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How does Hollywood make 2 hour DVD's. Why can't I?

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Larry Watts
How does Hollywood make 2 hour DVD's. Why can't I?
on Apr 29, 2005 at 5:07:25 pm

Where is the best place to find the scoop on how Hollywood can make 2 hour DVD's?

I have to make a 96 minute DVD. CAn this be done with reasonable quality?




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R. Hewitt
Re: How does Hollywood make 2 hour DVD's. Why can't I?
on Apr 29, 2005 at 5:50:26 pm

Production DVDs for feature films are stamped onto dual layer discs. The change from one layer to the next is often noticeable as a brief pause in playback. This give around 9GB per DVD. With MPEG2 compression this is quite easy to achieve.

Most DVD burners are single layer only. More recent versions are dual layer but most of the software for dual layer discs is playing catch-up. Many discs created with this software won't play on the majority of current home DVD players and when they do they often freeze for long periods of time as they switch between layers. That's if they manage to switch at all. It's just like the days when DVD burners hit the market but anything they created had variable success in a DVD player.

I'm sure it won't be too long before the issues get cracked so hang on in there!

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Dex Craig
Re: How does Hollywood make 2 hour DVD's. Why can't I?
on Apr 29, 2005 at 8:36:26 pm

In the meantime, though, you might need to out-source the DVD. If it's a one-off, you might try the dual layer DVD burner approach. If it's a big batch, there's the export the file to data-tape and send it off to a duplication house.


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Re: How does Hollywood make 2 hour DVD's. Why can't I?
on Apr 29, 2005 at 10:06:32 pm

It is absolutely possible to get 96 minutes on a single layer DVD-R with decent quality. You do not state what gear you are using, etc., but I would say that the order of importance for getting good quality are as follows:

1. A great source to start from. Hollywood movies look great to begin with, thus they are easier to compress and retain quality. Hollywood movies also cost millions to make.

2. A good MPEG2 encoder. I find that the Main Concept encoder that came with Premiere Pro is not all that great. I use Cinemacraft instead and get much better results. Hollywood uses systems that cost anywhere from about $50,000 for the encoder and authoring, up to about $250,000. Not quite the same as Encore and a cheap software encoder.

3. Some knowledge of how to do bit budgeting. You want to use the highest bit rate you can that will allow you to fit your content on the disc. Sure, if you do a dual layer disc like many Hollywood movies you can use a higher bitrate. But you also have the other issues of a dual layer disc, like the layer break, like trying to burn one yourself, compatibility with set-top players, etc. 96 minutes on a single layer DVD-R would mean you could use a rate of 6 megabits per second, assuming you are only doing a stereo dolby audio track. That should result in some pretty good quality - if you have good quality to start with.

For further reading:

"DVD Demystified" by Jim Taylor.
"DVD Authoring and Production" by Ralph LeBarge

Both are available through I believe.

Hope this helps. Have fun!


Rob Neidig
R&R Media Producttions
Eugene, Oregon

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