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My compression. As good as it gets?

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Tim Curley
My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 16, 2010 at 8:34:30 pm

Hello-

I am dissatisfied with my results when trying to create a high-quality DVD. I see that the topic has been discussed again and again. However, I am hoping that I might get some sage and specific advice. Here is my process.

16:9 Footage acquired on RED.
Transcoded to Apple ProRes 422 SQ, Half (good)
Highlighted my 117min sequence in FCP timeline and "send to" compressor
Selected "Best quality 120mins"

This gives me: 4.34GB MPEG-2; 168.6MB Dolby Digital Professional 2.0

I open DVD Studio Pro. Put those 2 files in the track. Delete the menu. Build/format. Then burn onto a 120min/4.7GB DVD+R.

The resulting images are pretty disappointing.

Can anyone be my hero.

Thanks in advance. I truly appreciate your time.

Tim


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Michael Sacci
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 16, 2010 at 8:45:22 pm

Sorry but you haven't read the forum very well. Down Convert before encoding to m2v.

[Tim Curley] "The resulting images are pretty disappointing."
We can do nothing with that statement, disappointing? what are you actually disappointed about.

If you are not getting the results you want with Compressor, and you are test different setting you may need to spend some money on a better encoder.

As I have said before, compression is a art, there is more to it than dropping in a preset and hitting submit.


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Tim Curley
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 16, 2010 at 8:56:18 pm

Thank you for your quick reply, sir. I "am test different setting" and will give your suggestion a try. Indeed, compression is "a art" as elusive as, say, grammar or social grace. We can all improve. Best, Tim


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Michael Sacci
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 16, 2010 at 10:56:58 pm

I have a much better grasp of compression over grammar or social graces. :-)


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Steve Brame
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 19, 2010 at 12:12:37 am

We have seen time and time when a client presents with HD footage, and the final product is to be on a DVD - they expect the final to be either HD, or at least better than what they are used to DVD being. Recently had a director that was very unhappy with his HD footage edited and output to DVD with 8MB data rate. He actually stated that "it looks like Standard Def", which I had to explain - it was! He actually asked me - "well why did I shoot in HD if the final is going to be SD?" Well, the answer was obvious, but I wasn't going to say it.


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Michael Sacci
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 19, 2010 at 3:29:15 am

If you shoot and grade HD footage well, it WILL look better than if it was just shoot on SD, especially if the SD was DV. Why do you think TV shows are still shot on film. The probably is most people think that shooting HD is a golden ticket, everything will look better no matter what you do.

Also just as there are different levels of SD, DV vs DigiBeta, there are also different levels of HD, HDV vs. HDCAM or AVC-Intra.


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Steve Brame
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 19, 2010 at 3:52:07 am

The acronyms SD and HD refer only to resolution. A DVD is only 720 x 480, no matter what the source material. Conversely, if you shoot SD and grade it well, it can look better than poorly shot/graded HD footage on a final media such as DVD. The resolution doesn't matter since to get to DVD it all will be reduced in resolution to 720 x 480.

My point is, quite a few people expect higher resolution DVD's from HD source material - an impossibility. My example points this out, and it is merely one of several we've encountered. The director in question had no idea that DVD's could not be HD.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Michael Sacci
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 19, 2010 at 4:08:13 am

[Steve Brame] "Conversely, if you shoot SD and grade it well, it can look better than poorly shot/graded HD footage on a final media such as DVD. "
Right, but well shot HD footage will look better than well shot SD footage. One major difference, there were no cheap SD cameras that shoot 4:2:2, to go up to from a DV camera there was a huge jump in price. Where as with HD, 5K gets you DVProHD @ 4:2:2, 10K can even get you a 10-bit camera. Unheard of in SD for under 20-30K. Then there is the real 16:9 cameras at the lower price point also.

Also there is a benefit of shooting at higher resolution and reducing.

Saying there is a lot of mis-information is one thing, but you seemed to be implying that there is no benefit.

My point is simply that there is an answer for, "So why did you shoot in HD." One that would satisfy the person that spent the money (which in fact is pretty much zero, since it cost no extra money to shoot and HD most flavors of HD).


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Steve Brame
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 19, 2010 at 3:39:27 pm

I'm simply talking resolution...not color space. While HD cameras today may well have better color space abilities that the SD cameras of yore...this is not because of the HD spec, which addresses ONLY resolution, for there are certainly HD camera that shoot 4:2:0.

Now, if we were to change the conversation to a comparison of HD cameras that shoot in a 4:2:2 color space compared to those that shoot 4:2:0, we'd be on subject.

Now, to be honest, since we produce only corporate, I've never had an audience that would even notice, much less care about, color space.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Michael Slowe
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Sep 22, 2010 at 10:56:29 am

I'm just late in on this thread but it seems to me that the original question related to compression for an SD DVD.

The Compressor software was mentioned. Well, I find I get a much better DVD by using BitVice. The latest version also prepares your ac3 audio file and the quality of downscale from HD (assuming that the shoot was in HD) is very good. You can choose whether you compress using CBR or VBR and of course you can choose the bit rates. Our original poster merely let it all happen automatically and, as pointed out by a subsequent poster, this is not going to get you the best quality DVD. BitVice forever I suggest and here's hoping they will announce a BD version soon!

Michael Slowe


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Andrius Simutis
Re: My compression. As good as it gets?
on Oct 6, 2010 at 3:18:21 am

As others have pointed out, getting the most out of an MPEG2 compression isn't just a set it and forget it affair, especially with Compressor. You can get a little bit better quality by knowing your settings and avoiding some of the nastiness that happens in downsampling without frame controls, but the problem is still that Compressor's MPEG2 implementation is a little weak compared to the higher end tools.
I've made plenty of DVDs that hold up in comparison to the original HD content. Are they exact matches? Of course not because obviously the resolution is lower, but when you compress it right, and play it back on a good upscaling player connected over HDMI you can achieve an image that is close enough to fool most viewers. If you take that same HD content and compress it with a single pass encoder like Compressor without doing anything to ensure a smooth downscaling, then play it back over a composite cable to a HD set, you're going to see a lot of the artifacts, stairsteps, mosquitoeing, and even color space issues.



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