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"Best" format for DVD's and archiving

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mortimer heathcliff"Best" format for DVD's and archiving
by on Mar 2, 2006 at 9:04:58 pm

seems like there's lots of opinions here, so maybe this will turn into a poll. i've been using DVD SP4 for a few months now and really like it but have run into some bugs lately which are making me rethink my processes. out of FCP, i've been mostly using their canned codecs, mainly the "best-90min" one, but have also made my own higher res ones (7mbps avg, with 8.5 max), but always only us Dolby 2 (ac3) audio.

other guys are mentioning making self-contained QTs, or using Compressor with A-Pack...and now i read today that there might be bugs in Compressors' 2-pass codecs! hadn't heard that one before today, so maybe that's why i'm getting some corrupted files, which are causing SP4 to crash.

any thoughts? looking for ideas on best quality, "universal" playability, ease of archive, etc.

thanks for helping out a bonehead,

jtn


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Don GreeningRe: "Best" format for DVD's and archiving
by on Mar 3, 2006 at 7:22:37 pm

A Lot of people are using Compressor 2 using the same workflow they used with Compressor 1 and they've reported that the 2 pass VBR best ends up looking like crap. Nothing else they've tried to fix the problem has worked. So......it would seem that Compressor 2 works for some and not for others. It is indeed a mystery. The workaround for these folks is to use 1 pass CBR and they're apparently getting better encoding results.

For myself, 2 pass VBR best in Compressor 2 works flawlessly. I export a self-contained QT movie from FCP, video only. Then I export the audio using the "Audio to AIF" command. I use APack on my G4 to compress the audio then transfer the .ac3 file to my G5 via ethernet. I use Compressor 2 to encode the video using 2 pass VBR best, then import the two elements into DVDSP4. I build my DVD and burn onto Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD-R Inkjet Printables, and they'll play on any consumer DVD player I've tried so far, including clients' older players collecting dust in their livingrooms. I never encode with a max. bitrate higher than 7.

And there you have it.

- Don

"Please take a moment to fill out your profile, including your computer system and relevant software. Help us help you."


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mortimer heathcliffRe: "Best" format for DVD's and archiving
by on Mar 4, 2006 at 12:54:55 am

Don,

thanks for your input. as for me, i haven't really seen problems with 2-pass...ALTHOUGH, i was having a terrible time with corrupted files earlier this week (causing DVD SP4 to crash), but not having the same problems the last few days. so maybe the corruption was my personal 2-pass bug? i dunno...

so just curious, what does APack do that isn't done elsewhere in the flow? i mean, why the extra steps of making a self-contained movie, and then going through Compressor? why use APack instead of Compressor for your audio? i'm certainly not doubting your results, it's just that APack is a new element for me. also, do you max out at 7 because you have seen problems or playability issues with higher bit rates?

(as you can see, i'm fairly new to this world)

thanks for helping out a bonehead,

jtn


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Don GreeningRe: "Best" format for DVD's and archiving
by on Mar 4, 2006 at 5:31:00 am

[mortimer heathcliff] "what does APack do that isn't done elsewhere in the flow?"

When I started using Compressor, in version 1 there was no way to do audio compression within the program. APack shipped with the first Compressor app for just that purpose.

[mortimer heathcliff] " i mean, why the extra steps of making a self-contained movie, and then going through Compressor?"

It's generally accepted that using the Compressor app is more reliable and results in a better encode than going through Final Cut Pro. Plus you can use FCP for other tasks while Compressor encodes in the background, since it's a standalone app. Whether or not you choose to export a self-contained or a reference movie for Compressor is up to you. Your available hard drive space will be your guide in that respect. With a reference movie you need to keep all your raw footage on the scratch disc, whereas with self-contained you don't.

Recently, someone here at the Cow posted some frame grabs of video encoded through FCP and the same frames from the same video done through Compressor. The result from going through FCP was quite a bit darker than the other way. This poster now swears by using the Compressor standalone app.

[mortimer heathcliff] "why use APack instead of Compressor for your audio?"

I'm just used to using APack to do the audio even though Compessor 2 has the capability to do audio compression now. I haven't bothered to learn to do audio compression with Compressor 2 yet. Lazy.

The advatages of compressing audio for a DVD are huge. First off, .ac3 audio takes up a tenth of the space on the disc that PCM or AIFF audio does. This means more room for more video on the disc. Secondly, PCM and AIF audio will cause some set top players to choke on their high bit rates, especially if the video bit rate is also at the higher end.

[mortimer heathcliff] " do you max out at 7 because you have seen problems or playability issues with higher bit rates?"

Yes. I've never seen a drastic drop in video quality until the video encoding bit rate drops below 4. Keep in mind that I do mostly weddings, which doesn't have a lot of fast action. Bit rate decisions should be based on the type of video you're encoding. Fast action equals higher bit rates. You need to take a minute or two of test footage and encode at different bit rates and pick the best result.

- Don



"Please take a moment to fill out your profile, including your computer system and relevant software. Help us help you."


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thewanggaoRe: "Best" format for DVD's and archiving
by on Mar 4, 2006 at 5:55:58 am

what codec do you go to from fcp to self contained, before going to dvdsp? Animation, photo-JPEG?

Alexander Gao

"When the revolution happens, I'll be leading it."


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Don GreeningRe: "Best" format for DVD's and archiving
by on Mar 4, 2006 at 7:58:10 am

I work with NTSC DV all the time, so my QT export codec always matches the sequence settings in FCP.

- Don

"Please take a moment to fill out your profile, including your computer system and relevant software. Help us help you."


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