I know that to get the highest quality image on your DVD that your project should be 1 hour. What happens if your project is longer than that? let's say one hour ane 10 minutes for example. Will Encore still pop out a DVD only with lower quality images?
Of course it won't, although I understand where your concerns come from - blame marketing speak for this!.
It's basically nonsense - Hollywood have been outputting films on DVD running well past the 1 hour mark for over a decade now.
What determines the final image quality on any DVD has much, much more going on than simple running time.
Initially, you should start with the highest quality assets available to you. A lot of the time, this will be SD Video - Standard Definition Video - at 720x480 pixels if in NTSC regions, or 720x576 in PAL regions. If it is higher than this, it is a form of High(er) Definition video. That would introduce our first variable, as high definition source material needs to be correctly scaled or reduced in resolution to SD.
Then it needs to be transcoded into a DVD compliant compressed data format called MPEG-2, standing for the Motion Picture Experts Group, although some wags would claim it really stads for "moving pictures by educated guesswork". There are many encoders out there, and some are frankly better than others at all settings, whilst others work well in some cases but not in others. It's a bit of a minefield. Encore's MainConcept encoder is pretty good.
Quality here depends on the available bitrate, which depends on running time divided by available disc space, with added complexity caused by quality of source, quality of encoder & rapidity of motion in the source.
Basically, the more action in the film (or explosions, fires - anything difficult to encode because of fast motion etc) the more bits that section will need so another trick is using VBR or CBR - Variable bitrate will use fewer bits when it can in order to use more when it has to. VBR will always vary the bitrate to maintain quality. CBR uses the same number of bits, regardless of content, and will only ever vary the quality or (in best case scenario) waste disc space.
If using Dolby Digital Audio, which is 0.192kbps for stereo, this leaves you with up to 9,500kbps for film.
A DVD9 has 65,000 avalable MegaBits for use (after subtracting an overhead) so a 3 hour film would run for 10,800 seconds.
Audio MegaBits used we cancalculate as it is a fixed bitrate, so 0.192 x 10,800 = 2073.6MegaBits.
65,000 - 2073.6 = 62926.4 MegaBits remaining
This gives you a video bitrate of 62926.4/10800 = 5.83Mbps, or 5,830kbps for your video bitrate. That's almost 6Mbps, and a lot of hollywood come in at less than this. a 2-pass VBR would be your best fit, with the minimum at 2,000, the maximum at 6,000 and the target at 5,000 (Some encoders cheat here and set the maximum internaly to the spec limits - I do not recommend trying this in settings though).
A well-encoded film at an average bitrate of 5,000 kbps is not going to look terrible by any stretch although a lot does depend on those variables.
Hope this helps
I appreciate the time that you spent to explain all of this to me. The information is very valuable. I will not claim that I fully understand absolutely everything you have written, but with a little time I will wrap my mind around it. I am primarily using AVCHD video files, and therefore do have reasonably good assets to work with. I was not aware that I had other encoders that the ordinary person is able to obtain. This will give me something to research. Using Premiere Pro CS5 and it's companion Encoder, I thought that was what I was stuck with. I'm, of course, aware that Hollywood uses some incredible ones, and certainly am not so naive to expect that those are available for the average person due to probably trade secrets but also very high cost. Thank you again, your information is very much appreciated.
I also start with AVCHD video and go to DVD - http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694
My workflow, so I do not have to try and figure out the exact "best" MPEG2-DVD output from PPro, is to export as Widescreen DV AVI
I then import that AVI into Encore, and have Encore configured to use automatic transcoding to make a "best fit" of video to DVD
I have been trying to get the answer to this for months.
It's true. doesn't matter how long your video is - encore will burn it whether it's 1 hr or 3 hours.
I've asked if I should export to another file type like MPEG2 or AVI - and then import into Encore.. but in this forum the verdict seems mixed. Some folks say use dynamic link to "send to encore" . and others say output some kind of file, then import.
Which is best for quality? thanks all!
ps. trying to burn a DVD using
29.97 HDV 1080i30 (60i)
I'm certainly not the person who is qualified to tell you which is best, Dynamic Link to Encore or export to media and then pull it into Encore. There are many on this forum that have that knowledge, and hopefully one of them will answer it for us. As for myself, I have given up on trying to use Dynamic Linc to send it to Encore. Each time I try it, the software will spend the several hours to do all the trancoding and everything else needed to create a DVD, and the result is usually a window that eventually opens up and says Transcoding failed, or something to that effect. I then spend a few more hours to do it the way that always works. I export it as an AVI file, as I was advised by the wonderful people on this forum, and then pull it back into Encore. Anyway, once I see that window open, I then know that I have just wasted several hours of time. I also, once again, then resolve to stop ever using the Dynamic Link, until the next time I get stupid and want to waste some more time. I'd love to be able to use it. Bouncing back and forth from Encore to PPCS5 to make some precise changes is a great idea. I just wish that it worked. I would like being able to add my Chapter markers at the time that I am editing my videos in PPCS5, but it doesn't help much if I can't transfer them to Encore through the Dynamic Link.
Terry, thanks for your input. I feel badly for you that you can't make it work. I am on an iMac and have PPO 5.5 with Encore and have always had success with it.
tell me more about your footage and what platform you are on.
also, You mention a window, does that window have a specific error message? More info!!
The encoders used by the "industry" such as is left of it are generally either CinemaCraft or else CineVision.
CinemaCraft's full version of CCE-SP3 is expensive but not brutally so at around £1,000 before haggling (these suppliers will nearly always haggle too - never accept retail in these days as we have a buyers market right now) - but the even better news is that there is a stripped-back version that will get you probably 95% of the way that the full one will get you and it is a fraction of the price at around $58. Seriously. Okay, it is not as good as the big brother version but it gets you seriously close. Well, well worth getting the trial version at least. There is also a great "getting started" tutorial for it over on Doom 9's forums. I've been using CCE-SP3 for a couple of years now & never once regretted plonking the cash down as it really does give superior encodings to most of the rest.
CineVision is simply brutally dear, with 4 variants on offer - although it is designed for BluRay it will do SD as well. There are 4 versions from expensive all the way up to needing a remortgage and support is a whopping £1,750 per annum. Okay, it does do all 3 stream types but that's not so much - nobody uses MPEG-2 in BD production as the quality to file size ratio is twice as large for no better quality compared to AVC/H264 - which rather neatly brings me to the best AVC/H264 encoder out there - x264 Pro. This is not the right thread so I will talk more about that later.
I'm drifting dangerously close to off-topic here right now.....the point was simply that you can get the highest quality outputs from a good source file.
The trick to it is (I believe) to render out from Premiere first and then encode that to MPEG-2 afterwards. Any scalng (remember AVCHD is already a lossy form so be careful with it) should be done at this point, and definitely not at the same time as the actual MPEG-2 encoding - although it must be said that CCE-SP3 does a great job of scaling too.
Encore tends to work best when fed with pre-cooked, DVD compliant assets in the first place - so I would also avoid using Dynamic Linking, but that is just me & my workflow. Encore's built-in encoder is a MainConcept engine, which is the same engine as Sonic's CineVision (or should I say "Rovi TotalCode" these days, perhaps - they too have a Premiere Plugin these days)
ADL (Adobe Dynamic Link) usually works fine. When it does not, the problem is usually traced back to the specific PrPro Sequence, or Assets, though not always. For the same user, ADL might function perfectly with several, somewhat similar Projects, and then not, with another.
When it does not, the general wisdom is to Export to either 100% DVD-compliant MPEG-2 DV, or to DV-AVI, and Import that into Encore. Usually, we recommend looking at the faulting Sequence, for obvious errors, but then falling back on the "old fashioned" way of doing things. That almost always works.
As Transcoding is necessary with the use of ADL, to get the En Timelines prepared for burning to DVD, the time is about the same, as Exporting the MPEG-2 DV file, but is quicker, than Exporting to DV-AVI first, and then having Encore do the necessary Transcoding.
When it works, as designed, ADL is great, and when it does not, one has that "old fashioned" workflow as a backup. At the end of the day, it is about getting the Project authored and burned for delivery.
Neil, This is wonderful!!! I would not be able to justify a full version of this encoder at 1000 with the type of work that I do, but if I can get any improvement in my final DVD image quality for only $58 that's a "no brainer" and as soon as I'm done with this reply I'm going to buy it. I'm very glad that you took the time to tell me about it. I certainly hope that many others on this forum will read and learn about this. Very much appreciated.
The tutorial you referenced is dated 2005, is that still useful today 7 years later? Is that how old the Encoder is and still better than the normal ones out there?
Neil, just checked on the plug in - It says that it is a Premiere 5.1 plug in. My assumption is that would not work with Premiere Pro CS5.5. Am I correct about that, or do you know? Actually this would not work on my system anyway because your link was to a site that only provided software for XP operating systems. I use Windows 7.
Update. Hi Neil. I was able to locate information on newer versions. Apparently they no longer have a basic version. The versions for Windows 7 are now $990 USD. Was a nice idea though, and perhaps some of the readers of this forum who have the older operating systems will be able to take advantage of that $58 version.
I've learned that the $58 deal that you mentioned will only work on computers with XP or earlier operating systems, and I use a Windows 7 computer. The newest version of this software that will work on Windows 7 sells for $950. I am considering buying an old computer that runs on XP in order to use this $58 deal. What I need to know is what other software will need to be on this computer to take advantage of it. I would like to be able to simply take edited video and run it through this software and then bring that video into Encore to create a DVD. My guess is that I will need to have Premiere Pro CS.5 installed on that computer Is that correct? If so, can someone tell me if I am able to install my Premiere Pro CS5 on two of my own computers?
You MAY have 2 Computer License http://forums.adobe.com/thread/977272 (just don't use both at the same time)
You may NOT install CS5 or later on WinXP... but there is a Free alternative http://www.deskshare.com/dvd-authoring-burning-software.aspx for DVD authoring that MAY work on WinXP (I have not used it, so do not know... go read)
If you have Win7 64bit PRO or higher, go to http://windowssecrets.com/newsletter/using-windows-7s-xp-mode-step-by- step/