A lot of first-time questions
I finally took the plunge today and tried burning a DVD-RW and found that there is a gap between theory and practice! I have a number of questions, if someone would be good enough to give me a hand:
1. Using TMPGenc, I transcoded the video and audio files from .avi & .wav to .m2v. But Encore accepted the video channel only -- I had to import the .wav file separately into the timeline. Normal? What's up?
2. Using the TMPGenc-generated .m2v file for the video, and the original .wav file for the audio, I burned a DVD-RW. Thrillingly, it worked in my newer set-top player (but not in my older one, which seems to be par for the course with DVD-RW, right?) BUT on both the preview and the burned DVD-RW, there is about an 8-second lag between the end of the timeline and the return to the menu. Why? The .m2v and .wav files do not line up precisely at the end of the timeline, but they are within a frame.
3. When I tried to put the .avi file directly into the timeline, and previewed to see if I could get rid of the 8-second delay between end-of-timeline and menu, it previewed better than the .m2v/.wav combo (it went from end-of-timeline IMMEDIATELY to the menu), but when I tried to transcode, it seemed to just sit there. And when I tried to burn, Encore returned an "Abnormal Condition" when it tried to transcode. Why? I tried transcoding a very short .avi file, which also failed. Is it because my .avi files are D1, 720x486?
4. Both in Preview and on the burned DVD-RW, when the menu appears there is a diamond-shaped turquoise and white icon sitting on the only button. This diamond disappears when I press the center remote button.
5. At one point while working on a menu, a spade shape appeared on the button. It has disappeared but I'd like to know what it was.
Thank you very much for reading this much. I'm at the bottom of a steep learning curve, but unlike Lance Armstrong I think sometimes I am rolling backwards....
-- Bob Cole
1. Yes that is normal. With separate audio and video streams (which is the preferred method) you add them both to the timeline.
2. A bit of a pause would be normal (the DVD player has to locate the menu on the disc), but 8 seconds isn't normal. Is the end action of the timeline set to return to the menu? Is there anything in your project besides one timeline and one menu? Did you set any overrides anywhere?
Could you compare your TMPGEnc settings with those in Configuring TMPGEnc? Are there any differences?
3. Although the MPEG-2 will be 720x480, Encore should accept 720x486 as input. If you are using version 1.0, did you update to 1.0.1 yet? See Encore DVD 1.0.1 update.
4/5. Dunno. Maybe you have used some button template which has those shapes and colors as its subpicture highlight.
Thanks. I'm using 1.5, and am starting to suspect some problem with Encore and my source video. When I feed the project a Matrox DigiSuite 720x486 .avi file, the project previews perfectly, but transcoding inside Encore doesn't work. When "Build DVD" gets to Transcoding, I get "Abnormal Condition, you have one chance to save the project..." Also, the File/Transcode/Transcode Settings & /Transcode Now are grayed out.
Thanks for the reference to the Configuring TMPGenc article. Wow. I've been experimenting with Canopus ProCoder using VBR and TMPGenc using CBR, and TMPGenc/CBR may just look better, even in default mode.
You were absolutely right about the button with its subpicture highlight. Went into PS, took out the subpic highlight, and life is better.
re: the pause. Still working on it; I'll use your suggestions. When I shorten the timeline (which I can't for final output) it has gone.
Thanks very much for your generous assistance. I'd be tearing my hair out if not for this forum.
Next: have to learn about PS's layer sets -- something I'd managed to avoid in years of using PS, but can't avoid any longer now that I'm using Encore....
Some very helpful tutorials (among others about layer comps and subpicture highlighting) are available at adobeevangelists.com: Adobe Encore DVD.
Can you export a 720x480 file from your Matrox DigiSuite? (Just to test whether or not Encore is choking on the 6 extra lines.)
No, I can only export 720x486. I'm using discreet edit* ver 4.5 -- upgrading soon to edit* 6.0 (orphaned but great NLE) and will have many more choices of file export formats.
Thanks very much for the tips. I'll follow up with the adobeevangelists tut's.
Leaping into DVD has been a much-feared step for me, but seeing the results of a finished show on DVD (as opposed to VHS!) is extremely exciting. The jump in quality is incredible. Many thanks.
Encore's problem transcoding the AVI files rests with the Digisuite card. Matrox has always used their own codec, which is actually MPEG-2 wrapped in a crunchy candy shell. Encore has problems decoding proprietary third party codecs like what Matrox uses (let's not even get started on the problems 1.0 had with the Canopus codecs...). Your best option will be to export from your NLE as an AVI file with a standard codec, like DV or none (if you have the disk space).
Thanks for the info about the article (Configuring TMPGenc). Very interesting.
btw, I just looked for this article in the list of Tutorials in the left column, and couldn't find it. Is there a page on the COW somewhere, where valuable pieces like this are linked?
AFAIK the Cow only links to its own tutorials.
Other sources of Encore info:
Wrigley Video: Encore Tutorials
Adobe: Encore DVD Tutorials (more tutorials after free registration)
Adobe: Encore - Tips & Tutorials (probably much the same as the one above)
And for the benefit of others reading this thread a repeat of the Adobe Evangelists link:
adobeevangelists.com: Adobe Encore DVD
Thanks for all the help. I read the TMPGenc article -- excellent -- and was able to transcode successfully.
Audio transcoding question: The TMPGenc article advocated using a separate program to transcode audio. This is still a source of confusion to me. I simply imported my (Matrox DigiSuite/discreet logic edit*-generated) .wav file into Encore and everything worked fine. Should I be transcoding my .wav file?
With both DVD-RW and DVD+R disks I still have a lengthy (approx. 14 second) wait from end-of-timeline to menu reappearing. There is a fade-out at the end of the video. During the wait for the menu, I can see what looks like the next-to-last, not-quite-black frame. I guess the word to the wise is: add a frame or two of absolute black to the end of the file!
Happily, when I switched to DVD-R disks, there was almost zero wait from end of show to reappearance of the menu.
With a DVD+R, Encore gave me this error: "Device Error - Sense Code (5 24 00) Invalid Field in CDB -D General (OS Error 336896)" But the disk plays fine. Is there any list of error codes so I can learn what happened?
Thanks again! It is always fun to skate on the thin edge of not having a clue what's going on, sort of like trying a spacewalk in aluminum foil....
What is said about audio transcoding in Configuring TMPGEnc concerns TMPGEnc's option to transcode audio to MPEG-1 Layer II (mpa). Reasons not to do this are: NTSC set top DVD players don't have to support MPEG audio and TMPGEnc doesn't do a very good audio encoding job. Additionally: Encore has its own Dolby Digital (AC3) encoder which is best fed with uncompressed PCM (wav) audio. So you can simply use the wav files you already got.
Where I disagree with the author of the "Configuring TMPGEnc" page is his recommendation for the Output closed GOP setting (on the GOP structure tab). While it is theoretically correct that leaving this disabled may improve the image quality, the improvement will be very very small. A closed GOP MPEG stream (with the setting enabled) on the other hand will be easier to handle for player's decoder and as a result avoid some potential playback problems.
The sense code error is probably caused by a communication error between Encore and your burner. Often these problems are caused by other software like packet writing apps or virus scanners. It may help to check Things & Software to avoid when authoring DVD.
I've made great progress on my initial project -- and couldn't have done it without this forum.
I'm now burning 50 copies of a 3-minute video, with one simple menu, using an inboard Sony DVD-writer. It seems to go very fast for the first 193.5 MB of 194.09 -- until the process hits something called "lead-out" writing. This "lead-out" stage takes about ten minutes -- longer than the other stages, and resulting in each DVD taking almost 20 minutes.
Is this normal? The finished DVD-R's themselves run perfectly and look fantastic -- a relief after years of watching my video turn to crap through the wonderful medium of VHS.
Still haven't figured out why the DVD-R's move crisply from timeline to menu, while the DVD+R and DVD+RW's take 14 seconds.
Thanks again for all of your help -- and I'm not complaining, I'm just worried that I may not have enough time to finish my 50 copies.
Many set top players start playing a disc by performing a calibration test. The player will move out the laser to about 30mm (1GB) from the center of the disc for this test. If it finds nothing but empty space there (like it would on your DVD with only 200MB), it will assume a failed calibration or an otherwise unplayable disc and stop.
To assure that the player does find something in that area, dummy data is written to the DVD-R for DVDs that don't contain enough data by themselves. Which is why the lead-out takes so long to finish burning.
Bob, seeme like youve had a fair amount of help. The only comment I have is you say your video and audio files are different lengths (if even only slightly) this is probably what is causing the delay when returning to your menu. Can you trim your MP2 file(or wav) down so they line up exactly? This may have some effect. I have had remarkably bad luck using encore to transcode. I no longer bother to even try as it doesnt take AVI files from AVID. I use premiere pro's MPEG encoder as this gives remarkable control for an built in encoder.