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HDV --> SD DVD Workflow (DebugMode FrameServer, AviSynth)

Jul 2, 2008 10:16 PM

While the old thread contains a wealth of great information, I've decided to break away from it. It's too old, too long, too confusing... In summary:

Many users are aware that Premiere/AME/Encore does a "less than stellar" job of converting 1080i HDV to interlaced SD DVD. I (and others) have tried every conceivable combination of options and found none that provided "professional quality" conversions. This is largely due to the way that Premiere handles scaling of interlaced material ... Example #1 ... Example #2 ... and Premiere's failure to convert from the HDV color matrix (Rec.709) to the SD specification (Rec.601).

In an effort to solve these problems, I developed a workflow (using several third-party freeware tools) that achieves results far superior to that of Premiere and/or Encore by themselves.

I have written a guide for this workflow, including step-by-step instructions and links to download all the required tools.

This page also contains a link to a more advanced option for doing these conversions (using mostly the same tools). Please do not attempt the advanced version unless you have already implemented my "basic" workflow!

The page and linked files will be updated frequently. It is a work in progress, but should already provide excellent quality. I look forward to comments and suggestions from this community (as always).

Enjoy! -- Dan
 
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    Jul 3, 2008 2:55 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Hi Dan,
    I've read just about every post on the old thread. I'll certainly monitor this one.
    Howell
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 3:17 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Dan, I'll be actively using your workflow, so I'll be monitoring this thread as well.

    Thanks,
    Kevin
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 6:24 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Fantastic guide, Dan. Thanks for much for taking the time to put it together. The results are definitely worth it. Now if only there were a PPro Mac workflow so I don't have to use bootcamp...
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 6:55 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    What is a Mac user to do? I am using a mac at work and really miss debugmode. Any frame serving alternatives out there?
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 8:58 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >What is a Mac user to do?

    See the light...Buy PC! :)
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 10:19 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs

    Chances are good there are equivalent utilities out there for Macs, but you'd have to ask in a Mac-centric community.


    Cheers
    Eddie

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    Jul 3, 2008 11:26 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >I simply cannot abide an OS that only recently saw fit to use two mouse buttons

    Well said, brother!
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 12:22 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >Yeah, but can you run AviSynth on Mac? I think not... I don't know about "bootcramp" or whatever it is. I could be wrong.

    You can and I have. One advantage of the Intel-based Macs is that you can also install Windows and choose which OS to boot into using "bootcamp". My Mac Pro is either a native OS X or Win XP system, depending upon which I choose. To test your workflow I used PPro CS3 running in Windows, loading an HD project I had edited with PPro Mac on the same machine. It worked fine. Of course, those running PPro Mac only don't have this option...

    The freeware workflow is great, but I sincerely hope Adobe's engineers can improve Premiere so we don't have to go down that road anymore.
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 12:26 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Interestingly enough, I read a thread today on another forum where Final Cut users are experiencing the same HDV to SD quality problems using Compressor.
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 12:56 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >But I guess you need to own a Mac + a license for PPro CS3 Windows. That may be only a small crowd of folks, no?

    True. I have a license for PPro Win primarily for use on my laptop in the field, with a second installation on my Mac Pro Windows partition. I much prefer OS X to Windows, but there are definite advantages to keeping XP available.
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 5:23 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    I have to say that Dan has been unrelenting in his quest to educate people on the benefits of his workflow in going From HDV to SD DVD. I did some testing some months ago using his technique and the results looked pretty good but it was really difficult to judge just how much difference there was between an Adobe Media Encoder (AME) generated DVD file and the Frameserver/Avisythn process. To get a better means of comparing the two techniques, I recently used both work flows within CS3 to generate two DVD MPeg2 files from the same HDV source.

    I then imported both files into a PP2 DVD NTSC 16x9 MPEGPro project. I laid the two video files on top of each other, in synch and then using the motion effect, split the screen so that the Avisynth-generated video and the AME-generated video were displayed simultaneously showing the lower half of both video files. I then exported the split screen to a DVD MPeg2 file and subsequently burned this onto a DVD.

    Using a non-upscaling Sony DVD player (DVP-NS75P) and a 30" Sony Wega (KV-30HS420) Hi-def CRT based TV, previewed the split screen results. I can assure you that when viewing the two images directly, there is no question that Dan's workflow produces a sharper image with better colour and less motion blur. The difference is quite significant and I can assure you that I will be using his workflow from this point onwards to produce SD DVDs from HDV Premiere Projects.

    You have done a great job Dan, not only in developing this workflow but also in having the perseverance to keep this in front of the Adobe forum folks. Thanks again for the help you have provided me in getting this process up and running.
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 6:57 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    As Dan mentions, deinterlacing is a key issue You can not properly scale without deinterlacing. In my previous post, I bundled deinterlacing into scaling, but it is really an issue in of itself. When I got access to my final workflow, we were using a predictive-motion algorithm prior to scaling. This was the primary fix for the frame/field artifacts and haloing. Dan is correct, it is key.
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 7:24 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    OK. Now if only we can get Dan to figure out how to convert standard 30i NTSC into 24p, then back to 30i for display - without creating any artifacts!
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 10:18 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >going the other way without artifacts and/or duplicate fields is impossible.

    I'm not worried about duplicate fields. Even real film source shows this when frame stepped on DVD. I am trying to get rid of the artifacts.
     
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    Jul 3, 2008 10:27 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Was just thinking the same thing.
     
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    Jul 4, 2008 1:15 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    well -- after reading these posts for many months I decided to try it. Seems that I got much nicer color, but the field renedering must have weirded out the video.

    1) I exported an m2v file straight from premiere using MPEGPRo pluging as a baseline for comparison.

    2) I did the 'basic' workflow that Dan presented, then burned both timelines to a DVD in Encore CS3 (no transcoding was required in Encore because I did so in ProCoder first).

    The AVISynth workflow looked very choppy - almost as if frames were missing or if somehow the whole field order thing was jacked.

    My source was an m2T file from a canon HV20 straight to the timeline. A few cuts for fun, then output as described above and in Dans workflow guide.

    Should I NOT be doing upper fields first?? I know you want UFF in HDV - which I did for the MPEGPro export and it looked fine.

    Ed
     
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    Jul 4, 2008 2:25 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Ed, I have an HV20 that I use for my HDV work. I have had tremendous success with Dan's workflow doing the following:

    1. export movie from PP3 with Upper Field First selected in the Video tab of the Export dialog.

    2. use the parameter "OutputBFF=true" in the AVS script, if you are using Dan's advanced script. I tried both ways (upper/lower), and it only looks excellent if you use this parameter with BFF=true.

    Otherwise, I see the same chopiness that you are describing.

    When I export from Adobe Media Encoder, I noticed that the default was Lower Field First, so it prompted me to try it with Dan's workflow when I didn't get great results the first time.

    I have encoded several DVDs using clips from my HV20 and they look great - much better than standard Adobe Media Encoder based DVDs on my 50" plasma HDTV with a standard (non-upscaling) DVD player.

    I also purchased the Cinema Craft Encode Basic ($58) which I load AVS files into - works great and can be purchased online here:
    http://www.visiblelight.com/cinema%2Dcraft/

    As mentioned on another thread, I am seeing that it takes about 1 hour of 2-pass VBR encoding time, per minute of video from PP3. So a 10 minute video project in PP3 takes about 10 hours total (across 2-passes) to encode with Dan's workflow and CCE Basic.

    The results are outstanding!

    Hope this helps,
    Kevin
     
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    Jul 5, 2008 4:40 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Thanks for the help Kevin and Dan.

    >2. use the parameter "OutputBFF=true" in the AVS script, if you are using Dan's advanced script. I tried both ways (upper/lower), and it only looks excellent if you use this parameter with BFF=true.

    I ran the advanced script in VirtualDub -- I have the hd2sd.avsi file in the AVISynth plugin directory and other than what was already in the basic script sample from Dan, I only copied in this additional script into the premiere.avs file: hd2sd("debugtest4.avi", OutputFieldRate=60, OutputBFF=false, NR=5, Sharpness=0.5, VerticalBlur=0.5)

    I am getting this error when I tell Virtual Dub to run the premiere.avs script:
    "AVISynth open failure: script error: invalid arguments to function "isRGB" (hd2sd.avsi, line 52).....*\premiere.avs, line 16).

    Cant seem to get the advanced script to work!

    Also, regarding field order, if we are specifying the outputbff=true parameter, should I comment-out this command: "SelectEvery(4,1,2)" ?
     
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    Jul 5, 2008 5:15 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Ed, I got this error in one of Dan's previous versions of hd2sd.avsi - which he has since corrected. I suggest redownloading the latest script from his guide page. I downloaded it Thursday night (he updated it on Wednesday, 7/2/08 with this fix) and used it successfully.
     
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    Jul 5, 2008 6:46 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Big problem, PLEASE HELP!!!

    I'm editing an XDCam 1440x1080 file and everthing is good, BUT when I export the file with the Media Encoder I have try all the presets but there is no preset what showing me a fullscreen 16:9 1440 movie.

    What preset or settings must I use to give me an 16:9 fullscreen output???

    Please HELP!!!

    Erik
     
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    Jul 5, 2008 12:35 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    OK - the newer script fixed the error - thanks again for quick and helpful replies.

    Dan - nice job on this. I wasn't a believer that it would be worth it to run these 3rd party plugs, scripts, etc., but it does make a visible difference.

    Here is one part of the workflow I'm not sure I understand though -- I am using ProCoder 3 to do my encoding to m2v for DVD. When I try and open the premiere.avs script it gives me errors, but when I open the avi file that I have created via VirtualDub (by "save as *.avi" from VDub) it appears I am getting the end product as intended. Can one of you confirm I am essentially doing the same thing this way?

    One thing that seems out of sorts is that it is only taking about 10 minutes for VirtualDub to save out my avi file (2 min video saving as 3.4GB avi). Kevin mentioned more like one hour per minute so am I not getting the full benefit here. My PC is dual core AMD 3000+ with 4GB Ram - nothing special.

    Thanks!

    Ed
     
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    Jul 5, 2008 6:18 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >I haven't used ProCoder in years. It supposedly supports .avs input. Can you please tell me the exact error? Which "version" of my script are you using: the basic one or the hd2sd() function?

    The error reads: AviSource: Could not decompress frame 0
    (E:\*myfilepath*\premiere.avs, line 1)

    I'm using the hd2sd()script -- I think?!? I've selected some script commands you had in your text file and added to what was originally the 'basic' avs file I created from your basic workflow. Of course nothing would work then until I placed your hd2sd.avsi file into the plugin directory of AviSynth.

    >Or, pass the parameter OutputColorSpace="RGB24" to the hd2sd() function in the advanced workflow.

    Perhaps I am running before I've learned to walk, but you lose me with that one. What do you mean by "pass the parameter"? I tried adding the command you suggested but perhaps it was done incorrectly as I still get the same error.

    If not out of line in the forum, I will copy and paste my script file from my 'premiere.avs' file that I am trying to open in Procoder and maybe you can see my obvious error? debubtest3.avi is my signpost file created by DEBUGMODE FS from premiere**

    [Here is the script - less only the comments marked with #]

    >avisource("E:\Video Projects\tests\AVISynth tests\debugtest3.avi")
    ColorMatrix(mode="Rec.709->Rec.601", clamp=false)
    LeakKernelBob(order=1, threshold=10, sharp=true, twoway=false)
    Lanczos4Resize(720,480)
    SeparateFields()
    SelectEvery(4,1,2)
    Weave()
    Limiter(16, 235, 16, 240)
    hd2sd(OutputColorSpace="RGB24")
    hd2sd("debugtest3.avi", LimitWhite=false, OutputColorSpace="YUY2", Output601=true)
    hd2sd("debugtest3.avi", OutputFieldRate=30, SmoothTime=false)

    Thanks again for the assistance.

    Ed
     
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    Jul 6, 2008 4:15 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Hi Dan,

    I added ONLY the line you provided and Procoder worked! Nice results and it only took about 10 minutes to encode the 1:51 second video.

    I hate to wear out my welcome with more questions, but I am still a little confused on what you were meaning by telling me to do 'upper field first' in your latest post? I already had the script to do UFF [(SelectEvery(4,1,2)] and I have UFF selected in my export settings in Premiere. Are you suggesting something else?

    Thanks very much for all of your time and assistance. I owe you an apology for thinking this was all a colossal over-kill considering my HD-SD videos already seemed to be looking good. It's the fine lines in the video that really suffer in the transition without doing this avisynth. I will enjoy the better outputs and it really wasn't that hard to get going with this workflow.

    Ed
     
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    Jul 6, 2008 4:30 AM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    Ed, are you using 2-pass VBR for your Procoder? Are you feeding directly from PP3 -> DebugModeFrameserver -> Procoder? or are you creating an intermediate file from VirtualDub before having it go to Procoder?

    It's taking me a good hour to encode each minute of video, and I'm not sure that its the encoder that's slowing me down. I'm using PP3 --> DebugModeFrameserver --> CCE Basic encoder.

    When I encode with AME (Adobe-only workflow), it's much, much quicker - however not the results I want... I'm running on a new Quad core and it's not being utilized.
     
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    Jul 6, 2008 12:47 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >Ed, are you using 2-pass VBR for your Procoder?

    Yes - I do 2 pass VBR with a minimum bit rate of 7000, avg. bit rate of 7500, and max @ 7900.

    >Are you feeding directly from PP3 -> DebugModeFrameserver -> Procoder? or are you creating an intermediate file from VirtualDub before having it go to Procoder?

    This is where I was having trouble understanding what exactly I was supposed to do. When I run debugmodeframeserver as my export from Premiere, it gives me the signpost file. I was then taking my script and opening it up in VirtualDub to scrub the footage. At first, I was putting out an intermediary avi file (about 3.4GB in size for 1 min 51 second video). It took about 10 minutes to encode.

    Then, I tried opening up my avs script directly in Procoder, and it worked. Took about the same amount of time as it did to encode the intermediate file. **But now it seems my procoder is not happy with my avs script even though I made no changes? Working on that right now...

    Ed
     
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    Jul 6, 2008 12:56 PM   in reply to Dan Isaacs
    >If you are using the hd2sd() function, your .avs file should consist of EXACTLY ONE LINE (as quoted in my last response). Delete all the other statements and leave only the hs2sd(...) command. The script is a "one liner", so to speak.

    Aahhhhh....I thought you stacked up different scripts in the avs file (the one you suggested naming as premiere.avs in your guide) to pile in all the settings you wanted, such as color correction, sharpening, interlaced or progressive, etc.

    So now my avs file is only one line, and the hd2sd.avsi is located in my avisynth directory. Can I make various selections, such as adding the "OutputBFF=true" WITHIN the hd2sd.avsi file versus doing so in the premiere.avs file?

    I'm so close to getting it figured out but now I don't understand where I make my choices on the various options such as interlaced or progressive, TFF or BFF, etc.

    Ed
     
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