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Encoding for Documentary

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Scott Whitney
Encoding for Documentary
on Mar 21, 2012 at 5:10:42 pm

Hello all... I just reviewed a DVD I created using Compressor, DVD Studio Pro and Disk Utility and I've got considerable stuttering the last 10 minutes or so. It's 1 hr 51 minutes long.

I'm using my own settings I created in Compressor, CBR 1 pass (I haven't had much success with VBR) set at 3.7. I set it low because of the length of the doc and there is a fair amount of action in certain scenes. I then go into FCP 10.03 and use the share function which creates the files for DVD Studio Pro. I typically use Disk Utility on my Mac Pro (2.6 GHZ quad core running Mac OS 10.5.8) for burning, that's always been my best formula.

Most of the documentary looks pretty good. I've reviewed it on 2 DVD players though and I'm getting the same stuttering at the end. Kind of running out of time at this point because we have a private screening tomorrow. Wondering if anyone has any suggestions, I'd certainly appreciate it!

Those settings are creating a DVD that's 3.6 gigs. I could increase the bitrate but I'm thinking that might further the problem. I'm just not sure. Thank you!

Scott-

Scott Whitney
Whitney Media Productions
http://www.whitneymedia.tv


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Bill Stephan
Re: Encoding for Documentary
on Mar 21, 2012 at 7:27:16 pm

Scott,

First of all, you don't need to encode at such a low bitrate. You can use an average of around 4.8 if your audio is Dolby Digital.

Second, a 1-pass encode at 3.7 is getting way into "you're pushing your luck" category. At that bitrate, you need 2-pass VBR. The problem is Apple Compressor is not a great encoder for low bitrate encodes. It produces extreme bitrate spikes both high and low.

Try a CBR or VBR 2-pass encode at 4.8, but make sure you set all the setting in Compressor for best quality. That will greatly increase the time required to encode, but it will also help the quality a lot.

The real solution for encoding at really low bitrates is a better encoder where you have more ability to control the encoding parameters.

Bill Stephan
Senior Editor/DVD Author
USA Studios
New York City


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Scott Whitney
Re: Encoding for Documentary
on Mar 21, 2012 at 8:01:16 pm

Hi Bill...thanks for your response. Maybe my understanding about this is too limited because I'm a little confused. I went back into Compressor and was playing with some settings based on your comments. I entered in VBR 2 pass, with 4.5 minimum and 5.3 max. At the bottom of the screen it summarizes as saying this will allow up to 102 minutes/layer of video on DVD-5. (Initially I put in 4.8 but that yielded less minutes). I'm dealing with approximately 120 minutes in my show. That's why I was entering in a lower bitrate. I definitely appreciate your input!

Scott-

Scott Whitney
Whitney Media Productions
http://www.whitneymedia.tv


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Michael Slowe
Re: Encoding for Documentary
on Mar 21, 2012 at 10:51:03 pm

Scott, I know you're short of time for this project but for future use you may wish to try a better encoder than Compressor as Bill suggests. I use BitVice, with the two pass VBR. The latest versions of this software really are very good and, as a bonus, the quality of the downscale from HD to SD for the DVD is first rate.

Michael Slowe


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Bill Stephan
Re: Encoding for Documentary
on Mar 22, 2012 at 1:18:30 am

4.8 is the mean bitrate, not the minimum. If you use 4.8 as the minimum, your program will not fit on the DVD (as you discovered).

The mean bitrate is the "middle of the road" figure. The encoder will allow the bitrate to go higher and lower than that amount based on the complexity of the video at any given point. In better encoders, you can specify the amount of deviation from the mean in order to optimize the usage of the encoding bitrate.

Bill Stephan
Senior Editor/DVD Author
USA Studios
New York City


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Scott Whitney
Re: Encoding for Documentary
on Mar 22, 2012 at 1:27:31 am

Yeah...I said minimum, what I meant was average, my bad. I think I have this straightened out. I appreciate your help Bill and Michael thank you as well. I'm definitely going to check out BitVice.

Scott-

Scott Whitney
Whitney Media Productions
http://www.whitneymedia.tv


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