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Richard Mamary
Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jun 30, 2010 at 12:11:48 am

Hello, and thanks in advance for any and all help the community can give me.
(If I am in the wrong forum, either please tell me, and I will repost, or move it to the forum where you think it belongs.)

First of all I am a Mac user, running 10.6.3, and using Final Cut Studio 3.
I am using a dual, quad core MacPro with 14Gb of memory.

I have a 53 minute 720p documentary I shot in Haiti, and need to author DVD's (DV-NTSC), for film festival submissions. At this stage I am not looking for any kind of fancy menus, just the best quality for the main title.
But so far, I am very unhappy with the way the footage looks once compressed to mpeg-2.

As it is only 53 minutes, according to everything I've learned, I can apply the maximum bit rate of 9-Mbps to it.

The project was edited in Final Cut Pro, (FCP), on a Apple Pro Res 422 timeline.
I've tried creating the mpeg-2's at maximum bit rates in various ways.

I've tried sending it from the FCP timeline to Compressor, and making a custom, high bit rate setting, (as it doesn't offer one.)
I've used DVD Studio Pro (DVDSP), after exporting the project from FCP as a Apple Pro Res mov.
And, I've tried using Toast Titanium, (TT). again with the exported Apple Pro Res mov as the starting point.

Again, I am not happy with the results of any of them. Way too much artifacting and stair stepping on edges, in particular horizontal and vertical lines. And just in general pixelation.

Granted, I am then watching it on a 1080p television, (it might look pretty good on an old school DV-NTSC TV), but blown up on a large screen TV is probably how it will end up getting viewed, in most situations anyway.

So I have a few questions and am open to any suggestions.

First if you can apply the maximum bit rate anyway, are you better off choosing a constant, higher, bit rate (CBR), with a single pass, or a variable bit rate, (with the accompanying range, and lower minimum), with a double pass?

Second, are there any other, better, pro-sumer, authoring applications, that will export an mpeg-2, that I would be much happier with? (I am assuming that if it was ever picked up for any kind of distribution, it would get professional encoding, and would look 100% better?)

Or, because I, (assume I), can't afford professional encoding, am I stuck with the options I already have?

And, if so, which of those options, that I have mentioned above, is considered to be the best one?

Thanks again.


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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jun 30, 2010 at 4:07:33 am

You made 2 mistakes. First dont set your bitrates to the max. DVD has a maximum bitrate of 9.8 for video. Many encoders will spike over this if your not careful. Plus many DVD players will have troubles playing burned discs with 8+ settings. Second, you want to encode in Compressor, not DVDSP. It will offer more control and a better encode since Compressor's compression Algorithms are more advanced than QTs encoding engine (which is what DVDSP uses).

I would export out your timeline as a ProRes 422 720x480 16x9 Anamorphic QT. Drop this into Compressor and Set your bitrate at CBR @ 7.2 mb/s and see if you like the results. There are other encoders such as BitVice and Cinemacraft which do a better job, especially at lower bitrates.




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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jun 30, 2010 at 1:18:05 pm

Thanks Eric for your reply.
I will try your suggestions. Though I am not clear on one part.

I am not sure this matters, but as I wrote the timeline is 720p, ProRes 422.
You wrote, "export out your timeline as a ProRes 422 720x480 16x9 Anamorphic QT."
I have been exporting with the current, (HD), settings and then letting compressor downscale to the smaller, NTSC aspect ratio, while it encodes to mpeg-2.

For export, in FCP I do not see the exact option you mention, but I am assuming you mean the setting for:
Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) NTSC 48 kHz Anamorphic

Is it generally preferable to downsize the aspect ration out of FCP, rather than let Compressor do that part as well as the mpeg-2 encoding? Does it matter?

So I will then try your suggestions, at the CBR of 7.2 Mbs.


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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jun 30, 2010 at 2:13:01 pm

Maybe others can comment on Compressors ability to Down Convert. This could also be your problem area. Ive never used it for that. I will only feed an encoder a 720x480 uncompressed QT.

In FCP you would go to QT conversion and export out your new QT - make sure its 16x9 anamorphic.



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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jun 30, 2010 at 6:40:11 pm

At this point, I am not so sure that there is a best way to down convert.

Because so far, from this experience in the end results, I can't see any visual difference in quality between the two m2v Compressor encodes I made:
One, from a QT reference movie, (at Current Settings, 720p); and,
Two, the Anamorphic version that I exported from FCP, (as per your instructions.)
And, both of them wanted natively to play squished, (vertically), on my old DVD player, upscaled to a 1080p HDTV.
I had to make the "picture size" adjustment on the HDTV to see the correct aspect ratio. (This surprised me.) Perhaps the Anamorphic setting would only come into play when seen with a 4:3 TV?
The only difference was the time. It took five minutes to export the Current Settings reference mov, from FCP, and 90 minutes to get the downscaled one.

I should ask you too, I have been muxing the m2v's using DVDSP. Does this matter? Is DVDSP not a good muxer?

Also, sticking to the lower bit rate did improve playback, as there was no more stutter, (thank you very much), but I am still not so happy with the general look of the video after the encoding. I am taking into account that I am downgrading from 720p, but I have seen, (albeit), commercial DVD's that are double my videos length, that look far better than my output.

So then, without pro compression tools, is having a DVD version that looks really good simply out of my reach? I would have thought that would apply for sure with a two hour video, but I figured that with a 53 minute video, I would be able to output far more professional results.

Now as to the two other encoders you mentioned, Bitvice goes for <$200.00, while Cinema Craft goes for $795.00. Big difference, but less than what I would have thought actually.

Do you have experience with either of these? In your opinion, are they about equivalent in output quality? I might find the money if I thought it would make a major difference. But I would be highly bummed if the difference wasn't that stark.

Thanks again for all your advice.


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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 1, 2010 at 12:54:40 am

DVDSPs muxing engine is fine. This has nothing to do with the quality of your stream, it only gathers all the assets and bundles them into the appropriate files that players read.

Are you encoding progressive? Your FCP time line is 23.98 correct? It hard to say since I cant see what youre looking at. I'm not sure if your workflow has an error or you're being overly optimistic :) Can you post some screen shots of the problem areas?

You wont see a dramatic improvement when using Bitvice or Cinemcraft. They are much better at lower bitrates though which is why I abandoned Compressor years ago. These are just Mac examples too. I use the PC version of Cinemacraft SP v2. When I was working for the Studios we used the Xtream version which cost upwards of $75K so dont think Hollywood is using $500 tools. :) Many streams come from 2k or 4k files and are correctly down converted and color corrected.

Your timeline should be 1280 X 1080, 23.98. (or30p). Use this to down convert to a 720x480 16x9 Anamorphic export and encode.



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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 1, 2010 at 4:57:35 am

I will put together a couple of screen shots and post them along with my settings tomorrow morning.

Thanks again so much for all your help...


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Joe Catanzano
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 1, 2010 at 1:11:32 pm

Hi Richard,

Another option to consider, though it certainly isn't free. Bring your movie to a post/finishing house that can do a hardware down-conversion for you. Though you will, of course, pay a fee, you can end up with two things. First, the digi-beta master necessary for submission to many festivals/broadcast. Second, have them create an 8-bit uncompressed anamorphic file for you, which you can compress to mpeg2. This way, you won't be paying the enormous cost of professional authoring, but the hardware downconversion will make the difference in aliasing/edging that you are noticing.

If you need a hand with specific machinery to request or houses which can do the conversion, let me know.

-joe


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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 1, 2010 at 4:51:17 pm

Hi Joe,

Thanks for jumping in. I doubt at the moment that we can afford to use a finishing house. It's a documentary covering a small groups relief efforts, I shot in Haiti right after the quake, and there is basically no money in it, at the moment. A labor of love, if you will.
But, can you tell me approximately what I could expect to pay for the services you mentioned on a 53 minute video?

Also, Eric, Joe et al,
(Getting this all together took longer than I thought it would!)
As the screenshots are large, I am uploading them through imageshack. Once the page loads, click them to enlarge for the full size. (Before I took the screenshots, I blew them up to full screen on my 1080p monitor, as that is how they will likely be upscaled on a viewer/judges 1080p HDTV.)

It seems as though the real problem may be more with movement, than anything. More on that below.

After preparing these screen shots, it seems that except for the "stat cards," where I really wanted to use red, or yellow in the fonts, (see Fig. 1 http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/4928/statisticsheetcompared.jpg), for the most part the video stills from the m2v look like they have a reasonable reduction in quality, compared to the original QT video files. (See Fig. 2 http://img580.imageshack.us/img580/8974/scottscreenshot.jpg)
Please let me know if you think I could get more out of this encode.

However, it is becoming very clear to me that the really big problem is more in the playback, with moire patterns flickering badly on tracking shots that have horizontal lines in particular, that make the dvd version look so grievous. (See Fig. 3 http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/5862/badmoirepatternsinmovem.jpg)

And this is particularly grievous when watching the dvd on a 46" 1080p HDTV through a DVD player. Also, this moire-ing (if that is the right name for it), doesn't appear as bad when the dvd is played using Apples DVD player, or VLC on my 1080p, 24" Samsung monitor that I use with my computer.

Would it be helpful if I make and upload both a: TS FOLDER; and the comparable QT mov, of this moire-ing clip? Again, thank you so much for your time...

It is really all this flickering, (that you can't see from a still), that is so utterly distracting, that just takes the viewer away from the images and story. At this point, I can certainly live with any other hit in the quality.


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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 1, 2010 at 10:06:33 pm

You need to give us the info on you what your editing. Go to to original timeline and give use codec, frame size, timecode, ect. A small TS folder plus a QT uploaded somewhere would be huge!

E



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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 2, 2010 at 12:31:22 am

Thanks again Eric, and the journey continues...

First, do you think that the actual dip in quality, as per the screen shots I uploaded before, is an acceptable loss?

Now the details. The footage was shot in AVCHD lite. FCP doesn't play nice with this format so it has to be converted. So, following the advice at the time, it was imported in FCP 7 as, Apple Pro Res 422, through, "Log and Transfer." I then dropped one of the imported clips onto the default sequence and clicked "YES," when I received this prompt.



FCP would now change the projects sequence settings, (I think my previous default sequence setting was for DV-NTSC), appropriately for the transferred clips.
Here is the Sequence Settings:



So, I worked with these settings, and as I reported before when exporting, used "Current Settings," leaving unchecked, "Make Movie Self Contained."



Then, I imported that file into Compressor, and, (thank you), used these settings, and submitted it to my local Cluster:



As I wrote in my most-lengthy last post with screen shots, the picture degradation has become the least of my problems as this flickering/moire-ing, (what would be the correct term?), in the windows with the slats, is now far more grievous than anything else.

The video begins with a 2 minute, hand held, (I know that can't be helpful), tracking shot down a particularly devastated street in Port-au-Prince, set to a beautiful original soundtrack. This opening shot really sets the whole tone for the piece. As it just goes on and on, it drops the viewer in to the closest thing they will experience to what it feels like being there. (At least that is what I've been told!) With this crazy flickering happening in the shot, it just ruins the whole effect of being transported in.

I should mention that when I first started this thread, (thinking it was the apparent quality loss in the DVD version that was most distressing), this flickering, or moire-ing, [what's the right word?], didn't look so awful played through Apple's DVD Player or VLC on my Mac's 24" 1080p monitor. It wasn't until I actually burned it to disk and played it on a 46" HDTV that it looked absolutely horrendous. It could be that this was just a combination of one DVD player and one HDTV, but I can't rest on Hope. It will be a real bummer if it can't be fixed.

I know I am a broken record, at this point, but once again, thank you so much again for your help. So, I will now export a short clip of the opening tracking sequence as a self contained movie at the current settings, Apple Pro Res 422, and then encode that to m2v using the same settings as above with Compressor, mux that into a TS Folder with DVDSP, zip them both up, upload to a file sharing site, and post the link.

So, you may have to watch the TS Folder played on both a big screen HDTV, as well as a computer monitor, to see this play out. I will get this uploaded tonight...


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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 2, 2010 at 4:26:33 am

Arrggghhh....I hate 30p! I believe you have a 30p file. You still dont indicate how you encoded the piece? Progressive or interlaced.

BTW...the screenshots look fine. You will loose alot of info since you're going to MPEG 2. Reds are a terrible color to use. I'll have a look at the files later.



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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 2, 2010 at 3:00:39 pm

Eric, I didn't find this latest post of yours at first, because it wasn't at the bottom of the page, as it ended up above my previously last post… So, my actual reply to this post of yours will be made at the bottom, (technically replying to my own last post), just to keep these in order...
That way if you are not notified of the entire thread, and only responses to your replies, you will now know I posted again, even though it was only to myself… So look below! (Man that's wordy.)


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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 2, 2010 at 1:55:19 am

Here is a link to download a zipped folder containing, a 17 sec. Apple Pro Res 422 QT mov, and a TS Folder, of the same, encoded by Compressor at above settings, and muxed by DVDSP.

http://d01.megashares.com/index.php?d01=6acc5d5

If you are unfamiliar with the site. When you get there, click the Regular Download, not the High Speed link.



That will bring you to this page where you will be prompted to, "Enter the passport reactivation code in the graphic, then hit the "Reactivate Passport" button.



Now the file is ready for download.



Hopefully it will all go smoothly, un-zip well, and play. Hopefully...




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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 2, 2010 at 3:03:06 pm

Hi Eric,

And, thanks again. So did you see the flickering, moire-ing (whatever) in the building windows on your DVD player? (I realize now that I should have set it to loop. Next time.) And, what is this flickering phenomena rightly called? Does it have a name?

Arrggghhh....I hate 30p! I believe you have a 30p file. You still dont indicate how you encoded the piece? Progressive or interlaced.

I believe it is 30p too. My understand back in January was in order to be able to import & edit AVCHD with FCP, it has to be at the 29.97 frame rate. Which seemed dreadful to me too at the beginning, assuming I was starting with a form of 720p. Though, my understanding was that even as it was supposedly recording 60frames, it was merely duplicated every other frame.

Now, as to how I encoded it?
Progressive, or interlaced...
I am not sure where I would have chosen this option. In FCP? Compressor? And if so, where? I am looking.

In FCP, I can't see any options other than Export QT...



Click on Current Setting pulldown to change...



Select: Apple Pro Res 422 (HQ) 1280x720 30p 48 kHz



And the end result look pretty identical to when I just choose current settings, except the file is much larger. My media info application still indicates it is 29.97, even though I clearly chose 30p. Is that just how it works?

I also can't find any program for OSX to analyze the file and tell me if it is progressive or interlaced. Do you know of one?

The only other option off the FCP timeline is for QT conversion. (I know I am being major redundant here, but maybe I missed something?)



The only reasonable option here is for QT movie, right?



And once in there here are the options:




And the if I click on Settings, the obvious choice is again:



And even if I change the frame rate there to 30, the exported file's MediaInfo still says it's 29.97!

Also, in Compressor, I do not see any choices for Progressive or Interlace either.
Can you walk/talk me through. What am I missing?




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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 2, 2010 at 3:47:31 pm

It looks like you're doing everything correctly. Look in the Inspector for Compressor and you'll see where to set the progressive flags. Look at some youtube tutorials first.







I work nights (yes I have a real job now) so Im going to bed now...I'll look at the TS later :)

Eric



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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 3, 2010 at 1:12:05 am

Hey Eric, thanks again. And, no worries at all on when you get around to watching it. I am thankful to be getting all the help you've already given me, even though I am still flumoxed. I hope you have had plenty of rest when you read this, because I am wired up! Even though this whole thing is starting to wind down...

When/if you get to watch the TS on a big screen, hopefully you will see these strobing, (again I do not know what to call them!) patterns in the parts of the frame I circled in this screenshot I posted above and again here,
http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/5862/badmoirepatternsinmovem.jpg
as well as in other places in this clip. I really want them fixed quite badly, but am also open to many-a-pro telling me that I should forget it and just move on. Though, I am far from there yet...

Seeing as we may now be in agreement, that I already have as decent an encode from my original footage, that I can make on my own, then perhaps I only have two options left. One being Joe's, from above, (which I am curious what you think about that), and the other, being to have to go back to FCP.

Perhaps there is some kind of filter or blur that I could apply to those problem areas, which would be a bit insane, as I would have to create a mask over each of them, (e.g. the window frames), add a blur/filter of some sort, and then frame by frame move the mask until each of these offending areas are no longer in frame. Because I could never apply it to the whole image. That could take me, as I am far from an expert a really long time to do.

I have seen some guys wacking away on their FCP keyboards, editing at speeds that gals in the proverbial secretarial pool, would envy. No, I am not one of those, more of a peck, peck guy, unfortunately.

I don't even know if my masking/blurring scheme would work, (do you?) But, I am guessing that those kind of anomalous patterns can only show up, (and probably are a, "to be expected," though disagreeable phenomena), when some distinct parallel lines are present. Is this a good guess? So if the lines were less distinct, -blurred if you will, -then the strobing couldn't occur. Right? Or, if I had a professionals access to the hardware encoders out there, would it all look great, and I wouldn't have to worry about the strobes? But, more on that in a minute.

Anyway, as to your last suggestion regarding progressive flags, I went in and changed the Output Fields from "Same as Source," to Progressive, but not only did both m2v versions look the same, but my MediaInfo application reported that in both of them, the Scan Type was, "Progressive."

The only other thing that I didn't do, was when I exported from FCP, I used Current Settings. Current settings were again Apple Pro Res 422, not Apple Pro Res 422 (HQ). I did export a short clip in each format to compare them, but I really couldn't see a difference except in the file size.
Do you think that this is important?

Finally, once you see the TS Vid, perhaps you could also let me know whether you think Joe's idea, using a professional DVD encoding service to do a hardware down conversion, would make a significant difference. He didn't respond to my initial request for a ballpark figure of what it might cost, but I am curious. In addition to the digi-beta master he said they would give me an 8-bit uncompressed anamorphic file, which I can then compress to mpeg2. Is that something I can't do with FCP? I do have other export options, such as this custom, Uncompressed 8-bit NTSC 48kHz 1280x720.



Would that downscale out of FCP be a better starting point than the Apple Pro Res 422, I have been using? And again do you think using the Apple Pro Res 422 (HQ) would be that different than Apple Pro Res 422?

Finally, finally, would full out pro encoding, or the hardware down conversion Joe mentioned, ultimately be the only things, (perhaps other than my masking scheme), that would make the difference in all this strobing? And would the overall quality be that improved?

Or, triple finally, with what I have, would pro encoding not make the huge difference and be worth the money, and I would probably get a better result with my insane masking idea?

I appreciate all your help, as again I am running out of options here, the time frame is closing, and overall this thing has to come to a final conclusion. No worries, as I know this is a holiday weekend, darn it!

All The Best,
Richard



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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 3, 2010 at 1:28:16 am

I'll take a look at the TS folder this weekend. I was thinking the same thing about masking those trouble spots. However, this just might be something you cant fix. Even masters from the studios have bad moire patterns like these.

A Hardware down-conversion would be a waste of time and money. If you were up converting, then I would say otherwise. But even the CORRECT software based conversion processes with match any hardware set up. The only difference is time...which is a premium in certain environments. Ive spent many years has a tape op doing down/up/cross conversions and can tell you there are free tools like AviSynth which match an Alchemsit, UFC or Terenex conversion frame to frame....period! The difference is that the software option takes days while the HW is real time.

Alot professional encoding is file based these days. This might help.

Talk later.



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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 3, 2010 at 1:50:51 am

OK...I just watched the disc.

Your encoding is fine. Those issues are just the nature of interlaced video. Really not as bad as I thought it would be. You really need to color correct that piece and that will help alot!! You left your automatic aperture activated! :) The whites are really washed out. After that I would try another encode with compressor. You can try another encoder or pay someone to do the encoding but with source footage like that, you can only do so much. Not saying it looks real bad, and Im sure its a thoughtful and provocative film, but it needs a good grading pass done.




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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 3, 2010 at 1:41:25 pm

Once again Eric thanks so much for your time. I'll hit all your points, but I will stick to the moire first.

I just wanted to check. Did you have a chance to watch it blown up on a large screen? No worries if you can't. Because, as I've mentioned a few times, the moire patterns didn't bother me much on a 1080p computer monitor. I see it happening slightly in the original footage, but I guess after, down conversion, encoding, and then watching it blown up, (even larger than the original was), is more than any footage can bear. I may still try one test with a moving mask, and see if it helps or is worth the time.

I'm sure that as a pro, the washed out whites, (from the automatic aperture settings), look like the biggest problem. And in an ordinary situation they would be. But this was no ordinary situation. This wasn't a film shoot at all. I was tagging along with a small relief group, and there were no second takes.

It was a choice to shoot with the automatic aperture. One I made right from the beginning after missing shots. (No excuses, only an explanation.) I was shooting inside a van with this relief team, members of which range from a dark skinned black man, to as white skinned a man as there is! They were also jumping in and out on a moments notice, and had to grab quick shots whenever I could, and missed some shots on the fly, until I ended up setting it to auto. So, as much as I too don't like how it looks, and would find it un-acceptable in a real film set up, it was the only way I could pan between a conversation inside the van and see both men.

This particular clip I sent you with the moire, I was shooting inside the van and then we turned the corner, I saw the devastation, and I just flipped open the side door, and basically hung outside and just shot with one hand, holding on to the car frame. Nothing I shot was planned, and as I was following them around, again there were never any retakes.

So that said, this unfortunate look, is throughout the project. And, if the video didn't have such compelling images, and subject matter, I would probably say it was unwatchable. Yet strangely, as it occurs throughout, it adds, (mind you this is an excuse in retrospect!), a certain cinema verite feel to it. At first, horrified at the look, I started trying to muck with CC using keyframes to keep the shots as balanced as I could, and then ended up bailing on the idea, as it would never look quite right, and in fact looked even more artificial. (Cinema un-Verite, if you will!) I also think there is also nothing at all to be done with the shots where the whites are completely washed out, as there is no detail to recover. In fact, it was so unbelievably bright down there, (I guess the direct sun, being so close to the equator), just to be able to see the expressions on the Haitian people, everything else ended up getting washed out. I don't have a lot of experience shooting dark skinned people, but I have heard that even in the most controlled of environments, it can be a great challenge.



I have ended up coming full circle, and have fully accepted, -embraced if you will, this look. If the whites weren't washed out, I just wasn't seeing any faces. And, yes, the subjects too are a little over exposed, so I could make an adjustment. But when I do the blown out whites begin to look strange and un-natural.

Thanks, big time, for the advice on not needing pro services for "down conversion." I was beginning to think that I maybe I had to go that route. That's a relief to know. You wrote that "correct" software based conversion, matches a hardware set-up, except for time.

But, to be clear, that doesn't include DVD encoding too? Isn't hardware dvd encoding light years better than any software encoding I can do at home? Because, there doesn't seem to be any way for me to make a 2hr DVD here that looks anything like the pro's can make. Has this changed? I figured because this piece was under an hour that I would have a shot at making it look decent. But I have seen professionally encoded dvd's with two hour features, and several hours of extras, that look better than anything I can encode at even half the length. This is just the nature of the business, right?

Before we get to CC, back to my output. Do you think my outputting as (reg) Apple Pro Res 422, not Apple Pro Res 422 (HQ) is an issue at all?
Or, are there better settings, for the pre Compressor output from FCP? I would think it can't get "out" any better than how it was brought in.

You wrote that the moire issues are just the nature of interlaced video. Yet, the outputted files from FCP say they are progressive?? This may be rhetorical, sa there may be no answer but, are they, or aren't they?! I am confused. Are they actually interlaced? The original video is supposed to be 720p, again albeit "lite," (with every other frame of the 60fps a duplicate.) Is it because FCP can't deal with AVCHD lite, that it forces a workflow in 29.97, which has to be interlaced? (BTW, I don't expect you to know the answer to this, as AVCHD lite is not a common format. And, I have tried to get these answers before, spending hours and hours on the net. I'm not sure anyone knows...)
Before importing into FCP, I followed all the instructions I could find, and yet never really understood exactly what happened. Everything I could find just said it would have to be worked at 29.97.

So finally, you say applying CC will help a lot. But, I am assuming you mean for the over all look, and not as a fix for the moire-ing, right?

Some of these exposure fluctuations go from over bright, to over dark, before the auto aperture adjusts properly. (Say a pan from the white to the black guy inside the van.) Neither situation corrects well, as there is no detail in those over blacks, or blown out whites, to bring back. I was frustrated for a while trying to fix this, but gave up, and began accepting it.

Without seeing all the footage, do you feel comfortable telling me that I am I wrong in this thinking? Because, if I am not going to try and fix all the aperture fluctuations throughout, do you still think I should CC shots like the one above, and take the hit on how strange the blown out whites become? I can apply CC like that throughout, without trying to completely balance all the wild aperture fluctuations, but again bailed on it all, and decided on that verite look.

Once again thanks a bunch! And, Happy 4th!


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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 3, 2010 at 10:08:48 pm

There would be no difference in your situtation between ProRes 422 and HQ.

http://macmediacast.com/2009/03/prores-422-standard-vs-prores-422-hq/

I see your point on the Cinema Verite but what you gain in one area you must give up somewhere else. The reason why the features you have watched look so much "better" has more to do with the source than the encoder. People spend alot of money and alot of time color correcting, lighting and mastering before it hits an encoder. Im not saying what your doing is incorrect, it just a by product of the type of production you are handling.

The reason your seeing interlacing is because you are viewing it on an interlaced monitor. You can encode progressive but since our are seeing it on a interlaced monitor you have interlacing. The problem goes away once its feed intoa progressive monitor.

29.97 doesn't mean interlaced its just means DFTC. Your files are definitely progressive 29.97. The reason I hate 30p can be illustrate in this thread:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/55/862652

Things have changed in the last 3 years or so with Hardware vs. Software encoders. Since a digital workflow has become a standard in itself it only makes sense. Also, not all software encoders are the same. Some run 10 of thousand so of dollars, use advanced DCT algorithms and enable you to tweak parameters- even segments re-encode certain trouble spots.

If you like, I can look at your QT encode this for you on Cinevision, Im not promising any miracles and I certainly can't do it for free but its just an offer since you obviously reflect such passion in the quality of your encode ( A huge compliment BTW :) ) Other than that, you can try another encoder if you like.

So basically you have 3 choices:

1. Color correct it scene to scene
2. Buy another encoder
3. Have someone do it on a high end system with pre-processing and segment encodes and all that

None will guarantee the results you might want since Ive only been talking with you over a computer screen. These things need to be scrutinize with an encoder and the producer in the same room or over the phone. Your workflows look correct.



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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 8, 2010 at 4:24:17 am

Hey Eric, thanks for all the help along the way.

I was away for a couple of days... Hopefully, you are still following the thread.

I did spend a bunch of hours and masked out the windows with the moire effect, (only in the first 30 secs), and put a combination of blur, contrast/brightness and selective color filters, and actually got a nice result. At least it doesn't have all that distracting moire-ing right from the get go. It gives the viewer a little chance to drop in.
I don't know how much more of that I will do though.

No doubt, your best friend in post, is good prep, and attention to detail in production. As you know, I had no such luxury. And so post, can only be a world of pain with improperly prepped and planned footage. You know what I mean...

I am a little confused as to the interlaced monitor comment.
Where am I watching on an interlaced monitor. My 24" 1080p computer monitor?
I was also watching the final DVD on a 46" 1080p Samsung. Is that also an interlaced monitor?

I am self taught at everything I do with NLE's, AE or whatever CC I do. So I am far, far, from being able to make any kind of judgement, only guesses. But that guess is, considering how how much fluctuation there is going on with the auto aperture, and how little detail is to be found in either the dark or blown out areas, even though it would no doubt look better, there would probably be no miracles, even if I could afford pro services.

As to my options. I can't afford any pro route, as much as I want it to be perfect. (I was looking at the Cinevision website. And, I have encoder envy! What do they charge for that? Is that one of the software encoders you mentioned could be tens of thousands?)

I will do some CC, scene to scene. as you suggest. All I know is basic stuff working with levels, saturation, B+C, etc. I am self taught working with the histogram, (though I am sure I could be better!) And, I still haven't tackled utilizing FCS's "Color," yet. There may not be enough time for me to learn and use it on this project. I will get the tutorial going though.

So, I wish that I had any resources whatsoever to bring you in to have a look, and if nothing else, give me your assessment, but I have been hemorrhaging my own cash, just to work on this
.
i am very, very grateful for all the gratis help and advice you have given me thus far. As this is a labor of love, I know your helping me will result in some Karmic substantial paying work, to flow in your direction.


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eric pautsch
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 8, 2010 at 8:31:24 am

Richard....are you in LA?



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Richard Mamary
Re: Best Mac software/settings for 53 minute DVD encode.
on Jul 8, 2010 at 1:54:50 pm

No, I'm in NYC...


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