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MacBytes
Jun 21, 2004, 03:31 PM
Category: Reviews
Link: iVCD Video Compact Disk Authoring Utility (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040621163141)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

radhak
Jun 21, 2004, 03:39 PM
Category: Reviews
Link: iVCD Video Compact Disk Authoring Utility (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040621163141)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug
neat. this was long overdue. the freeware stuff just don't cut it.

shamino
Jun 21, 2004, 04:17 PM
Toast also makes VCDs.

I wonder how the two programs compare to each other.

Nermal
Jun 21, 2004, 06:18 PM
No chapter support :(

And, less importantly, no subtitle support and no multiple audio support.

road dog
Jun 21, 2004, 06:27 PM
toast does vcd and svcd.
it includes the mpeg1 and mpeg2 converter.
ivcd only includes the mpeg1 converter, mpeg2 costs extra.

toast can do videos and photo slideshows on vcd and svcd.
ivcd only does video - no slideshows.

toast also does dvd, and provides a complete cd and dvd burning package for creating and copying discs.

Blaaze
Jun 21, 2004, 08:31 PM
mm I had no idea toast could do all that. I just thought it was a cd-burning utility. I wondered why people used it when you could just burn cd's within OSX.

shamino
Jun 21, 2004, 10:32 PM
mm I had no idea toast could do all that. I just thought it was a cd-burning utility. I wondered why people used it when you could just burn cd's within OSX.
Roxio's web site is very good at answering this kind of question :)

http://www.roxio.com/en/products/toast/why_upgrade.jhtml
http://www.roxio.com/en/products/toast/faq.jhtml

I bought my copy (of Toast version 5) when I bought my Mac because at the time (OS X 10.1), the Finder couldn't make multi-session discs, which is something I do a lot of. Today, I still prefer to use it when making data discs, since it doesn't make a 650M temp file the way the Finder does.

If/when I decide to buy a sound card and start digitizing my vinyl and cassette albums, I will probably upgrade to Toast with Jam version 6, since it includes many utilities for recording and cleaning up audio. And Jam will let me do some things with audio discs that Toast 5 and iTunes can't. (Like allow tracks to run into each other, normalize levels, etc.)

sjk
Jun 22, 2004, 05:28 PM
toast does vcd and svcd.
it includes the mpeg1 and mpeg2 converter.
ivcd only includes the mpeg1 converter, mpeg2 costs extra.Re: Toast 6 MPEG-1/2 conversion...

I'm looking for definitive information about this before investing in a Toast 6 upgrade:

* A VCD format CD holds about 65 minutes of EyeTV standard quality MPEG-1 data. I know that's accurate from using VCD Builder to burn a few VCD disks.
* A Roxio FAQ item claims a DVD-Video format DVD holds ~200 minutes of that same EyeTV data, converted to MPEG-2 with Toast 6.
* Elgato Systems claims the Toast 6.0.5 upgrade increases that 200 minutes to around 360 minutes (about the same as a DVD data disk).
* When confronted with that information from Elgato, Roxio claims the 200 minutes number is with double-layer media. Huh?! I'm pretty sure the FAQ item was written before DL recorders were on the consumer market.

What I'm trying determine is the actual DVD-Video capacity of Toast 6 MPEG-1 to MPEG-2 conversion of EyeTV recordings (Video: 352x240 pixels, 29.97 fps, 1.15 Mbps; Audio: Layer 2, 224 kbps, 44100 Hz).

The MPEG-2 files aren't "magically" gaining higher quality with the conversion, yet Roxio seems to be saying they're using the DVD media (with DVD-Video format) much less efficiently than a VCD uses CD media.

I don't want to burn DVD media with low-quality DVD-Video recordings from EyeTV when it's about six times the physical capacity of CD media unless I get closer to six times more storage than VCD. Otherwise I'd rather efficiently archive the original MPEG-1 files as DVD data with Toast 5, which I've successfully tested on my new eMac, even with the inability to play them on regular DVD players.

I'm also wondering if there's a non-Toast conversion strategy that would allow saving more DVD-Video data per disk.

Any info is appreciated. I got conflicting answers from Roxio support *four* times over the past week, during which time I've learned more about this (as a newcomer to DVD recording) than anyone there gave the impression of knowing. Pretty sad.

shamino
Jun 23, 2004, 10:31 AM
I'm looking for definitive information about this before investing in a Toast 6 upgrade:

* A VCD format CD holds about 65 minutes of EyeTV standard quality MPEG-1 data. I know that's accurate from using VCD Builder to burn a few VCD disks.
* A Roxio FAQ item claims a DVD-Video format DVD holds ~200 minutes of that same EyeTV data, converted to MPEG-2 with Toast 6.
* Elgato Systems claims the Toast 6.0.5 upgrade increases that 200 minutes to around 360 minutes (about the same as a DVD data disk).
Which FAQ? I didn't see any mention of 200 minutes here (http://www.roxio.com/en/products/toastwithjam/faq.jhtml)

* When confronted with that information from Elgato, Roxio claims the 200 minutes number is with double-layer media. Huh?! I'm pretty sure the FAQ item was written before DL recorders were on the consumer market.
Never believe anything from sales people. Most of the time, they're clueless, and the rest of the time they're lying to you. I have no clue what Roxio and Elgato are claiming, and I personally wouldn't trust either of them

DVD (like VCD) is based on MPEG. MPEG is a lossy compression format (like JPEG, MP3, etc.) You can compress to a wide variety of ratios, losing image/sound quality as the compression ratio goes up.

Like other lossy formats, different encoders will produce different quality levels for the same compression ratio (or different compression ratios at the same quality.) Professional encoders usually produce much better quality for comparabe ratios, but they consume a lot more CPU power - requiring a much faster computer to finish the job in a reasonable time frame. (Which is also why you're not likely to be able to put a 2-3 hour HD-quality movie on a DL disc the way Hollywood studios do.)

It is definitely possible for one vendor's DVD encoder to only fit 60 or 90 minutes on a single-layer DVD-R, another's to fit 120 minutes, another's to fit 200 minutes and another's to fit 350 minutes. They will not all give you the same quality picture. Depending on the content, your playback device and your personal preferences, you may not notice or care - or you may find some to be completely unacceptable.

Heck, if you use the EyeTV VCD encoding (about 1M/min), you're looking at around 4300 minutes on a standard DVD. But the quality is going to be that of a VCD, not what people expect from a DVD.
What I'm trying determine is the actual DVD-Video capacity of Toast 6 MPEG-1 to MPEG-2 conversion of EyeTV recordings (Video: 352x240 pixels, 29.97 fps, 1.15 Mbps; Audio: Layer 2, 224 kbps, 44100 Hz).

The MPEG-2 files aren't "magically" gaining higher quality with the conversion, yet Roxio seems to be saying they're using the DVD media (with DVD-Video format) much less efficiently than a VCD uses CD media.
I would be certain that Roxio and other vendors are basing their estimates on MPEG-2 converted from original source material, not converted from VCD-encoded MPEG-1 data.

Of course, you can't gain quality, but the encoder doesn't know that.

The same sort of thing happens if you take a 128K MP3 file and transcode it to a 320K bitrate. The quality doesn't improve, but the file gets bigger.

The same goes for MPEG-2. There will be some loss in the transcoding, but the result will be using whatever bitrate the CODEC is configured for. If you can't explicitly configure a bitrate, you may very well end up with a bloated file - just like my MP3 example.

Unfortunately, having no personal experience with Toast 6, I don't know what kinds of controls you get over the encoding process. You may be able to select a bitrate/quality that is low enough to do what you want. You wouldn't want to use this quality for recording original source material, but it would be fine for converting VCD data.
I'm also wondering if there's a non-Toast conversion strategy that would allow saving more DVD-Video data per disk.
I'm sure there is. It wouldn't be a very useful program if you couldn't add MPEG-2 files encoded by external programs. If Toast's encoder won't give you the features you require, you may be able to find a third-party encoder that does.
Any info is appreciated. I got conflicting answers from Roxio support *four* times over the past week, during which time I've learned more about this (as a newcomer to DVD recording) than anyone there gave the impression of knowing. Pretty sad.
Yes sad. But not unexpected.

Roxio's area of expertise is disc burning. They are not in the DVD production business and their sales people are obviously not sufficiently trained to be answering these kinds of questions.

I'm sure their developers will know the answers to your questions, but you'll never be allowed to speak with one of them.

Your best bet is asking here, and possibly on some newsgroups (comp.sys.mac.apps might not be a bad place to ask.) An experienced user will probably be able to help you much more than Roxio's sales force.

You may also want to try Roxio's Toast 6 discussion forum (http://boards.support.roxio.com/roxio/board?board.id=0000020). Roxio may not be able to answer your question, but that forum will put you in contact with a lot of Toast users that may know the answer.

sjk
Jun 23, 2004, 04:06 PM
Which FAQ? I didn't see any mention of 200 minutes here (http://www.roxio.com/en/products/toastwithjam/faq.jhtml)
It's mentioned here (http://www.roxio.com/en/products/eyetv/faq.jhtml#faq48) and here (http://www.elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetvusb_tips#tip9).

Never believe anything from sales people. Most of the time, they're clueless, and the rest of the time they're lying to you. I have no clue what Roxio and Elgato are claiming, and I personally wouldn't trust either of themI've been around long enough to know how to interpret and discriminate the accuracy and integrity of information within my limits, regardless of its sources.

Feedback from both Roxio sales and support was vague, conflicting, and "disinterested". Elgato's six-hour speculation had an self-admitted disclaimer of doubt.

Heck, if you use the EyeTV VCD encoding (about 1M/min), you're looking at around 4300 minutes on a standard DVD.That's the goal.
But the quality is going to be that of a VCD, not what people expect from a DVD.Certainly.

I would be certain that Roxio and other vendors are basing their estimates on MPEG-2 converted from original source material, not converted from VCD-encoded MPEG-1 data.The Roxio/EyeTV FAQ items explicitly says "a little over 200 minutes of Standard Quality video on a DVD" ...

The same sort of thing happens if you take a 128K MP3 file and transcode it to a 320K bitrate. The quality doesn't improve, but the file gets bigger.

The same goes for MPEG-2. There will be some loss in the transcoding, but the result will be using whatever bitrate the CODEC is configured for. If you can't explicitly configure a bitrate, you may very well end up with a bloated file - just like my MP3 example.
... and so far that's the best explanation for what's happening with Toast 6 MPEG-1 -> MPEG-2 transcodings based on that 200-minute number. It would simply be a limitation of their software, not with the potential to reach the more optimistic six-hour goal using different software.
Unfortunately, having no personal experience with Toast 6, I don't know what kinds of controls you get over the encoding process. You may be able to select a bitrate/quality that is low enough to do what you want. You wouldn't want to use this quality for recording original source material, but it would be fine for converting VCD data.From what I've deduced so far it seems to be fixed, which would explain an enforcing of that 200-minute transcoding limit.
I'm sure there is. It wouldn't be a very useful program if you couldn't add MPEG-2 files encoded by external programs. If Toast's encoder won't give you the features you require, you may be able to find a third-party encoder that does.Yeah, you can burn VIDEO_TS folders with Toast. I'm still unfamiliar with correct tools/procedures to use for creating that content from the EyeTV MPEG-1 files. And it's not worth putting too much cost, time, and effort into that. At some point I'll just be satisfied with simple DVD data archives.
You may also want to try Roxio's Toast 6 discussion forum (http://boards.support.roxio.com/roxio/board?board.id=0000020). Roxio may not be able to answer your question, but that forum will put you in contact with a lot of Toast users that may know the answer.I'd intended to post there yesterday but got distracted. Thanks for the reminder.

This definitely qualifies as a situation where lack of a full-featured demo increases the temptation to temporarily pirate software to get the correct answer to a simple pre-sales question. ;)

Or maybe the Apple store here will let me test it ...

shamino
Jun 24, 2004, 11:54 AM
It's mentioned here (http://www.roxio.com/en/products/eyetv/faq.jhtml#faq48) and here (http://www.elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetvusb_tips#tip9).
Thanks. I was only browsing Roxio's support area for Toast. I didn't think to look at the EyeTV pages.
This definitely qualifies as a situation where lack of a full-featured demo increases the temptation to temporarily pirate software to get the correct answer to a simple pre-sales question. ;)

Or maybe the Apple store here will let me test it ...
Maybe they will. If you bring a few homemade VCDs and some blank DVDs, and show up when the store's not busy, you may be able to run some tests and confirm this once and for all.