2 Replies Latest reply on Jan 31, 2010 8:49 AM by the_wine_snob

    Convert SD Material to DV-AVI First? A Little Story

    the_wine_snob Level 9

      I was handed a simple little Project recently. The Assets were 18 WMV files with different Frame Sizes and different PAR’s. The end result was to be DVD-Video, Widescreen (16:9). I was in a bad mood, as I felt that there were better files to work with, than the WMV’s, but I got stonewalled on that. I also felt that those “lost files,” probably at least had uniform Frame Sizes, though there were going to be differences in PAR, as some were obviously 4:3 and some 16:9. The final Project was to be a multi-DVD set (2 discs), with a total runtime of just over 4 hours. We ended up with 14 Timelines/Sequences, with some in the 30 mins. range, and the rest shorter - some much shorter.


      Normally, I would have just converted everything to DV-AVI in one batch, but I was just anxious to rush through everything. This was a bad move, and I should have been in a better frame of mind.


      I fired up PrPro and Imported the WMV’s into it. They all Imported fine. OK, I’m off and running, or so I thought. I waited for Conforming and PEK generation to complete, and started cutting. This was all quite simple, as it was basically setting In & Out Points, and adding some rather simple Titles. I did have to use Effect>Motion>Scale, some Cropping and Motion>Position to work with the PAR differences and improve the area of the Frame that we were looking at. Add a Soundtrack, and Export to DV-AVI for Encore and then author - simple static Menus, then burn two DVD’s. Piece of cake.


      The editing went quickly, and all was fine. No need to Render, as it played back surprisingly well, and there were no real animations, or even many Transitions.


      I was working on the laptop, which is quite stout and the Project was on my E:\ internal, with media on D:\. OK, the first couple of Timelines, some shorter ones, Exported fine, albeit slowly. Then, I hit a wall. The longer Timelines were taking forever. Two of the longer ones crashed PrPro, and that never happens. I had not bothered to kill the normal processes, that I normally have at boot-up, and was using my browser to read the Adobe fora. Shut down, rebooted, killed loaded processes (as I normally do, but I was still in that bad mood, so wanted to multi-task and be online), and went back to that problematic Timeline. Man, this was taking forever and on a fast laptop. This one completed, but the next long one crashed PrPro once again.


      In disgust, I packaged everything up on an external, and dragged it to the workstation. Killed all unnecessary Processes, and then re-linked all Assets. Save_As and went back to Exporting. Dang if I didn’t have two more crashes, with one corrupted PRPROJ file along the way. My mood was not improving, but I got through the task. The longer Timelines were taking about 4:1, or 6:1 to Export. Since I normally work only with DV-AVI, real time, or better is what I am used to. Even material with a bunch of Effects does not take THIS long.


      When it completed, I went about authoring, and while Encore was Transcoding and burning, I went back to the laptop. Instead of working with those WMV’s, I loaded up my conversion program, DigitalMedia Converter, and converted everything to 720x480, leaving the original PAR alone and Exported to DV-AVI. I replaced my WMV Assets with these AVI’s, and did the Cropping and some now slight resizing, as I was at least in the “ballpark” with my Frame Sizes. Used the same Titles and Soundtracks, and basically repeated my Trimming to approximately the same as the original Project. Cleaned up everything, and tested an Export for some of the longer Timelines/Sequences. Wow, things flew with not one crash. Did the Export for the rest and they also worked fine, with no issues.


      The conversion time for all of the Assets was just over 30 mins. The Export time was about 20% of what it had been, when using the WMV’s with more Scaling done. Crops, etc., were just about the same, as were the Position changes to accommodate the Crops. The laptop did not crash once, even though I did not kill Processes, and was back online.


      I had shot myself squarely in the foot. While the WMV’s did Import fine, there was a ton more processing, that PrPro had to do with them. Also, by setting my Frame Size in the converter, there were fewer Scaling Effects that needed to be applied. In the end, this “test” version completed in about 1/3 of the total time for the first. There were zero crashes, and I wasn’t even pushing the laptop. Though I espouse conversion, prior to Import, to others, I had broken that rule for myself, and I paid the price.


      Lessons learned:


      1.) do not start any Project with a bad mind set


      2.) do not deviate from standard accepted practice - convert first, regardless. Any time saved initially is likely to be lost, and by a factor of 300%.


      Just some observations, that I wanted to share with others. I should have known better, especially as I tell others to follow the advice to convert externally.