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What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?

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Alex
What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 19, 2006 at 5:34:00 pm

Nearing the end of my DVD authoring initiation...

I've compressed a load of files from Media 100 (using it's Video compressor) to large Quicktime Files then put them through Compressor changing the Brightness and Contrast (to counter Media 100s Studio RGB settings) and with the correct Field Dominance settings throughout.

When the resulting Compressor MPEG files are put through DVD Studio Pro 3 and the DVD mastered, the quality of the pictures isn't that great. Specifically where there are colour gradients on screen. For example where there are Light to Dark sections of wall/sky or underwater footage you can clearly see 'stepping' in the colours, ie not a smooth grad.

Is there a way round this or am I asking too much of this software combination to end up with professional looking DVDs of the same quality as the ones I buy in HMV?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Alex.

System:

G5 with 2gb of ram
Compressor Ver 1.2.1 using: MPEG-2 60min High Quality Encode Widescreen
Media 100 HD
DVD Studio Pro 3.0.2
All footage originally in PAL Digi-Beta format


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Borjis
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
on Jan 19, 2006 at 6:12:45 pm


I would sure like to know this as well.
I've got a quad G5 on the way and will be doing a lot of DVD work
there. Exporting to a pc just for mpeg encoding shouldn't be
necessary imo.

As to the stepping, you will see some of that no matter what you
do as mpeg is unfortunately an 8-bit format and doesn't have
the extra bits to make that gradient smooth. It should not be
so bad that it looks posterized though. if thats what your seeing
there must be a way to make that look better.


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eric
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 19, 2006 at 6:58:40 pm

It all depends how long you video is. What was your bitrate? Compressor is not the greatest encoder in the world but it sure save ALOT of time when used with FCP and DVDSP.


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Alex
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 19, 2006 at 9:45:04 pm

I used a Variable Bitrate between 7.2 and 8.4 from memory


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Borjis
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
on Jan 20, 2006 at 5:17:01 pm


You probably shouldn't exceed 7,500 on the bitrate and be sure
your audio is AC-3 (compressor makes ac-3 files now)


what were your GOP settings?



Is compressor worse than Tsunami?

I've heard people say compressor is a great tool.
I definitely want to keep everything as efficient as possible
for workflow. If there are lots of settings to control there
must be a way to maximize its output to good quality video


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Alex
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 20, 2006 at 5:24:28 pm

I've not used Tsunami I'm afraid.

Here are the settings I used:

Vision:

Name: MPEG-2 60min High Quality Encode Widescreen-Copy
Description: 6.8Mbps,2-Pass VBR,16:9
File Extension: m2v
Video Encoder
Format: M2V
Width: 720
Height: 576
Pixel aspect ratio: 0.703
Crop: None
Frame rate: 25
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Field dominance: Top first
Average data rate: 6.8 (Mbps)
2 Pass VBR enabled
Maximum data rate: 7.5 (Mbps)
High quality
Best motion estimation
Open GOP Size: 12, Structure: IBBP
DVD Studio Pro meta-data enabled
Brightness Contrast
Brightness: -12.000000
Contrast: 3.000000
Color Correct Midtones
Red: 10.000000
Green: 10.000000
Blue: 10.000000

Audio:

Name: DVD PCM Audio
Description: AIFF 48Khz,16bit,Stereo
File Extension: aiff
Audio Encoder
Format: QT
Sample Rate: 48.000kHz
Channels: 2
Bits Per Sample: 16
Codec Type: Uncompressed



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Borjis
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
on Jan 23, 2006 at 8:36:39 pm



If it were me I would change a few settings to:

max bitrate: 7,500
average: 6,000

Closed GOP Size: 6, Structure: IBBPBBPBBP
(I:1 B:2 P:3)

(This smaller gop will help increase the quality)

It's usually not a good idea to do color correction in the encoder
as it usually adds a lot more time to the compression job than if you
just color corrected the timeline plus the results may not be exactly as expected.


Audio looks right, but I would definitely compress it to AC-3 at 256kbps minimum. This way you have less chance of stuttering on playback and a lot more room for bits going to video. Yet the sound quality will be nearly exactly the same.



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Borjis
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
on Jan 23, 2006 at 8:40:15 pm



Forgot to say you should get absolutely excellent picture quality if you stick with those settings.

There is no reason at all for it too look bad unless compressor is a bogus encoder (find hard to believe)

With those settings in Tsunami, there would be no pixelization. It would be a crisp clean picture.

If its DV or VHS material you will see some compression (deep reds and angles) but thats because of DV and VHS not giving you much to begin with.



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Alex
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 24, 2006 at 12:24:57 pm

damn - i've just recompressed it all without trying your new settings you suggested - had to leave it overnight too...I'll give them a go anyway though.

If you think those settings (the ones i've already used) should look good, do you think maybe it's the compression on DVDSP that's making the picture look naff?

(Thanks for all your help so far :) )


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Alex
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 24, 2006 at 2:15:54 pm

Tried changing the GOP settings but couldn't see any marked difference. I also increased DVDSP's settings to "Bit Rate - 6.0" and "Max Bit Rate - 8.0". Previously I had "Bit Rate" set to 3.2.

I'm using Two Pass VBR with Best Motion Estimation.


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Borjis
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
on Jan 24, 2006 at 7:25:28 pm



sounds good. let me know how it turns out (I'm about to start authoring on DVSP soon)

Your bit rate maximum should not exceed 7,500. Recordable media doesn't have the high-reflective and error correction of replicated (metal) discs. Some of your end users could experience stuttering on playback if you go higher than 7,500 vbr.

If your average was set for 3,000 that explains why it looked bad.

The GOP changes will definitely keep the quality higher as the image becomes more complex. (everything moving) other than maintaining quality, the picture itself will not really improve and the filesize will be a bit larger.


DVDSP itself should not have any affect on the picture quality. It just brings it all together with metadata for compiling.




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Alex
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 25, 2006 at 10:03:33 am

Right...

I've gone back to the source footage and checked that (I should have done this first but went and assumed it would be ok). The Video Compressor from Media 100 has done a bad job and the stepping is there on the Quicktime Export (I'm really sorry, I should have checked this earlier).

Looks like I will have to do some work back on Media 100 and get the correct compression settings on that first and start again (armed with the tips you've given me which will be helpful I'm sure).

Apologies and thanks for all your help

Alex.


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Turbojoe
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
on Jan 25, 2006 at 9:19:44 pm

You should try exporting from Media 100 using the animation codec with millions of colors. This should give you the best qt mov to start from.

Joe Atkins
The Bingham Group



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Alex
Re: What are the best settings to use with Compressor? Is Compressor any good?
by
on Jan 27, 2006 at 10:15:08 am

Thanks, I'll give that a go

Alex


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