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FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering

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Drea Solan
FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 4:05:38 am

I've seen some posts that are dangerously close to answering my questions, but here goes. I've got 2 SD sequences in FCP 6.0.6 which I need to export using Compressor to then burn to 2 DVD-R's with DVDSP. The sequences are 2 hr 30min and 2hr 50min. The material consists of downsampled HD footage (school Christmas pageant) as well as a number of slideshows of still images w/blends and there are text overlays throughout. The footage is a 3 camera-edit, so there are cross-faded throughout the 2+ hours of footage:

1) I've gleaned from David Roth Weiss' posts that I should indeed be editing the QT Video Settings in the Sequence Settings in FCP to pick an optimal compression algorithm for exporting, right? What is specified here will be used for the export via Compressor?

2) Previous posts referred to using Prores 422 for this setting. Why would I not be using H.264 here? Also, were you in fact recommending the HQ version of Prores 422?

3) Can you advise me on the settings to use in Compressor? I've seen a tutorial that walked through the DVD presets which indicated that the 150min setting was adequate for 2 hrs and above. This seemed like a rather general piece of advice and I'd rather get advice that is more dialed into insuring that my specific media will fit on the discs with good quality. How do I best calculate this? Is there a way to preflight a few seconds of the footage to see what it will end up looking like?

4) What is the maximum footage (realistically) that I can get away with putting on a DVD? I'm sure a "depends" is in the answer, but how about in my case, with the material that I described above?

5) FWIW, I have a rather old Mac, so my rendering speed in any application is quite challenged.

Thanks a lot for your help! In the 11th hour here (of course)!

- Drea


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Richard van Harderwijk
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 11:10:03 am

Hi Drea,

Workflow is as follows:
  • Export your sequence to a quicktime file, use the same codec as your timeline codec. So no transcoding here.
  • Use compressor to make MPEG2 (video) and AC3 (sound) files from the export quicktime.
  • Import the MPEG2 and AC3's in DVDSP


2 hr 50 min is more than 150 minutes... You have to manually set the bitrate in compressor. For a calculation sheet, see this link:
http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/bit_budget.html

If you want to test it, export a short piece of your timeline and do the above steps (with the calculated target bitrate), choose a part with movement/changes etc in it.

For your render speed: lots of coffee and patience... But compressor can run in the background (do not send to compressor directly from tcp) so you can do other things in the meantime.


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Drea Solan
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 4:05:51 pm

Thanks for the reply and the link to the bit rate calculator. Can you expand a bit on your 3 bullet point instructions?

1) "Export your sequence to a quicktime file, use the same codec as your timeline codec. So no transcoding here."

Are you advising that I always just ensure that this compressor setting matches my source clips and then export as is? (It is currently set to DV/DVCPRO-NTSC). I had previously changed this to H.264 and re-rendered the entire project then exported (does it matter where this transcoding is done, i.e. FCP vs. Compressor)? When does using H.264 enter the scenario?

2) "Use compressor to make MPEG2 (video) and AC3 (sound) files from the export quicktime."

Can you fill in a bit more of the details here. Is this where I specify the H.264 setting (or other algorithm)?

3) "Import the MPEG2 and AC3's in DVDSP"

Ditto here.

Thank you!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 5:45:57 pm

[Drea Solan] "When does using H.264 enter the scenario?"

It doesn't: H.264 is a DELIVERY codec, to be used at the very end of the workflow. It is extremely lossy when re-rendered.




[Drea Solan] "I always just ensure that this compressor setting matches my source clips and then export as is? (It is currently set to DV/DVCPRO-NTSC)."

When FCP exports, it renders in the codec of the edit timeline. If you have anything in your edit timeline that requires editing, this means it currently will be rendered in DV. In terms of image quality, DV treats carefully-crafted video the way a baby treats a diaper.

How do you avoid this? Change the edit timeline's codec to ProRes 422, export a self-contained quicktime movie from FCP, and use it in Compressor.

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


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Richard van Harderwijk
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 7:02:58 pm

As Dave says, H.264 is a delivery codec (ao web delivery). You want to make a DVD, so your target codec's are MPEG2 and AC3. It is best, quality wise, not to render to different codec's in between.

If your source material is DV/DVCPRO, then don't rerender. If you put other codec's in a DV/DVCPRO timeline, follow Dave's advice and make a ProRes export (better even to change the codec of the sequence from the beginning, but you're finished, so leave it) . (If the origin is down sampled (how?) HD (H264?) then it doesn't matter much, because the target is a heavy compressed DVD, 170 min.)

Again, you must make two files: MPEG2 (video) and AC3(audio) and no H264 for DVD's. I think the most easy thing to do is use a preset setting in compressor (DVD 150 min) and change the bitrate to the settings you calculated.

In DVDSP you can import assests and it will immediately recognize the MPEG2 and AC3 files (green dot :-)

I assume you know how the programs work. OK?


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Drea Solan
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 9:11:03 pm

Thanks so much for the last bits of info, Richard and Dave. I think I'm close here!

Actually the project I need to get out the door immediately is about 90 minutes in length so I can focus on that for now. It is comprised of about 60 minutes of DV footage from 2 cameras with blends and text overlays, as well as about 20-30 minutes of still image slideshows (Ken Burns effect with cross-fades). The afore-mentioned DV/DVCPRO compressor setting is specified in the timeline sequence settings.

To clarify:

1) Do I export as is with the current sequence settings then? From this thread I'm hearing that I resort to a ProRes Export when:
a) I have introduced multiple video codecs in the same timeline sequence -> the camera footage is all in DV/DVCPRO (though are the still images of consideration here?)
or
b) Per Dave's entry: "If you have anything in your edit timeline that requires editing, ... Change the edit timeline's codec to ProRes 422, export a self-contained quicktime movie from FCP, and use it in Compressor."-> So I believe this is my situation given all of my transitions, camera blends and text overlays, as well as the still image slideshows. Am I looking at this properly?

2) DV/DVCPRO or ProRes aside, do you recommend exporting from FCP as self-contained QT movie or using the Export using Compressor option?

Yes, I'm new to Compressor/DVDStudio Pro but I've done a couple of tests and the bare bones best practices to follow seem pretty straightforward, especially as I hear them further echoed in this thread. It looks like I'm just stuck on the "getting it out of FCP" step (Don't know why I got hung up on the H.264 either!)

I appreciate your help!

- Drea


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 9:26:00 pm

[Drea Solan] "b) Per Dave's entry: "If you have anything in your edit timeline that requires editing, ... Change the edit timeline's codec to ProRes 422, export a self-contained quicktime movie from FCP, and use it in Compressor.""

Sorry, that was a typo: if you have anything that requires RENDERING -- blends and text overlays certainly would necessitate rendering -- you should change the timeline's codec to ProRes. You wouldn't believe how crummy-looking the text will be if you render it in a DV timeline! I recommend duplicating the edit timeline, changing the duplicate's codec to ProRes, and exporting.

After that, follow Richard's DVD-making advice and you should be good to go.

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


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Drea Solan
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 10:02:13 pm

Thanks for that clarification, Dave!

Last clarification (promise!): So after ProRes 422 re-rendering is complete in FCP, use Export QT Movie and choose self-contained QT movie. Do you recommend deselecting the Recompress All Frames option and choosing Current Settings from the Setting pop-up menu?

Thank you,
Drea


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 23, 2012 at 10:17:01 pm

Nah, just export a regular self-contained QT from the ProRes timeline. You don't even have to render anything prior to that export. The render can occur during the export, if you wish.

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


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Alex Petrovitch
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on May 7, 2012 at 1:13:26 am

Dave,

If I may, I would like to jump in here.
Which is higher quality?
1) PRO RES 422 HQ - Send to compressor - create mp2, ac3
OR
2) Export QT current settings (PRO RES 422 HQ), then drag into compressor.

Aren't they the same thing?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on May 7, 2012 at 2:29:33 pm

They're equivqlent in image quality, but FCP tends to behave badly when exporting directly to Compressor. FCP has a much easier job of exporting a self-contained QT.

Having a backup of the completed FCP edit is always a good thing. That's one reason to export self-contained from FCP.

You can contiunue to work in FCP as Compressor does the transcoding; another good reason to export self-contained from FCP.

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


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Scott Sheriff
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 24, 2012 at 6:21:23 am

[Drea Solan] "
2) DV/DVCPRO or ProRes aside, do you recommend exporting from FCP as self-contained QT movie or using the Export using Compressor option?"


It's a good habit to export a self contained QT of the finished timeline for several reasons.
It may, or may not give better quality then the Export Using Compressor option in FCP. This is a debate for another time.
But, once you have a self contained QT of the finished product, it will save you from tying up FCP, or even having to open it up, to do your compression.
Hard drives are cheap. It is always a good idea to have a QT copy of your finished piece. If your sequence was your only master, and for some reason your copy of FCP crashed, or became corrupt, you would still have a copy of the finished work that can stand on its own. This could save the day if it happens and you're in a time crunch.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Taree Bitstomper
Re: FCP 7 Export via Compressor for DVD Studio Pro Mastering
on Apr 27, 2012 at 4:13:48 pm

"DV treats carefully-crafted video the way a baby treats a diaper."
ROFL!! I have to remember that one. Thanks everyone for your contribution. I had similar query and learned a lot from you guys.


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