Hopefully someone can guide me to getting better quality from a CS5 DVD.
Source video is high def footage from Canon HFM41 camcorder. I edit in Pinnacle Studio on a PC. In the case of this project, the end video is 36 minutes in length. I output to a 1080i MPEG2 file, even though for the time being I will only be making a standard DVD, someday I may want to take the same file and make a Blu-Ray disc.
In Encore CS5(Mac), I import the file as a timeline. I add a main menu, 7 submenu pages for the 37 chapters, and a 2nd audio track.
Since it is only 36 minutes, I should be able to get max quality on a DVD. For transcoding, I choose Automatic, and Max Render Quality. But when I watch the final DVD, any scenes of action look terrible. I've tried many different transcode settings such as DV High Quality 7MB 2 pass VBR, and I even tried copying this preset to a "DV High Quality 8MB 2 pass VBR". No big improvement in quality. Sometimes the transcoding took 8 hours on a 3 year old iMac i5. Very frustrating, especially when I can burn a DVD right out of Pinnacle Studio, and the quality is outstanding.
Can anyone give me the settings I need in CS5 to get the max quality for a 36 minute DVD?
My next step would be to output 2 files from Studio, the 1080i MPEG2 AND a standard DVD MPEG2 file. Then import the DVD file into Encore. But shouldn't a professional level program such as Encore be able to do better encoding than a $99 consumer package such as Pinnacle Studio.
Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.
I assume from your comments that you are bringing only the HD mpeg2 file into Encore. Then using that compressed file for Encore to downrez and compress. Export from PR for the DVD - MPEG2-DVD preset. For 36 minutes you can get a high bit rate. Test by selecting in the work area a scene with problems, then export as CBR 8. Bring that into Encore and check to see that it shows it as "Do Not Transcode" in the DVD settings.
Yes, I am only bringing in the HD MPEG2 file into Encore, then allowing Encore to transcode (downrez and recompress). So why is the transcode so poor quality? I would like to try and get the good quality using this workflow.
I don't use PR for editing, I use Pinnacle Studio. So yes, my next step was to try and output a DVD MPEG2 file from Pinnacle Studio, and hopefully Encore won't need to re-encode.
Stan, I did a little testing last night as follows.
I took a one minute segment of some beach volleyball that was showing poor quality on my initial DVD from Pinnacle Studio, and exported this 4 different ways
1) MPEG2 DVD Quality
2) MPEG2 1080i (same as my original 37 minute problem video)
3) AVCHD HD 1080
4) MP4 1080
I imported these one at a time into Encore, encoded as DV HQ 8MB CBR (except the DVD Quality file which did not need transcoding). I burned a DVD for each. The results all looked pretty good and pretty much the same between all 4 discs. The MPEG2 1080i disc didn't show the same poor quality that my iniitial 37 minute video did, even though they were exported from Pinnacle with the same settings. So then overnight, I tried re-transcoding the original 37 minute MPEG2 1080i file using the same DV HQ 8MB CBR from Encore and burning the disc. This morning before leaving for work, I popped the DVD in and went to the volleyball clip, and it looked terrible during the fast action, same as before.
So I am a bit perplexed by this. The only thing I can think is that because the 37 minute project has much more data in the project, and the MPEG2 1080i video file is about 7.2GB, maybe Encore is not allowing the same data rate. even though I told it to use the same transcode setting than the test using the 1 minute clip.
Not sure where to go from here, but I have exhausted so many 9-hour long transcode settings, and my project is way overdue. I would really like to know what settings to use from Pinnacle as well as Encore so that I can save off the highest quality file from Pinnacle that will allow me the highest quality in Encore so that in the future if I ever want to go back and re-export the project as Blu-Ray or something else, that I have the files I need. I guess I will just make the DVD with the MPEG2 DVD quality export file, and just save off the Pinnacle Studio export in all 4 formats shown above, not knowing which one will be needed in the future.
Any other suggestions or ideas?
I keep getting interrrupted today. I thought I had finished this note.
I am confused. At first I thought you were good to go for DVD. You did tests with short bits and they looked okay. And for DVD only, you can produce an acceptable DVD. And you are doing that by exporting an MPEG2-DVD file from Pinnacle. Right so far?
But you then exported HD files that are not being re-transcoded well by Encore. I just don't think that is what you should do. I think you are trying to create a "archival master" from Pinnacle that you can use later to create both DVD and Bluray. Is that right?
I was trying to have one "archival master" that is HD, that would be the source for whether creating DVD, Blu Ray, or anything else in the future. I can certainly save off multiple archival masters (DVD, MPEG2 HD, AVCHD HD, etc), which is what I guess I will do, and for now just use the DVD master for Encore to create the DVD, which would not require Encode to re-transcode.
It seemed strange to me that Encore wouldn't do a better job downrezing and re-transcoding from an HD master. I understand that the more times you convert files, especially with the lossy codecs, you will get what used to be called the generation loss in the analog world, so that is why it would be best to output from Pinnacle as many master formats as I can.
Thanks again Stan for helping me think this through.
Wow Stan. Thanks for the link.
The original poster of that thread sounds exactly like myself. My 37 minute clip was exactly what he described; a year's worth of family video and stills from multiple sources, with soundtrack, edited down to 37 minutes. My wife would laugh at his comment "and I'm also a backup freak with multiple backups of everything", as I am the same way.
>multiple backups of everything
Does that include a full backup of your boot/program drive for easy restore in case of a hard drive failure?
The product I use is at http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-linux.htm
Image runs off of a bootable CD via Linux (the Zip you download includes a program to make the bootable CD) and it reads EVERYTHING on the drive, even the hidden registration information, so everything is restored when needed... and you may restore the image to a brand new drive in case of a crash, and not have to re-install anything
I use Acronis True Image to make an image of the machine after a fresh install of the OS, and what I consider base programs (video and photo editing programs, office programs, baseline tools and utilities, etc). This image is used to refresh the machine maybe once a year or once every two years, or in the case of a virus or hd failure. My data is backed up daily onsite, and twice a year offsite.