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Apple's MPEG-2 DVD Encoder kicks ass!

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Finally got a chance to play with DVD Studio Pro 1.5 and the MPEG-2 encoder (NOT the MPEG-playback component for QT 6)

I was testing it with a one minute long DV clip. Using VBR setting. And guess what?. On my Dual GHz SlowSilver (tm) it takes only 50 seconds to encode!

Using Media Cleaner 5.1 even with the MPEG charger it still takes 8 minutes 35 sec to encode the same thing.

Then later my friend took the same DV clip to his friend's 2.4 GHz P4 PC with Canopus hardware encoding card. It takes about 39 seconds to finish the MPEG-2 compression.

Using Media Cleaner 5.1 with MPEG charger on this PC it takes around 6 minutes to do the job

Yeap. A PC with hardware add on really smokes the Mac......but guess how much my friend's friend's PC costs? A whopping $7500 CDN!

Compare to my SlowSilver(tm) I paid $4000 CDN on this and can get close to hardware compression speed.

All in all. Hats off to Apple. They have done a great job*


*Still hope they have faster/cheaper hardware

[ 08-03-2002: Message edited by: Leonis ]</p>
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post #2 of 35
Yeah but the Mac only got 275 fps in Quake3 versus the PC that got like 311 fps... so Mac's must suck right?

Nick

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post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by trumptman:
<strong>Yeah but the Mac only got 275 fps in Quake3 versus the PC that got like 311 fps... so Mac's must suck right?

Nick</strong><hr></blockquote>

<img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />
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post #4 of 35
by using dvd studio pro's encoder, does the quality differ between different encoders?
post #5 of 35
I'm also curious about the difference in quality with different encoders. Is there a difference between iDVD2 and DVD studio pro when it comes to quality of encoding?

I'm working on encoding a lot of family movies and want to get it right the first time.

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post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
The major difference between the iDVD 2 and DVD SP 1.5 's encoder is that iDVD's does NOT support variable bit rate. Bit rate in iDVD is fixed and this is why the limit of the length is 90 minutes.

DVDSP on the other hand, can compress more or less depending on what's on the clip. Compresses more if the clip is blurry (motion) or compresses less if there are a lot of details.

iDVD's compression is slightly faster than DVD SP's....again because of the fixed compression rate.

As for quality. The quality of those MPEG files compressed with DVDSP's MPEG2 exporter is pretty good. VERY compable to those commerical DVDs

Again....no matter how good the compressor is if the original video source is crap you still only can make crap

I found the MPEG2 files made by Media Cleaner w/Charger is somewhat blurry....not to mention sloooooooow

[ 08-04-2002: Message edited by: Leonis ]</p>
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post #7 of 35
is audio fixed/constant br?
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Badtz:
<strong>is audio fixed/constant br?</strong><hr></blockquote>

When creating MPEG-2 file with QT player or FCP I see the option "Save Audio"

If I check that option a seperate audio file will be saved. If can be either non-compressed AIF file or MPEG-2 Audio file....but didn't really check out the bit rate.
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post #9 of 35
Actually, DVDSP does not have a *true* VBRC. I work quite a bit with MPEG-2 compression, and although I love SP for authoring, it still lacks a bit in the compression arena.

For most projects &gt;30 min of content, I'll go ahead and use the SP codec set to '8', and most of the time that's acceptable, but for anything over that I'll farm it out to a compression house that has the hardware (ie: compression cards) that will make 2-2.5 hrs. of film on a DVD a reality.

Why? When I first started in DVD production (approx. 5 years ago) there were very few encoding/authoring solutions available. The firm I used to be in decided Sonic Solutions had the best compression scheme available, and $88,000.00 later (yes $88G, $70G for the SS cards/BO box, $6G for a mackin' beige G3 tower setup, and $12G for a first-gen 1x Pioneer DVD burner) we set up shop. So, yes I'm fairly anal about *pure* compression.

3 years later, along comes DVDSP for US $999. Everything and a bit more that the SS system had to offer, except for VBRE. An outstanding move on Apple's part, and one I hope they continue with with all of their new aquisitions.

*History Lesson Over* - What I'm hoping for in DVDSP 2.0 is a real encoder. What this means to me is that I can set a *high* and *low* bit-rate, with the encoder smart enough to realize that a dip to black doesn't need to be encoded at 8, or even better, an encoder that I can use to say 'Hey, that bit isn't as good as I think it should be, go back and encode just that bit at a higher bit-rate." If that could happen, all other hardware solutions would be obsolete.

G.

[edit: spelling]

[ 08-04-2002: Message edited by: 709 ]</p>
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post #10 of 35
Sorry Leonis, I should have included this in my previous post.

--------------
DVDSP on the other hand, can compress more or less depending on what's on the clip. Compresses more if the clip is blurry (motion) or compresses less if there are a lot of details.
--------------

I think that iDVD is perpetually set at the equivalent of DVDSP compression of *8*. I've received quite a bit of email from people trying to encode their projects from iDVD (longer than 60min or so) and having problems with playback. My advice to them has been to shorten their clips or move to DVSP.

--------------
iDVD's compression is slightly faster than DVD SP's....again because of the fixed compression rate.
--------------

Apple's description of a *variable* bit-rate is a little mis-leading. Yes, you can choose a bit-rate from 1-9, and that might be considered variable. But a *true* VBR will let you pick a high and low bit-rate, and your VOB will dip in and out of these settings (with the obvious exception of black dips and fades, which should be at much lower rates).

--------------
As for quality. The quality of those MPEG files compressed with DVDSP's MPEG2 exporter is pretty good. VERY compable to those commerical DVDs
--------------

Agreed. For under $1G it is truely the best compression on the market.

--------------
Again....no matter how good the compressor is if the original video source is crap you still only can make crap
--------------

Well put.

G.

[edit: formatting]

[ 08-04-2002: Message edited by: 709 ]</p>
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post #11 of 35
709:::

what would u recommend for software VRB encoding???

[.....audio?]
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
So I am mistaken on DVD SP's so-called VBR

Thanks for letting me know 709. Really appreciate it

Since it's my first time to try...there's still a loooooooooong way to "get into the thing"
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post #13 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Badtz:
<strong>709:::

what would u recommend for software VRB encoding???

[.....audio?]</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, for software/hardware add-ons beyond the Discreet Cleaner MPEG Charger (which I agree is crappy IMO), I'd recommend HEURIS. These guys have had the consistantly best MPEG-1/2 on the market forever and have been totally underated (kinda like Apple, hmmm..). The software solution is quite nice, although a bit more expensive than most casual users want to spend. They also have hardware solutions available, but these are definitely out of the range of all but pro users.

That said, if you're like most on these boards, the DVDSP codec is going to fulfill 75% of your needs. If you decide (or your clients decide for you) that you're going to make a profession out of designing/encoding DVDs, well, HEURIS is the best option for now.

G.
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post #14 of 35
Whoops! I'm kind of new at this thing (ie: my post count) so let me append my previous post. Yes, you can use any video and audio stream created by HEURIS (or any other package for that matter) by simply placing them into your VIDEO_TS or AUDIO_TS folders.

Although, DVDSP will create these folders and files for you when you author, DO NOT assume that SP will like your files created in another HW/SW package. Import, save, create disc. All will be beautiful.

G.
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post #15 of 35
Does HEURIS also encode audio? what's a good software audio encoder?

after HEURIS, what would be a good software vbr encoder?
post #16 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Badtz:
<strong>Does HEURIS also encode audio? what's a good software audio encoder?

after HEURIS, what would be a good software vbr encoder?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yes, AFAIK HEURIS does encode audio. I believe the last iteration encoded AC-3, but I'm not completely sure of Dolby SS 5.1, you'll have to check with them for that. Sorry for not being up on current updates.

G.
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post #17 of 35
[QUOTE

after HEURIS, what would be a good software vbr encoder?[/QB][/QUOTE]

Badtz, as you can probably tell in my posts, I'm what many compressionists (yes, that's a real word) would call a *purist*. Compressionists hate me. I want the best. I want NO artifacts. AND I want a low (within reason) bit-rate. Not easy.

That said, I can honestly tell you there are NO good software encoders beyond what we've talked about on the Apple platform. And no, I'm not going to look for, find any or recommend any that are out there for x86. I'm sure there are far more out there, but I find the x86 platform unpallateable (SP?).

I'm sure we'll see more in the very near future, but this is new territory for desktop systems.

G.
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post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
With Apple's acquirsition of Spruse Technology I expect to see something really ass kicking in the future.
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post #19 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Leonis:
<strong>With Apple's acquirsition of Spruse Technology I expect to see something really ass kicking in the future.</strong><hr></blockquote>


I don't get it though. What does Spruce offer that Apple didn't already have with DVD Studio Pro? I thought they bought Spruce just to weaken DVD Authoring on the PC.
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post #20 of 35
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:
<strong>


I don't get it though. What does Spruce offer that Apple didn't already have with DVD Studio Pro? I thought they bought Spruce just to weaken DVD Authoring on the PC.</strong><hr></blockquote>


DVD SP is "from" Astare which Apple aquired many years ago.
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post #21 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Leonis:
<strong>


DVD SP is "from" Astare which Apple aquired many years ago.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yes ...does anyone know what Spruce Technologies offered that Astarte didn't? I'm really confused about the purchase of a company that had no intentions of offering Mac products. IMO it sounds alot more fishy that the emagic buyout.
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post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:
<strong>

Yes ...does anyone know what Spruce Technologies offered that Astarte didn't? </strong><hr></blockquote>

Hardware solution? Not sure
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post #23 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:
<strong>

Yes ...does anyone know what Spruce Technologies offered that Astarte didn't?</strong><hr></blockquote>

IICR, I think what Spruce had going for it was the 'ease of use' in their DVD menu creation. Motion menus were (at the point Apple purchased them) considered an 'added feature'. So, take Spruce's menu creation features (even in still menus, Spruce was, I think, the company that pioneered the use of PS layers as buttons instead of 1-bit overlays) and the awesome (at the time) MPEG-2 compression accelerated for Velocity Engine that Astarte had, mix accordingly...and wadda ya get? DVDSP of course.

-G
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post #24 of 35
Okay, this looks like the right thread to toss this in...

709, perhaps you could, as a purist, recommend a good solution for crappy input? :/

I have a *massive* collection of television episodes on VHS, most of which are at least second gen, and a good number are third, copied at SLP.

Ie, crap.

What I'd like to do is digitize them and plop them on VCD/DVD. I'm concerned that even at low resolutions the result is going to be a mess. (I know, I know, it's rather a mess to begin with, but I didn't have any control over that.)

Any suggestions for codecs, compression ratings, noise cleanup, etc?
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post #25 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Kickaha:
<strong>
I have a *massive* collection of television episodes on VHS, most of which are at least second gen, and a good number are third, copied at SLP.

What I'd like to do is digitize them and plop them on VCD/DVD.

Any suggestions for codecs, compression ratings, noise cleanup, etc?</strong><hr></blockquote>


Wow. Before I start, I'm qoing to have to quote The Truth ('if the original video source is crap you still only can make crap' (from Leonis)).

Now that The Truth is out of the way, I can only help you with a few pointers.

1) Compression+compression+compression=crap. The 'purist' in me would say to suck everything in via a 10-bit Kona and store it on a hard drive for playback. Of course, that's not practical. The 'realist' in me would say to dump them to DV or suck them in via a VHS-FireWire converter. Either way, you're going to gain 1 more compression level (on your way to #2). DV is not as lossless as Sony and Apple would have you believe, but for a consumer format it doesn't suck.

2) Now that everything is 'digital' I guess it depends on where you want to go with your stuff. Personally, I'd go straight to DVD (compression level #2) and live with the compression artifacts you might pick up. Quite honestly, VCD scares the hell out of me with it's weird compression scheme.
Or, take a shot at MPEG-4. Although, in my experience with Apple's (way beyond the codecs...way beyond) new compression, it needs alot of work to make it suitable for what you're asking. As it stand now, I'd go with Sorenson 3 if you wanted to put these on CD-R.

3) Cost. DVD-Rs are in no way 'cheap'. If you've got a massive collection, the cost of DVD-Rs may just push you to something else. Although, I have to say I've had a very low failure rate with backing up to and sending out DVDs. My backup archive is 200+ DVDs and growing fast, and I haven't had one fail yet (knock on wood).


Well, sorry I couldn't give you any real specific answers, but I hope this helped.

-G
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post #26 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by 709:
<strong>

1) Compression+compression+compression=crap. </strong><hr></blockquote>

I've been converting Hi8s to DV by using the analog to digital feature of a sony TRV25. In some cases the results look bad and maybe a little worse when converted to mpeg2. I guess I might be suffering from the double compression issue.

About the DV format being less lossless than portrayed- I thought I was being too picky, but with a lot of DV footage it seems a bit jerky when there's a lot of movement in the scene.

But since I assume these "kona" cards and their like are top dollar items I suppose I'll have to live with it. I was hoping to make DVDs of all my treasured family footage, keep a couple copies at other locations, and throw away all those clunky tapes, but looks like I'll be keeping them for some time until I can convert them with zero loss. Of course, then I'll be competing against degredation by tape shelf life. At least by putting them on DVD I'll have them on a convenient format.

I guess I'm a purist, like you, in that I don't tolerate any loss in quality. But I'm also a digiphile. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" /> Damn annoying when the technology isn't quite there.

[ 08-07-2002: Message edited by: Nordstrodamus ]</p>

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post #27 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Nordstrodamus:
<strong>

I've been converting Hi8s to DV ...
[ 08-07-2002: Message edited by: Nordstrodamus ]</strong><hr></blockquote>


Nord -

Actually, Hi8 was a great idea from Sony that ended up being trashed by more 'acceptable' formats. Once Apple put their stamp of approval on DV, the rest of the community followed. Although, IMHO Panasonic's DVCPRO is king as far as consumer formats go.

I'm in total agreement that the tech isn't "there' yet, but at least you've got your stuff saved on something that will (eventually) allow you to have a better image on DVD than the rest.

For those that might be confused, here's why. Most assume that a 'digital' signal is superior. That's simply not true. An analog signal, filmed properly, as component video (YUV) will allow you a much broader spectrum of color and resolution. The digital (consumer) 3CCD cameras on the market can not compete. Next year, when these cameras start to get Fovean (sp?) tech incorporated, it will be a whole new world. Until then, we're simply SOL.

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post #28 of 35
Damn. As I read through the whole thread again, I got that 'pit in the stomach because you just hi-jacked a thread' feeling. Sorry to Leonis if this is so, but as you can probably tell I'm pretty passionate about all of this.

- G
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post #29 of 35
Are the fovean chips suppose to be integrated into Camcorders also? I thought it was specifically for digital cameras?
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by 709:
<strong>Damn. As I read through the whole thread again, I got that 'pit in the stomach because you just hi-jacked a thread' feeling. Sorry to Leonis if this is so, but as you can probably tell I'm pretty passionate about all of this.

- G</strong><hr></blockquote>

That is fine. At least you are "enjoying" it
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post #31 of 35
Does anyone knnow how to make Jacket Pictures files for DVDs. I see them on some disc, but the file format is a MPEG-2 audio file, but a picture. I was told there is a PC program from TMPG or something, but haven't found anything for the mac. There is a folder on some disc call "Jacket Picture", it allows your DVD to show a picture of your disc cover art instead of your DVD's standby picture when you stop playing a disc.

Thanks.

p.s... there's an update to DVD Studio Pro on Apple's site 1.5.1
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post #32 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by badtz:
<strong>Are the fovean chips suppose to be integrated into Camcorders also? I thought it was specifically for digital cameras?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Check out their website. They go into some detail about how it can be used to do both High-res stills and digital video. They also have some awesome pics. Like 709, I'm really pumped about this CCD. Add that and a hard drive or solid state media and I'll be content for a while. I had to buy a DV cam this last month because my wife and i had a new baby and my Hi8 decided to die out this year. Otherwise I'd be waiting.

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post #33 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Nordstrodamus:
<strong>

Check out their website. They go into some detail about how it can be used to do both High-res stills and digital video. They also have some awesome pics. Like 709, I'm really pumped about this CCD. Add that and a hard drive or solid state media and I'll be content for a while. I had to buy a DV cam this last month because my wife and i had a new baby and my Hi8 decided to die out this year. Otherwise I'd be waiting.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Congrats on the new Baby Nos. My Son turned two weeks today. I'll be needing a camera soon. I'm looking at the Canon ZR45
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post #34 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:
<strong>

Congrats on the new Baby Nos. My Son turned two weeks today. I'll be needing a camera soon. I'm looking at the Canon ZR45</strong><hr></blockquote>

Congrats likewise hm! Two weeks, so you had yours on the 26th? Wow, we had ours on the 22nd. Another girl, which made my older daughter happy because she wanted a sister. Seems like theres another baby boom going on. Everyone I know is having kids.

As for the ZR45, I was initially excited to get the ZR40 for the following reasons-

1. It's cheap.
2. Unlike the cheap Sonys (Dig8s) it's not unwieldly huge.
3. It does analog to digital pass thru conversion which I need to efficiently convert my Hi8 tapes to DVDs. Fortunately, the VCR function of my old Hi8 still works so I can play it through to another camcorder.

I shied away from the ZR series for the following reasons-

1. I'd seen a lot of reports of motor noise being captured on tape with the ZRs.
2. I tested the pass thru feature by taking my pBook into Best buy and playing a tape from a sony thru S-video into the ZR40 then to the computer through firewire, of course, and noticed some frame skipping. It's possible that was due to the slow notebook hard drive, but I didn't notice the same problem when I used the pass thru feature of a sony with my pBook.
3. The difference in image quality between the ZRs and sony TRV18 seemed significant.

I ended up talking myself into a TR25 for $789 by mail order. The first one I got actually had a motor noise problem so I sent it back. The second one I got which happened to arrive 8 hours AFTER my daughter was born worked fine. I recommmended it to another couple who's having a baby and they got it online for $750. It's small, has a lot of manual features I like, and sony has a good rep.

My Hi8 lasted eight years. Hopefully, in eight more years I'll be able to buy a High Def, solid state recording, foveon or better CCD, that fits in my pocket. Eight years after that they better fit in my sunglasses!

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post #35 of 35
Yeah I'll need to make up my mind. I have alot of filming to do. I'll check out that TR Cam you mentioned.

I can't wait to compile a bunch of footage and eventually get something "artistic" on a DVD. I'm glad that DVD SP is linking to FCP well. Maybe when i'm ready to pony up the $$$ for FCP there will be a bundle of some sorts. I agree it's baby season. I've already had twin nieces born this summer along with YaN(yet another neice lol)
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