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Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor

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Ben Seyller
Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 4, 2010 at 8:56:48 pm

Hello,

I am finalizing a small project for DVD distribution. It is mainly still photos in a slideshow format, with some video clips and transitions thrown in and a music soundtrack. The video was shot using a Panasonic HMC-150 in 720P/60fps. I transcoded the original footage to Apple ProRes 422 LT, and used this as my timeline setting.

Following the tutorials on this site, as well as searching several similar posts, led me to export the finished timeline to a self-contained Quicktime movie. I then imported that file into Compressor, and chose the pre-configured settings for DVD: Best quality 90 minutes (My project is 45 minutes long). I used the resulting files in DVDSP to burn the dvd.

My problem is that the finished DVD seems to have issues with aliasing and artifacts, especially around the edges of moving objects and also around text items created in FCP. In general, the video seems a bit grainy or blocky if you look closely. I am viewing the dvd on a 720P LCD tv.

For a second try, I changed the frame control settings in Compressor to "Best" on the resize filter and "Best" on the Deinterlace selection. I also selected "Progressive" in the output fields section. The resulting dvd this time seemed a little better, but still not the sharp quality it seems I should be getting.

I have read numerous posts, and it seems that most people recommend using the stock settings in Compressor to downconvert footage destined for SD DVD. However, I really feel like I should be able to produce better quality. Any ideas or suggestions?


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Rafael Amador
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:26:51 pm

Hi Ben,
If your project is 45 minutes only, that means that you can rise the data rate on the MPEG-2s over the one on the "90 minutes" Preset.
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Ben Seyller
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:48:16 pm

Wow! I didn't think of that. Do you have suggestions for where the data rates should be? Thanks!


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Paul Jay
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:57:25 pm

Indeed. You can easily create a bitrate of 7.5Mbits. ( if you convert the audio to AC3)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:03:30 pm

...and don't forget that you're used to seeing this project at 1280x720. You just changed it into 720x480. There's a little resolution loss to be sure.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Chris Borjis
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 12:02:48 am

720P is the most difficult resolution to down size for DVD.

It's enough of a problem (aliasing especially on angles and high frequency patterns)
that I usually end up passing it through my Kona-LE with hardware down convert on to my other edit bay to SD anamorphic to get better results.

The resize filter in compressor is not that great even on the best settings.

I wish apple would implement bi-cubic resizing on compressor and final cut pro.

it would make 720P down converts a lot easier.



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Mike Krause
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 6:11:15 am

A few other key items to remember when using Compressor is don't do all of your workflow in a single pass. While it's possible, and certainly more convenient, you'll get many more artifacts and it'll take much longer, guaranteed.

Do one pass to down-convert your footage, do another pass to compress your footage. You can chain these jobs in Compressor so they'll automatically start and run in the proper order.

Also, while the varying flavors of ProRes can be a boon to the day to day editing workflow, they definitely show their limitations when transcoding and compressing. Dealing with this workflow has become the mainstay of my work from a particular client, so I deal with it every single day.

If you can, go back and re-log-and-transfer your footage to Uncompressed 10 bit (or at the very least ProResHQ) and "online" your final sequence, then down-convert and compress. Your final product will be much cleaner.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:24:08 am

[Mike Krause] "Do one pass to down-convert your footage, do another pass to compress your footage. You can chain these jobs in Compressor so they'll automatically start and run in the proper order. "
I fully agree with Mike.
If you make many operations at once and things doesn't look well in the end, you won't know were the problem was. Do it step by step, and don't go to the next step if you are not fully happy with what you have.
BTW, I use SHAKE for any downsizing.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Ben Seyller
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 2:35:31 pm

Thanks for the advice. I originally started using ProRes 422 LT because folks said that it would be less hardware intensive for processing edits in the timeline...in other words, it would be a good balance between quality and processing power needed. I am editing on an iMac i7 quad-core processor with 4Gb of RAM. Do you think I could work in ProRes 422 HQ just as easily?


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Rafael Amador
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 5:13:29 pm

[Ben Seyller] "I originally started using ProRes 422 LT because folks said that it would be less hardware intensive for processing edits in the timeline...in other words, it would be a good balance between quality and processing power needed."
This is a big mistake.
The most compressed the format, the more burden for the processor.
You have to make much more calculations to compress a picture1/10 than to do it 1/5 (While keeping the quality, of course).
I don't work with Prores Proxy, neither ProresLT. I think you need good reasons to use those Prores flavors.
Normally I use Prores when transcoding 8b stuff (XDCAM, HDV, DV, H264,..) by software.
For any other process (capturing, whenever there is rendering),.. I use Prores HQ.
Prores 444, when you need a good Alpha channel, or whenever you have to jump from application to application that supports 16/32b rendering.
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Ben Seyller
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 2:45:33 pm

Thank you. I will try to separate these steps and see what happens.


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Chris Borjis
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 4:24:42 pm

[Mike Krause] "Do one pass to down-convert your footage, do another pass to compress your footage."

while that will yield some better quality, down-converting 720P still doesn't look very good with high frequency detail or angled lines.

Even with the kona down converting in hardware its not perfect, but looks a lot better than anything compressor can do.



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Ben Seyller
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 2:43:10 pm

I did not realize this. I am shooting in 720P because that is what was recommended for all around shooting in the HMC-150 book written by Barry Green that came with my camera. However, I could shoot in any resolution if there is one that would make downconverting to SD easier or look better. Do you have a suggestion?


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Chris Borjis
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 4:26:43 pm

[Ben Seyller] "I could shoot in any resolution if there is one that would make downconverting to SD easier or look better. Do you have a suggestion?"

1080i



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Ben Seyller
Re: Problem exporting a 720P timeline to SD DVD using Compressor
on Nov 5, 2010 at 2:31:52 pm

Yes, that thought crossed my mind. It is painful to think of my beautiful project having to be viewed in a downconverted resolution, but short of Blu-ray or an HD media player, I am stuck with DVD right now.


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