26 Replies Latest reply: Oct 19, 2007 4:14 AM by neil wilkes RSS

    Export and Import everything

    Community Member
      In order to create a new project without losing all the time spent in creating a similar one (e.g. a NTSC version to a PAL version):

      Export /import chapters
      export /import menus (with or without changing aspect ratio)
      (or SMART TEMPLATES that allow one style to be either PAL or NTSC)
      export/ import transcoded files
      export/move/import source files with transcoded counterparts
      export/ import button direction /order with smart substitution when there is a missing or changed button, i.e. based on graphical position perhaps.

      export /import in ascii project parameters that can be edited.

      etc, i.e. timelines, lists, etc etc, all parts of a project. Encore is so rudimentary compared to the Apple products.
        • 1. Re: Export and Import everything
          Jeff Bellune ACP
          >export /import menus (with or without changing aspect ratio)

          You can already do this in Encore by using the Edit in Photoshop command. I'll leave it to you to fill in the details.

          EDIT: Even easier in Encore 2.0 - Menu>Save Menu as File...

          >etc, i.e. timelines, lists, etc etc, all parts of a project

          A "one-step" solution for you (and me, too) would be to let Encore do what Premiere Pro and After Effects can do: import existing projects into new projects. Then you could set up a PAL project and import the NTSC project into it. All the pointers to all of the source and transcoded assets would be in place.

          Please file a feature request here on the Adobe site if you haven't already done so. The more voices that Adobe hears (through official channels), the more likely it is that a feature will be implemented in future versions.

          >Encore is so rudimentary compared to the Apple products.

          IMHO, Apple is lucky that there are people who still think like you do. ;)

          -Jeff
          • 2. Re: Export and Import everything
            Community Member
            Why can't they set the NTSC/PAL settings at build time? If a file isn't the correct format, it changes it during the build process. This would eleviate having to build the project twice. It does kinda stink that Pal files cannot be imported into an NTSC project, and vice versa.
            • 3. Re: Export and Import everything
              Community Member
              I've felt that way myself. Ahhhhh... it would have to be a very clever conversion though - consider that the assets you initially were using may be NTSC MPEG2, the chances that the footage would still look adequate after being compressed, decompressed, transcoded and recompressed... wellllllll....
              • 4. Re: Export and Import everything
                neil wilkes MVP
                So how would that work then, assuming menus were designed with a PAR of 0.9 at a rresolution of 720 x 480, and suddenly have to go to a PAR of 1.066 and a resolution of 720 x 576?
                Then there are the overlays, same problem.
                Colours - NTSC uses a different colour space to PAL.
                Video files: FRame Rate is completely wrong, so is the resolution, which means every frame would have to be filtered for colour, altered the PAR, and change the resolution by rresizing - frame by frame.
                Any chapter points would be out of whack, as would all sync points.

                It's a lot more complex than you might think - plus you have different spec variations for each standard as well.
                It cannot be done this way.
                • 5. Re: Export and Import everything
                  Community Member
                  Procoder seems to have the conversion down. In fact I converted a PAL DVD to NTSC with it and some of the compression artifact found in the PAL version disappeared in the NTSC version. I did however have to rebuild it in Encore.

                  By the way, I know it was mentioned/asked before "where are the video backgrounds for menus stored on the DVD"? DVD decrypter won't let you see them. Procoder will. I got Procoder 2 recently and it is worth having. It converts to and from VOBs.

                  Haven't tried this yet but could 1 convert the VOBs in a PAL DVD to NTSC, (keeping the same names), then replace the original PAL VOBs files with the converted VOBs in the VIDEO_TS folder and burn it? I'm guessing probably not since Procoder does write AC3 audio. It would convert it to PCM. I'm sure there's a list of problems to add.
                  Just a thought.
                  • 6. Re: Export and Import everything
                    Community Member
                    Neil I think you are mistaken.
                    Yes, there are issues. But for Encore, 50 to 90% of the PAL/NTSC conversion could be done, saving the user TONS of time.

                    a) Menus. could use Photoshop's Pixel Aspect Ratio in concert with bicubic resizing. I did this manually and there was no loss in most items, like the vector graphics, text, and objects. Graphics would be resized losing a tiny bit but usually these are backgrounds which have low sharpness.
                    In any case, the result would be a GREAT start to the otherwise totally manual conversion.
                    Plus MENU templates could be in square pixel format and shift either way for NTSC/PAL. This would minimize the amount of resizing.

                    b) Chapters. They would be VERY close. It is based on time. My Video media would be the same time, just a different format. Yes, if tied to an I-frame they might be off by a small amount. Still a GREAT start.
                    Otherwise you copy the times of the current chapters of EVERY video segment and have to MANUALLY and very slowly enter them into the rather DUMB Encore interface, i.e. click in this window, go to that window, type number, back. etc etc.

                    c) Other settings. Almost all other settings are unchanged by PAL/NTSC. The BUTTONS and other NAVIGATION are all the same. 100% savings.

                    d) Video. A smart program could convert them, but I would rather just substitute one AVI file for another and re-encode them. This is an AUTOMATED batch step which takes time but not MY time.

                    In Summary, ENCORE just dropped the ball here by not taking the trouble and not thinking of the millions of hours its USERS had to do to make up for poor programming.
                    • 7. Re: Export and Import everything
                      Community Member
                      i In Summary, ENCORE just dropped the ball here by not taking the trouble and not thinking of the millions of hours its USERS had to do to make up for poor programming.

                      Perhaps a slight exaggeration of the need for this particular feature. Peace, BJ
                      • 8. Re: Export and Import everything
                        Jeff Bellune ACP
                        I agree with BJ. I am in NTSC land. If I need to send a project to a PAL location, I export from Encore as....NTSC.

                        As Neil has pointed out before, a huge percentage of PAL DVD players can read NTSC discs.

                        If one is in PAL land, then it becomes a little trickier. With few exceptions, however, a PAL author who knows his product is going to be viewed in North America creates 2 versions of his project from the get-go. Neil can correct me if I am wrong.

                        Hence, the number of authors who need an "automatic" conversion from NTSC or PAL or vice-versa is relatively small. Unfortunately in this case, Hugh, you seem to be one of those.

                        And, IMHO, you have greatly oversimplified the programming that would be required to effectively and accurately convert a DVD project from one format to another.
                        • 9. Re: Export and Import everything
                          Community Member
                          Millions of hours:
                          Add up the number of man-hours spent in the forums or on phones or trying to figure out program flaws like those in Encore. Much more efficient to have the programming team solve the problem up front. Even studies have proved this economically.

                          NTSC land:
                          Americans in "NTSC land" are very parochial. So NTSC works in "most". So what? I make DVDs for Australia and India too. There it is 50% unless you are only talking about the rich or business.

                          And many of the older "NTSC / PAL" TVs and machines produce a squashed NTSC picture. So who is to worry about pixel ratio with Encore?

                          I AM a programmer:
                          I feel strongly about these issues since I know how easy it is to do. A good design is required. Then it is almost easy. But who cares if it helps people become more productive and creative? Adobe should care.
                          I'd rather be creative than puzzle out hidden problems or be frustrated by unnecessary manual recoding.

                          So I still think ENCORE dropped the ball, at least on 1.5.
                          • 10. Re: Export and Import everything
                            Community Member
                            Craig said: I've felt that way myself. Ahhhhh... it would have to be a very clever conversion though - consider that the assets you initially were using may be NTSC MPEG2, the chances that the footage would still look adequate after being compressed, decompressed, transcoded and recompressed..

                            I would never expect the mpeg2 files to be transcoded and retain quality -- perhaps for a test only.
                            With vegas I can switch to PAL or NTSC at will and output AVI files for the source.
                            Its the TIME to do the ALL the rest that I want to simplify. Transcoding is automatic and batch. But, changing the menus, buttons, chapters, is painstaking and error prone and requires a whole new debugging to be done.
                            • 11. Re: Export and Import everything
                              Jeff Bellune ACP
                              >Millions of hours:
                              Add up the number of man-hours spent in the forums or on phones or trying to figure out program flaws like those in Encore.

                              Hugh,

                              Please forgive me for being blunt. If you want to talk about PAL/NTSC conversions, then it is not millions of hours. Not even close.

                              If you want to add up all of the user hours spent on dealing with all of the problems that have ever been encountered when Encore is involved, then maybe it gets into the millions.

                              But you have to subtract the hours that result from: lack of RTFM, lack of knowledge of the DVD spec and lack of even some basic system knowledge. Then the hours that can be saved by the developers "fixing" things goes down to an almost insignificant percentage.

                              My opinion on the NTSC/PAL conversion thing is this: plan ahead and make 2 versions of your project. If someone hands you assets in one format and you have to convert to the other, then take the time necessary to do the job right. Charge your clients for your time accordingly.
                              • 12. Re: Export and Import everything
                                jbowden Adobe Employee
                                A million hours is more than 114 years. Considering Encore as a product has existed only since the end of 2003 (about 3 years, total), I seriously doubt millions of hours have been spent with Encore tech support.

                                I could be wrong, but if I am- think of the profit! :)
                                • 13. Re: Export and Import everything
                                  Community Member
                                  Think of the man hours required to 'add up the number of man-hours spent in the forums or on phones or trying to figure out program flaws like those in Encore.'

                                  ...

                                  MY take on this thing is: it would be great to push a button and get the conversion, but I don't think it would be practical to implement - and personally I'm much happier to handmake all the assets, navigation etc again rather than trust a complex automated process.
                                  • 14. Re: Export and Import everything
                                    Community Member
                                    I'm truly amazed by the responses! Craig wants to do it all manually with no savings from a previously debugged and working project.

                                    This means
                                    a) All chapters have to be reentered with their button frame.
                                    b) All navigation (4 directions per button x # buttons on a menu x # menus.
                                    c) End actions, overrides, names of chapters, etc.
                                    d) Selection/ activation colors.
                                    e) All text in all menus. All graphics added to menus.
                                    f) misc other things.

                                    This makes the new project highly prone to errors and requires a whole new debugging/testing cycle. It is painstaking work due to the non-export/import ability of Encore. The PAL version is likely to end up acting differently than the NTSC version causing support problems if errors are detected in the field.

                                    With simple programming by Adobe, 80 to 90% of this could be automated. You would still have to transcode, debug and modify but a lot of the possible errors would be eliminated.

                                    You make me think that people never cut and paste? Always recreate menus from scratch?

                                    I think software should do the dreary stuff and free me to tackle the creative problems.
                                    • 15. Re: Export and Import everything
                                      Community Member
                                      Ok, you made me laugh! Yes millions of hours may be exaggerated. But what if you have 1000 Encore users. Each spends an extra couple hours then thats 2000 hours already, 1 man-year.

                                      I've spent at least 5 or 10 hours redoing, searching for undefined errors, searching the forum, reading the docs. This is in excess of the normal hours I spent just learning Encore.

                                      So if Encore has 10,000 users, were already up to 20,000 hours. A million doesn't seem so far away....
                                      • 16. Re: Export and Import everything
                                        Community Member
                                        Jeff, you make good points.
                                        My comment are not just about PAL/NTSC. It is about saving work from one project to another, typified by a dual PAL/NTSC project.

                                        My customers are in both PAL and NTSC worlds -- every project is dual. Cost sensitive in many cases. And my time is valuable.

                                        The rub is that even after I have learned all about Encore, DVD, and the hidden bugs and workarounds, I will still take a lot of extra time for every project I do.
                                        At the end of my learning curve, I will still save no extra time and still make more errors compared to the 80 to 90% savings possible.

                                        Those are the extra "millions" of hours that could be saved by rather easy Adobe design and programming.
                                        • 17. Re: Export and Import everything
                                          Jeff Bellune ACP
                                          >My comment are not just about PAL/NTSC. It is about saving work from one project to another

                                          I wholeheartedly agree with you on that, Hugh. I would like to see the ability to import one project in its entirety into another project. Just like After Effects and Premiere Pro. May I suggest you put in a feature request? It'll add your voice to the rest of ours.

                                          -Jeff

                                          PS - You can do bits and pieces already by going into and out of Photoshop and using Revert to Original skillfully. And with the Dynamic Link feature and the much-improved Replace Asset feature of Encore 2.0, you may want to consider upgrading.
                                          • 18. Re: Export and Import everything
                                            Community Member
                                            With difficulty I found the place to suggest new feature. And I did put in several requests.

                                            Yes, 2.0 seems to have hope. The revert to orig is a nice idea.

                                            I used SCREEN PRINT of the various menus in 1.5 and used them to (manually) type into the new project. It was faster than writing it down. Plus the various windows show summaries that made debugging better. Still had two errors that cropped into the PAL copy.
                                            • 19. Re: Export and Import everything
                                              Community Member
                                              I'd like to be able to import Assets (timelines, menus, etc.) from one Encore project into another.

                                              I sometimes make two versions - 4.7GB 2-disc and 8.5GB 1-disc.

                                              As it currently stands, I have to build the project 3 times, or layout the 8.5 GB, and do two "save-as" operations.

                                              It would be nice to be able to lay out the 8.5GB project, then import portions the assets into two different 4.7GB projects. Then I could merely change the high-level menu to point to the timelines/menus in each one by simply deleting the menu links to the assets that I didn't import.

                                              It would save a LOT of time, and make the two versions exactly the same.
                                              • 20. Re: Export and Import everything
                                                Finally Hugh, Adobe didn't hear you on that particular point. It's a pity because I'll have to rebuild an all DVD to make it NTSC. No problem about transcoding PAL to NTSC with another software, but that Encore cannot keep only the link between menus and videos from a PAL project to a NTSC project, I cannot understand.
                                                • 21. Re: Export and Import everything
                                                  neil wilkes MVP
                                                  >but that Encore cannot keep only the link between menus and videos from a PAL project to a NTSC project, I cannot understand.

                                                  It's easy to understand.
                                                  To go from PAL to NTSC you need to create a new project.
                                                  You cannot import an old project into a new one AFAIK.
                                                  The menus will be the wrong shape, and would appear distorted.
                                                  They would be the wrong size.
                                                  To create an NTSC menu from a PAL one, you have to alter the resolution from 720x576 to 720x480, and change the PAR from 1.0166 to 0.9.
                                                  How would you expect Encore to keep all the links when the menu must be replaced? You're not only replacing the background image, but also the SPHL and the button hotspots as well. That's 3 layers that have to be adjusted.

                                                  Easiest way I know of is to go into Photoshop, create a new document at NTSC resolution (It's a preset in CS/CS2) and then open your background image, copy ot, and paste it onto the new NTSC document.
                                                  Slow, but sure with no distortions.
                                                  • 22. Re: Export and Import everything
                                                    Community Member
                                                    When you convert PAL footage to NTSC the res and PAR get changed. It seems reasonable (to me) that the same changes can be applied to a menu as well, with the buttons hot area scaled to match. I agree that the resulting menu will be inferior to a handbuilt one, but you could use it as a placeholder for rebuilding if necessary.

                                                    Thinking aloud, I can imagine a set of options for how the menu conversions would be handled, with a 'stretch to fit' and similar.
                                                    • 23. Re: Export and Import everything
                                                      Community Member
                                                      ... of course, motion menus would be a more ambitious conversion....
                                                      • 24. Re: Export and Import everything
                                                        Community Member
                                                        Craig, not so difficult as you say. I have done this manually using the same photoshop files for both PAL and NTSC. If the aspect ratio change is objectionable, Adobe could easily adapt the pixel aspect ratio to allow the same image to be used for both. The motion menus are low res usually anyway and would stand conversion easily. I have done all this manually and the results look fine for most graphic/abstract menus. The menus are encoded mpeg2 anyway and are not that sharp.

                                                        I'm a programmer. This is not a big deal. Just has to be done. Adobe just needs the vision.

                                                        Hughie
                                                        • 25. Re: Export and Import everything
                                                          Community Member
                                                          Many DVD players do scaling and frame blending/dropping during playback in order to display PAL on NTSC and vice versa. It baffles me why Adobe did not include a simple conversion dialog to do the same thing in software.
                                                          Of course it's going to be of inferior quality than a hand built project- you get what you pay for. But right now trying to convert an NTSC video with subtitles created in Encore I'd much rather pay 10 seconds of button clicking as opposed to 5 days of redoing the whole thing.
                                                          • 26. Re: Export and Import everything
                                                            neil wilkes MVP
                                                            > Many DVD players do scaling and frame blending/dropping during playback in order to display PAL on NTSC and vice versa. It baffles me why Adobe did not include a simple conversion dialog to do the same thing in software.
                                                            Of course it's going to be of inferior quality than a hand built project- you get what you pay for. But right now trying to convert an NTSC video with subtitles created in Encore I'd much rather pay 10 seconds of button clicking as opposed to 5 days of redoing the whole thing.

                                                            Because this is not a simple thing! Period.
                                                            Going from PAL to NTSC is easier, but not by too much whilst still maintaining quality. You are adding vertical rresolution & changing the frame rate, and also altering the colour balances & IRE levels.
                                                            Think about this for a minute.
                                                            Adding in specialised PAL>NTSC functionality would add around $200 at least to the product price.
                                                            Going from NTSC>PAL is far worse, as you will - inevitably - get a speed difference of 4% in the converted file, requiring correct use of pitch changing, and again this will dramatically add to the cost of the application.
                                                            Now we move to the menus.
                                                            These would of necessity have to be created in Square Pixels at 720x540 & resized - because not only is the vertical resolution different, the Pixel Aspect Ratio is also different.

                                                            Your best solution is DV Film Atlantis.
                                                            Encore DVD - like every other authoring package - is not & should not be a video editing & conversion suite. It is down to you as the author to feed the correctly formatted & prepared assets.
                                                            Sorry, but it's not down to Adobe to do the conversions - I can hear the complaints about how it loses quality already.