Best Quality Export for DVD-Burning and Archiving

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by anthrovisual, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. anthrovisual macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #1
    I have Final Cut Express 3.5 and just finished a video project for a client (my first video project actually).

    I now need two things, to export a video for archival purposes (that retains the highest quality image and sound regardless of size) and a video to burn on a DVD for viewing.

    With so many settings for export, I was wondering which settings were best for these two purposes.

    Furthermore, the client plans to play the DVD off of a standard PC computer with standard outputs (I don't think they are using high definition but want the best image possible).

    I've tried H.264 with highest quality settings and 96kzH sound but find that the DVD version isn't the best quality. I'm guessing that this output is compressed which is further compressed for the DVD codec. Is there an uncompressed format you recommend that would produce the best results?

    Also, I'm unsure what aspect ratio to go with, the video is mostly high resolution images (although some are low unfortunately), not widescreen video.
     
  2. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #2
    Easy answer: No setting at all. DVDs use MPEG-2, which H.264 is not. MPEG-2 uses much less compression than H.264, though it is also less efficient. If you're using Toast or iDVD or DVD Studio Pro to burn the DVD, don't compress it. Simply export as a quicktime movie and let the burning software compress it on its own. Compressing before taking it to authoring is for people who understand how compression works and which codecs are doing what.

    As for aspect ratio, the one you use is the one your timeline is set in. If your timeline is 4:3, use 4:3. If it's 16:9, use 16:9. iDVD and Toast will figure this out on their own if you just export as quicktime movie. Remember, no compression, just use current settings.
     
  3. anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #3
    I'll try that out, but

    When I preview the directly saved .mov from fce, there are some serious interlacing or something going on. When the view zooms in on a grassy field, for example, the lines of the individual blades of grass have this wavy look to them as the camera zooms.

    I'm burning it now to see how it looks from the DVD, but in terms of viewing from the file itself, I need a long term format that doesn't look so bad.
     
  4. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #4
    In terms of personal viewing, sure, pick whatever, but DV is supposed to look like that. It's interlaced and the pixel aspect ratio's a bit wonky; colors are a bit different too. It's meant to be viewed on a TV screen, which is different from your normal computer monitor.

    If you convert to something and then burn a DVD, you're converting twice, which results in a quality hit.

    H.264 will do fine for your personal viewing, but try to use adequate resolution, framerate and bitrate for the export.

    It should look fine from the DVD.

    I suggest you read up some more on encoding and how it works, and do a bunch of trial exports of a small sliver of footage until you've got a firm grasp on how the settings affect things.

    If you're archiving, the original format is often the best way to preserve it; print it out to a tape if it came on tape. Realize that every time you convert to a format more compressed than the one you came from, you're losing video quality. Space is cheap. Buy extra hard drives or burn it out to discs.
     

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