I am interested in making my "DVD Master" disk within Apple's DVD Studio 2, but to date I have been less tha impressed with the program's ability to faithfully reproduce my 78-minute program without noticeable "chunkiness" in dissolves or fades to black. As I plan on adding additional content to the final DVD master (ie: Extras and Interviews) I will be adding more data to the final version. The burns are fine for screener copies, but how do I get as close as possible to the kind of quality I'm accustomed to when I rent videos at the local store? Is DVD Studio a viable option for the quality I'm looking for or should I be thinking about alternate DVD production/reproduction workflows?
The first thing you should do is upgrade to DVDSP 4. The movies you rent in stores aren't authored or encoded in DVDSP. Theses folks have spent many thousands of dollars on encoders using prestine, original transfer masters so that counts for alot.
Great question (bitrates) to which I have no good answer. Our post process was very traditional: material shot on Panasonic DVX100A, 24P, anamorphic lens, captured via firewire to drive arrays on a G4 dual 1.42, edited on FCP 5.0 (we bought the whole Final Cut Studio 5.0). The final film, Waterbuster (see http://www.waterbuster.org) was uprezed to HDCAM for the film festival and we have a DVCAM master as well. All my screener copies were simply burned from DVD Studio Pro 4 (you're right, not 2)and were sufficient for that purpose.
However, the screeners definitely display a "chunky" quality in the fades and dissolves and to me are unacceptable for the final product.
As far as bitrates are concerned you've touched on a subject that I know nothing of (though I am a fast learner!) and wonder how bitrate fits into the matrix of it all. Please reply as I look forward to your advice and thoughts.
Did you use Compressor or just drop a QT into DVDSP? Use Compressor, its much better than Quicktime for encoding MPEG2. To find your bitrates go into preferences and check under encoding. You can use other encoders which I believe are much better (Bitvice, Procoder (PC) )
For a 78 min project you could get away with 6.3 MB/s at CBR or do a bit budget with this: