Is iDVD really this poor?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Chuck, Apr 22, 2003.

  1. Chuck macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    #1
    I was really excited about getting my new PB17 as I've got almost 80GB of home movies that I wanted to get onto some DVDs. Apart from the fact that opening iMovie 2 files in iMovie 3 does some very strange things to the sequences, I have found that the quality of the DVD produced is more like a compressed looking Quicktime movie.

    I know I MUST be doing something wrong, because I get perfect quality when I export back to DV tape and then record it onto a VHS video tape, and surely this shouldn't be of better quality than a DVD...

    I've tried doing the old iMovie 2 method: export the movie to Quicktime > "Full quality DV" and then place this into an iDVD project... I get poor results.

    I've tried doing the new iMovie 3 method: open the project, click on iDVD > "Create iDVD project"... I get poor results.

    I've even tried doing the "expert settings" in the export method from iMovie 2, not that I'm an expert, and I don't get a decent job there either.

    Anyone? Has anyone at all had this problem and overcome it? My results are a jagged, compressed looking picture quality which is most noticeable in titles as there's a lot of contrast between letters and the black background.

    I'd LOOOOOOVVVVE some help here.

    Thanks,
    Chuck.
     
  2. RBMaraman macrumors 65816

    RBMaraman

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    #2
    Does it look bad when you burn the DVD and play it through a TV, or does it just look bad when you view the project on the PowerBook?

    When you view a movie on your computer, everything looks really choppy and horrible. But, once you export back to tape or burn to DVD, the picture quality is perfect.

    Whenever I work on a project on my computer and show it to people, they say how horrible it looks. But, once I present the final project on tape or DVD, they can't believe how much the quality of the video had improved.
     
  3. Lz0 macrumors regular

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    Melbourne
  4. Chuck thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
    #4
    Yeah, when I view projects that are still yet to be exported, they certainly do look poor, and when I export to DV tape and then VHS, like you said, it looks perfect... But the same isn't true for DVDs. It basically stays at the same poor quality that it looked like when it was a project in iMovie.

    I got on the phone to the Applecare guy and he actually hadn't used iMovie or iDVD much and didn't even suggest transferring me to someone who had. He just said do more trial DVDs, but I have already wasted two DVDs and haven't had any progress.

    : (

    Any more ideas?

    Chuck.

    PS Would the NTSC/PAL thing really make much difference to the compression?
     
  5. dabirdwell macrumors 6502

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    Sep 26, 2002
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    Oklahoma
    #5
    Does it have to do with the length of the movie? Isn't iDVD limited to an hour? I tried a project at about an hour and a half with my former 12" PowerBook and had all kinds of quality and functionality problems.
     
  6. Chuck thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
    #6
    Hmmm... No, the movies I tried were pretty short.

    Chuck.
     
  7. Chuck thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
    #7
    So you guys really do get faultless quality on your DVDs? It's comforting that it does actually work, but I just wish I could work out how to get it to be nice to me!

    Chuck.
     
  8. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

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    Feb 7, 2002
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    serendipity
    #8
    maybe bring it in to an apple store?

    i have certainly not made dvds that are *bad* quality... i'm not sure the ntsc vs pal would make much difference... at least not enough that one's acceptable and one's not...

    keep pushing apple about it if possible.
     
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    #9
    1. How long are your movies? iDVD supports up to 90 minutes, but at a higher compressin rate than a 60 minute or less project. Long story short keep you movies to 60min or less (including any motion backgrounds on the DVD menu) for best compression.

    2. Hit Apple's iDVD forum for help. I've always been very pleased w/my results from iDVD.

    Also keep in mind that going from DV->DVD will always result in image degradation because DVDs are only about 1/4 the res of miniDV.


    Lethal
     
  10. vollspacken macrumors 65816

    vollspacken

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    #10
    Re: Is iDVD really this poor?

    hi,

    this is what I did when iMovie3 messed up my movie2 projects:

    - install iMovie2
    - install iDvd2

    edit your movies
    put your dvd together

    when you are done with your old footage (burned the DVDs...), update iMovie and iDVD and use the updated versions for new projects.

    o.k., I know most people don't like to use "outdated" software, but nothing else worked when I had that problem (I still stick with iMovie - because it's fast...) and you can still update AFTER you put the stuff on DVD

    my 2c (EUR;) )
    vSpacken
     
  11. DVDSP macrumors regular

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    Southwick, MA
    #11
    I don't think the resolution is any different. My DV Camera captures at 720 x 480 and the NTSC DVD spec for video is also 720 x 480. However, what you need to keep in mind is that miniDV is not a lossless quality format, compression is introduced in the camera. Then you add another level of compression when you encode to MPEG. This is where image degradation occurs.

    Certainly consumer DV formats are not the highest quality, although much better than VHS. In fact, it is highly recommended that you DO NOT use miniDV for DVD output.

    Don't get me wrong, though, I do it all the time and am completely satisfied with the results.
     
  12. guitpicker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Holland, MI
    #12
    I don't do iDVD, but...

    I have worked with Final Cut Pro 3 and DVD Studio Pro 1.5 on OS X, and strangly, I've had similar problems when I try to burn an exported Quicktime movie. Looks great on a Computer screen, but wretched on a TV screen. The solution: I exported to a Final Cut Pro movie file, and imported that into DVDSP. The result was perfect.

    My suggestion: Can iDVD import straight from an iMovie file? If so, you might be able to skip unnecessary conversions, thereby preserving the quality.

    (Bear in mind, I have NO experience with iDVD.)
     
  13. hacurio1 macrumors regular

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    Dec 13, 2002
    #13
    Re: Is iDVD really this poor?

    Chuck, I haven't used Idvd, but as far as i know you must always compres to Mpeg2 in order to put something in DVD.....I'll do some reserch and I'll get back
     
  14. DVDSP macrumors regular

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    Southwick, MA
    #14
    Re: Re: Is iDVD really this poor?

    Yes, you must always use MPEG-2 for DVD spec compliance. But, iDVD performs the compression for you in the background after you import your files.
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #15

    I wasn't very clear. I didn't mean "res" as in the size of the image, I meant "res" as in picture quality. DV is about 4x (usually more) the data rate of DVD. MiniDV, as a format, rivals BetaSP (the standard for Broadcast video) in image quality, but obviously a $500 consumer MiniDV camera isn't going to utilize the potential of the format. Speaking in generalities going from DV to DVD is perfectly fine.


    Lethal
     
  16. DVDSP macrumors regular

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    #16
    First off, Chuck, it is VERY unlikely that your problem is related to your computer itself. More likely is that you are making a mistake in your process somewhere. Double check all of your settings for capture and render and the like. If they don't all jive you can be running into trouble mixing formats, frame rates, data rates, etc.

    The technical reason that DV should be spurned for DVD work applies only to NTSC DV.

    The color sampling geometry for NTSC DV clashes with the color sampling geometry of MPEG 2 for DVD. PAL DV has the same color sampling as DVD video and is therefore a much better choice (particularly if you have a PAL Progressive DV camera). Don't forget though, that PAL is incompatible with NTSC (it's a European format).

    The reason for this is that both use one color sample for four luma samples. For NTSC DV that color sample represents four luma samples on the same line. For PAL DV and DVD it represents a 2x2 square of pixels on two adjacent lines.

    The problem arises when you try to convert one to the other. A simple (and common) implemetation will result in an effective rate of one color sample per 8 luma samples, because two adjacent 2x2 squares of MPEG video will end up with the same color value.

    This color sampling clash is what makes colored text look so ragged when converted from NTSC DV to DVD. The effect is less prominent with normal video but still apparent as a significant loss of quality.

    Actually, DV (not MiniDV) rivals Beta SP, but that is a dying format. These days the high end is DigiBeta and that is what most broadcast video is shot on. Also keep in mind that many low cost MiniDV cams use a single CCD, dropping quality even further.

    I agree. As I stated earlier I do it all the time. But, notice the artifacts that are introduced by DV, they will only become more pronounced when you compress to MPEG-2. If you start with a cleaner source you will have a cleaner result.

    DV = about 38 Mbps

    DVD = anywhere from 3 Mbps to 9 Mbps depending on the encoder.

    A high quality encoder (which the QT encoder isn't) can produce remarkable results at a low bit rate. I have seen DVDs encoded at 4 Mbps that blow away QT encoded vide at 8 Mbps.

    If you are serious about quality, spend a little extra cash on a good encoder. It's worth it.
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    The "Mini" in MiniDV refers to the physical size of the tape. A DV tape (full sized) and a MiniDV tape are capible of the same picture quality but the Mini maxes out at 60min where the DV can hold 2 or 3hrs in SP mode. Of course there is Panasonic's DVCPro50 but that's a propriatary format w/2x the data rate of DV and DVCAM, IIRC. Adam Wilt wrote an article in '95 (minor updates in '98) comparing DV and BetaSP. He pretty much found both formats were about equal if pro quality cameras and lenses were used to capture the images. Link

    DigiBeta is currently the high end of SD video but it has not replaced SP except as a mastering format. In the past 8 months I've run into a lot of shooters (freelance and staff, domestic, international, and local) and no one was using Digi. Hard cameras usually fed both SP and Digi decks but that was the only Digi sightings I ever had on the production side of things.


    Lethal
     
  18. Chuck thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
    #18
    Re: Re: Is iDVD really this poor?

    Hey vollspacken, How did you install iMovie 2? I tried copying it from my old iMac to this powerbook and then opening it and it tells me that Classic doesn't support this application...

    Chuck.
     
  19. Chuck thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
    #19
    Hmmm... Well guys I've tried everything and it looks as though iDVD is actually this poor. I've had a chat with a mate who does home movies etc and he said that he found the same thing exactly. Exporting to miniDV and then recording onto VHS is markedly better quality than doing a DVD.

    What can I say. What a disappointment. I was really hoping for at least good encoding from Apple, even though it's not Final Cut Pro. And I was pretty surprised that this quality is okay by the majority.

    :(

    Looks like I'll be doing VHS tapes.

    Chuck.
     
  20. amnesiac1984 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 9, 2002
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    Europe
    #20
    I wouldn't give up so easily. When you have some new footage, try creating a new prject in iMovie 3 and see if that solves your quality issues. Also the reason it wants to start iMovie 2 in classic form your old mac is probably that its from an OS 9 version of iMovie. You can probably download iMovie 2 from apple somewhere. I think you should really try this as it looked like it did work for the other poster. I guess iMovie 2 projects are not enitrely compatible with iMovie 3.

    I've watched some of my friends iDVD projects and really can't see the lack of quality you describe.
     
  21. mmmdreg macrumors 65816

    mmmdreg

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    Apr 14, 2002
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #21
    hmm. I imported some VHS stuff and made a movie. The first dvd died halfway cos sleep turned on (? I read that in some other thread) and the second time it was fine but..
    ..the quality is nothing to rejoice about really. It's worse than it looked in iMovie even. The only issue that I can think of was the fact that the VHS was PAL and I imported as that but the iDVD project decided to be NTSC as that was the default. Does the conversion affect it?
     
  22. Schiffi macrumors 6502a

    Schiffi

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    Location:
    Missouri
    #22
    Actually the quality issue is with Apple's DVD player. Play any DVD that has TV episodes on it, it usually plays bad. Film movies play alright, because they were shot using extremely expensive cameras and edited on expensive editing machines. Oh well, iDVD movies always look better than VHS on TV.
     
  23. vollspacken macrumors 65816

    vollspacken

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    #23
    Re: Re: Re: Is iDVD really this poor?

    I installed Jaguar on an external firewire HD, deleted iMovie3 from my system (do a search to get rid of prefs and stuff), and simply copied all iMovie2 files to the places where the iM3 files had been...

    runs fine

    oh, I'm still using iMovie2 and I won't update until I'll do the clean install of Panther...

    vSpacken
     
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #24
    I think the problem is the fact that it's VHS source footage. At the very best final DVD will look no worse than the orginal VHS tape. But considering the VHS tape is going thr2 digital compressions (VHS-->DV-->DVD) it would surprise me if artifacts and such started poping up. Also, the quality of the DVD will always look worse than what's in iMovie because DV has about 4x the datea rate of a DVD. Also, how long was the DVD you made?


    Lethal
     
  25. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

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    Middle Earth
    #25
    Chuck

    I'd love to hear the results on you taking your footage and getting ahold of Compressor from Final Cut Pro to encode to MPEG2.

    I hear Compressor is MUCH better(of course it's in a $1000 app) than Apples Encoder in iDVD. This definitely sounds like part of the problem. Do you have any friends that have FCP4 or are getting it. I think we'd all like to know your results.
     

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