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Why would you want to down-convert your HD movie to SD Betacam or DVD? You should be getting great results with h.264, but you haven't told us your settings so we can't help you there.
There are several options available to playback HD other than BD...a laptop or a cool new device that will play HD from a thumb drive (WD TV HD Media Player) among others.
The file is huge as an uncompressed avi movie and stutters when I play on a laptop.
I need to play this at a film festival and they only have a dvd player and beta sp.
The settings through encore are follows: NTSC Progressive Wide Screen High Quality
the codec is Mpeg (no other options)
Encore automatically reduces file to 720 X 480
Sounds good if you want to throw away half your vertical resolution. If you do not want that keep it interlaced like you shot.
So- how do I avoid that? I want to maintain as much quality as I can
I dont see any options in Encore that allow anything other than 720X 480.
You can't. The DVD specs say it's got to be 720x480. End of story.
>I need to play this at a film festival and they only have a dvd player and beta sp.
I don't think Beta SP will look noticeably better than a DVD. (Unless the DVD will have to hold more than 80 minutes of video.)
It may be worth to check Premiere Pro HDV --> SD DVD Workflow - by Dan Isaacs . (For additional info see the lengthy HDV --> SD DVD Workflow thread.)
Yes, hd2sd will do a great job down-converting and deinterlacing your HD to 30p or 24p DVD. I have done this and it looks great on a large screen when played back from a computer or DVD player.