In my opinion, properly made progressive files will generally look better than interlaced for all things. If you have the ability to make them, use them for your motion menus too.
Thanks for the reponse. Would you also recommend converting 1080i footage to SD progressive for best playback on standard DVDs?
No, most dvd players and tv's handle the interlaced footage just fine.
Well, even going from HD interlaced to SD interlaced can cause problems, so going to SD progressive is riddled with more problems and not necessarily possible to be done properly. If the footage has been flagged with a pulldown pattern, then absolutely get it 23.976 PsF in After Effects (or something) for your final outputs (dvds, compressions, etc.). Once clips are edited together and exported as a self-contained movie, any pulldown pattern that existed for the individual clips won't necessarily be detectable or removable.
The only way that I have found to make a great encoded file when going from HD interlaced to SD is to master to HDCAM, and then capture back as SD 29i anamorphic (NTSC D1 720x486 ProResHQ). Then I encode this file in After Effects as an m2v, with the render output cropping out the 6 lines. This is not very practical for most people because you need to have an HDCAM deck and a Kona 3 (or equivalent) card. Again not practical for most, but a DigiBeta deck could be used instead and do the downconvert on the way out to tape.
There are other ways to de-interlace a video, but I am talking about getting proper motion and titles/credits to look as close to perfect as possible.
When the source file is progressive to begin with, I drag the file into a new comp in After Effects. Change the comp settings to 720x480 (1.21 PAR) 23.976, scale the video to the correct size, and render out an m2v.
The motion menus could be progressive even if the rest of the dvd is all interlaced.
Thanks for the response. I'll probably stick then with my current downconvert process which is to render out my master as Cineform at 1080i and then downconvert to SD 480i using TMPEG 4 Xpress. I 've had fairly good result using that process in the past.
I did try out the DVD motion menu in Encore using progressive video (the source video was also progressive) and although it looks terrible in the DVD preview (from within encore) the final DVD looks great.