12 Replies Latest reply on May 19, 2009 8:54 PM by Eric S 1

    PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?

    Eric S 1 Level 3

      Hi folks,

      I'm a long-time Audition user, but I'm a relative newbie to Premiere Pro, CS3.

      I have a final cut on a 90-minute project.  It's ready for transcoding.  I've been going through some different transcoding options but I haven't hit upon a good combination - all the tests so far appear to have too much video compression, which appears as a kind of vertical interlacing.

       

      The footage was shot and imported as DVCPROHD 720P 23.97fps.  There is no effects on the footage itself in the edit (it's a single lockdown shot for archival purposes but I added titles and credits to the heads and tails) - no color correction, gamma changes, time changes, etc.

       

      When doing my transcoding tests I start with an appropriate preset.  If that doesn't look great then I'll adjust certain things (usually bitrate values and quality settings) and do another test.  So far the results are still the same - the compression is apparent.

       

      During this process I've learned quite a bit about the limitations of standard DVDs and some stuff about transcoding (such as maximum bitrate should be about 7) but I'm still wandering in the woods when it comes to transcoding settings and adjustments.  So I'm looking for some tips on transcoding settings that will get me some decent results.

       

      I haven't yet changed fps settings to see if it makes a difference.  That will probably be tomorrow's focus.

      In the DVD protocol, is there a standard fps?  Can I transcode the footage to MPEG with a 23.97 fps rather than having to change it to 29.97 or 59.97?

       

      Any advice is greatly appreciated.

        • 1. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
          Eddie Lotter Level 4

          Yes, DVD has very specific settings.

          See Resource:Adobe DVD Primer for the information you need.

          Cheers
          Eddie

          • 2. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
            Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional

            Likely you are dealing with 2 problems - scaling and frame rate conversion.

             

            PrCS3's scaling is below average.  So going from HD to SD by using Pr is killing your quality.  You should also transcode your 23.976 fps footage to MPEG2 DVD at 23.976 fps.  Do it in Pr and not in Encore (En gets it wrong).

             

            To go from HD to SD, the best solution is Dan Isaac's hd2sd script for AviSynth.  I have a 2-part video tutorial on another of his scripts (dv2Film) that walks you through acquiring and installing the tools necessary, and for generating the script files.  You'd have to adapt the tutorial info to accommodate the hd2sd function.  Let me know if you want links to the dv2Film tutorials.

             

            Do you have After Effects?  You could scale down your source footage there.  The downconversion should output new source files in a lossless codec like Lagarith AVI or Quicktime Animation.  It's easier than hd2sd, and the quality is much better than Pr (but not as good as hd2sd).  Then you'd need to start an SD Pr project and import your existing HD project into it.  Replace the existing footage in the imported sequence(s) with the AE footage, then export to MPEG2 DVD from there.

             

            BTW, the scaling is PrCS4 is much, much better than CS3.  But still not as good as hd2sd.

             

            -Jeff

            • 3. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
              Jim_Simon Level 8

              Any advice is greatly appreciated.

               

              Best advice is to go to Blu-ray, not DVD.

              • 4. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                Eric S 1 Level 3

                Thanks, Eddie.  That's an excellent resource that will help close the extremely large gaps in my transcoding knowledge.  Now I'll actually know what is happening when I adjust GOP settings or mbps numbers.

                • 5. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                  Eric S 1 Level 3

                  Thanks for the information, Jeff.

                  I do have After Effects.  I'll give that method a go to see the difference. With this method, are you suggesting that I take the raw footage and downscale it?  If so, that would mean I should create sequences in the HD project and simply import them in the SD project in order to keep the same editing points, settings, etc.  But then, if I've downscaled the files and saved those versions as copies, will the imported sequences recognize them as part of the sequence?  Hmm, as I think about this, the easiest thing might be to simply make backups of the original footage and put those in the HD project, so then when I downscale I don't have to rename and the sequences will recognize them when they are imported into the SD project.

                  Since the project already has opening and closing credits sequences (with stills, title cards and effects), do I also have to export those to After Effects for the same conversion?  I'm assuming I might have to since they were created in this HD project.

                  As to the scripts, yes, I'd quite like the links to the tutorials. Nothing but good can come from learning.

                   

                  As I mentioned in my original post, I'm using a Matrox Axio HD card.  I'm going to post in the Matrox forums to get opinions on how well the Matrox transcodes.  It's nice to have options.

                  • 6. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                    Eric S 1 Level 3

                    JSS1138 wrote:

                     

                    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

                     

                    Best advice is to go to Blu-ray, not DVD.

                    No, not in this case, I'm afraid.

                    Yes, taking an HD project and outputting it to an HD distribution format is certainly the optimum way to go, but there is still transcoding that has to happen and if I know hardly anything about transcoding methods then the final format doesn't really matter if I don't know what I'm doing.  

                    The discs have to be DVD for distribution to the few people that will receive this.  Blu Ray doesn't have enough market penetration for me to assume that all these folks have Blu Ray playback capabilities.  Five or ten years from now, that could be a completely different story.

                     

                    Oh, and there's the little matter of me not owning a Blu Ray burner.

                    • 7. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                      Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional

                      With this method, are you suggesting that I take the raw footage and downscale it?

                      Yes.

                       

                      that would mean I should create sequences in the HD project and simply import them in the SD project in order to keep the same editing points, settings, etc.  But then, if I've downscaled the files and saved those versions as copies, will the imported sequences recognize them as part of the sequence?

                      No.  You have to Alt+Drag the new SD copies (imported from AE) from the Project panel to the matching HD clips in the sequence.  That gesture replaces the existing HD clips with their SD counterparts.

                       

                      Or you can select all of the HD clips in the Project panel, then unlink them via File>Make Offline.  Then relink each offline file to the new SD copy of the original HD file.  You don't even have to import them first.

                       

                      the easiest thing might be to simply make backups of the original footage and put those in the HD project, so then when I downscale I don't have to rename and the sequences will recognize them when they are imported into the SD project.

                      Don't do that.  Never overwrite files that are used in a project from outside of that project.  Bad stuff will eventually happen if you do.

                       

                      Since the project already has opening and closing credits sequences (with stills, title cards and effects), do I also have to export those to After Effects for the same conversion?  I'm assuming I might have to since they were created in this HD project.

                      Not necessary or desirable.  All the synthetic assets can be resized without issue.  It is the footage that is the problem.

                       

                      As I mentioned in my original post, I'm using a Matrox Axio HD card. I'm going to post in the Matrox forums to get opinions on how well the Matrox transcodes.  It's nice to have options.

                      Sorry?  I didn't see any mention of Axio before now.  I don't know how well the Axio downscales.  It may do an outstanding job and none of this other stuff may be necessary.

                       

                      -Jeff

                      • 8. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                        Eric S 1 Level 3

                        Jeff Bellune wrote:


                        As I mentioned in my original post, I'm using a Matrox Axio HD card. I'm going to post in the Matrox forums to get opinions on how well the Matrox transcodes.  It's nice to have options.

                        Sorry?  I didn't see any mention of Axio before now.  I don't know how well the Axio downscales.  It may do an outstanding job and none of this other stuff may be necessary.

                         

                        -Jeff

                        Hoo Boy... Earth to Eric, come in Eric.

                        I had to re-read my first post to see that I didn't include the Matrox information.  I actually had that information in the post when I was writing it, but deleted it because I didn't think it completely germain to the discussion.  I guess I was living in the "Land that Might Have Been" when I posted my reply quoted above.

                         

                        The Matrox encoder didn't give me any better results, initially.  Since this is an Adobe forum I thought it best to ask folks about the Adobe CS3 encoders.  The information given by you and Eddie has been quite valuable.  Even if the Matrox ends up transcoding incredibly well I will still know more about my CS3 software than I knew just yesterday.

                        • 9. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                          Jim_Simon Level 8
                          deleted it because I didn't think it completely germain to the discussion.

                           

                          Third-party hardware/software is always good information to have, whatever the problem.  You should now and forever include that data with any question you ask.

                          • 10. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                            Eric S 1 Level 3

                            JSS1138 wrote:

                             

                            deleted it because I didn't think it completely germain to the discussion.

                             

                            Third-party hardware/software is always good information to have, whatever the problem.  You should now and forever include that data with any question you ask.

                            Fair enough.

                            Since my last post I have experimented with the Matrox Encoder in PP but the results were the same.

                            In one of my experiments I exported a section of the project as an AVI, then had Nero 7 transcode it before burning.  It certainly looked better than either the Adobe or Matrox encoders.

                            I also took Jeff's advice and looked into After Effects for downscaling.  In After Effects there are options for rendering a file to different AVI files, but the options within the Render window are not as specific as rendering the AVI in PP.  Unless I missed another option in AE (which is entirely possible), the Render command is the only way I found to do some kind of downscaling.  If, in fact, the Render command IS what Jeff meant when he suggested AE for downscaling, is rendering to an AVI really downscaling?  Rendering HD content as an AVI doesn't automatically make it SD, does it?

                             

                            Jeff, do you have those links to the hd2sd scripts?

                            • 11. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                              Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional

                              Eric,

                               

                              To use AE for this:

                               

                              1. Create a new comp at SD resolution and frame rate.
                              2. Import your HD footage
                              3. Add the HD footage to the SD comp and scale.
                              4. Add the comp to the Render Queue
                              5. Pick your poison for the Output Module - AVI or Quicktime MOV
                              6. Choose your codec by clicking the Format Options button.  The summary of what you've chosen will appear below it.
                              7. Render.

                               

                              Here's the link to hd2sd.

                               

                              -Jeff

                              • 12. Re: PP CS3 HD Transcoding tips for DVD?
                                Eric S 1 Level 3

                                Jeff, thanks for the AE steps and the link.