AngeliRe: Perfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 17, 2012 at 5:20:04 pm

I'm going to try Eric's advice first and see what happens. Michael, I have a Video card that I think it has Cuda cores (GeForce GTX 550 TI), but I have never thought it could improve my video workflow. I'll look into that later.


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Carlos AngeliRe: Perfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 19, 2012 at 12:12:48 am

Eric, I just followed the explanation from one of the links you provided (http://www.precomposed.com/blog/2009/07/hd-to-sd-dvd-best-methods/), and I have to say I'm most impressed with the quality of the downscaled video from Virtualdub.

That said, there's something that I'm not sure about. I thought after reading the article, that the steps were:
1-Export from Premiere using MPEG2 I-frame.
2-Create AVS script.
3-Run Virtualdub to downscale video.
4-Run Encore to create DVD or use HC encoder.

It's actually the last step the one that confuses me a little bit. At first, I thought HC was an alternative to using Encore, but then I realized that it transforms the AVI file into m2v.

So, I still need to use Encore to create the DVD ISO?


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Carlos AngeliRe: Perfect hd to sd conversion
by on Mar 19, 2012 at 11:20:36 am

Just wanted to post an update after some testing. I followed two procedures: The one in Precomposed blog, and Jeff Bellune's excellent tutorial on downscalling.

So far, exporting MPEG2 I-frame from Premiere, indexing with DGMPEGdec and finally saving an AVI file from Virtualdub with Avisynth gave the best results for downscalling.

From there, I had two choices: Use Encore to transcode the AVI and create the DVD ISO, or use HC Encoder to do the transcoding. This last option, gave me a transcoded m2v file that looks really good.

The only complain so far, is that I'm using permanent subtitles, and when going from AVI to m2V (already downscaled) the conversion seems to render a little bit of noise which is noticeable specially around the subs.


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Christopher PittsRe: Quality on Commercial DVD vs Encore made DVD
by on Jul 17, 2012 at 11:19:01 pm

Unless I missed it I don't think anybody mentioned cinema craft software which is what a lot of Hollywood uses. I found much better results exporting highest possible from premiere then using cinema craft to encode for encore. Even though the files were linked from Premier into Encore, I was able to select the cinema craft encoded files for sources and tell encore not to encode. The results were obviously much crisper text, color, and imagery.


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