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Jeremy Collins
Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Apr 29, 2010 at 2:19:16 am

Hello,
I have a two hour film that I want to export from Final Cut Pro to a SD DVD. From what I have read, the best technique is to export from FCP to a Quicktime Movie, Then take that movie into compressor, chose the closest preset to DVD, alter it if necessary, render that out, then bring it into DVD Studio Pro and export it out.

Here is my problem:

I exported to a Quicktime Movie from FCP fine. The file is 22 GB, looks and sounds very clean. However, Compressor is where I lose all quality. I choose the SD DVD 120minutes preset, but since it still exports the files about 500 MB too large for a DVD (actual vs. binary size differences), I have to play with settings. I calculated it out and lowered the data rates, both average and max to shrink the file size. The file renders to about 4.2 GB, which works perfect for a DVD, but the quality is now horrible.

What is the best workflow to achieve the greatest final quality? I think my process is correct (I may be wrong, please correct my if I am), but are there certain settings in Compressor to maximize quality?

Any input is appreciated! Thanks in advance and have a great day!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Apr 29, 2010 at 5:16:57 am

You failed to mention whether you encoded the audio to AC3 with audio encoder that's included in the DVD preset you used in Compressor. If not, there's your problem, as using PCM audio would be the thing that's putting you over the limit, not the video bitrate.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Daniel Luthi
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Apr 29, 2010 at 6:14:23 am

Hey, Jeremy,

In FCP, I go directly to Export to QuickTime Movie, specify the settings (I use current), marker settings (for chapters), and make the movie NOT self-contained. This will use your original footage in FCP, and should make it small enough to fit on a DVD using iDVD. In my case, the movie comes out gorgeous and crisp, and takes much less time. If I do a QuickTime conversion to 1920x1080, H.264, the file will be around 5GB, if I use above method it's around 500MB, and of higher quality, but not self-contained. Therefore you must burn it on the same Mac as your FCP files are.

My question to the experts here, though, is: Am I missing out NOT using Compressor and DVD Studio Pro? My films are mostly medical lectures, filmed in front of a green screen, with photos of food and scenery as background, bilingual subtitles, and transitions.

Thanks to The Heads for a great support forum!

Daniel C Luthi
Nutritionist, Director
Formosa Health Center
Taichung, Taiwan

Mac Pro Dual Quad, 12GB RAM, FCP 7, Sony XDCAM/EX PMW-350, Sony Anycast Station, Sony PMW-EX30


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Apr 29, 2010 at 4:41:52 pm

[Daniel Luthi] "My question to the experts here, though, is: Am I missing out NOT using Compressor and DVD Studio Pro?"

There is no doubt about it, in the hands of a knowledgeable user, Compressor can do a better job of encoding than iDVD on many projects. iDVD is obviously very simple, and like a broken watch that's right twice every day, it can do just fine with the right footage on the right job. However, Compressor is a professional encoder, and it's standard presets most often exceed the quality of iDVD.

In addition, as I mentioned to Jeremy, every Compressor preset includes an AC3 audio preset. AC3 is the industry standard, used on almost all professional DVDs. Because it has less overhead and takes up less space on the DVD as well, it enables DVD players to devote more resources to playback of the picture component of DVDs, which is desirable. And, in Jeremy's case, by using AC3, he could most likely have left his bitrate for his picture at a higher rate and still made it under the max limit for his DVD.



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Jeremy Collins
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Apr 29, 2010 at 5:06:58 pm

I did use the AC3 DVD audio present when exporting and the combined AC3 and M2V files were too large for a DVD. Before I changed the bitrate, the two files came out around 4.5 GB combined (audio was under 200 MB), but when I brought that into DVDSP, it read as 5 GB and couldn't fit. That is when I did some digging and read that binary size is different than actual size. So I went back and re-rendered adjusting the bitrate.

How can you buy a movie on DVD that is 3 hours long with picture-perfect quality as well as amazing audio, but I can't come anywhere close to that with 2 hours. Obviously they have the best of the best equipment, but still! I would love to just have a sure-fire workflow! Haha. Once again, all help is appreciated!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Apr 29, 2010 at 6:04:38 pm

[Jeremy Collins] "How can you buy a movie on DVD that is 3 hours long with picture-perfect quality as well as amazing audio, but I can't come anywhere close to that with 2 hours. "

That's simple Jeremy, the movies you buy on DVD are replicated (stamped not burned) on dual layer DVD 10s, which hold twice the amount of content of your burned DVD 5s. There are of course burnable dual layer DVDs available all over, however those don't tend to play well in some players, so they're not used very often.


[Jeremy Collins] "I did use the AC3 DVD audio present when exporting and the combined AC3 and M2V files were too large for a DVD. Before I changed the bitrate, the two files came out around 4.5 GB combined (audio was under 200 MB), but when I brought that into DVDSP, it read as 5 GB and couldn't fit. That is when I did some digging and read that binary size is different than actual size. So I went back and re-rendered adjusting the bitrate. "

Binary file size may account for some of the excess space that went missing, but keep in mind that the DVD header files (the files that make every DVD readable in players) also take up some of the space on every disc.



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Kenny Miracle
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Jun 1, 2010 at 3:05:12 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "the movies you buy on DVD are replicated (stamped not burned) on dual layer DVD 10s, which hold twice the amount of content of your burned DVD 5s."


I've never heard of "stamping." Could you tell me more about this? I'm currently using FCP, Compressor, & DVDSP as well. I get a clear image on my SD CRT monitors, but when I play back the DVD fullscreen on the Mac I burned it on with 23" Cinema Displays it looks horrible - like SD being blown up to HD.

This issue would make sense to me, except that when I rent an SD DVD from Blockbuster it looks great even on the Cinema Displays.

Thanks a ton!

Kenny

Kenny


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Jun 1, 2010 at 4:46:17 pm

[Kenny Miracle] "I've never heard of "stamping." Could you tell me more about this?"

From a DLT or other DVD image, a professional "replication" facility creates a glass master and a metal mold from that, from which many DVDs are stamped by machines specifically made for that purpose.

The replicated DVDs hold twice the data of the DVD5s you burn on your computer, and the software used to create the glass master is much more sophisticated too. Plus, the studios generate the very best quality video and film masters that money can buy as well, hence, the quality of these replicated discs is as good as it gets and much netter than anything you can burn. The typical order is 1000 or more, though some companies have lowered that to 300. Below is a video that explains the process.

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/cdrom2gocom/711-cd-dvd-replication-process-...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Kenny Miracle
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Jun 8, 2010 at 3:02:58 pm

Makes sense. The project I'm working on will be replicated as we're making 5000 copies straight off the bat.

We're not doing dual layer, but do you have another compression software to recommend outside Compressor & Adobe Media Encoder?

We're already shooting in HD 1080i DVCPro.

Thank you!

Kenny

Kenny


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Andrew Simpson
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Jun 23, 2010 at 9:36:25 am

Hi

I have almost the opposite problem to this last poster in that I am trying to increase the file of the movie to be burned, in order to take advantage of the larger space on a Dual Layer DVD.

I have been editing a wedding video for around six weeks. We used four cameras or different format (2xHD, 2xSD - I know, never again)

Finally, having sorted out numerous field-shift issues and other downscale problems, I have a master QuickTime PAL DV Standard Definition 18GB file to format that I am moderately happy with.

I have very little experience of dual later DVDs, but since I have some grainy footage from one of the HD cameras (Canon XHA1) that was set to fine instead of superfine (...another story) - this appears almost acceptable in the full-quality master, but creates noise on a 4.8GB DVD compressed using the 90 minuite best quality DVD preset in compressor (with the .ac3 audio file)

I don't know in this instance whether my client has a DVD player capable of playing dual format, but I'm willing to take the chance. However I have two issues that someone may have encountered before - I would be very grateful for any help with this:

1. The first main issue is how to increase the size of the movie I am burning to the DVD. Using compressor, I get a 3.62GB file - which of course fits nicely onto a single layer DVD. Is there a way to create a file that is closer to say 8GB, with (I assume) less compression?

2. Every time I have tried to burn a dual layer DVD using my MacBook Pro (with MATSHITADVD-R UJ-846 - which I believe should be able to burn DL DVDs); I get a drive error around half way through the formatting.

The movie duration is 1:17:00

Many thanks,
Andrew



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Jun 23, 2010 at 4:46:54 pm

[Andrew Simpson] "Using compressor, I get a 3.62GB file - which of course fits nicely onto a single layer DVD. Is there a way to create a file that is closer to say 8GB, with (I assume) less compression? "

Although this concept sounds logical to you, the reality is, if you double the bitrate of your encoded MPEG2 files no DVD player on Earth will be able to play it. In fact, the bitrate of the 90-min. preset in Compressor is not very far below the max bitrate that will play smoothly on most DVD players. So, raise the bitrate until it fills a DVD5, but forget the dual layer altogether, because that just won't get you where you want to go.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Andrew Simpson
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on Jun 24, 2010 at 8:40:33 am

Hi David

many thanks for this - I suspected that there might be a conceptual gap with me on this one.

I take it from what you say that no matter what I do - there's a ceiling on what a DVD player can physically read from a burned disk. Even if I could get my hands on an 18GB burnable DVD disk, then it would still look grainy and lacking definition - just as the 4.8GB version I have produced. This is not then about compressing the movie, this is about bit-rate, the amount of information that can be passed from the disk to the DVD player in time for it to make sense of it. If it is slow, the DVD player makes a worse job of displaying the results than if it is fast - is that what bit rate is?

I am assuming then that Apple's software DVD player does not simulate accurately how a hardware DVD player will perform, hence why "Open DVD media" plays significantly better than my domestic (albeit good quality) DVD player.

As an aside (guilt) I have bought the "lucky" couple an external hard drive that they will be able to play the much better quality DV file from, so hopefully they won't be suing me.

Perhaps I'll be able to do more with this file with BlueRay or non-DVD media.

Many thanks for your help - the only solution is then to get better quality footage from the start!


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Gary Vincent
Re: Export to DVD Compressor Settings!
on May 24, 2012 at 12:21:28 am

First off I should say that I appreciate your feedback. I am also curious about maximizing the quality of a DVD. I have a half hour QT file that I created in FCP and it is about 6 and a half gig. After I compress the file using the 90 minute best quality preset it's only 1.3 for the Video and 48 for the audio. Is there a way to split the difference on the amount of compression? Thanks, GV


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