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From HD to SD DVD – the quality is very poor.

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Lasse Laursen
From HD to SD DVD – the quality is very poor.
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:22:23 pm

From HD to SD DVD – the quality is very poor.

I have a final edited, colorgraded and sound mixed documentary, that I want to put out to a DVD for broadcast screening.

The film has been shoot on HDV-camera Sony HVR-A1U in 1920X1080i. The quality is very nice in my fcp-viewer, and in qt-player whenever exported to uncompressed HD. When compressed to lower resolutions and formats like wmv, h.264 the film still remains in very good quality on (computer) screen.

Right now I use the following procedure for making a SD DVD. Export via fcp to a non-compressed full qt-file – import the file to Compressor and create a DVD best quality 90 min. Then authoring in DVD SP and boom, a DVD is ready.

The DVD works fine, but the quality is low, both on a computer screen, ordinary CRT TVs and LCD TVs. I am aware that the quality will be much lower than from the original hdv-footage. But the quality is too low compared to other DVD I’ve made before from dv-footage. The quality right now looks like footage from a cheep consumer camera.

Is there something wrong in my workflow that I should be aware of when working with hdv, compared to dv and what can be done?

Thanks in advance


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Jon Geddes
Re: From HD to SD DVD – the quality is very poor.
on Jun 4, 2009 at 3:49:50 pm

It is well known that the downscaling algorithms used by Adobe and Apple software are extremely poor. I'm not as familiar with solutions on macs, but for pc's there are additional programs you can download (for free) that do extremely high quality downscaling. There might be a program for the mac that will do this, but I'm not aware of it.

With the Adobe products, a way of achieving slightly better downscaling results is to bring your HD video into an SD sequence/timeline, and just scale it down, then export as an SD video. You can then transcode this SD file into mpeg2 with better results. This method may also work with fcp.

I will let other mac experts chime in with possibly better ideas as I am interested in hearing what they have to say.

Jon Geddes
Motion Graphics Designer
http://www.precomposed.com


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Michael Sacci
Re: From HD to SD DVD – the quality is very poor.
on Jun 4, 2009 at 6:28:38 pm

Do a short test. Set a 10 minute in and out on the area of the most movement/action. Good to get dark and light scenes.

WIth your final video in your HDV timeline in FCP, Export Using Compressor. Then in Compressor change a m2v preset to One pass CBR and the bitrate to 6.5 Mbps. Make sure the field dominance is set to UPPER! Frame Control can be off.

This will tie up FCP and Compressor for the entire encode but this will give you the best quality with the tools that you have. The CBR will speed things up and will give you a better result, I'm basing the bitrate on 90 minutes of video. Audio will need to be encoded as ac3 in compressor as well.



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Jenny Jones
Re: From HD to SD DVD – the quality is very poor.
on Jul 2, 2009 at 2:43:50 am

Ken Stone's blog has the fix.

Best option is to convert media to proRes when pulling the media in from tape.

then work in proRes > there are settings you can download off the web to set up your FCP seq correctly.




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