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HD sequence on SD DVD

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Jonathan Slyker
HD sequence on SD DVD
on Apr 19, 2011 at 7:38:13 pm

Hello All,

I have a sequence in Final Cut that is:

1920x1080 (HDTV 1080i (16:9))
Square Pixels
Upper (Odd)
Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)

I want to go through compressor to make an mpeg-2 for use in an SD DVD project (DVD Studio Pro 4). Why does it always look so jaggedy and ugly. I don't do a lot of DVD compressions, but I've tried many different settings and nothing looks nice and smooth and clean. I'm guessing it has something to do with not being able to change to square pixels in the compression settings for an SD DVD, but I'm not sure. Can anybody help me out with the most perfect settings on earth to make the DVD look good?

I realize this is a pretty old school question, but like I mentioned before, I don't do a lot of DVD compressions.

Thanks for any info.

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Jeff Greenberg
Re: HD sequence on SD DVD
on Apr 21, 2011 at 3:29:29 am


There are some missing gaps in your info.
What version of FCP/Compressor?

What setting are your trying? Are you trying the 90 minute 'best' setting in FCP?

This is the most important question:
How are you determining that the footage is 'jaggedy and ugly'?

DVDs should be judged on a broadcast monitor, not on your computer - where half of the information isn't being displayed.

A quick way to test this would be to send a minute of video through your pipeline and build a DVD-R to evaluate your footage.


Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC | Adobe Cert. Instructor
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Compressor Essentials from
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from
Contact me through my Website

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Jonathan Slyker
Re: HD sequence on SD DVD
on Apr 26, 2011 at 4:10:37 pm

I'm using FCP 6.0.6
and Compressor 3.0.5

I usually use the 90 minute best settings, but I've tried changing around just about every other setting that I could think might help and nothing seems to make it look good. I've watched both on my computer and on an HD TV with a burned DVD and both seem to look the same. Also, it looks bad in the DVD Studio Pro 4 preview as well.

The jagged edges look like an aliasing thing or something to do with the field order, I'm not sure.

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Rich Rubasch
Re: HD sequence on SD DVD
on Apr 24, 2011 at 4:55:34 pm

In this case I export directly out of FCP. Somehow Compressor loves to mash up the downscale....even Episode has its faults downcompressing 1080 Upper Field material to SD.

Export out of FCP using Quicktime Conversion. Choose ProRes 422 and make it Interlaced LOWER field, which is the proper SD field order. Keep the frame rate a 29.97. In the Size box you have a choice to make the downscale either create a 4:3 720 x 480 or a 16x9 aspect for the DVD. Make sure you determine what your DVD will need.

Audio to 48k PCM.

Once you have this new SD proRes QT movie drag that into Compressor and use your standard MPEG settings that you normally use when starting with SD sources. You will find that the resulting MPEG 2 is much better than taking the full size 1080 movie thru compressor.

Try it and report back....

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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Bob Cole
Re: HD sequence on SD DVD
on May 9, 2011 at 1:50:31 pm

(Apology Section) A few weeks ago I found an old thread about this issue. For whatever reason, I can't locate it today when I need it. (/Apology Section)

In the prior thread, someone advocated using vertical blurring on the HD; someone else advised using BitVice, and (if I recall correctly) intimated that BitVice automatically did a lot of tricks which helped HD look better on an SD DVD. (btw - now BitVice includes Video Purifier - is that even helpful with HD orginals?)

My new HD camera is producing great images, and I would love to learn the state of the art in bringing as much of that quality to SD DVD's as possible. I'm willing to experiment, but I'd appreciate some pointers to start with. I'm using both 1080i60 and 1080p30, depending on the type of project. (I know about exporting to SD before using Compressor, but if I recall the prior thread, there were other techniques as well.)


Bob C

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