16 Replies Latest reply on Jan 28, 2009 8:52 PM by (Graf)

    SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow

    (C._David_Young) Level 1
      I have a lot of DV productions that I had previously output to DVD. I decided I wanted to remaster them to Blu-ray to take advantage of the higher bitrate to reduce compression. However, whenever I tried to export from Premiere using H.264 at 1440x1080 an annoying combing effect plagued every motion scene.

      After searching the internet for a while I found someone who said it is a bad idea to up-convert DV to HDV, which is what I was doing and causing the combing. Now I am exporting from Premiere in 720x480 with 16x9 aspect ratio (NTSC DV widescreen) and lower field order using H.264 Blu-ray with 2 pass VBR. Be sure to set the Profile Main Level 4.1 with a target of 25 Mbps and max of 30 Mbps. The results are excellent. Very sharp with no combing and only slight zig-zag along sharp lines. It looks great on my 52" Sony LCD and much better than the equivalent DVD that I had previously been using to view these productions.
        • 1. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
          Jim_Simon Level 8
          If you have the scratch, you might try InstantHD Advanced from Red Giant for the upconversion process.
          • 2. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
            Level 1
            C.David,
            I was wondering what you use for your source footage in your upconversion process? I really would like to do that as well ie essentially stretch the stuff I had done at 720x480 .9 PAR to 1.2PAR, but the only thing I have left is the DVD folder.

            Thanks,
            John Rich
            • 3. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
              Dan Isaacs Level 2
              > If you have the scratch, you might try InstantHD Advanced from Red Giant for the upconversion process.

              If don't have the scratch, stay tuned. I'm working on a good freeware solution for this (it looks pretty good so far). I'll post when I've got it all together.
              • 4. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                Dan Isaacs Level 2
                Alrightly, folks. This my first effort at upconverting to HD (I just write the script tonight). It is slow, but can get quite nice results.<br /><br />You need...<br /><br /><a href="http://avisynth.org" target="otherWin">AviSynth 2.5.7</a><br /><a href="http://invertedhorn.axspace.com/sd2hd.zip" target="otherWin">sd2hd() package (includes required plugins)</a><br /><a href="http://urchin.earth.li/~tomford/avisynth/" target="otherWin>Premiere AviSynth Import Filter</a><br /><br />Unzip the sd2hd.zip file in your AviSynth plugins folder.<br /><br />To use it,<br />1.) Create a new AviSynth script in notepad. Save the file as "sd2hd_test.avs"<br />2.) Copy/paste this into your blank script:<p style="font-family:courier,fixed; font-size:12px; margin-left:20px; color:#330000">sd2hd("x:/path_to/my_dv.avi")</p><br />3.) Import the sd2hd_test.avs file into Premiere<br />4.) Export via Adobe Media Encoder to Blu-Ray<br /><br />This example (defaults) will create 1280x720p output from an interlaced NTSC or PAL DV source file.<br /><br />Please read the sd2hd.txt file for more script examples.<br /><br />My function can create 1280x720p, 1440x1080i, 1440x1080p, 1920x1080i, 1920x1080p from interlaced DV .avi sources.
                • 5. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                  Level 1
                  Dan and C. David,

                  What I would like to do is change the media in a DVD folder from 4x3 to 16x9? Can this be done with the above script or with C. David's technique without "stretching" the picture.
                  I am afraid I am showing my ignorance here, but do you think this is even possible ie changing the pixel aspect ratio, or does the original footage have to be shot at SD 16x9 when you upconvert to HD?
                  Thanks in advance.
                  John Rich
                  • 6. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                    Jim_Simon Level 8
                    Changing aspect ratios will cause you to either stretch the image or crop the top and bottom.
                    • 7. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                      (C._David_Young) Level 1
                      I originally shot most of my SD DV footage with an anamorphic lens that squeezed the 16x9 frame on the 4x3 DV frame. Then in Premiere you just select the widescreen preset for the project and use intepret footage to set the pixel aspect ratio to 1.2. From that point on it looks and acts like 16x9.

                      Dan, I am confused why you would want to upconvert via AviSynth when you can just export directly from Premiere using the technique I described. I mean, it seems like you are just asking for trouble to change to a higher resolution. The H.264 at 720i somehow looks better than the original DV! I am guessing that either the TV or Nero knows how to process it better than the original DV in that the combing in the original footage is almost eliminated.
                      • 8. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                        Dan Isaacs Level 2
                        > Dan, I am confused why you would want to upconvert via AviSynth when you can just export directly from Premiere using the technique I described

                        I wouldn't, really -- but it may be better to upsample it yourself than to allow the Blu-Ray player to do it?

                        Also, maybe you'd want to conform a few SD clips for a HD project. It's really just an experiment. If you feel like it, give it a shot and see how it goes.

                        > The H.264 at 720i

                        Is that 720i or 720p ?
                        • 9. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                          (C._David_Young) Level 1
                          Thanks Dan, I'll give it a try.

                          I did not deinterlace it at any point and Nero reports that it is 704x480 interlaced. Don't know why it says 704 instead of 720.
                          • 10. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                            Dan Isaacs Level 2
                            > Nero reports that it is 704x480 interlaced

                            Oh... you mean 720 pixels wide. We usually call that 480i (height).

                            704 is the "active area" inside of 720. I'm not sure if Nero has cropped it to that? Did you encode it in Nero? Both 704 and 720 are valid widths for both MPEG2 and H.264, so it doesn't really matter (and those extra 8 pixels on each side would never show on a TV).
                            • 11. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                              (C._David_Young) Level 1
                              Sorry, I confused myself. As my original message says, I encode it right out of Premiere in H.264 720x480.
                              • 12. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                                (C._David_Young) Level 1
                                I have been experimenting with Dan's sd2hd package and I must say that I am impressed. I was already pleased with exporting directly from Premiere with H.264 480i, but the 720p output from sd2hd is outstanding. The deinterlacing has gotten rid of all combing while retaining most of the sharpness of the picture. It is a slow process but the results are well worth it. I have tried the 1080i option as well but it does not look nearly as good.
                                • 13. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                                  Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                  Thanks, David -- Even I am surprised at what a nice job this does in scaling the footage :)

                                  This method uses MUCH more sophisticated deinterlacing and resizing than you're likely find on consumer Blu-Ray players and will probably get much better results than using the original SD resolution. The only cost is time, but I'm working on that. I have made some speed improvements and other changes. Download the most recent version here:

                                  It now outputs (by default) 720p60 for NTSC input, 720p50 for PAL to conform to Blu-Ray specs.

                                  The best way to output is to encode H.264 in PPro:
                                  1.) Create a new project preset using the P2 720p 60Hz (or 50Hz for PAL) Editing Mode
                                  2.) Import your .avs script file using the Premiere AviSynth Import plugin
                                  3.) Export to H.264 Blu-Ray 720p 60 fps (or 50 fps for PAL sources) -- if you use single pass it will be twice as fast to convert and encode :)

                                  This workflow does increase the overall rendering time slightly, but does not require an intermediary HD AVI file, which can take more time -- and an incredible amount of disk space also.

                                  On my editing machine (Athlon 2.4GHz dual core) single pass HQ H.264 720p60 takes about 30 minutes per minute of NTSC widescreen DV source material. A quad-core would probably cut this in half.
                                  • 14. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                                    (C._David_Young) Level 1
                                    I would like to elaborate on Dan's workflow above based on my own experience (and Dan's gracious help!).

                                    The following workflows assume that you have downloaded and installed Dan's sd2hd AviSynth script:
                                    http://invertedhorn.axspace.com/sd2hd.zip

                                    The first workflow uses VirtualDub to process the AviSynth script. It's main disadvantage is that the intermediary file is 720p and thus quite large. However, if you wanted to be able to archive your BD source material in 720p before compressing it via H.264, this would work.

                                    1) If you already have your production in a DV avi file, skip to step 2. Otherwise, export the original SD DV from the Premiere timeline and export it to a movie using the the frameserver using the NTSC DV preset with LFF. This creates the signpost file that serves as the input to the AviSynth script.
                                    2) Create an AVS script with a a single line referencing Dan's sd2hd script and either the signpost from step 1 or your DV avi file:
                                    sd2hd("m:/path/signpost.avi")
                                    3) Open the the AviSynth script with VirtualDub and save the .avi. This results in the original DV being converted to 720p. If you don't use compression it will create a huge uncompressed file. You can dramatically reduce the size of this file without sacrificing quality by using HuffYUV compression as follows:
                                    - In VirtualDub, go to Video / Compression and choose Huffyuv
                                    - Also choose Video/Fast Recompress (this will avoid any colorspace conversions)
                                    4) Create a 720p project in Premiere and import the .avi file. Export this via the media encoder as H.264 720p.
                                    5) Import the resulting H.264 file into Encore and author the BD. Of course, you could have skipped step 4 and imported the 720p avi file directly into Encore also.

                                    The second workflow is the same as what Dan described above. It creates a much smaller intermediary file. It should also be faster overall since it does the DV to 720p conversion and H.264 encoding in parallel, thus taking advantage of multiple cores. It also assumes that you have installed the Avisynth Premiere Plugin (which requires you to install AviSynth 2.5.8 if you are using an older version):
                                    http://urchin.earth.li/~tomford/avisynth/

                                    1) If you already have your production in a DV avi file, skip to step 2. Otherwise, export the original SD DV from the Premiere timeline as a movie using the NTSC DV preset with LFF. This creates the DV avi file that serves as the input to the AviSynth script.
                                    2) Create an AVS script with a a single line referencing Dan's sd2hd script and your DV avi file:
                                    sd2hd("m:/path/DVfile.avi")
                                    3) Create a new custom preset in PPro using the "P2 720p 60Hz" editing mode. Import the .avs into Premiere, place it on the timeline and export to Blu-Ray H.264 -- 720p 59.94 fps.
                                    4) Import the resulting H.264 file into Encore and author the BD.
                                    • 15. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                                      (C._David_Young) Level 1
                                      Well, after some testing I have come to the conclusion that the second workflow is actually much slower than the first. Evidently the multiple cores are not used as efficiently by Premiere when it is both processing sd2hd on the input and H.264 on the output. Until further notice I would recommend the first workflow if you have multiple cores.
                                      • 16. Re: SD DV to BD Blu-ray workflow
                                        Dan. Is there any way I can use your script to upconvert 4:3 letterbox to HD or it would be no use? I read readme file in your script and I don't see anything about this kind of upconverting.