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Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro

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Daniel Millen
Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro
on Sep 19, 2011 at 2:33:40 pm

Hi, I've lurked and skulked for a few years now, learning from everyone here when I've been stumped (thanks, BTW!). But I've run into a few problems to which I haven't found an answer or a solution (that's not to say there iSN'T one here, just that I haven't found it!)

The core issue is that, even though my M2V files are visually flawless, when I burn these to DVD via DVDSP, my beautiful dissolves look dirty and choppy, and there are peculiar "flares" and "flickers" during playback, especially (but not limited to) in the background of my videos where there are brighter areas. These areas intermittently 'pixelate' and flare, making it look like the camera's aperture opened up and closed back down--again, all seemingly intermittently. Even other scenes (talking head, stable camera, even lighting) sometimes flare up for a couple of frames...not WHITE, but it looks like the aperture is opening up a few stops and closing back to normal rapidly).

I can't give my client the mastered DVDs with this sort of thing occurring.

Please bear with me as I summarize some details:

I checked the .M2v files out of Compressor, and these look rock solid (i.e., no flares, no dirty dissolves, etc. They look positively beautiful). So, DVD Studio is doing SOMETHING to these videos when it burns my disks.

I have 21 videos to burn (~14 minutes each) spread across 5 DVDs. Each compressed video is about 700 MB, so I don't think that there's "too much" information there (again, they look great when I play them via QT).

DVD Studio Settings:
Drop Frame is NOT checked (But I see that, in my FCP sequence, Drop Frame IS checked...could this be the problem?)
Field Order: Auto
Mode: One Pass VBR
Bit Rate 4.0 Mbps
Max Bit Rate: 7.0 Mbps
Motion Estimation: Better
Background Encoding: On

MacPro / QuadCore Intel Xeon
2.26 GHz
2 processors
8 Cores
L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per processor) 8MB
Memory: 6 GB

Other factors which may/may not contribute:

• After all FCP sequences are finished, I changed the FCP sequences to: Render all YUV in high precision YUV
Process Maximum White: White (note, I didn't 'change' this, merely listing it)
Motion Filtering: Best
• Instead of rendering out .MOVs from FCP (at, like 3-6 GBs!) and porting those directly into DVDSP, I've used COMPRESSOR to create M2Vs (at about 700 MB ea).
• Until I used Compressor, I never saw these anomalies. At present, I'm rerendering everything back to .MOVs and thinking that I should let DVDSP do the encoding.
• Can't fathom why the Compressor files look great, but, when burned to DVD, the video looks like it came from a water-damaged cell phone.

I hate adding this, but I'm in a bit of a crunch. EVERYthing my client has seen up to this point (on the DVDs I've shown--NOT using Compressor) has been very smooth and NO video problems.

Not thrilled with having to render these out one-by-one in FCP as self-contained QT .MOVs, and then using DVDSP to encode...I thought that's why using Compressor was going to be cool...but I'll do what I have to do to maintain the quality.

I'm so dang close to being done... Your help/triage is greatly appreciated.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro
on Sep 19, 2011 at 3:09:09 pm

Have you tried using Compression markers on the really visually complex sections?


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Daniel Millen
Re: Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro
on Sep 19, 2011 at 7:05:27 pm

Hi, Noah:

No, I haven't tried compression markers. The .M2V files look great, so I thought that's what I'd be getting via DVDSP. There aren't any visually complex animations or video segments, i.e., no moving trees/leaves, etc. Most of this is a parent reading to a child (indoors or outdoors), or a talking head, indoors with controlled lighting.

Granted, I've never created masters for mass-duplication, so I'm a bit nervous and perplexed as to why the M2Vs look so darn different when burned to DVD.

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Michael Sacci
Re: Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro
on Sep 19, 2011 at 6:52:10 pm

Your post is a little confusing, if you are using Compressor why did you give DVDSP settings. What are your settings in Compressor. Also telling us the total of what is on 5 DVDs is useless, what is on each DVD is important.

Are you using the Send To Compressor from the timeline?

You also have not said how you are proofing the files.

In DVDSP are you adding multiple videos to a single timeline?

As far as compressor is concerned, if you total time on a DVD never excedes 80 minutes. Don't use VBR (BTW one pass is the worse thing you can use)
Use CBR set to 7 Mbps.

Your step on is not doing a thing.

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Daniel Millen
Re: Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro
on Sep 19, 2011 at 7:58:41 pm

Hi, Michael:

Sorry for the confusing post.

I gave DVDSP settings because that's what I thought DVDSP 'does' when you click Build and Format.

Compressor settings are:
DVD: Best Quality 90 minutes
2.0 Dolby Digital audio at 192kbps
MPEG-2 6.2Mbps 2-pass

I gave what's across all DVDs to indicate that no DVD has more than, say, 50 minutes of video. The amount of MB per disk averages no more than 2.5 GB. Each video/audio file is roughly 600 MB (.M2V) + 25 MB (AC3).

I am using "Send to Compressor" from the FCP timeline.

Not sure what you mean by "proofing" the files. After Compressor crushes them, I do a 'silent' review of the video files by looking at them via QT--again, they look really great, smooth dissolves, no flickering, etc.

Also, in DVDSP, I click Simulate, and, when I review the chapters, esp. those that show the flickering/etc. they look flawless. The problem SEEMS to me to be when DVDSP burns to the disk, because when I view the disk on a DVD player (Sony) or on my laptop, the flickering and dirtiness shows itself.

So, if I'm understanding you, I may want to change the default VBR DVD encode settings to CBR of 7. Yet, I don't "get" why this might be a problem, especially since it looks so darn good as a raw .M2V file. (Not saying it ISN'T the problem, but frustrated why there's such a disparity between the .M2V and the DVDSP burn.

Also, what I (obviously) don't "get" is what DVDSP is doing to my files when I click Build and Format. I'm guessing that it's re-encoding an already encoded file? Is that it? If so, I'm unsure how to end-run this process in DVDSP.

1) If I'm happy with my M2V files, and everything looks good when I simulate, should I just click "Burn" vs. "Build and Format"?
2) Also, when I click "Build and Format" DVDSP 'nags' me that, "A Video_TS directory of this project already exists. Choosing Reuse will reuse as much of the current Video_TS contents as possible." I click on DELETE and do NOT reuse--should I choose "Reuse" instead?
2) Are there other settings in DVDSP (or Compressor or FCP) that I'm missing?

I don't understand your last sentence: "Your step on is not doing a thing."

Thanks for helping me figure this out. I'm in very unfamiliar territory.

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Michael Sacci
Re: Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro
on Sep 19, 2011 at 8:55:01 pm

DVD is not (should not) be doing anything with your files. It only encodes what it needs to, if the movies are DVD complainant m2v it will just mux the audio and video together.

My recommendation for setting is for compressor, not DVDSP.

Things that can cause playback issue are well documented here, not using top quality disc, too high bitrates and using PCM audio. Seem like you have a lot of other things going on.

Without seeing every step of the workflow it is hard to know where the problem is.

One test you should do, open the video ts folder (in your build location) in DVD Player, what does that look like. If it is good, it is your burner or media, unless you are doing something a little out of the ordinary when authoring.

I would try the project on another side/burner and get different media

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Daniel Millen
Re: Flares, Flickers, dirty dissolves in DVStudio Pro
on Sep 20, 2011 at 1:48:55 am

A quick update:

I purchased a Lacie DVD burner and Archival Grade DVD-Rs, but before I remastered the DVDs, I reviewed the (at least the "troublesome/flickering" one) in another player/TV: no flicker.
I tried another player/TV combo (one of those TVs w/built-in DVD players): no flicker.
Tried my MacBook DVD player: no flicker.

My assessment is that my main review DVD player and/or (refurbished) Visio TV is/are the culprits. It just didn't make any sense that--by all accounts--the video looked pristine when previewed, simulated and VIDEO_TS files played, also looked pristine when emulated via DVD Player.

I feel a bit more at ease and thank you for your very helpful trouble-shooting. This gig is almost coming to a close, now, and I can certainly rest easier knowing that (at least to your/my sleuthing) wasn't somehow corrupted. Many, MANY thanks. You Bessies are the best!

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