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Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD

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Benjamin Harley
Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 25, 2010 at 7:02:07 am

After a great deal of effort, I discovered a straight forward way to get an HD sequence (color corrected in Apple Prores 422) to an mpeg-2 stream for DVD authoring. I have spent days beating my head against the wall, and not finding anything particularly helpful on the web - so I'm sharing it here.

Perhaps readers will see where there are ways to improve this, but after close comparison, this seems to be the best way to preserve detail without accumulating artifacts. . .

The secret in Compressor is . . . don't use the Apple presets. And don't use frame controls.

I do it in two steps . . .

Step 1 - downsize the prores sequence from 1080i to 480i (with NTSC pixels)

I would have done this sending the sequence directly to Compressor, but there is a bug which means that text generators don't use the proper aspect ratio, and the text is distorted (fat and short). This can be avoided by using the old method of exporting a Quicktime reference movie of the sequence.

Create a batch in compressor using the Apple ProRes 422 preset - be sure the video settings has the 'interlaced' box checked - change the dimensions and the pixel ratio on the geometry tab. make the audi pass-through.

Let it rip .. .

Step 2 - transcode the prores file to mpeg2 elementary stream

Add the file created by the previous step to a new compressor batch. use the mpeg2 elementary stream preset. choose the SD DVD setting, set the quality (mbps) to what suits (for top quality with short videos, i use 6.6 avg an 7.9 max). make sure frame controls are OFF.

also add the Dolby Digital preset for audio (from one of the DVD presets). this also has to be changed, because it automatically selects 'film standard compression' in the preprocessing tab. this is a no-no, unless you mastered your audio with the intention to do that. also, you may not want your audio attenuated on the dvd to match other tracks with the dialog normatlization function - to turn it off, set it to -31. use what ever bps strikes your fancy 192 or 224 kbps are supposedly as good as it gets for stereo.

That's it. . . . you now have your .m2v file.


one final note, if you are rendering video to use as a background in DVD studio pro . . . it is very important not to have it encoded twice into mpeg2 - the second pass really makes it ugly. so if you are going to add graphics / buttons on top of your menu - import the file from step 1 above (while it is still a quicktime prores movie), and let DVD studio do the rendering it will do anyways once you've added graphics and buttons on top.

I hope this saves someone the headaches I've experienced these last few days. . . .

the output is better than any attempt to use frame controls to resize and deinterlace the prores as it is transcoded directly (and interlaced again) into mpeg2.


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eric pautsch
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 25, 2010 at 8:10:38 am

Thanks Ben...good info. A faster way would be to nest your clip into a 720x480 sequence and export out of FCP through Compressor. Glad to see youre happy. BTW....Just so you know, this question is probably asked an average of 3 times a week on this forum :)

We need to write out a stickie and include your workflow as well.



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Benjamin Harley
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 25, 2010 at 8:12:31 am

great advice, i'll try it next - anything to avoid having to render everything before making a quicktime reference movie . . .

thanks for the additional tip.


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Michael Slowe
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 25, 2010 at 8:39:09 am

Why are you fellows so keen on Compressor, how do you think it compares with BitVice. Great SD DVD's from HD.

Michael Slowe


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eric pautsch
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 25, 2010 at 10:13:37 am

I actually hate compressor for MPEG 2 encoding but its great for down and up conversions. For an add on tool that is :) I personally dont use Compressor for anything but many folks here dont need or want another encoder. I love Bitvice though



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Michael Slowe
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 25, 2010 at 5:38:26 pm

Eric, do you think that BitVice will soon be doing a BD encoding? The only way at present seems to be H264 in Compressor then burn with Toast 10.

Michael Slowe


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eric pautsch
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 26, 2010 at 1:10:03 am

Dont know....that would be nice but if your serious about providing BD you need to have a PC



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Michael Slowe
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 26, 2010 at 8:00:33 am

Why a PC for BD? Even if I encode through using H264 in Compressor and burn in Toast surely this can be done on a Mac?

Michael Slowe


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eric pautsch
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Sep 26, 2010 at 8:30:34 am

Alot more tool and utilities, better encoders and you can actually playback on a PC. Toast is fine but it limits bitrates. Lots of free authoring and encoding options as well for PC.

$400 will get you great system



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Andrius Simutis
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Oct 6, 2010 at 3:28:02 am

Cinemacraft!



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Michael Slowe
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Oct 6, 2010 at 9:57:16 am

Yes, Andrius, I've heard that before but doesn't it costs THOUSANDS? I believe Hollywood uses it for their feature films with multiple passes but is it practical for us?

Michael Slowe


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eric pautsch
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Oct 9, 2010 at 6:15:57 am

Yeah...who has 50k laying around. There's an open source encoder called x264 which Ive been testing against Cinevision and Cinemacraft. Beats or matches them both. In fact I believe Citerion is using it on some of their upcoming releases. Amazing the amount of work and time goes into open source tool from hobbyist.



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Andrius Simutis
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Nov 1, 2010 at 8:22:50 pm

CCEMP is under a grand and uses the Compressor interface. That's not cheap for the hobbyist, but a bargain for a pro.



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Fred Soffa
Re: Final Cut / Compressor HD to SD for DVD
on Oct 31, 2010 at 11:59:44 pm

Thanks for posting this. With the increasing complexity of all these programs and formats, for the part-time DIY'er these posts can save hours and, well, years added at the end of our lives!


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Roger Watling
Final Cut Pro to Mpeg
on Mar 24, 2012 at 9:58:37 pm

Hi I've been an editor for 35 years but had little to do with exporting file formats.

I've edited a 3 minute Promo using the DVCPRO 1080/50 codec, I need this as an SD MPeg2.

I have downscaled this by puttng it on a IMX50 (because that is what we use at work for SD) and have exported through Compressor using the MPeg 2 option. (I'm wroking in the UK on PAL)

This comes out at 445meg. As this is being sent across a domestic upload, any suggestions as to how to reduce the size would be wonderful.

I see that the DVD compressors seem to export as a M2V with separate audio comes out at 121meg

As I say, I'm not new to editing but am a bit ov a novice when it comes to files.

Thanks
Rog

Old editors never die, we simply fade to black


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Michael Sacci
Re: Final Cut Pro to Mpeg
on Mar 25, 2012 at 8:18:28 pm

First never post a new question in a thread. Especially when the thread is close to 18 months old. Nobody but the leaders see it

Then what is the file going to be used for on the other end. Is it for web delivery, editing or a DVD?

If editing you need to keep the file size up, if DVD the audio and video are separate, if for web lower the bitrate.


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Roger Watling
Re: Final Cut Pro to Mpeg
on Mar 25, 2012 at 9:27:15 pm

Sorry, I was in a bit of a panic and thought I was creating a new thread in the FCP section rather than the DVD section and I think I have solved the issue in that the 445 MB was actually OK for what I wanted. I found that previous uploads to transfer sites I've done from my PC were not as fast as from my Mac

Sorry

Rog

Old editors never die, we simply fade to black


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