Welcome to the forum.
One problem with the workflow that you outline is that when working from a DVD-Video, the AV material has already been heavily compressed once, to the required MPEG-2 format w/ the MPEG-2 DVD CODEC, so its quality has been compromised. Then, once edited, most Export formats will compress, to some degree, again.
The ultimate workflow would be to go to the material, used on the DVD's, before the MPEG-2 compression, but that is not always possible. Can you get the original material, prior to the production of the DVD-Videos, that you are currently using as your source?
At 00;00;34;00, it appears that video screen-capture was used to grab the video from a computer screen with the text shown. It could well be that the screen-cap software is outputting to a compressed format/CODEC, at that point, then you have the mentioned MPEG-2 compression, the re-editing, and then compression in the final output. That translates to a FAX, of a FAX, of a FAX.
What is your desired final output - how will you need to deliver the material?
What video screen-capture program was used to generate that material? Do you know what format, and CODEC, that program uses?
To rule out other possibilities, can you also give us the Project Preset chosen at New Project, into which you Imported the VOB's? There might be ways to make improvements there - or maybe not.
Thank you so much for your insightful comments. I was aware when I started working on this project that working with an already compressed DVD was not ideal, but I thought the quality was decent enough on the source material that it should work. I am pretty sure I do not have access to the source video. (as a side - I am just coming on now as an advisory/final editing roll - the source video was recorded several months ago. I will be able to give input for future workflow improvements, and I will definately take your input into consideration.)
As to our desired final delivery material - that is in part up to me. We obviously want the highest quality, but were hoping to use technology to give us some flexibility. Delivering a set of DVD's to highschools requires burning 10-15 discs for each school. I was hoping to be able to store high-quality files in the cloud, allowing school districts to download the content when they need it while also allowing us to make future modifications should they be needed. Some of the school districts are also interested in using YouTube's education channels. I play an advisory roll regarding how to deliver the media, but the final decision will be up to the project coordinators.
I do not know the video screen-cap software or the format and CODEC that program used. I put out an email to ask that question but haven't heard a response to date.
I assume when you are asking for Project Preset chosen at New Project, you are referring to the dialog box that opens when I choose 'New Project' from the menu. It says 'NTSC-AVCHD-Full HD 1080i 30'. This, I believe, is the default - I did not specifically set this up... Should I instead choose Hard disk Standard 48Khz?
Thanks again for your help!
I assume when you are asking for Project Preset chosen at New Project, you are referring to the dialog box that opens when I choose 'New Project' from the menu. It says 'NTSC-AVCHD-Full HD 1080i 30'.
You are correct. That is very important information.
As John T. points out, that is an HD (High Definition) Project Preset, and to use the VOB files in it, will require significant up-rezzing, and is very likely a major part of the problem. You are essentially asking PrE to create new pixels at about a 4:1 ratio, to fill the HD Frame Size, and that will reduce the quality greatly. You are starting with 720 x 480 pixels, and creating new pixels to fill 1920 x 1080 Frames. I assume that you are in NTSC-land, so you should be choosing an SD (Standard Definition) Preset, and the HDD Camera Preset should be as good as it gets, since you are using MPEG-2 DVD material. If your DVD's have Widescreen material, in the 16:9 Aspect ratio, you would choose that. If it's Standard material, in the 4:3 Aspect Ratio, that would be the choice. Those choices will account for the difference between PAR (Pixel Aspect Ratios), so you will not get black bars in your Project.
Good luck, and please let us know if the VOB's look better, in the NTSC SD Project w/ proper PAR. Remember, when you play that SD material on a high-def computer monitor, at full-screen, it will not look THAT good, as you only have 720 x 480 to work from.
Look under Edit/Project Settings and tell us the frame rate, resolution and field order that are listed.
For Project settings under the 'General Tab' I have the following settings:
Editing Mode: DV NTSC (uneditable)
Timebase: 29.97 frames/second (uneditable)
Frame Size: 720 horizontal 480 vertical
Pixel Aspect Ratio: D1/DV NTSC (0.9091) (uneditable)
Fields: Upper Field First (uneditable)
Display Format: 30fps Drop-Frame Timecode
Title Safe Area: 20 (uneditable) % horizontal 20 (uneditable) % vertical
Action Safe Area: 10 (uneditable) % horizontal 10 (uneditable) % vertical
Sample Rate: 48000 Hz (uneditable)
Display Format: Audio Samples
Under Capture tab - Capture Format is DV
Under Video Render tab:
Maximum Bit Depth: unchecked
File Format: Microsoft AVI DV NTSC (uneditable)
Compressor: DV NTSC (uneditable)
Optimize Stills: checked
Question: What would be the highest quality output given that I am working with DVD VOB's? Is it simply another physical DVD? What would be the 'highest quality' output format for a digital file?
The highest quality will be equal to DVD-Video (though the delivery scheme does not have to be a physical DVD-Video - you could output to various streaming formats/CODEC's, but the quality will be equa, at best, to DVD-Video).
Now, playback of an SD DVD-Video on an up-rezzing DVD player, or most newer BD players, WILL be better, but still short of HD.
The only option to get better perceived quality would be with a program like Red Giant's Instant HD, Topaz Enhance, but unfortunately, those two products have been discontinued, though perhaps a used version of either could be found. I do not know of any replacement programs for either, but there might be some, that are worthwhile. Wish that I had better news on that front.
Bill Hunt wrote:
Instant HD is still available from the Red Giant website for $49 (didn't it use to be a lot more?) but sadly is not compatible with PRE.
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