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Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?

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Ralph ParkerCompressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Apr 4, 2011 at 12:36:24 am

My FCP project sequence is a mix of 1080i HDV and stills, transcoded to 1440x1080 Upper (Odd) first. It also contains clips created in Motion whose project settings match the FCP sequence. After numerous permutations of various settings in Compressor, I have finally output a pretty good 16:9 SD DVD.

However, I'd like to make sure I've got the best possible settings all around. The nice graphics created in Motion show a noticeable difference going from HD to SD as expected, but I'm always looking for an improvement if it's possible.

I've read posts in the Forums about using Compressor to take my sequences to Progressive, and then encode to SD m2v as a separate step. This confuses me. In the Compressor Inspector Encoder->Video Format tab, there is a popup to choose Field Dominance which includes a Progressive setting; but if this is for SD DVD, why?


As a corollary, in the Frame Controls tab, under the Resize Controls, there is a choice for TFF, BFF and Progressive?


Can someone explain or point me to a resource to help me decide when to use what? (The manual give a cursory description of the Output Fields, but not much help where it comes to deciding on a workflow.)
Thanks so much!

Ralph Parker
2x2.4 Quad Core Xeon, 8GB
Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Etc.


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Mark SpanoRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Apr 4, 2011 at 9:34:56 pm

[Ralph Parker] "I've read posts in the Forums about using Compressor to take my sequences to Progressive, and then encode to SD m2v as a separate step. This confuses me"

It should. This is stupid advice. If you have an interlaced cut, you keep it interlaced. If you have a progressive cut, you keep it progressive.

[Ralph Parker] "there is a popup to choose Field Dominance which includes a Progressive setting; but if this is for SD DVD, why?"

You can make a progressive DVD if your cut is progressive. That usually happens when you're cutting 23.976P. Most motion pictures on DVD are 23.976P encoded - it actually looks better since you can take the fixed amount of bits and spread them across fewer frames.

The simplest way I can explain Compressor's encoding controls is this: whatever your cut is, keep it that way unless you are forced to change it. For example, if your cut is 1080i/29.97, and you want to go to SD DVD, keep interlacing. If you set that value to the "automatic" setting, Compressor will understand what you're trying to do. Then, the only thing that you are 'forced' to change is the resolution. If you are compressing for MPEG-2 for DVD, then it's 720x480/16:9 pixel aspect ratio.

In Compressor, the Frame Controls tab allows you to finesse the settings. For your compression, I would turn Frame Controls ON, set Resize to BEST, Leave deinterlacing alone (same as source/Fast), leave retiming alone (fast). This tells Compressor to spend some time doing the best it can in resizing your HD to SD 4x3 anamorphic.

Only adjust settings if you are forced to change them. In this case, the only thing you're forced to change is resolution (frame size). Everything else should go through with as little compression artifact as possible.



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Ralph ParkerRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:19:00 pm

Thank you, Mark, for your detailed reply.

[Mark Spano] "You can make a progressive DVD if your cut is progressive"
If the DVD standard is indeed interlaced, when you say you can make a progressive DVD, does the m2V encoding do some sleight of hand to make progressive frames into interlaced?
If I were to convert the project sequences to progressive, (for learning's sake), by using the mentioned settings, would that give my video a softer "film look" as opposed to the harsh, stark video look?

Ralph Parker
2x2.4 Quad Core Xeon, 8GB
Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Etc.


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Mark SpanoRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Apr 5, 2011 at 3:45:49 pm

[Ralph Parker] "does the m2V encoding do some sleight of hand to make progressive frames into interlaced?"

Yes, specifically this (from Wikipedia):

By using a pattern of REPEAT_FIRST_FIELD flags on the headers of encoded pictures, pictures can be displayed for either two or three fields and almost any picture display rate (minimum ⅔ of the frame rate) can be achieved. This is most often used to display 23.976 (approximately film rate) video on NTSC.


[Ralph Parker] "If I were to convert the project sequences to progressive, (for learning's sake), by using the mentioned settings, would that give my video a softer "film look" as opposed to the harsh, stark video look?"

That I don't know - you might have to experiment. I would do any of that type of experimentation in Compressor rather than FCP. If you set a sequence to progressive in FCP, I believe it will just throw away a field. Compressor offers the options (especially within the Frame Controls tab - Retiming) to smooth the motion between frames when retiming footage. It's worth trying small sections to see if it's a look you like. Also of note for this type of conversion is the great and useful JES Deinterlacer app. Check that out - the instructions are pretty detailed and informative. After those, there are various filter packages you can buy for FCP that do retiming with varying degrees of sophistication.



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Jeff GreenbergRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Apr 5, 2011 at 4:40:49 pm

Yes, all DVDs are interlaced - they can store 23.976 information as progressive (if it's progressive) and then add pulldown to become 30i.

[Ralph Parker] "If I were to convert the project sequences to progressive, (for learning's sake), by using the mentioned settings, would that give my video a softer "film look" as opposed to the harsh, stark video look?"

Yeah, um. No.

You want a film look? Shoot film.
Film 'looks' are 3 things:
Frame rate, short Depth of Field, S curve color correction.

You'll do better to:
Get Magic bullet or other sort of 'filmic' response.
If you didn't shoot with a good looking DOF, try to build it.
Not worry about interlacing/24- The 24p look is the least of the three to 'feel' filmic.

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC | Adobe Cert. Instructor
------------
You should follow me (filmgeek) on twitter. I promise to be nice.
Come See me speak at NAB!
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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Scott SmithRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Oct 12, 2011 at 7:23:30 pm

Disclaimer: It is possible that I may be confused, or behind a software version.

BUT, if you are using Final Cut Pro and Compressor, it would also stand to reason you will use DVD Studio Pro. In DVDSP, you can make an HD DVD project progressive scan, but the SD DVD projects are all interlaced. So if you are making a Standard Def DVD in DVDSP, it will be interlaced.

What I don't know is if you start with progressive, transcode to MPEG2 progressive, then make a SD DVD in DVDSP, what happens to the progressive scan's extra lines, as it makes it interlaced?



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Mark SpanoRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Oct 12, 2011 at 8:17:45 pm

[Scott Smith] "what happens to the progressive scan's extra lines"

As far as I know, they are stored on disc as is. It's only on playback that the pulldown is added and it becomes 29.97 interlaced.



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Glenn CamhiRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:33:52 am

So to ask the question that always gets asked yet again, but in more detail...

Source footage is 1080 24p (23.976, obviously, just shorthanding).

Final cut is same.

For the DVD...

Is there any advantage to converting to 29.97 interlaced? That's what the post house did in the encode, but I thought we should keep it 24p. Might that play better on some DVD players, even nowadays?

Here's a more specific question:

For anyone who has an HDTV (most folks now) and a current DVD player (say, PS3), would a DVD authored at 24p play directly as 24p without any conversion/interlacing?

And thus, would it look better than if the footage had been encoded as 29.97i?

It's a fairly major post house, and the folks I spoke to there said I was wrong that most Hollywood DVDs are 24p. Am I? If they're not 24p, why does advancing one frame always show a new frame, whereas advancing one frame on the interlaced DVD they gave me only shows a new frame every 2nd and 5th time?

Thanks for any expertise here!


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Jeff GreenbergRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:37:30 am

[Glenn Camhi] "Is there any advantage to converting to 29.97 interlaced? That's what the post house did in the encode, but I thought we should keep it 24p. Might that play better on some DVD players, even nowadays?
"


No advantage. If you flag 23.98 material correctly the DVD player will add pulldown back to 29.97 (necessary for SD)

[Glenn Camhi] "For anyone who has an HDTV (most folks now) and a current DVD player (say, PS3), would a DVD authored at 24p play directly as 24p without any conversion/interlacing?
"

I don't think so - although some TVs/DVD players will play a true 23.98 signal for HD.


[Glenn Camhi] "Am I? If they're not 24p, why does advancing one frame always show a new frame, whereas advancing one frame on the interlaced DVD they gave me only shows a new frame every 2nd and 5th time?
"

They're shot 24 and the playback (the dvd player) should reintegrate that correctly for SD - interlaced with 2 frames telecine'd

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC | Adobe Cert. Instructor
------------
You should follow me (filmgeek) on twitter. I promise to be nice.
New- my book (with Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman)- An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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Glenn CamhiRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:46:56 am

Thanks for your speedy reply. I keep seeing different or unclearly worded explanations, so trying to get definitive answers.

So, is there any *disadvantage* to converting to 29.97 interlaced in the encode for DVD?

You're saying most major studio DVDs are indeed progressive with flags, rather than interlaced, right?


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Jeff GreenbergRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:48:57 am

You caught me at a time where I should be doing other stuff. :D


[Glenn Camhi] "So, is there any *disadvantage* to converting to 29.97 interlaced in the encode for DVD?
"

Yes, it'll take up 20% more space (without any additional quality. It's the question of where the telecine occurs.


[Glenn Camhi] "You're saying most major studio DVDs are indeed progressive with flags, rather than interlaced, right?
"


Absolutely. Don't take my word for it. Take a look at a hollywood dvd during playback (many dvd players can show you info like fps and data rates.0

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC | Adobe Cert. Instructor
------------
You should follow me (filmgeek) on twitter. I promise to be nice.
New- my book (with Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman)- An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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Glenn CamhiRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:54:24 am

Ain't that always the case? Go, do other stuff! Thank you.

But lastly... is space the only issue? I've got tons of space, it's only a 29 minute film. I just want to be sure there is zero image quality hit. Whether viewed on a tv (presumably HDTV) or computer.


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Jeff GreenbergRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 1:21:07 am

No significant quality hit - at 29 min. it's nothing to worry about. I'd stick to the native frame rate and let the hardware do the appropriate decode.

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC | Adobe Cert. Instructor
------------
You should follow me (filmgeek) on twitter. I promise to be nice.
New- my book (with Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman)- An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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Glenn CamhiRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:55:18 am

Well, I learned one thing today: there is a quality hit going to 29.97i. They redid it at 24p and the ton of aliasing that had appeared in some animation diminished dramatically.

What's weird, though, is that the image is washed out in their 24p version -- too bright and desaturated compared to the original and to the 29.97i version they'd done. (The latter is also a bit too bright, but not as dramatically.)

Any idea why this would be?


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Mark SpanoRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:35:18 am

You could have learned that by reading this thread, specifically above where I said:

[24p encoding] actually looks better since you can take the fixed amount of bits and spread them across fewer frames.

About your other comment regarding washed out video: whoever is encoding is clearly doing something wrong. What you put in should come out looking relatively the same, video levels wise. People think they're doing you a favor by adding filters in encoding - they're not. If you're paying for this, keep having them do it over and over until they get it right. There's no reason it should look washed out.



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Glenn CamhiRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 6:24:31 am

Somehow missed that sentence.

The the specific issue of the aliasing in animation is what stood out most.

Yep, paying for it, it's odd. Especially odd since when they did it interlaced at the other frame rate, it wasn't like this. We'll see what they do overnight.


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Glenn CamhiRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:19:38 pm

No luck so far. They're using Digital Rapids for the encoding because they said their Sonic hardware can't do 23.976.

They tried chroma settings at "default" and "unspecified," but the mpeg is identical, too bright and a bit washed out.

Now they're going to try lowering the brightness themselves a bit. I don't know if that will degrade the image at all, and it sounds a bit like taking a shot in the dark, trying to get it right that way, but they're trying.

The DIT who owns the ARRI Alexa we shot on said it sounds like an issue with gamma. He wonders if they have any ability to choose gamma correction for the ProRes 4444 files they're using to make the DVDs, since some applications have a hard time with generating proper ProRes gamma.

Is there a better encoder? Clipster? It's a big L.A. post house, seems strange.


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Mark SpanoRe: Compressor: Why is there a Progressive setting if DVD is interlaced?
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 11:27:07 pm

[Glenn Camhi] "it sounds a bit like taking a shot in the dark"

Yeah the whole thing does.

I can't understand how this can get screwed up. DVD encoding has been around and perfected over the last, I don't know, two decades? It's not like this is uncharted territory.

Point one: if you have DVD encoding equipment that can't handle 23.976 fps, you have very outdated and poor encoding equipment. It might be awesome at what it does, but 23.976 is the norm for every major feature release on DVD. And that was established a long time ago.

The simple fact that you can do professional 23.976 encoding and simple authoring yourself with a $50 piece of software (Compressor) should be enough to elicit the proper amount of derision toward this company who's handling your encoding. There'd have to be a pretty amazing reason why it doesn't look right. And them thinking that another pre-encode process (they're going to try lowering the brightness themselves a bit) will solve it is just a joke.



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