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SD-DVD Possible or Computer Upgrade Needed?

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Jake William
SD-DVD Possible or Computer Upgrade Needed?
on Jul 13, 2010 at 3:05:48 pm

Multiple part question here, guys. I just finished editing a film shot with the Sony HDR-FX1000 and did my editing on a pre-Intel Powermac G5 using Final Cut Pro 5 using Apple Intermediate Codec 1080i60. I am severely technologically handicapped, hence the inherent lack of foresight in seeing the issues with using a new camera with a 5 year old computer and editing software. However, somehow I managed to edit this movie and like how it looks when viewed on the computer, but when trying to make a dvd, that’s when the can of worms is cracked. I’ve become a little more informed (technologically) pouring through forums, but for the most part am at a complete loss. I figure I have two possible options:
1) Find a way to create a dvd on current computer and software.
2) Invest in a new computer and editing software, and re-edit (moan of dread).

Option 1 Rundown

The issue currently is that the dvd process stops during encoding, saying there is a missing asset. I have previously created a dvd using a self-contained quicktime file and letting dvd studio do the encoding. These were the best results I’ve had making a dvd, though they still aren’t completely satisfying, I figure it might be just the conversion of hdv to an sd-dvd that‘s disappointing.
Everywhere I’ve read seems to say the best workflow is to use the compressor to convert to mpeg-2, and not encode in dvd studio, but I haven’t had any luck. The picture looks even worse with the compressor, but I might not be setting it up properly. The movie is 110 minutes, so the max bit rate I used was 4.0 with motion at best and Two-pass VBR. Using the compressor I have no problems with the missing asset. So if that truly is the best way to encode and it’s simply something wrong with what I’m doing with the settings, then that would probably be the simplest solution. Currently, the dvds I’ve made seem to have a bizarre layer of grain added to them. I even took a 5 minute clip pushed the bit rate to 9.0, just to see what the quality increase would be if I went with a dual-layer dvd, and it was only slightly better.
If the answer is to encode in dvd studio pro, where I had my best results, then I guess the solution is figuring out this missing asset. I successfully burned a dvd this way, but have since edited my timeline removing scenes from my final cut project and then deleting the hdv footage of the removed scenes from my hard drive. Could the computer be confused and still think those scenes are in the film? Again, the missing asset isn’t a problem when using the compressor, which doesn’t make sense to me. But, again, little of this does.

Option 2 Rundown

If getting a new computer and investing in the latest Final Cut program is the way to go, then I’ll bite the bullet. The G5 does seem like it’s struggling here. Some encoding/compressing processes are day-long endeavors. Plus, FCP5 was really the early stages of working with HD, right? Would importing my footage and editing using ProRes produce better quality sd-dvds in the end? I’m just cautious about plunking down all that money without knowing what to expect. I know a new computer and software won’t cure user ignorance. Also, what would you recommend as far as a computer and editing software? Is Apple still the way to go, or are there other contenders out there? Would the latest Final Cut recognize the HDR-FX1000, because it took some creative trial and error to even get the footage onto the G5 using FCP5.

Also, as a side note. I took a quicktime file of my movie to a post-production place where they burned a dual-layer dvd, and the results were very disappointing. Not really better then when I burnt a dvd with DVD Studio Pro doing the encoding. They said they pushed it to the max (whatever that means) and that the problem stemmed from how I imported the hdv footage in the very beginning using the AIC 1080i60. Though, if the quicktime file is self-contained would the origins of the hdv footage matter? When I watched the quicktime file on my computer, it looked fine. But, I’m not sure how all this stuff works, so I didn’t question them.

I‘m sorry for such a long post, but I figured the more information, the better, right?. I’m in awe of what you guys do on this forum, and hope to one day be competent enough to assist others with their editing problems. I greatly appreciate any help. And be merciless, guys, I know I’ve dug myself quite a hole here.

Thanks again,

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Michael Sacci
Re: SD-DVD Possible or Computer Upgrade Needed?
on Jul 13, 2010 at 9:16:50 pm

First your problem will not be solved with new software of a new computer.

[Jake William] "saying there is a missing asset."
Are you working with ref movies instead of self-contained now, that is normally what gives you that.

You need to export a self contained movie from the timeline with current settings. You take that into compressor and make the m2v, the one thing you must do it to set the field dominance to make your FCP sequence, which for 1080i is UPPER.

You can try a CBR encode and set the bitrate to 4.8 Mbps. Make sure you encode the audio as ac3 @ .192 Mbps. If you don't think that is good enough try a VBR 2 pass with average set to 4.8 and max set to 7 Mbps. You can test a 15 minute section of the movie to compare.

Try that and let me know if that improves anything.

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