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Well, first off, MPEGs and VOBs are the SAME format, so if you're converting one to another you're just wasting your time.
Although Premiere Elements will work with MPEG sources, it's not the ideal format to work with. And, as you've seen, when you do use MPEGs as source files, there's a lot of conforming, converting and rendering going on.
It's up to you. The program (especially later versions of it) works nicely with MPEG sources, if you don't mind all that assimilating and rendering.
But you'll find a much faster, smoother workflow if you convert your video to DV-AVIs before you bring it into the program. For MPEGs, an excellent, free conversion program is MPEG Streamclip. Where to get it and how to use it is in the FAQs to the right of this forum.
Thanks for a quick response! I was un-aware that VOB and MPG were the same format, so excuse my ignorance. It just seems strange that Adobe accepts VOB files but not mpg. When it says it's indexing, it appears to of locked up the application. The preview window flickers, and the indexing progress bar is either completely stationary or moves to about half way before starting again. And i would of thought a small 5MB mpg would be indexed in less than 15 minutes, wouldn't you?
I have tried converting to AVI format, but i seem to lose a lot of the quality even with the settings set to the highest available (unless i am doing something wrong). I will give MPEG Streamclip a try later on tonight and see how i get on.
That progress bar is very important. It tells you that things are happening to get your AV files ready for editing.
Indexing - this is basically taking your GOP (Group of Pictures) MPEG file and building individual frames. This translates to converting your MPEG to DV-AVI Type II. As Steve points out, this can probably be done more efficiently with a stand-alone conversion program, but PrE will do it for you, given the time.
Conforming Audio - this creates .CFA files, when converting your file's Audio to 32-bit floating point for editing.
PEK file creation - done at the same time and as part of Conforming, these .PEK files are the Waveform Display files, to allow one to "see" the Audio
Depending on the speed of one's machine (these are both CPU and I/O, i.e. HDD, intensive), and the Duration and number of files, this can take up to 30 mins. and one should NOT use the machine, or program, during this operation. Once done, it should NOT have to be done again, unless one deletes files that were created, or alters the MPEG source files.
Just be patient, and go get a cup of coffee (non-caffinated... ), and let it complete.
If you do go the conversion route, you want to convert to DV-AVI Type II w/ 48KHz 16-bit PCM/WAV Audio. Those will Import with just the Conforming and PEK generation, and will be much, much faster.
As Steve points out, a .VOB is but a container (Video Object) that will have the MPEG-2 (and possibly some other things like Menus on a DVD-Video), and is not a logical step. You already have the MPEG-2 that would be contained therein.
I have tried converting to AVI format, but i seem to lose a lot of the quality even with the settings set to the highest available (unless i am doing something wrong).
When one converts an MPEG-2 to DV-AVI Type II, there should be no distinguishable difference, beyond a larger file size. Side by side, with critical viewing, they should look the same, except that the DV-AVI contains ALL Frames (hence the larger file size), while the MPEG-2 only has real, complete Frames about every 15. The rest are just difference frames. This creation of ALL real Frames (I-Frames) is what takes so long with Indexing.
I use DigitalMedia Converter, when I need to convert to DV-AVI Type II, but many sing the praises of MPEGStreamclip. I have just never used it.
Hi Hunt and thanks for your useful comments.
To begin with, i take yours and Steves comments on board and will try those as soon as i get home in an hour or so. I am suprised with the spec of my machine that a 5MB mpg takes more than 15 minutes to index, but maybe im expecting miracles. As i have openly admitted, video editing is very new to me, but im keen to learn now i have PE.
I have downloaded MPEG Streamclip and the Alternative Quicktime app so will try that also. I have noticed via Google (http://www.videohelp.com/forum/archive/sony-hdd-mpegs-crash-every-editor-i-try-t338398.htm l) that many people seem to have problems with the MPG files that Sony use, so maybe there is some sort of issue there.
Basically what i am trying to achieve is to make a DVD using various mpg files that i copied from my Sony camcorder, of a holiday i took earlier this year to Florida. I am hoping to cut out certain bits i dont want, add transitions, titles and a menu and maybe add some music to certain parts (i hate the sound of my own voice!!). I will keep you posted of how i get on.
PrE should be just fine for that purpose. The only caveat that I'd like to throw out is regarding the resultant quality of a DVD-Video from that footage. Your camera records in MPEG-2 (assume that it's a miniDVD, or similar camera), which is pretty highly compressed. Converting to DV-AVI Type II will not harm that existing quality (at least not that the human eye is likely to discern), but will just get the files into Intra-Frame form to edit. HOWEVER, when one has finished editing, and they go to Transcode to a DVD-Video, there will be a second MPEG-2 Transcoding. Here is where the quality can suffer. It should be fine for most shots, but where there is rapid camera, or subject movement, expect to see a few artifacts at the edges of the subject.
The only way around this is to use an NLE (Non Linear Editor) program that has true "Smart Rendering" of MPEG footage. This allows for the direct Export of any footage that has NOT been changed straight across as MPEG-2 footage - no re-Transcoding. Again with the HOWEVER - any footage that HAS been changed, like having a Transition added, will STILL have to be re-Transcoded, so it's still not a perfect world, even with an NLE that is designed to do the best job with MPEG-2. Change anything, and you still get that second MPEG-2 compression.
This is the limitation of MPEG-2 encoding at the camera-level.
Last night i installed Quicktime alternative 1.8.1 along with MPEG Streamclip.....but every time i went to play or convert a file, the program would crash. I re-installed, re-booted and still the problem existed. I have no idea why the program crashes, but anyway, i also have a program called TMPGENC Xpress 4 which converts media into different formats so i set about finding a file format that was both acceptable with PE3 and also had good quality.
I converted one MPEG2 file into various formats and even with the highest settings available i could not get a good quality AVI format to work. The AVI file would show lines across the picture as though it was distorted, very hard to explain but i wasn't impressed. However, i managed to get good results converting the MPEG2 files to WMV and MOV formats. I am not sure if these are the correct formats to work with, but as i have said, the quality is good and most importantly, Adobe PE3 seems happy to accept them.
Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated!
PS: My sony camcorder is a HDD camcorder, not a mini DVD or DVD.
i managed to get good results converting the MPEG2 files to WMV and MOV formats.
Glad that you found some formats that do look good. The .WMV format is compressed too, and must be Conformed and Indexed in PrE 3. How did it Import for you?
As for the .MOV, I use this container with the Animation CODEC quite a bit in PrPro, and have no issues. A lot of my suppliers work on Mac's, so .MOV is their format of choice. With the Animation CODEC, the material edits fine and looks good in PrPro. I just do not know how PrE 3 will handle it, so you might want to test it and observe. Also, there are many CODEC's that can be in a .MOV wrapper and they can make a big difference on both editability and on quality. So many things to consider!
As for your HDD camera, in later versions of PrE, there is a Preset for HDD cameras. Have you explored using that Preset, if PrE 3 has it?
Your comments have kind of lost me a little, it seems your knowledge and experience is way higher than my own on this matter! The MOV format was ok, but the conversion process hugely increased the file size, so i then tried the WMV format. PE3 conformed and indexed the file ok, but it wasn't the fastest format to work with (which may of been my own fault for putting the quality settings high!)
To put this into context, i have 10.6 GB of MPEG2 video files to work with here, i think thats roughly 3 hours of video footage. Im not sure if PE3 has a HDD preset, i don't think it has, but will have to investigate further to be sure.
After many hours of testing different formats, the one that works best for me (rightly or wrongly) is the VOB format. The file sizes are relatively small, PE3 accepts them, and works with them in a speedy manner and most of all, the quality is not lost. I am going to hopefully start editing my videos tonight, so will keep you posted on my progress.
Thanks for your input, being a complete novice in this area it is greatly appreciated.
Sorry that I got too deeply, or maybe even misdirected earlier.
Let's look at general file formats and CODEC's to discuss why they can expand, or shrink in size.
With a few exceptions, like the Lagarith Lossless CODEC, AVI-Uncompressed and a few others, most other formats/CODEC's are compressed. Some, much more than others. The DV-AVI format/CODEC is even compress, but not that much.
Now, there are basically two general types of files. The first is full Intra-frame (I-frame) where each Frame is fully described in the data n the file. Imagine that these are like 16mm film, where each Frame can be viewed. The other is GOP (Group of Picutres). These differ in that there will be one I-frame every so often (how often differs by format and CODEC), and eveything in between has only recorded the differences from that last I-frame. If you could look at these, you basically see a full frame (the I-frame), and then virtually black Frames, with tiny changes in them. They reference that previous I-frame and only tell, digitally, how this "frame" differs. Maybe a subject has moved slightly, or a color has changed, or the exposure has changed. That is all of the info included. Now, as they reference that previous I-frame, the CODEC (the decoding part) is able to construct a frame to display (on a player) based on the I-frame info and then the differences to this frame. Not having all I-frames is how these can be smaller files - they do not have the data for all I-frames.
To edit footage in an NLE (Non Linear Editor), like PrE, the program, or the user, must basically create I-frames for the entire footage. Basically the CODEC is used to decode the GOP structure, then each I-frame is created, so that one can edit at a Frame-level. Otherwise, if one cut in the difference frames, there could be no I-frame referenced, so there would be nothing to display, even with the proper CODEC. The reference I-frame will have been removed.
With DVD-compliant MPEG-2's, there is a set length of the GOP's and the I-frames (those reference frames) are also set at particular frequency. With other MPEG-2's there can be differences. With other MPEG formats/CODEC's, still other differences. The same is true for .WMV, most .MOV and almost all .AVI's. There can be major differences, depending on which CODEC was used to compress the data inside the "wrapper."
With a .VOB (Video Object) file, there is DVD-compliant MPEG-2 material, plus possibly other "stuff" too, like Menus, and navigational info. The sizes of the frames in these particular MPEG-2 files will match the specs. of say NTSC DVD-Video and is specific to those standards. An example is that the Frame Size for NTSC will be 720 x 480 pixels and will have either a PAR (Pixel Aspect Ratio) of 0.9 for Standard 4:3, or 1.2 for Widescreen 16:9. The Audio will be either DVD-compliant DD AC3 (can be stereo, or DD 5.1 SS), or PCM/WAV (uncompressed) at 48KHz 16-bits. Other MPEG-2's can be other sizes and have different Audio. The above is just for the DVD-compliant MPEG-2's.
If you have HD (High Definition) material to start, you can have MPEG-2 (or other MPEG) material, but at larger Frame Sizes. The Audio can be almost anything. If you convert to a .VOB (remember, that is just a container), you have converted that original MPEG to a DVD-compliant MPEG-2 that has specific standards that it MUST meet (see above). The image data has been shrunk to fit those standards. File sizes will now be smaller, as one ends up with SD (Standard Definition). Both can be MPEG-2 (or another flavor of MPEG), but the MPEG-2 inside the .VOB WILL be specific to the DVD standards.
Confusing? Yes, it can be. The ARTICLE on "wrappers," gives several instances to help define what can be inside those "wrappers." It does not cover every possibilities, as one could package a .DOC inside of an .AVI wrapper. It obviously would not play as an AV file, but could be done, and without being able to peek inside the wrapper, one would never know why it does not play.
As to PrE 3 and HD material, I do not know. I do not think that it can handle HD material, but have never used it, so am not 100% certain. Others can give the definitive answer.
If you have attempted to Import the HD material unsuccessfully, that might indicate a problem, but it could indicate that the issue is just with THAT HD material.
By going to .VOB, you are converting to DVD-compliant SD MPEG-2, but are packaging it in the .VOB container. A better way would be to eliminate the .VOB container, and just convert directly to a DVD-compliant SD MPEG-2 (no container, but just the MPEG "wrapper"). That saves the program having to work with first the container and then the MPEG-2 inside.
Hope that this helps,