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Johnny
07-02-2007, 10:19 PM
I just spent a few weeks rendering some clips for an opening scene of my film at extreme enhanced. the film is going to be 720p...so you have a sense of how long the renders took and what kind of quality EE can produce.

I did a test wherein I loaded my clips into FCP, exported them at a QT movie (All animation codec) and then burned a disc image using iDVD so that I could see how my film will look once it's burned.

I about died when I saw the banding, the squirming, the wavyness, the moire, the stair stepping...and this at the top quality setting.

granted iDVD isn't a pro-level app like DVD studio is, but shouldn't it at least burn to the same level of quality?

I'm hoping that my film isn't doomed to this abysmal level of quality.

thanks for any input!

J

gatz
07-03-2007, 12:08 AM
If you're exporting from FCP, use Compressor. Ready your assets as MPEG-2. I've used 60min High Quality Encode without any of the artifacts you mentioned. The problem is letting iDVD, or DVD Pro for that matter, do the compression.

toby
07-03-2007, 12:15 AM
I'm sure the default settings in DVD studio would look jus as bad. It can get a lot better because you can tweak the settings, but you also have to know how to do that. It also has a lot to do with the content. Bright vivd colors won't compress well (you can see artifacting in the Incredibles' red outfits), nor will very soft gradients. But it always looks worse than you think it will anyway!

I just bought 'the Road warrior' on Blu-ray, and the 1080p goodness is astounding. You can see individual pieces of dust blowing by the actors. Just don't get too close to the screen - it's mpg2 compression. And for god's sake don't freeze frame it! Mel Gibson looks like he's got ants all over his face. you don't see it when it's playing tho.

Can you possibly post before and after images?

archijam
07-03-2007, 03:31 AM
I AM THE NIGHT RIDER ! I'm a fuel injected suicide machine. I am the rocker! I am the roller! I am the out-of-controller!

Love to see it again at 1080p ..

j.

Yamba
07-03-2007, 05:36 AM
gatz is right, compressor all the way. We deliver via iDVD or DVD Pro but never let them take control of the compression.

Yamba

Johnny
07-03-2007, 12:32 PM
Can you possibly post before and after images?

apparently not...Just tried to do a screen grab and sez "screen grabs unavailable during DVD playback.

just picture heavy stairstepping and heavy banding.

when I play the actual clip in quicktime, the quality is tops.

J

Johnny
07-03-2007, 12:32 PM
Can you possibly post before and after images?

apparently not...Just tried to do a screen grab and sez "screen grabs unavailable during DVD playback.

just picture heavy stairstepping and heavy banding.

when I play the actual clip in quicktime, the quality is tops.

J

Chilton
07-03-2007, 03:37 PM
Hi Johnny,

That limitation is a software restriction Apple put in place probably to shield themselves from something legally. It's not a hard restriction though, and any app that can make screencaps can get around it. You might try it with Snapz Pro or IShowU.

-Chilton

toby
07-03-2007, 09:41 PM
That limitation is a software restriction Apple put in place probably to shield themselves from something legally.
That's what I figgered too
You can also open the .VOB file in QT, you should have the MPG2 codec - or you can dowload VLC (video-lan client) for free and it'll play them. Then screengrab. Not that it's that important, if this Compressor works for you. let us know how it turns out

toby
07-03-2007, 09:48 PM
Hm, stairstepping? What's the size and format of the quicktime that you bring into iDVD? I don't have the latest iDVD, but mine will try to keep the same image, even if it's already stretched at .9, unless I use the DV codec going in. Stairstepping can be from any stretching or squashing of the image.

Johnny
07-03-2007, 09:56 PM
Hm, stairstepping? What's the size and format of the quicktime that you bring into iDVD? I don't have the latest iDVD, but mine will try to keep the same image, even if it's already stretched at .9, unless I use the DV codec going in. Stairstepping can be from any stretching or squashing of the image.


I'm dealing in square pixels for this production as I intend this thing for use only on LCD screens.

the size I sent to iDVD when I first saw the lousy quality was 1280 x 720. I selected 16:9 when I created the project...perhaps iDVD respects only the aspect ratio, not the exact pixel dimensions?

J

masterjedi
07-04-2007, 01:00 AM
Dor best results in iDVD, ready your footage at D1 resolution out of FCP (or QT Pro). The problem is not the compression, it's the terrible scaling done by iDVD. Hope that helps.

-MJ

toby
07-04-2007, 04:35 AM
I'm dealing in square pixels for this production as I intend this thing for use only on LCD screens.

the size I sent to iDVD when I first saw the lousy quality was 1280 x 720. I selected 16:9 when I created the project...perhaps iDVD respects only the aspect ratio, not the exact pixel dimensions?

J
Aha, my iDVD doesn't offer 16:9, it's obviously older than yours. But like masterjedi said, make sure it's a size that iDVD won't stretch or squash, which may be D1, to prevent stairstepping. It's hard to say what iDVD does under the hood, without running tests. But my version will try to maintain whatever image you have in the QT - if it's stretched to accomidate 0.9 aspect, iDVD will resize it to keep it stretched - unless it's DV format, then it assumes you want it correct from you DV camera to DVD. If it's some other format, it assumes you want to keep it exactly as it is in the QT - stretched or not.

Once you find the size that iDVD won't mess with, export a QT at that size from AE or something.

Johnny
07-04-2007, 06:18 AM
I guess what I need to do for distribution is:

A. get comfy with DVD Studio Pro (Yes, I have it..haven't learned it yet! :hey: )

and

B. get more familiar with compression techniques. this movie is being designed from LCD screens only, so I can avoid all the TV/broadcast-related issues.

FWIW, the version of iDVD that I've been using is the one which comes with the iLife suite. among other things, it offers 16:9 which the earlier one doesn't.

also, I have to admit that it's just plain easy..an easy route to a DVD image I can play on the mac for testing purposes.

thanks

J

RonGC
07-04-2007, 05:00 PM
Try exporting the quicktime as dv and idvd should work with it fine, You have to realize that idvd is designed to be used with dv content for the average home user, not to say that it cant produce top notch results it can, just that its happier with dv and understands what you want it to do better. LOL.

You also will not get degrading if you export a reference dv file direct to idvd, instead of self contained.

Of course your milage will vary depending on which versions of each app your using.

Ron

toby
07-04-2007, 08:05 PM
You also will not get degrading if you export a reference dv file direct to idvd, instead of self contained.
!
Is that an FCP feature? QT pro can't do that can it?
And I have noticed degradation from exporting to DV, I started using it for my demo reel because it made things easier, and it just didn't look as good, even noticed a few artifacts - so I switched back to lossless

Johnny
07-04-2007, 08:18 PM
I have just started experimenting with what you might call "proxy editing" in FCP.

what I did was do some cutting and image processing on a smaller version, same aspect ratio as my full size clips.

then, I moved the lo rez clips and force FCP to ask me where they were, at which time I pointed it to the hi-rez, re-rendered, and ended up wtih a clip at full frame size, but with the actual editing being done on the smaller clips which are easier for my computers to play smoothly.

J

toby
07-04-2007, 08:26 PM
Think yer pretty clever, don't ya?

:hey:

Good idea

RonGC
07-04-2007, 08:44 PM
Yes its a feature of both FCP and qtPro combined with the latest idvd version 6, you just export the reference file, much faster than exporting to self contained then importing.

Were talking idvd so for it dv is easiest. You can get a lot more out of QTpro or FCP and compressor combined with dvd studio to make your content shine it just means doing a little more work but you get better results.

Idvd has several little problem areas that you have to be aware of or you get artifacting, sound drop-outs etc, try to match your codecs to what idvd expects, the standard presets for NTSC and Pal. Heck if you want to change from ntsc to pal in idvd you have to re-export from imovie or FCP in that new format before idvd will let you do it.

Idvd - consumer-limited-home movies, dvd studio -professional- skies the limit.

Ron

Johnny
07-04-2007, 09:52 PM
Think yer pretty clever, don't ya?

:hey:

Good idea


heh

I sure am glad it worked bcs it puts things within my reach I previously thot possible only with much more powerful (and more expensive) hardware.

I keep thinking back to the days before even the power of a Mac Mini and how intense projects got done, and wanting to take pages from THAT book.

j

RonGC
07-04-2007, 10:20 PM
For professional information on Final Cut Pro check out Creative Cow forums. http://forums.creativecow.net/cgi-bin/new_view_posts.cgi?forumid=8

If you need info this is the place to be, these guys, unlike myself are good at describing things in writing, me i'm a hands on guy, takes me 20 pages to describe one sentence. LOL. Some guys are great teachers i'm not.

Be prepared to read lots on forums like creative cow and other resources to learn about editing, codecs, color correction, dvd burning, etc. Be prepared to spend as much time as it took to master Lightwave, there is a reason that film school takes more than a week.

There is a lot of information to be learned. Each post may contain one little tidbit, and over a period of time all those tidbits add up to the whole picture.

The people on the Final Cut forums are great guys and are willing to share.

Ron

RonGC
07-04-2007, 11:00 PM
Johnny, Sorry i forgot to mention the seattle FCP user group as well.

Check them out, nothing better for learning than hands on time. http://www.seafcpug.org/

Ron

toby
07-05-2007, 12:05 AM
I learned something about compression the other day, it's really cool: one of the things they do in most compression formats is to separate the color from the luminosity, and down-res the color channel dramatically. The color information can be a 1/4 the size and the difference is nearly indistiguishable. So I tried this in Photoshop;
Open the image, duplicate the layer, set one layer to Lumiosity. Copy the other layer into a new document, scale it down 25%, scale it back up 400% but set Resample to Nearest Neighbor - this will keep it pixelated, keeping it lower res at a larger size. Now copy this back over the Luminosity layer and set it's blend mode to Color.

If you do this with a photo with saturated colors, esp. red, you'll get artifacts that look just like what I was getting with DV - it looks pixely around the edges of bright colors.

( first image is low-res color channel, then luminosity, then last is the result )

brunopeixoto
07-05-2007, 09:02 PM
Remember about temporal compression too...
It' s a good idea to save renders in image sequences as a matter of don't loose good frames in a long sequence of frames, but about temporal compression. Modern codecs do frame compression and also they compare frames to store the pixels that change, and only these. Color compression is related to codecs, but it's something related to video formats - DV and HDV use a color/luminosity cheme named 4:1:1 or 4:2:0, DVCPRO, DVCPRO HD and the new apple pro res 422 4:2:2- One channel for luminosity (4 samples) and 2 channels for color (U and V - 1 or 2). The color channels stores color in a color space named YUV, whre U and V are comps of yellow/blue and red/green. If you get some samples of these diferent codecs, in FCP or shake you can look to the color channels and see the diference. It's common to see artifacts in color channels of DV footage.
And about the temporal compression, you will need all the frames ready to this kind of compression.

avkills
07-08-2007, 10:54 AM
I think the real issue with his compression is the fact that his frame size is 1280x720 which is not a supported frame size for DVDs. iDVD and DVD Studio Pro expect to see a frame size of 720x480 non-square pixels, lower field first for interlaced media.

However, all is not lost. What I think the best course of action would be is to continue editing as is, once that is done, open a new sequence in FCP that is DV/DVCPRO NTSC frame size and anamorphic (probably 24p). Once this is done, drop your finished edited sequence into it and scale it down if need be. Render this, then export this sequence using Compressor and see what happens. You might have to use CinemaTools to do some reverse pulldown so it conforms to the DVDs 29.97 fps.

Although I am curious as to why you even want to use MPEG-2 and iDVD or DVD SP to even work this project? You say it is destined for LCD displays only, does that mean it is only going to be a online download for distribution? If the answer is yes, then ditch MPEG-2 and re-compress it using H.264 through compressor from the master edited sequence.

-mark

BigHache
07-08-2007, 09:10 PM
I think the real issue with his compression is the fact that his frame size is 1280x720 which is not a supported frame size for DVDs. iDVD and DVD Studio Pro expect to see a frame size of 720x480 non-square pixels, lower field first for interlaced media.

He's on the money here. What happens with any DVD player is when it sees the VOB files, it's expecting the video to be 4:3, and an SD DVD player will display that VOB at 4:3 even if the video is 16:9.

Another example would be DVD recorders that are set to super, uber long-play. What they do is cut the horizontal resolution in half thereby saving space. Instead of an SD NTSC video you get a video that's 320x486 that gets stretched and displayed at 720x486 and looks fuzzy.

dsol
07-09-2007, 06:16 AM
I learned something about compression the other day, it's really cool: one of the things they do in most compression formats is to separate the color from the luminosity, and down-res the color channel dramatically. The color information can be a 1/4 the size and the difference is nearly indistiguishable.

Yeah, for even better results for video encoded with heavy quantization on the colour channels (DV, for example), you can use tools like After Effects or Shake to blur or median the U & V channels. There's a good tutorial about this on Creative Cow somewhere. It's particularly useful if you're keying out bluescreen footage - otherwise you end up with a nasty chunky edge.

Johnny
07-10-2007, 06:04 AM
I think the real issue with his compression is the fact that his frame size is 1280x720 which is not a supported frame size for DVDs.-mark


what about those movies you get on DVD in HD?

or are those "faked" HD aspect ratios?...


J

BeeVee
07-10-2007, 07:54 AM
HD-DVD is a different thing.

B

toby
07-10-2007, 09:03 PM
I think what Johnny wants is a dvd that auto-displays 720x404 instead of 640x480. I wouldn't mind knowing that myself :)

Johnny
07-10-2007, 09:13 PM
well...no...and I am going to stick my neck out here and prbly look like a REAL rookie, but...

I thought that iDVD and most certainly DVD Pro were capable of doing HD sizes..

Apple's been crowing that FC Studio is HD-capable, so I made an (unwarranted?) assumption that all the apps in the suite could handle, for example, 720p

J

toby
07-10-2007, 09:45 PM
You'll have to wait until iDVD, your burner and whatever player you want to use says HD DVD or Blu-Ray on it - HD won't play on a dvd player (hardware or software), because DVD is standardized to D1 and PAL.

But since you just want it to play on computer monitors, you can simply make a Quicktime at whatever size you want -

BigHache
07-11-2007, 12:12 AM
Apple's been crowing that FC Studio is HD-capable
FC is HD capable, but it depends on what you do with your HD sequence and video that determines the benefit you get from editing in HD. If you don't have the corresponding output device (like a Blu-Ray or HD DVD burner) then you're probably looking at downconverting to SD, which *is* supposed to give you better results than just starting in SD.

Also you'd probably want to look at getting into some type of RAID solution for editing HD.

avkills
07-11-2007, 01:00 AM
DVDs that have HD frame sizes and cinemscope aspect ratios (like 1.85:1) are actually anamorphic-ally squeezed horizontally to fit inside the NTSC DVD spec of 720x480 non-square pixels aspect ratio 4:3.

In other words, those words printed on the back of DVDs that say "enhanced for widescreen TVs", really does not mean you are getting HD quality.

DVDs have flags that tell the DVD player whether or not the material is anamorphic, hence when you play movies back on your computer using the Apple DVD player, it produces a frame size that is HD like.

To sum it all up, you need to scale you HD sources down to fit into a 4:3 frame size and tell it is anamorphic, to inch every ounce of quality (or there lack of) that a DVD can produce.

-mark

Johnny
07-11-2007, 07:26 AM
OK..thanks to you guys for clarifying that.

I guess I won't be turning to either DVD authoring app for this film; maybe to H264 or 263 for distro when I'm all done?

J

dsol
07-11-2007, 07:36 AM
The method you use to distribute it depends entirely on the end audience. If you're sending it to festivals/competitions etc., then their usual requirement at the moment is a standard PAL or NTSC DVD (playable on a standard DVD player). For screenings, then HD-CAM is a common format (or even direct from disk). There's also online distribution to consider - XBox live supports downloading/playing HD WMV content and has a store to sell it. Apple will no doubt be following shortly.

Above all these considerations is the need to keep a pristine HD master in uncompressed (or losslessly compressed) format at (presumably) 24fps. You can then use that to create whatever distributed media you require.

And yes, a RAID5 (or 6) is a very good investment indeed. I've already recommended highpoints e-sata RAID5 solutions, though there's plenty of others. This will give you the storage you need as well as protecting you from catastrophic disk failure.

BigHache
07-12-2007, 04:16 PM
dsol,

Has your RAID helped to decrease render times at all?

dsol
07-12-2007, 06:40 PM
No, it doesn't affect LW rendering time - which is rarely a disk-bound problem. The only situation I could see it doing so is if you were rendering a very simple scene in uncompressed HD, but even so the difference would be neglible.

Where the RAID is invaluable is for apps that require high disk bandwidth - like video editing - and to protect your data if a drive dies. It's also great simply because I now have a very large amount of storage to work with (currently 2TB - 5x500GB drives - 500GB used for parity) with the option to add a further 5 drives to the enclosure as and when my storage needs dictate. The Highpoint card has 4 multiplexed e-sata connectors, so I could even add a second drive enclosure for crazy amounts of storage if needed.

As a word of warning, external firewire or USB2 drives are NOT a good way to store important data. Most enclosures fail to provide enough cooling capability - and overheating greatly shortens the lifespan of hard disks. The RAID enclousure I'm using - a 10-bay ProAVIO unit is an all-metal construction with fans to keep the drives well ventilated.

BigHache
07-12-2007, 11:20 PM
Sorry, I meant rendering in FCP or whatever video editing app.

dsol
07-13-2007, 04:52 AM
it's a mixed bag - FCP can handle more streams of video now, but for random access it can be noticably slower, so some After Effects projects render slower. Though that may be because I haven't optimised it correctly yet - there weren't any options in Apple Disk Utility to set cluster sizes when I formatted the volume.

I got the RAID principally because I had a lot of important work on an 500GB external Lacie firewire drive and I couldn't afford to lose it to a disk error (particularly as the Lacie is actually 2 disks striped in a RAID-0 config - so twice the chance of failure).

Having the option to cheaply expand my storage in the future is a real boon too.

BigHache
07-14-2007, 06:42 PM
That's interesting. I have external Lacies at work but 90% of my files are just FCP project files. My source footage gets dumped regularly because it's all on tape. Thanks for the info.