Sony Vegas Pro 13: Flat Image and Blurry Video On Output (x264)
While I was working on a DVD video, I noticed a few strange things. So, let me ask you 2 questions.
1) Why does Sony Vegas make a picture more flat? I can see that not only on a preview screen, but also in the rendered file. Yes, I know the solution, which is actually adding FX called "Levels" with a preset "Studio RGB to Computer RGB", but how can I avoid doing it all the time - especially when I want to get the same picture on the output? I’m sharing two screenshots with you where you can see a histogram with bypass OFF (that's how the picture looks after adding it on the timeline) and ON (looks exactly the same as the original file).
Before adding FX:
After adding FX:
2) This question is about encoding. Check the screenshots below. All screenshots were taken with VLC in fullscreen (1920x1080) for 2 reasons: the original DVD file has been encoded with non-square pixel, plus it's easier to see a difference in fullscreen. So, you'll see that the uncompressed AVI file looks crispy and exactly the same as the original when discussing the quality (the pixel aspect ratio is a bit different due to anamorphic encoding). But when I encode it with x264 in Sony Vegas or MeGUI, with ANY setting (bitrate, profiles, 1\2 passes, deblocking, and a few other settings which don’t affect the final result much), the final picture looks blurry. What is the problem? I didn't notice this with HD videos, but in this case, the final result looks awful. For this screenshot, I used Automated 2pass with bitrate=5000 kbit/s.
Original VOB FIle 720x480 (anamorphic widescreen):
AVI uncompressed 854x480 (square pixel):
Beside my questions, I just want to share a short story about how converting a VOB file to a workable one for editing container proved to be a pain in the ass.
1) Changed the container in tsMxuer from VOB to TS. Sony vegas still can't properly work with this file - out of sync, wrong pixel aspect ratio and FPS speed, EVEN if I set them during muxing and in project properties.
2) In Yamb, I splitted the file in two - M2V (video) and AC3 (audio). Yamb also can't properly mux everything to .mp4. If I set a custom PAR, it can't even render a final file.
3) Using BeLight + BeSweet, I converted the audiofile from AC3 codec to MP4. Yes, the only step where I encode something and lose quality. But not much.
4) Muxed my videofile (M2V) and audiofile (MP4) together to MP4 by setting the correct framerate. Now it works fine in Sony Vegas. The only thing I did is moved the video five frames forward to sync everything perfectly.
I have no idea if this happens with all DVD files or not, but this was a hard one. As I said it before, the main problem was a non-square pixel. Oh, by the way, a film called "The Alamo" (1960) - the original DVD is 720x480 (anamorphic widescreen), 23.976 f/s. For some reason, only VLC shows it in the right aspect ratio with a clear image on the output.