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BEST DVD Compression for a 10 minute film with lots of motion


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#1 Elliott Landy

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:04 PM

I have some five films that I want to put onto DVD's which will play on consumer video DVD decks. There is a lot of motion in them and there are few if any frames which match the ones before or after each other because the camera is moving quickly. My edited files are 10 bit uncompressed SD which has been de-interlaced. (I guess this makes it 10 bit SD progressive?). I own FCP studio 6 and the Avid Media Composer group of programs. As the DVD will have more than enough space for the 5 minute film, how can I set the paramaters of the DVD creation software to compress it as little as possible for a "consumer" video DVD? As there is more than enough space on the DVD, I would like to have no Key frames and have each frame of the video be unique.
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#2 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 08:03 PM

If you are hoping for the kind of quality you see in store bought DVD's, you won't get it from your home computer. If you have the budget, I'd send the uncompressed files to an authoring/compression lab who use much more advanced compression equipment. Results seem to be better the less compressed the file they have to work with.

I saw a DVD of an indie feature recently that was made from a 2K Cineform file that looked almost studio level quality and I judge that best when you put it into a BluRay player and see how well it is able to uprez to a large HD plasma. The best standard DVD compression I have seen so far is the newer Bladerunner transfer. Uprezzed it almost looks BluRay-like... the actual BluRay looks just amazing.

If you cant send it out, trial and error seems like the only way to get the best out of your home system. The catch is that too high a bit rate will cause some DVD players to freeze up and maybe not the one you are testing it on.
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#3 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:08 PM

If you are hoping for the kind of quality you see in store bought DVD's, you won't get it from your home computer. If you have the budget, I'd send the uncompressed files to an authoring/compression lab who use much more advanced compression equipment. Results seem to be better the less compressed the file they have to work with. I saw a DVD of an indie feature recently that was made from a 2K Cineform file that looked almost studio level quality and I judge that best when you put it into a BluRay player and see how well it is able to uprez to a large HD plasma. The best standard DVD compression I have seen so far is the newer Bladerunner transfer. Uprezzed it almost looks BluRay-like... the actual BluRay looks just amazing.If you cant send it out, trial and error seems like the only way to get the best out of your home system. The catch is that too high a bit rate will cause some DVD players to freeze up and maybe not the one you are testing it on.

I noticed the exact same thing with Blade Runner.
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#4 Stephen Floyd

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:48 AM

I have had reliable results using the Apple Pro Res 48k setting. You may need to run the resulting file through compressor if you want to burn five of them, but that should not change the quality.
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#5 Paul Korver

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 03:54 AM

Hi Elliot,
You should be able to get stellar results with Compressor (if assets are encoded correctly) for such short content. Where Compressor falls apart is when you're trying to fit 90 mins+ on a DVD-5. That's when you need Sonic Scenarist and or a compressionist. Since you have only 10 minutes you can do a fairly "fat" data rate and will get a good picture. There's a secret about Compressor that is deceiving that took me a while to figure out. Here it is... When looking at the various DVD encoding choices under presets you'd assume that "2-pass VBR" would be best. Not true. VBR stands for "Variable Bit Rate" which means you're telling Compressor to analyze the motion in various scenes and make decisions based on algorithms about when it's okay to lower the bit rate (less movement = lower bit rate). This can cause artifacts. The key to clean encodes is to select "CBR" which stands for "Constant Bit Rate". While you can fit less runtime on a DVD with this setting... what it does is tells the computer not to "think" or analyze motion... just encode based on whatever bit rate you specify. Since you're only doing 10 minutes set it high... anything above 7.5 Mbps should be fine but I'd go 8 for content with a lot of motion. You should be very pleased with the results.

Happy Encoding!

Paul
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 06:14 AM

If you are hoping for the kind of quality you see in store bought DVD's, you won't get it from your home computer.




I hate to be the bringer of nerdiness, but a really nice 2-pass encode from something like ffmpeg will get surprisingly close. All else is really just blurring the HF detail out of problem areas. Of course the user interface isn't as nice as a really high end tool, but for a short I wouldn't want to bet you couldn't equal the big ticket solutions.


Of course with a short you will also hit DVD bitrate limits long before you fill the disc.


P
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#7 Elliott Landy

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:43 AM

Thanks to both Paul and Phil for the functional suggestions. I wil try Paul's methodology with Compressor first as I have that technology. But what do I do after I use Compressor? What should my settings be when I put it into DVD Studio pro or IDVD. I've tried it and the DVD compression mess up the video because it is not the usual type of tripod created video. I don't need menus or titles.

Phil: Can you please explain further how one does: 2-pass encode from something like ffmpeg?
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#8 Elliott Landy

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:45 AM

I have had reliable results using the Apple Pro Res 48k setting. You may need to run the resulting file through compressor if you want to burn five of them, but that should not change the quality.


Why would I need Apple Pro Res 48K if I already have uncompressed 10bit as my Master footage. Wouldn't that be compressing/converting it for no reason? thanks
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:58 AM

Phil: Can you please explain further how one does: 2-pass encode from something like ffmpeg?



In its most basic form, ffmpeg is a commandline tool, so you will need to have your technical head on to some extent. You will also need to have your program in a format that ffmpeg understands, which is quite easy because it understands practically anything with the principal exceptions of ProRes and AIC. Uncompressed intermediates are your friend, really.

As an opensource project, ffmpeg can be a little flaky and the best way to drive it changes almost weekly, but from memory the commandline will look something like this:

ffmpeg -i yourinputfile.mov -aspect 16:9 -target pal-dvd -pass 1 youroutputfile.mpg

Alter "pal-dvd" to "ntsc-dvd" to suit. This will give you MPEG-2 video and AC3 audio plus a file called something like ffmpeg2pass-0.log. If you do the same thing again and change "-pass 1" for "-pass 2" it will refer to that file, which contains information about how demanding each part of the video is in terms of bitrate, and probably make a somewhat better job of encoding it.

Whether all this shenanigans really looks better than the default encoder in your DVD authoring program is for you to decide, but I suspect that it might not be that visible especially on short subjects.

P

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#10 Stephen Floyd

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 08:57 PM

Why would I need Apple Pro Res 48K if I already have uncompressed 10bit as my Master footage. Wouldn't that be compressing/converting it for no reason? thanks

I may have misunderstood your original question. But it seems like Phil gave a better answer than I could.
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#11 Elliott Landy

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:47 PM

Thank you very much for this detailed answer.




In its most basic form, ffmpeg is a commandline tool, so you will need to have your technical head on to some extent. You will also need to have your program in a format that ffmpeg understands, which is quite easy because it understands practically anything with the principal exceptions of ProRes and AIC. Uncompressed intermediates are your friend, really.

As an opensource project, ffmpeg can be a little flaky and the best way to drive it changes almost weekly, but from memory the commandline will look something like this:

ffmpeg -i yourinputfile.mov -aspect 16:9 -target pal-dvd -pass 1 youroutputfile.mpg

Alter "pal-dvd" to "ntsc-dvd" to suit. This will give you MPEG-2 video and AC3 audio plus a file called something like ffmpeg2pass-0.log. If you do the same thing again and change "-pass 1" for "-pass 2" it will refer to that file, which contains information about how demanding each part of the video is in terms of bitrate, and probably make a somewhat better job of encoding it.

Whether all this shenanigans really looks better than the default encoder in your DVD authoring program is for you to decide, but I suspect that it might not be that visible especially on short subjects.

P


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#12 Paul Korver

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 04:20 AM

Thanks to both Paul and Phil for the functional suggestions. I wil try Paul's methodology with Compressor first as I have that technology. But what do I do after I use Compressor? What should my settings be when I put it into DVD Studio pro or IDVD. I've tried it and the DVD compression mess up the video because it is not the usual type of tripod created video. I don't need menus or titles.

Phil: Can you please explain further how one does: 2-pass encode from something like ffmpeg?


Hi Elliot,
I don't have time to teach you how to use DVD Studio Pro. There's manuals for that :) Just make sure that you're not telling DVD Studio Pro to do an transcoding of the MP2 assets you created from Compressor and you should be fine. And don't use iMovie which I believe transcodes all media by default.

-Paul
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#13 Elliott Landy

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 08:39 AM

Thank you again, I know how you feel about teaching someone how to use a Program —I am sometimes on the other side of that one. But what you have given me is enough to start testing it out. I already use Compression but I could not find anything about this issue, just as I have not found information on much of what I have been doing in the last year, capturing HI-8 tapes to uncompressed 10bit video. So thanks for responding. This gives me the idea to share my experiences and the few things I learned about converting Hi-8 tapes. My best

[ quote name='Paul Korver' timestamp='1294564838' post='341969']
Hi Elliot,
I don't have time to teach you how to use DVD Studio Pro. There's manuals for that :) Just make sure that you're not telling DVD Studio Pro to do an transcoding of the MP2 assets you created from Compressor and you should be fine. And don't use iMovie which I believe transcodes all media by default.

-Paul
[/quote]
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#14 Adam Hunt

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 06:31 PM

Hi Elliott, I realize I am late to this thread, but I encode DVDs professionally so I figured I should weigh in. Based on the software you have available I would advise using Apple Compressor. As others have stated it will not give you the "Hollywood quality" encoding you see on commercial DVDs but it will do a decent job (much better than stuff like iDVD or Encore).

As far as optimizing the quality all you can really do it crank up the bit-rate. Select "2-pass VBR" and drag the bit-rate all the way up and let it rip. If the quality is good enough for your purposes then you're good to go. If not you will have to look into professional authoring by someone who not only has invested in better software/hardware but has experience optimizing a quality encode. If you choose to go that route I do a lot of encoding and authoring for indie filmmakers and I can give you a good deal.

Something like ffmpeg will not give you professional quality. At best it will give you something around Compressor's quality, but with more hassle (so don't bother with it). I did some testing a while ago with various encoders and ffmpeg has some serious compatibility issues with some DVD players. Oh, and don't set every frame of your video as a key frame. It will actually degrade the quality of the encode. I know that may sound counter-intuitive but just trust that it's the case with MPEG-2 compression.
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#15 Elliott Landy

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 11:01 PM

Thank you very much. I will both try your suggestions and would like to have you do a compression for me on a commercial basis. Send me your contact info please.

Hi Elliott, I realize I am late to this thread, but I encode DVDs professionally so I figured I should weigh in. Based on the software you have available I would advise using Apple Compressor. As others have stated it will not give you the "Hollywood quality" encoding you see on commercial DVDs but it will do a decent job (much better than stuff like iDVD or Encore).

As far as optimizing the quality all you can really do it crank up the bit-rate. Select "2-pass VBR" and drag the bit-rate all the way up and let it rip. If the quality is good enough for your purposes then you're good to go. If not you will have to look into professional authoring by someone who not only has invested in better software/hardware but has experience optimizing a quality encode. If you choose to go that route I do a lot of encoding and authoring for indie filmmakers and I can give you a good deal.

Something like ffmpeg will not give you professional quality. At best it will give you something around Compressor's quality, but with more hassle (so don't bother with it). I did some testing a while ago with various encoders and ffmpeg has some serious compatibility issues with some DVD players. Oh, and don't set every frame of your video as a key frame. It will actually degrade the quality of the encode. I know that may sound counter-intuitive but just trust that it's the case with MPEG-2 compression.


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#16 Paul Korver

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:06 AM

Hi Elliott, I realize I am late to this thread, but I encode DVDs professionally so I figured I should weigh in. Based on the software you have available I would advise using Apple Compressor. As others have stated it will not give you the "Hollywood quality" encoding you see on commercial DVDs but it will do a decent job (much better than stuff like iDVD or Encore).

As far as optimizing the quality all you can really do it crank up the bit-rate. Select "2-pass VBR" and drag the bit-rate all the way up and let it rip. If the quality is good enough for your purposes then you're good to go. If not you will have to look into professional authoring by someone who not only has invested in better software/hardware but has experience optimizing a quality encode. If you choose to go that route I do a lot of encoding and authoring for indie filmmakers and I can give you a good deal.


Hi Adam... I may be able to send you some business too through my post company Cinelicious where we're getting pretty busy with DIs. What program are you running... Sonic? And as an aside I think if you compared Compressor's "2-pass VBR" to a CBR of the same bit-rate you'd find CBR would win out every time... only problem is CBR is to "fat" for longer DVDs so for anything over 60 mins VBR is a must. But in Elliott's case with just 10 mins of material that is not an issue and I would strongly suggest CBR (read my post #5 above for a full explanation).

-Paul
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#17 Adam Hunt

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:30 AM

Hi Adam... I may be able to send you some business too through my post company Cinelicious where we're getting pretty busy with DIs. What program are you running... Sonic? And as an aside I think if you compared Compressor's "2-pass VBR" to a CBR of the same bit-rate you'd find CBR would win out every time... only problem is CBR is to "fat" for longer DVDs so for anything over 60 mins VBR is a must. But in Elliott's case with just 10 mins of material that is not an issue and I would strongly suggest CBR (read my post #5 above for a full explanation).

-Paul


Hi Paul. In my experience VBR beats CBR every time at anything lower than a maxed-out bit-rate. This is because CBR holds it's bit-rate even if a particular segment needs more bandwidth where as VBR allows the bit-rate to grow above the average when needed. A lot of areas may not need anything near the average so the difference is made up there.

At a maxed-out bit-rate CBR and VBR really perform the same in my experience. Although this depends on the encoder since the way it's implemented can vary a lot. It's been a long time since I've used CBR for anything, but from what I remember of testing Compressor VBR vs. CBR, VBR is better even at max bit-rate.

However this may not be true of newer versions. Too be honest I don't use Compressor at all for DVD anymore because I have access to a better encoder, so my experience with it's MPEG-2 encoder is based on several versions ago. Certainly in the case of the encoder I use now VBR is vastly superior at any bit-rate.
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