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DVDs sometimes look field-reversed, but not always

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Todd Terry
DVDs sometimes look field-reversed, but not always
on Jun 21, 2008 at 8:03:28 pm

Hi gang....

We are going nuts here trying to solve an authoring problem.

We produce mostly broadcast commercials and short industrials which are all mastered on and delivered on BetaCamSP, but we do send DVDs to clients for archival, approval, etc. On occasion we have had clients tell us that their DVDs looked "funny," although they always looked good when leaving our building.

On further examination in several consumer set-top DVD players, we have found that sometimes with playback it appears that the fields are reversed. But it is a problem that only happens in some players, and only some of the time.

I just tested a disc on a home Samsung player and the results are completely unexplainable to me. I play it once, and it looks like the fields are reversed, the motion stuttery and jerky. I play it again (without even removing the disc), and this time it looks perfectly normal. I try again, and this time just some of the shots look field-reversed, whereas other shots in the same piece are fine.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this? I know just enough about DVD authoring to be dangerous, but this is unexplainable to me.

Here are some tech specs:

We use Adobe CS3, edit with Premiere Pro v3.0, author DVDs with Encore v3.0.1.008.

Aquisition footage is from a variety of sources, but much of it is DV footage from Canon XLH1 at 24fps (Canon 24f mode).

The pieces are edited in Premiere on a Matrox AXIO Le machine. Our usual editing parameters are standard-def NTSC, Uncompressed 10-bit, 720hx486v (0.9), 29.97fps, lower field first.

In Premiere, to make a DVD I output a Matrox AVI, video settings MPEG2 I-Frame with a data rate of 25Mb/sec (I have tried many different output settings/types, and this type of output seems to yield the best looking DVDs here), 29.97fps, D1/DV NTSC (0.9) Pixel Aspect Radio, Lower fields first.

In Encore, I generally use Automatic transcoding settings, although I have also tried custom settings that force lower or upper field.

I know those may include some very unnecessary tech specs, but wanted to give too much rather than too little. If anyone has a solution to how we can make universally good looking DVDs, I would be most appreciative. I just can't understand why they look great in some players, but have significant problems in others.

Much thanks,


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mike Cohen
Re: DVDs sometimes look field-reversed, but not always
on Jun 21, 2008 at 11:30:32 pm

I always export MPEG-2 out of Premiere, and import the MPEG-2 files with separate audio into Encore.
Cheaper DVD players tend to do weird things, like bypass the main menu and play the timelines one after the other. No client wants to hear they have a cheap anything, but you get what you pay for. Have you experienced this probelm in a latest and greatest DVD player, such as one of the upscaling ones currently being sold?

Could your 24p to 29.97 be an issue? If you are editing in DV, then probably not.
I export MPEG-2 from premiere and set lower field first - if you let Encore transcode who knows what it is doing.
We occasionally have a cusotmer who cannot play one of our DVDs but has no problem with others.
Another tip we find useful is to make an ISO from Encore and burn using Nero, as opposed to letting Encore burn the DVD for you - unrelated to your problem of course but worth mentioning.


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Todd Terry
Re: DVDs sometimes look field-reversed, but not always
on Jun 21, 2008 at 11:45:34 pm

Thanks for the input, Mike...

[Mike Cohen] "I always export MPEG-2 out of Premiere, and import the MPEG-2 files with separate audio into Encore."

I have tried that per somone else's suggestion, and it seems to have solved the problem some of the time, but not all of the time.

[Mike Cohen] "Could your 24p to 29.97 be an issue? If you are editing in DV, then probably not."

No, that's not the issue... problem is still there even if it was a native 60i project.

[Mike Cohen] "Cheaper DVD players tend to do weird things,"

Actually, strangely enough the ultro cheapo DVD players are the ones that seem to work best. Our discs will play great on generic 40-buck NoNameCo players from Wal-Mart or Target... but it's the higher end players that seem to more often display the problems.

[Mike Cohen] "Another tip we find useful is to make an ISO from Encore and burn using Nero"

Yes, a great tip for anyone burning DVDs... we almost always use Encore to create files rather than burn to disc, and then make the DVDs with Nero or whatever. I rarely use Encore to burn a DVD directly, but even if I do the results are the same.

This is a puzzler.....

Thanks...


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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eric pautsch
Re: DVDs sometimes look field-reversed, but not always
on Jun 22, 2008 at 3:37:03 am

Why are you outputting an MPEG 2 I Frame @25mb/s? Your timeline is 10 bit uncompressed. Your actually compressing twice here. Once as you export your MPEG2 I frame sequence then a second time as you let Encore do the transcoding.

You should just output a 10bit uncompressed AVI and bring that into Encore. Also built in MPEG 2 encoders are not good. Possibly try some dedicated MPEG2 encoders while reading up on Encoding good practices.

playing correctly sometimes and not others is very strange indeed...I wish I could give you a more direct answer.



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Todd Terry
Re: DVDs sometimes look field-reversed, but not always
on Jun 22, 2008 at 5:57:08 am

[eric pautsch] "Why are you outputting an MPEG 2 I Frame @25mb/s?"

Well, we weren't originally, after trying just about every possible output option and setting combination, the MPEG 2 I Frame files seemed to look by far the best after DVD burning. Not sure why, but they do.

[eric pautsch] "You should just output a 10bit uncompressed AVI and bring that into Encore."

Yeah, that's what I was doing for a long time, before finally realizing that the DVDs just didn't look quite as good as we thought they should. That led to the experimentation with the various outputs, where we finally landed on the MPEG 2 I Frame files. That's probably not technically the correct choice (I'm definitely no authoring expert), but to the naked eyeball it gives us a noticably better picture than a 10bit uncompressed AVI, which looks a tad artifacty in comparison.

[eric pautsch] "playing correctly sometimes and not others is very strange indeed..."

I agree... it's giving me a headache. Thanks much for the input.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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