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The Black art of DVD's

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Alastair Arthur
The Black art of DVD's
on Nov 14, 2010 at 10:14:36 pm

Reading through this forum there seems to be a recurring theme of DVD's playing fine on computers but not on set-top players, that this problem occurs so frequently has led me to believe there must be some underlying dark art to this DVD authoring stuff.

I'm taking my first steps in the world of professional editing so need to understand the root causes of these problems, it's not good to hand a client a DVD that doesn't work. If there is anyone out there who could answer the following questions I'd be very grateful (note, I'm in Scotland and working with UK/Euro clients).

1) Is it possible to burn a DVD on a PC with Encore CS4 that will play on any set top box as reliably as a shop bought DVD?

2) What influence does book code have on the reliability of a DVD? I'm aware that some set top boxes don't recognize DVD+RW discs and was thinking this could be part of the problem.

3) The video on my timeline is MPEG-2 1440x1080i 25. Does this matter? I simply use it because it's my camera's native format.

4) Under File > Edit Quality Presets you can choose from a bewildering set of options:

a) When burning to Blu-Ray is there a reason for choosing 264 over mpeg2?

b) When burning to Blu-Ray is there a preset that is more reliable than the others (eg 1440x1080i 25)?

c) When burning to standard dvd I'm given the following options. What do they mean and what influence might they have on reliability?

PAL DVD High Quality 4Mb VBR 2 Pass
PAL DVD High Quality 7Mb VBR 2 Pass
PAL DVD High Quality 8Mb CBR 1 Pass
PAL DVD Low Quality 4Mb CBR 1 Pass
PAL Progressive High Quality &Mb VBR 2 Pass

5) Any other information about reliability issues, tutorials or outside links would be fantastic.


Perhaps there is a master out there who could help me understand the dark art of DVD authoring?


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eric pautsch
Re: The Black art of DVD's
on Nov 15, 2010 at 5:01:48 am

1. You'll be fine as long as you keep you overall bitrate below 10.8 for both video and audio (9.8 max for video). However there are several player which dont like high bitrates so its best to keep it under 8 mb/s in my opinion


2. Hard to say since tools like Encore and DVDSP are abstraction layer tools which hides the mundane code from the author need to author a disc. Some have said in the past that these tools cause certain players to balk but I dont think anymore has concrete evidence. Nor do I think its any issue anymore with the maturity of the DVD spec. Some older players dont read RWs.

3. Here are the official spec so that time line you have will need to be down converted forst then encoded:

PAL

Video:
Up to 9.8 Mbps* (9800 kbps*) MPEG2 video
Up to 1.856 Mbps (1856 kbps) MPEG1 video
720 x 576 pixels MPEG2 (Called Full-D1)
704 x 576 pixels MPEG2
352 x 576 pixels MPEG2 (Called Half-D1, same as the CVD Standard)
352 x 288 pixels MPEG2
352 x 288 pixels MPEG1 (Same as the VCD Standard)
25 fps*
16:9 Anamorphic (only supported by 720x576)

Audio:
48000 Hz
32 - 1536 kbps
Up to 8 audio tracks containing Dolby Digital, DTS, PCM(uncompressed audio), MPEG-1 Layer2. One audio track must have MPEG-1, DD or PCM Audio.

Extras:
Motion menus, still pictures, up to 32 selectable subtitles, seamless branching for multiple storylines, 9 camera angles. And also additional DVD-ROM / data files that only can be read by computer DVD drives.

Total:
Total bitrate including video, audio and subs can be max 10.08 Mbps (10080 kbps)


* Mbps = million bits per second
* kbps = thousand bits per second
* fps = frames per second

For more technical DVD-Video details read the DVDDemystified DVD FAQ section 3.4

NTSC (NTSC Film)

Video:
Up to 9.8 Mbps* (9800 kbps*) MPEG2 video
Up to 1.856 Mbps (1856 kbps) MPEG1 video
720 x 480 pixels MPEG2 (Called Full-D1)
704 x 480 pixels MPEG2
352 x 480 pixels MPEG2 (Called Half-D1, same as the CVD Standard)
352 x 240 pixels MPEG2
352 x 240 pixels MPEG1 (Same as the VCD Standard)
29,97 fps*
23,976 fps with 3:2 pulldown = 29,97 playback fps (NTSC Film, this is only supported by MPEG2 video)
16:9 Anamorphic (only supported by 720x480)


Audio:
48000 Hz
32 - 1536 kbps
Up to 8 audio tracks containing DD (Dolby Digital/AC3), DTS, PCM(uncompressed audio), MPEG-1 Layer2. One audio track must have DD or PCM Audio.

Extras:
Motion menus, still pictures, up to 32 selectable subtitles, seamless branching for multiple storylines, 9 camera angles. And also additional DVD-ROM / data files that only can be read by computer DVD drives.

Total:
Total bitrate including video, audio and subs can be max 10.08 Mbps (10080 kbps)


* Mbps = million bits per second
* kbps = thousand bits per second
* fps = frames per second





4a - Yes, better compression at lower bitrates with more advanced codecs like AVC






4b - as long its within spec your fine:

Video codecs MPEG2 - MP@HL and MP@ML
AVC/H264 - MPEG-4 AVC: HP@4.1/4.0 and MP@4.1/4.0/3.2/3.1/3.0
VC-1 - AP@L3 and AP@L2
Video frame size

High Definition Video
1920x1080x59.94i, 50i (16:9)
1920x1080x24p, 23.976p (16:9)
1440x1080x59.94i, 50i (16:9) AVC / VC-1 only
1440x1080x24p, 23.976p (16:9) AVC / VC-1 only
1280x720x59.94p, 50p (16:9)
1280x720x24p, 23.976p (16:9)
Standard Definition Video
720x480x59.94i (4:3/16:9)
720x576x50i (4:3/16:9)
Max video bitrate 40 MBps
Audio codecs Dolby Digital up to 5.1 channels (Max 640kbps)
Dolby Digital Plus up to 7.1 channels (Max 4.736Mbps)
Dolby Lossless up to 9 channels (Max 18.64Mbps)
DTS up to 5.1 channels (Max 1.524Mbps)
DTS HD up to 9 channels (Max 24.5Mbps)
Linear PCM up to 9 channels (Max 27.648Mbps)
Subtitles Image bitmap subtitles
Text subtitles - select different font styles, sizes and colors for the subtitles, or location on screen, depending on the disc's offerings. Subtitles can be animated, scrolled or faded in and out.
Other Features HDMV mode
Offers all features of DVD-Video and more. The authoring process is in line with DVD-Video creation.
BD-J mode
Offers unparalleled flexibility and features, because it is based on the Java runtime environment. It allows for extensive interactive applications, and offers Internet connectivity.
Maximum total bitrate 48 Mbits
Maximum data transfer rate 54 Mbits






4c - none as long as your bitrates are correct






5. -

http://www.dvddemystified.com/

http://www.dvd-replica.com/DVD/

http://www.amazon.com/DVD-Authoring-Production-Ralph-LaBarge/dp/1578200822/...

http://www.amazon.com/Blu-ray-Disc-Demystified-Jim-Taylor/dp/0071590927/ref...

http://www.amazon.com/High-Definition-DVD-Handbook-Producing-Blu-Ray/dp/007...



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Alastair Arthur
Re: The Black art of DVD's
on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:14:53 am

Many thanks, great answer.

"3. Here are the official spec so that time line you have will need to be down converted first then encoded:"

Is there a particular reason for down converting in Premiere rather than letting Encore transcode the timeline? I'd assumed they would give very similar results.


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