Improving Quality of DVD

VitaminEJO
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Improving Quality of DVD

Post by VitaminEJO »

I created a DVD yesterday, but I feel that the quality when watching it on a TV isnt that great. Im not sure how to describe it, but i guess choppy/blurry a little bit. The video files were shot outside and I suppose it could either be the type of camera used (which is basically just a small handheld camcorder the size of a digital camera) or that it was moved around a lot.

I also was sent the files online from a friend, and after receiving them I put them directly into the DVD Workshop.

Im not sure what settings were used, but I believe the only thing I changed was using one step down from Best quality (1 hour of video space I believe).

So, would the type of camera used affect the ending DVD quality? Or could it be more to do with the settings that were used, the amount of videos put onto the disc, the video being stretched to fit the television, etc etc?
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Post by Ron P. »

I'm going to guess that it is more to do with the video file. I'm not sure since you don't mention what the properties are. Could you please post them? When you stated a small camcorder that's similar to a camera, those tend to use highly compressed formats.
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Post by VitaminEJO »

All I know that the video files were in .wmv format. Not sure if that is what you want or not.

I am also told that the way the video files go are as follows: record something via camcorder > transfered to computer with Windows Movie Maker > saved as a .wmv > sent to my friend > video files pieced together and saved as .wmv again.

Could all of that be a problem as well?

I am also looking to get myself a camcorder from bestbuy.com (one of the hard drive ones, either sony or panasonic that I think are 800k pixels or something like that), so would that be a good choice for shooting videos and putting them on DVD as far as quality goes?

Since I have this topic, does the burning of DVDs always take so long? Because it took the dvd I had about 4 and a half hours to get completely done. Would it take that long for every DVD, or if I made 5 copies of the same dvd would the last 4 take less time?
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Post by DVDDoug »

I don't have a lot of experience with WMV files, but they are typically nowhere near "DVD quality". All video compression formats use "lossy" compression... The more compression the worse the quality. Most "still" cameras that can also shoot video, are using a low-quality highly-compressed format.

All of the highly-compressed formats (WMA, DivX, Xvid, MPEG-4) can be a nightmare to edit, or to convert to DVD. And, conversion to MPEG-2 for the DVD means a 2nd lossy compression step which further degrades quality, especially if the resolution and/or framerate has to be converted to the DVD spec. If you have a very-low quality video to begin with, the MPEG-2 encoding won't make it notiecably worse. But if you have a near-DVD quality DivX movie file, you probably will notice the degradation when you convert it "back" DVD.

You can get a rough idea from the bitrate or file size. I'm going to make an unfair "apples to oranges" comparison here... These highly compressed formats are better than MPEG-2 for a given file size... But, a good commercial-quality 90 minute DVD file (MPEG-2) is going to fill-up a single-layer DVD, which holds 4.35GB. (Most commercial DVDs are dual-layer.) No matter what the format, if you have a full movie that fits on a CD, it's not DVD-quality!

I am also looking to get myself a camcorder from bestbuy.com (one of the hard drive ones, either sony or panasonic that I think are 800k pixels or something like that), so would that be a good choice for shooting videos and putting them on DVD as far as quality goes?
Assuming your not looking for a high definition camera... You have 3 choices for good quality video:

- A hard drive camera that records to MPEG-2. This is the same format as DVD, and it will have the same resolution as DVD (720x480 for NTSC, or 720x576 for PAL.) MPEG-2 can sometimes be "difficult" to edit too... I have an MPEG-2 video capture card and I had to buy a special-purpose MPEG editor. Another issue is that the MPEG has to be decompressed for editing. This means a 2nd lossy compression step after editing. (You might not notice the quality loss, but it's a potential concern.)

- A direct-to-DVD camera that records directly to DVD-R or Mini-DVD-R. (Of course it's MPEG-2 with the same editing concerns.)

- A MiniDV camera that records in DV format to MiniDV tape. Again, a DV camera will have the same resolution as a DVD (720x480 or 720x576). The DV files are transferred to your computer ("captured") as AVI/DV files. These files are less-compressed than the other formats at 13GB per hour of video. But, they are also the easiest to edit and convert to DVD. MiniDV is probably the best option if your not going high-def.

MiniDV is becoming "old technology", especially with all of the focus on high-def, but I believe it's still the most trouble-free rock-solid solution. (You should get other opinions.)
I am also told that the way the video files go are as follows: record something via camcorder > transfered to computer with Windows Movie Maker > saved as a .wmv > sent to my friend > video files pieced together and saved as .wmv again.

Could all of that be a problem as well?
Some editing (cutting & splicing) can be done without re coding. But most "real editing" requires the video to be de-compressed and re-compressed. This does introduce some quality loss every time you open and edit a file... at least in theory.
...does the burning of DVDs always take so long? Because it took the dvd I had about 4 and a half hours to get completely done. Would it take that long for every DVD, or if I made 5 copies of the same dvd would the last 4 take less time?
Most of that time is for converting your file to MPEG-2. Check the box that says Create DVD Folders or Create ISO File. That will create a DVD "image" on your hard drive. If your burn your subsequent DVDs from the image, you will just have the burning-time and it will go much faster.
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Post by VitaminEJO »

Thanks for the reply but, and sorry that Im a little slow, Im still rather "o_O" about the whole thing. It'd probably be best if you explained thngs as you were to a child :lol:

This is the camera I was thinking of getting:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp ... ductdetail

or

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp ... 5100050020

or

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp ... 7074520701


Basically, a friend of mine is looking to start up a small wrestling promotion, so video recording would mainly take place inside a building. After recording things, we would be taking what we have recorded and putting it into the Video Studio 11 software for editing, then saving it/converting it (Im not sure if Im able to save anything in VideoStudio as a video format, as Ive had to save it as a project then convert it). Then we would put it into DVD Workshop to create the DVD.

Now, from what I understand, and I could be very wrong, it would be best to either record a show in MPEG2/AVI right off the bat? Then after editing it save/convert to MPEG2 and then go along with the DVD creation as per normal?

Sorry if being a hassle, but Im not really "savvy" when it comes to this stuff and I really just want to get the best DVD quality as possible as we would eventually be selling the DVD's we make.
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Post by Devil »

The three cams you quote are all hard drive types with MPEG recording, as I understand them.

If you want the least hassle, and especially if you are going to do much editing, I would suggest a mini-DV cam will give you the best quality and least hassle, as DVDDoug has already suggested.

As your output is to DVD, useless to go to HD.

If I were you, I'd go for this cam (or something very similar):
http://shop.panasonic.co.uk/invt/nvgs500ebs
The 3-CCD sensor will give you much better colour rendering in indoor lighting conditions and it has a good lens, not like the plastic bottle bottoms that many cheaper cams have. It has good reviews:
http://www.simplydv.co.uk/Reviews/panas ... gs500.html
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Post by VitaminEJO »

Thanks for the reply as well. Will check into the camera you linked to. Just want to ask again if itd be best, quality wise, to record a video in an MPEG-2 format right off the bat, edit it in Video Studio 11 and save it in MPEG format still, and put it on DVD?

Another question that popped into my head is, does the KIND of DVD effect the quality in anyway? Like, does it matter if you get a DVD-R asopposed to a DVD+R or DVD RW or anything? And does it matter if you get blank DVDs at 2x, 4x, 8x, etc?

Sorry for all the questions, just want to get as much info beforehand so that we could produce the best quality DVD's to sell to people.
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Post by sjj1805 »

When you create a standard DVD Video - like the ones you get from the shops, they are in MPEG2.

MPEG2 is considered by many to be a format that you view rather than edit.
They are editable but are termed a lossy format. In other words every time you edit and save (termed 'render') a video you lose a small amount of quality. At first this is hardly noticeable but gets worse each time you do so.

DV is a digital video format launched in 1996, and, in its smaller tape form factor MiniDV, has since become a standard for home and semi-professional video production; it is sometimes used for professional purposes as well, such as filmmaking and electronic news gathering (ENG). This format is easily editable and does not lose quality.

What we tend to do is record video in DV and transfer that video to our computer. We then edit that DV video - that is to say we cut bits out, join bits together, add titles and other special effects. We then create from that DV video a DVD compliant MPEG2 video.

Having created our MPEG2 video we then open our chosen DVD Authoring program such as DVD Workshop, VideoStudio or MovieFactory and import that MPEG2 file into it. We then create our DVD Menus and burn this either to a hard drive folder for further tweaking or to a DVD Video Disc.

Regarding blank discs I always avoid the cheapest ones and go for amid range priced disc - the discs I buy are generally single layer 16x DVD +R and are sold at my local supermarkets like Asda, Tesco, Sainsburies and the like. I prefer to burn at 4x but some brands of DVD will not go that low and so I burn at 6X - the lowest the disc will allow (Other than 1x which IS too slow!!) These I find will play in any standalone DVD Player that they have been placed into.

HD is the latest generation of Video and although growing in popularity I have not yet been able to justify moving to that medium. As someone who is just starting out you may find HD a tempting format but you need to be guided by the advice of those who have invested in that format before making your final decision.
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Post by Andy E »

Devil wrote:As your output is to DVD, useless to go to HD.
I'm not sure I totally agree with that statement. For one thing, it's worth doing a little bit of future-proofing when purchasing. In addition, I know a number of people who shoot in HD and downconvert to DV when transferring to the PC, others who downconvert on the PC after transferring footage, and yet others who edit in HD and encode to DVD. HD will give you better starting quality for your footage.
sjj1805 wrote:MPEG2 is considered by many to be a format that you view rather than edit. They are editable but are termed a lossy format.
It's worth pointing out that DV is not a loss-less format either and regarding MPEG2, HDV is simply a high (relatively speaking) bitrate MPEG2 format (as are JVC's Everio HD HDD camcorders) and most decent NLEs will let you edit that on the timeline.

The key thing with editing MPEG2 is that your NLE supports smart-rendering, in other words it doesn't re-encode footage it doesn't need to. Straight cuts are ok, transitions and any overlays etc. will be re-encoded. If you need to do anything heavy - colour correction etc. you can also "dub up" i.e. upconvert to a better format for those clips that need it.
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Post by Devil »

Andy E wrote:
Devil wrote:As your output is to DVD, useless to go to HD.
I'm not sure I totally agree with that statement. For one thing, it's worth doing a little bit of future-proofing when purchasing. In addition, I know a number of people who shoot in HD and downconvert to DV when transferring to the PC, others who downconvert on the PC after transferring footage, and yet others who edit in HD and encode to DVD. HD will give you better starting quality for your footage.
Do me a favour. Do a test for me, please. Shoot something in HD and in DV. Make DVDs using any of the downconversion processes you like from the edited HD footage and from the edited DV footage, using the same bitrate and other settings that are playable on any DVD player. Compare the results when viewing on a good, modern TV from normal viewing distance. Please tell me if you can detect any visual difference in resolution and artefacts (there may be slight differences in colour rendering, especially with NTSC). The proof of the pudding is in the eating
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Post by skier-hughes »

The losses involved in editing dv.avi files are so miniscule that you are hard put to see them with the best equipment.
In everyday life, such as people who post on here, dv.avi will not produce any losses that can be seen by the naked eye over many edits, whereas mpeg formats, when edited - without smart rendering - will show up problems quite soon.

If I ad a hd cam, I'd shoot everything in HD to future proof as you say, but I'd still downconvert to sd to make my current product range.
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Post by Andy E »

Devil wrote:Do me a favour. Do a test for me, please. Shoot something in HD and in DV. Make DVDs using any of the downconversion processes you like from the edited HD footage and from the edited DV footage, using the same bitrate and other settings that are playable on any DVD player. Compare the results when viewing on a good, modern TV from normal viewing distance. Please tell me if you can detect any visual difference in resolution and artefacts (there may be slight differences in colour rendering, especially with NTSC). The proof of the pudding is in the eating
I'll grant you that the first two workflows may well give you no discernible quality improvement since you're simply encoding DV-AVI to MPEG-2 just as with an import from a SD camcorder - for the last it depends on the HD format recorded-to and encoder in question.

However, the key point is "future-proofing". Shooting in HD at least gives you the option to revisit the footage you've already shot and produce a higher-quality pudding for eating. It also helps once you've purchased your PS3 (or whatever) and HD-TV since you'll able to author for HD playback going forward.