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DVD video encoding, quality issues

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Ben Marshall
DVD video encoding, quality issues
on Oct 23, 2008 at 6:04:50 pm

Hi Guys,

This is something that has bugged me for a while, perhaps someone can shed some light on it. I'm nowhere near a pro when it comes to encoding video for DVD, I produce ident sequences and animation and usually deliver material in uncompressed targa sequences etc. However every so often a client wants something as MPEG-2. This is where I get confused.

How the heck do you get it to look any good? I take a full quality uncompressed 20 second quicktime clip and run it through Sorensen Squeeze or Compressor using a 7000-8000Kbps bitrate MPEG-2 codec and it comes out looking absolutely terrible. Compression artefacts, softening, just horrible. What's going on? I know I sound extremely inexperienced here (I am), but I've seen DVDs that look terrific. Do motion picture studios have crazy kit that allows them to get the quality you see on movies on DVD? Or am I just being incredibly dim?

Any kindly souls wishing to enlighten me on what must be one of the very basics of DVD authoring? Help would be greatly appreciated :)


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Jeff Pulera
Re: DVD video encoding, quality issues
on Oct 24, 2008 at 4:30:33 pm

I will assume that the source material is some sort of animation or similar, created in the computer. This is the ultimate quality, having RGB color, uncompressed quality, displayed on a PC monitor, perhaps at higher than video resolution (720x480).

Just the act of converting your masterpiece to NTSC (or PAL) will lose much of the sharpness and color due to the nature of "video" versus a computer display. Add to that the compression of MPEG-2 and you lose more quality.

You didn't mention your workflow. How are you authoring the MPEG-2 file? There is a chance that the DVD authoring program is re-compressing your MPEG-2 file yet again before burning if the settings are incorrect.

Please share your complete worklow for better answers -

Resolution/content of source?
Authoring software?


Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers

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