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Glendalough
09-01-2003, 11:48 AM
Finally got an external DVD drive......
What are the limitations of Mpeg2 compression?....... Wonder am I missing somthing?

There seems to be a very strong degradation in my Lightwave animations. Flickering, pixelated ghosts, (artifacts or something are these called?) and a shift in color and tone. Volumetric lights, reflections, vapours, clouds, transparencys or any sublte effect seems to be alarmingly mutilated.......

I knew Mpeg2 would be quite inferior to Animation Compression, but seems to be inferior to Video compression and not as good as Sorenson 3 in many ways (a colour/tone shift here which doesn't occur in Video Compression).....

CaptyDVD was software provided with drive which is pretty wild and seems to have no option on final size, widescreen or normal (?)......but wondering if encoding is inferior (used highest quality), or does it differ say from DVD Pro?....... Would there be ways of controling the method of sampling or whatever (aside from quality/data rate) when encoding in this more expensive software? Does DVD Pro use same encoding as IDVD?
Or are the really subtle effects of Lightwave in animation form only going to brought out on celluloid in a very high budget environment.......Maybe someone would please be so kind as to help with some way or clue out of this delemna......

Aegis
09-01-2003, 12:07 PM
What MPEG2 encoder are you using? Using entry-level packages such as Sonic's MyDVD will give you atrocious looking DVDs (they're designed to be idiot proof for transferring DV footage to DVD).

Using a good MPEG2 encoder you should see no difference in colours and contrast (unless it's auto-legalizing the video for PAL or NTSC). If it's not and your colours are out of the legal range then your animations will be oversaturated and will appear to "bloom" when you view them on a video monitor or TV.

Fielding is another concern - you can produce animations in either frames or fields - fields give you smoother motion but if a frames-rendered animation (the default for LightWave) is converted to fields by your MPEG encoder then you might get flickering and distortion on you DVD.

MPEG2 quality is governed by the "Bit-Rate" i.e. the amount of data transferred during playback - the higher the bit-rate the better looking the video (there's also VBR - variable bit rate which is capable of allocating a higher bit-rate to scenes that need it - similar to MP3). Most entry-level DVD encoders don't allow you to adjust the bit-rate so you have no control over the final quality.

My advice would be to find a more professional encoder - I use TMPGEnc on the PC - you can tinker with just about every element of the encoding process and I get perfect encodings out of it every time - I don't use a Mac so you'll have to look elsewhere for recommendations :)

drclare
09-01-2003, 02:50 PM
Yeah, using DVD software that came with the drive will not produce results as good as with DVD Studio Pro. Studio Pro comes with a proffesional quality VBR MPEG-2 encoder. You might want to try IDVD3. Its $50 and it produces pretty good video, not great, but decent.

Beamtracer
09-01-2003, 03:12 PM
I think that iDVD may only work with internal DVD drives purchased with your computer.

DVD Studio Pro is the best DVD software out there. If you're serious about making more DVDs in the future it would probably be worth the investment.

drclare
09-01-2003, 04:14 PM
I dont know, but i think IDVD will work with external drives as well. But yes, DVD Studio Pro is definetely the way to go. And at $500 it is not a bad price.

toby
09-01-2003, 06:13 PM
I worked at an mac dealer earlier this year and everyone said that you must have a Pioneer A05 Superdrive for iDVD, unless something has changed...

Piolla
09-01-2003, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by Glendalough
Finally got an external DVD drive......
What are the limitations of Mpeg2 compression?....... Wonder am I missing somthing?

Or are the really subtle effects of Lightwave in animation form only going to brought out on celluloid in a very high budget environment.......Maybe someone would please be so kind as to help with some way or clue out of this delemna......

Try to use Discreet's Cleaner 6 or, if you use FCP 4 you can use the new Compressor that comes with the FCP 4 bundle

Glendalough
09-01-2003, 07:43 PM
Thanks very much for all your very helpful replies.

It seems DVD Studio Pro is the only way to go when the money is available.....

CaptyDVD obviously isn't going to win any prizes, it came with a Lacie drive (Sonic's MyDVD is the PC counterpart for this package). So this all begins to make sense....It's a pity, such rotten, inferior software with such good hardware....

On my machine, iDVD on OS9, and iDVD2 onOSX won't even open with the external drive.......think this is a bit extreme -but what Apple wants I suppose. Also external drive won't play back, only burn DVDs. Have to use internal DVD player....... Lacie says external drive will play back on PCs though....

toby
09-01-2003, 08:06 PM
won't play back? that's odd, all the player needs is the VIDEO_TS folder - I've played dvd movies right off the hard drive. Or is it iDVD that won't play back?

Aegis
09-02-2003, 04:49 AM
CaptyDVD obviously isn't going to win any prizes, it came with a Lacie drive (Sonic's MyDVD is the PC counterpart for this package). So this all begins to make sense....It's a pity, such rotten, inferior software with such good hardware....

It astonishes me that companies are continuing to make such shoddy, amateurish software for DVD encoding - the choice it seems is to pay $$$ for quality encoding software or use packages designed for toddlers - On the PC there's a few (expensive) DVD authoring suites but nothing with the degree of professionalism of DVD Studio Pro (in its price bracket anyway). You can do it on the cheap with tools like TMPGEnc and DVD-Lab but it's not an all-in-one solution and requires a little more technical insight than the average PC user that just wants a great looking DVD might have.

Heck, I put my showreel together with Sonic's MyDVD and it was a nightmare - the software had no user controllable quality settings, you had to use a template to lay out the buttons (so I had to take a screengrab and design my buttons/backdrop around the templates I was offered) and to cap it all it automatically adjusted the saturation and gamma making my video look washed-out and grey - Yuck! For around $100 I got a much better solution in TMPGEnc and DVD-Lab - The moral? If you buy a piece of hardware and it comes with bundled software, don't even bother installing it... (Well, apart from the VT[3] :D)

Glendalough
09-02-2003, 03:22 PM
Hi Toby. -The drive which won't play back, is the external DVD drive. This will only burn, but not with iDVD. But yes, fortunately, the internal DVD player will play VIDEO_TS folders off the internal drive for which I am eternally greatfull. This drive doesn't burn though, so it seems to lock out use of iDVD anywhere else (external drives). Was hoping to use each drive to play DVDs from different regions, one US, and the other European.

Think this locking out of software/hardware by Apple is not really great especially on G4s which are supposed to be professional machines. We are being held ransome to the more consummer base of customers.....Have to be careful buying DVD Studio Pro.....Suppose one gets locked out with the external drive?.....Read something about some feature of playback during editing which doesn't work unless you have the internal DVD drive, but think this was only the DVD Rom not Superdrive needed.
All this trickyness seems a bit mean spirited of Apple, bad PR in the long run......

Hi Aegis. Your Sonic's MyDVD sounds even worse than the Capty thing I ended up with. With Mac we're always at a disadvantage when it comes to less expensive or more specific software alternatives. Found a Swedish company with an encoder some reviewers said was better than DVD Pro for 300 dollars but think that was before the new Studio Pro 2 came out which seems to have gone down to 500 dollars.......maybe it helped bring the price down......

mlinde
09-02-2003, 04:52 PM
Have you looked into Toast? I have Toast Titanium 5.x and one of my options is to burn a DVD. I'm assuming that I have to build the disk image first (but it sounds like you already did).

I haven't tested iDVD with 3rd party drives, you should do some searching/reading online before assuming it would, but you can buy iDVD in the "iLife" package for about $50 (USD). If you have an authoring package already, and you can build a disk image, I would try Toast to see if it will burn your DVD disc successfully.

Can't help with playback problems, I've only got one DVD drive on my each machine (internal).