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HD downconvert (no answers in DVD authoring)

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Erik Pagan
HD downconvert (no answers in DVD authoring)
on Jun 17, 2010 at 4:36:12 am

Hello
I recently made a DVD downconverted from HD (1080p 24fps, shot on a EX-1) to SD. My workflow was FCP 6.0.6 to Compressor 3.0.5 to DVD SP 4.2.1
Here's the most recent process (I tried many others as well):

HDV to SD-DVD

1) In your HDV project create a new sequence.

2) The "Sequence Settings"
a) Frame Size: NTSC DV 3:2 (720x480)
b) Pixel Aspect Ratio: NTSC CCIR - 601 / DV (720x480) and check "Anamorphic 16:9"
c) Field Dominance: "None"
d) Editing Timebase:"23.98".
e) Under "Quicktime Video Settings" I have the "Compressor:" set to "Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2" and the "Quality:" at 100%.
f) I left the Audio Settings untouched and clicked "OK".

3) Then I simply cut and pasted my original HDV Sequence into the new "Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2" sequence, rendered it, and exported as a "Quicktime Movie".

4a) Exported the sequence as a Quicktime Movie then imported the "Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2" Quicktime Movie file into Compressor, and encoded to Mpeg-2 and Aiff.

6) Finally, imported the resulting files into DVD Studio Pro and "Built and Formatted" the disc.

(In Compressor i changed all the frame controls to Best and changed the closed GOP to open. Settings were also set to progressive and 23.98 fps.)

Here's the issue: In a standard DVD player hooked up to my TV (HD flatscreen) with regular video cables (yellow, white and red) I get a poor quality image (pixelated edges, banding and artifacts on fine details and graphics with camera movement). However, when I play the DVD in a player (not blu-ray or HD, just a standard DVD player) hooked up to the TV with, I'm assuming, HD cables (blue, green and red) it looks great with none of the artifacts or issues. What the heck? The DVD isn't HD, the player isn't HD. I assumed the artifacts were embedded in the build. I need to submit this to festivals, etc and I don't want to/can't gamble on whether or not a particular festival uses the older cables with their DVD player for submissions. I don't have this issue with my player and the older cables with other DVDs I've authored from SD footage. Is there a fix?
Anyone know?
Help.


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Sascha Engel
Re: HD downconvert (no answers in DVD authoring)
on Jun 17, 2010 at 11:17:57 am

Looks quiet complicate. Does your final DVD has to be in NTSC? I do not know too much about that, for I am living in PAL land.
I assume, that your original timeline with the EX1 Footage is in the XDCAM Codec?

If yes, I would first export the whole project as QT with Apple ProRes HQ Codec.
Put that one into the Compressor. Drop the 90min Highest Quality setting on it. Make sure you set the "Dialog Normalization" to -31dBFS and set the "preprocessing / Compression Preset" to "None" (Both are in the Audio Adjustments of the Inspector.

At what point during this process you switch the frame rate to NTSC - I would not know - as I said, I am not from the NTSC Planet. But I would take a wild guess: Do the frame rate conversation after you rendered into ProRes, back in FCP - with Nattress or something like that.



Sascha


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Erik Pagan
Re: HD downconvert (no answers in DVD authoring)
on Jun 17, 2010 at 6:39:56 pm

Yeah, unfortunately it has to be NTSC. I'll try your idea with the different codec. Thanks


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Mark Petereit
Re: HD downconvert (no answers in DVD authoring)
on Jun 17, 2010 at 12:25:20 pm

Are you using a professional broadcast video card connected to a calibrated broadcast monitor to view your work?


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Erik Pagan
Re: HD downconvert (no answers in DVD authoring)
on Jun 17, 2010 at 6:22:11 pm

I work on an intel Mac Pro Tower with an HD flatscreen monitor (also from apple (definitely not what you descibed).


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Mark Petereit
Re: HD downconvert (no answers in DVD authoring)
on Jun 17, 2010 at 7:11:31 pm

[Erik Pagan] I work on an intel Mac Pro Tower with an HD flatscreen monitor (also from apple (definitely not what you descibed).

Since you're not viewing your work on a broadcast monitor, you never can really see what you're producing. Your output is always going to be hit or miss, hence the issues you're describing.

To further complicate the issue, you're using your own (presumably) consumer DVD player and consumer television to try to gauge what your final output looks like. And being that you're getting wildly different quality FROM THE SAME DEVICE by simply swapping cables should tell you that your equipment isn't doing you any favors.

You have absolutely no idea what DVD player, monitor or cabling people are going to use to view your footage, so the best you can do is shoot for the NTSC standard. Because that's the standard that every DVD player and television manufacturer has in front of them when they design their equipment. It's the only common denominator you have, so it's the one you have to use. But the only way you can know what your footage looks like in the NTSC standard is to use a NTSC broadcast video card connected to a calibrated NTSC broadcast monitor.

Ever notice how DVD movies you rent or buy generally look pretty good no matter what DVD player or TV you play them on? Because the studios are all viewing their product using NTSC broadcast equipment calibrated to NTSC specs.

So if you really want to get it right, invest in a good broadcast card and monitor. If you don't (or can't) make that kind of investment, then just send what you have now. There's not much you can do to make it right. Besides, you don't have any way to know if you did.


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