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Poor resolution when using Final Cut Compressor (3.0.5) to create a DVD

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Bijoyini Chatterjee
Poor resolution when using Final Cut Compressor (3.0.5) to create a DVD
on Dec 4, 2011 at 11:04:56 pm

Hi,

We filmed a dance concert using the SONY EX1 (XDCAM 1920 x 1080, 30p) and edited it in FCP 6.0.
We exported the edited concert using the codec Apple ProRes (422 HQ) 1920 x 1080 30p and into a self contained QuickTime movie file.

A 47 minute self contained QT file is 72GB. We are very happy with the resolution.

The big problem is when we try to use Compressor (version 3.0.5) to make DVD files. The resolution is just not professional quality, it is pixelated and the outlines of the people/objects are not well defined.

Settings for Compressor:
DVD Best Quality 90minutes
MPEG-2 6.2Mbps VBR (16:9)
Dolby Digital Sound

I have tried to play around with the bit rate settings and bump it to 7.7 VBR.
I have also tried to use a CBR setting of 7.0/8.0/9.0Mbps.

The resulting m2v file is 2GB.
My question is:
1. Why is compressor outputting such a significantly lower quality file, where the outlines are not well-defined? I have even tried to test it with a film shot in daylight and I am just not happy with the output quality.

2. Is there a step I am missing? SD DVDs that are professionally made look fine on my laptop (Mac OSX 10.6.8) and what Compressor is outputting is so far from the professional quality DVDs.

Please help. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
--Bijoyini Chatterjee
Mac OSX 10.6.8
Final Cut Pro 6.0
Compressor 3.0.5

http://www.oniricaproductions.com


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Steve Eisen
Re: Poor resolution when using Final Cut Compressor (3.0.5) to create a DVD
on Dec 4, 2011 at 11:50:27 pm

You are doing everything right.

[Bijoyini Chatterjee] "Is there a step I am missing? SD DVDs that are professionally made look fine on my laptop (Mac OSX 10.6.8) and what Compressor is outputting is so far from the professional quality DVDs"

There is a huge difference in the way professional discs are made compared to those made with Compressor and DVDSP. The cost of the authoring software and hardware used is far beyond what the average person could afford. That's why it's called Professional. Also viewing dvds on a laptop or any computer compared to viewing them on a standard tv set via dvd player is also very different.

If you have a Blu-ray burner, you may want to try and create a Blu Ray version to compare. You may see a difference between sd and hd.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Poor resolution when using Final Cut Compressor (3.0.5) to create a DVD
on Dec 5, 2011 at 1:23:15 pm

Steve's right.

Also, 2GB for your final mpeg file size is small. Over compressed.
You should aim for around 4GB for the Mpeg Video track.
This will maximize your data rate for quality.

Also, did you turn on frame controls in compressor?

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Byrt Wammack
Re: Poor resolution when using Final Cut Compressor (3.0.5) to create a DVD
on May 4, 2012 at 1:33:04 pm

First my apologies for posting to an old thread, but this is indeed a problem as I have just verified with extensive testing.

I've been working with all versions of Compressor (until 3.0.5) as they have been released and they always have encoded DVDs fairly well, but I currently have the same issue with a MacBook Pro with the identical configuration: compressor 3.0.5, OSX 10.6.8, FCP 6.0.6, etc.

A ProRes 422 file (1440 x 1080 30p HD) encodes horribly using that setup (text and image pixelized with many artifacts), but my old Titanium G4 encodes the exact same file as a pristine DVD with crisp text and little noticeable difference from the original file; it is even acceptable with the default 90 min best preset.

It is important to point out that the same FCS2 (same version of compressor, etc.) worked well before we upgraded from OSX 10.4.11 to 10.6.8 and reinstalled FCS2. After the upgrade, encoding to H.264 works fine; downsizing to 720x480 (ProRes, H.264, etc.) works fine; but encoding to SD DVD yields extremely poor results whether encoding from HD or SD files. Interestingly, tweaking the settings (different VBR, CBR, GOPs, frame controls, etc.) doesn't make the difference that I would expect based on my experience with previous setups.

Browsing the forums, it seems the issue affects also compressor 3.5. I'm suspecting the Quicktime setup in 10.6.8, but any insight would be appreciated.


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