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For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?

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Vic Noseworthy
For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 5:30:23 am

Hi, folks!
I've shot some footage using a Vixia camcorder. This camera has the ability to down-convert the HD files to SD. I've read that, when the final output is DVD, it's better to shoot in SD; this, apparently, will mean a better output to the DVD (since DVD is SD).
My question is:
If I use the camera to down-convert BEFORE editing (so that I will be editing in SD), will I get better DVD image quality?
Thanks,
Vic


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Jeff Pulera
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 1:27:30 pm

Hi Vic,

Are you shooting HDV? I have an HV20 and yes you can output HDV via 1394 as DV. I would suggest a short test - capture the same video segment from tape to Premiere as HDV, and then DV, then burn each to DVD, and see what looks better to you.

It is a common issue among most NLE solutions that the downconvert from HD to SD ends up with some scaling artifacts. Perhaps the camera will do a better job for you, just test and see. I think 1080i is the problem, as it is Upper Field and DVD is Lower, perhaps 1080p would downconvert better. For testing, use clips with lots of motion and detail - "almost horizontal" lines will be very telling, such as steps, fences, tops of church pews. Scaling issues will be apparent is those areas when camera pans or tilts. You'll see stair-stepping on the edges during camera moves.

Do you ever watch a local TV station in HD, but then some of the commercials are in SD? Then you'll know what I mean by scaling artifacts, though not as pronounced on DVD.

I like to edit/master as HD even when delivering DVD, so I use a third-party workaround to create my MPEG-2 DVD file from the HD timeline. I get excellent results, and then I use Encore to create the DVD using that material. Using Dan Isaacs' "HD2SD" scripting methods with VirtualDub and HCEncoder.

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Michael Slowe
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 3:08:06 pm

Vic, I have very strong views on this, based on past experience.

Most in camera downscales are poor compared to computer software, even with good cameras such as the Sony EX range. It is far better to wait until you encode for DVD. I shoot HD (1920 X 1080i actually) and edit in ProRes422 HQ. Then, with the final timeline I export to a QT .mov (still in ProRes) and use BitVice to do not only the encode but also the downscale, which it does brilliantly. My DVd's are really good, I've seen them projected on some big screens, even cinemas. No artifacts either. Blu-Ray is of course, even better, particularly on a good HD TV screen.

Michael Slowe


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Jeff Pulera
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 3:23:49 pm

Hi Michael,

Sounds like very good advice, but of course only for Mac users

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Michael Slowe
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 5:09:28 pm

Sorry Jeff, I'm afraid I always assume all editors are on Macs! Principle's the same though, computer downscale as late as possible in the process.

Michael Slowe


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Vic Noseworthy
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 10:10:14 pm

Hi, Michael. And, thanks for the advice. I've never heard of BitVice until now, but am interested. I've just checked and have seen a version that works with mac os 10.6, but I am using os 10.5.8 (and would like to stay with that, ...my other programs run on it!).
Do you know if BitVice is available for 10.5.8?
Thanks again!
Vic


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Michael Slowe
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 25, 2013 at 6:19:52 pm

Vic, I'm afraid I don't know what version goes with the various OS versions. Why wouldn't BitVice work with OS 10.5.8? I've been using it for years and I must also have been on 10.5.8 at some stage.

Michael Slowe


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Vic Noseworthy
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 25, 2013 at 6:40:12 pm

Hi, Michael:
I went to their website, and the only version I could see available for download was for more recent OS. I just wondered if a previous version of BitVice may be available.
Thanks,
Vic


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Michael Slowe
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 27, 2013 at 3:46:44 pm

I'm sure earlier versions are available. Why not try and contact Roger Andersson of Innobits and put your problem to him, he's a good engineer and generally very helpful.

Michael Slowe


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Vic Noseworthy
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 27, 2013 at 4:54:09 pm

Okay, Michael. I will give it a shot. Thanks so much for your help!


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Vic Noseworthy
Re: For DVD output: Down-convert from HD to SD first?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 10:11:21 pm

Thanks very much, Jeff. I will do some testing!


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