Better Quality - DVD or Handbroken DVD

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Freis968, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. Freis968 macrumors 6502a

    Freis968

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    #1
    My friend is telling me that a DVD that is handbroken will look better than the actual DVD will after it has been converted in MPEG-4 format.

    Is this true? And if so, how is it actual true.
     
  2. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #2
    How 'good' it looks will depend on the viewing device, but you really can't improve the actual quality. Keep in mind that to get it to DVD (muxed MPEG-2), the video had to be compressed, then to convert to MPEG-4, it has to be compressed again.

    -DH
     
  3. Freis968 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Freis968

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    #3
    That is what I thought, but my friend said this to me.

    When you use Handbrake to convert a DVD to MPEG-4, the program opens up the original file and then reconverts the original analog file to MPEG-4 and more or less upconverts the video and makes it look better than the original MPEG-2.
     
  4. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #4
    Your friend has no idea what they're talking about... there is no "analog" file on the DVD, only the MPEG2.
     
  5. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #5

    You're friend is apparently on hallucinogenic drugs. It is time for an intervention. After that he will need an enema to clear the BS out of his system. ;-)

    -DH
     
  6. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #6
    DVD stands for (or at least used too) Digital Versatile Disc. That should give you some indication as to the truth of the claims made that DVDs contain analogue information.
     
  7. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #7
    Well, there are certain instances where a Handbroken (I kinda like that term) MPEG-4 file could look better than the original DVD.

    Let's assume that the user is using an older version of Apple's DVD Player application that doesn't handle de-interlacing very well. In theory, a Handbroken file from that DVD could be properly de-interlaced and when viewed with Quicktime Player, would not have those nasty interlacing artifacts.

    Anyways, I know thats a stretch ...

    ft
     
  8. Theophany macrumors 6502a

    Theophany

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    #8
    It's like ripping a CD in essence. Even if you rip a CD in a 'lossless' format, you're still going to be losing some quality. The reason for this is that the CD's tracks have been compressed/encoded previously, doing it again will reduce quality. If you took a 128kbps MP3 and encoded it into a new 128kbps MP3 100 times, I'd bet my bottom dollar that the 100th file would sound crap.

    It's the same with the DVD. Whilst not noticeable at first, the best possible encode from handbrake will give you a file which is, at best, of the same quality as the DVD. There is no way to get a rip that is better quality than the original because you cannot 'create' extra bits from video and sound that is not there.

    So, in short, your friend has no idea what they're talking about. :)
     
  9. Freis968 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Freis968

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    #9
    Ok, I misunderstood what my friend was saying about the "analog" part of the DVD, but read this and see if this makes more sense...from my friend.

    Of course there isn't an ANALOG version on the DVD. I think the way you put the statement was misleading. Handbrake doesn't take the "original analog" source and convert it but rather decodes the MPG2 file into analog and then resamples it using MPG4 codec compression. Since the resampling is a better algorithm as well has a higher bit rate (and resolution) then the result can usually look a bit better than the original. Again it is kind of like the "upconvert" that dvd players do. It won't be anything earthshattering but in alot of instances the image will appear to be sharper.
     
  10. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #10
    Is that quote from your friend?

    Anyways, there's some merit to that quote, but it's not entirely true. Handbrake does not typically encode at a higher bit rate than the original MPEG-2 files on the DVD. I think many/most commercial DVDs have a bit rate around 6 to 7 Mbps (the max is 9 Mbps per the DVD spec). Even the highest settings on Handbrake top out around 2.5 Mbps (of course you could set the bit rate higher, but you reach a point where there's no benefit). I do contend that MPEG-4 is a more efficient codec than MPEG-2. If both are encoded from the same source material, MPEG-4 will blow away MPEG-2, but in this circumstance, the DVD has a much better source.

    Also, Handbrake does not increase the resolution of the video ... unless of course you consider going from 720x480 anamorphic to 853x480 as increasing resolution. Personally, I don't ... but opinions vary.

    In any event, I do believe that a Handbrake file can look better than an original DVD in some cases (see my post above). But if you equalize everything, there's no real way that a Handbroken file can look better than the original DVD.
     
  11. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Your friend's playing a game of Chinese Whispers. He's heard snippets of information and now he's trying to pass on the full story and getting it mostly wrong. But that's unimportant anyway — put simply, from a picture quality perspective, ripping a DVD in Handbrake will not increase your viewing pleasure.

    When a film is shot, whatever is on the film negative is all there is. Sure, they can treat it for grain or sparkle or whatever, but this doesn't really improve the picture, it just attempts to take away something that might have been distracting.

    When you rip a DVD, all Handbrake has to work with is the MPEG-2 on the DVD. Baring in mind the "upscaling" point is entirely theoretical as the dimensions of the DVD image and the Handbrake mp4 are so similar, how can it make the picture better?

    If DVD Player doesn't de-interlace well, use VLC.
     
  12. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Your friend is still on drugs or just plain stupid. There is absoluteluy no conversion to analog going from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 with Handbrake or any other software. Computers deal only in digital - ones and zeros.

    Handbrake was designed so people could convert their DVD footage so it would be compatible with playback devices that require MPEG-4.

    -DH
     
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #13
    There is some truth to this... when you look at some of the advanced de-interlacing options in VLC, for instance, some of the blending / blurring ones are significantly better than just progressive-scanning.

    You see the same effect on things like emulators of older gaming systems, like the Gameboy Color. You can do some tricks to reprocess the video on modern hardware to make it look much better than it did on the Gameboy.

    But I don't know that Handbrake uses a particularly sophisticated de-interlacing scheme?
     
  14. TenPoundMonkey macrumors member

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    #14
    This is true.

    You're taking a compressed source and recompressing it differently... You might be able to add some sharpening or deinterlace/etc, but you are still dealing with a more compressed version.
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #15
    But that's an improvement on the hardware/software used to display the content. It's not an improvement on the content itself. A DVD played back using a 15yr old TV and a 10yr old DVD player will look worse than if you played it back using a brand new TV and a brand new DVD player.

    De-interlacing is just throwing information away. Some hardware/software does a better job of retaining image detail than others but it's always a 'destructive' process. All other things being equal will a progressive MPEG4 movie derived from an interlaced MPEG2 movie play back in a more aesthetically pleasing way on a progressive display? Probably, yes. But it won't have the same amount of image detail that the original, interlaced MPEG2 does.


    Lethal
     
  16. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

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    #16
    There's some truth in it.

    By going through Handbrake's picture processing (de-interlacing, de-telecine and arguably the de-blocker) you are no longer relying on the processing built into say, your video playback app (VLC or QuickTime for example) which in most cases will yield better results. Often though, in the case of a (very) small number of televisions available on the market, simply playing back the original DVD through a good, but basic DVD player connected even via RGB/scart will produce a better picture.

    The use of the word 'analog' is completely incorrect, as this implies the signal is either being converted onto film or turned into an analog waveform, in truth it's converted into 1s and 0s.

    What your friend is trying to say is that the video/movie is decoded off the DVD with no loss from what's stored on the DVD itself, passed through Handbrake's picture processing, and then re-encoded by the codecs which Handbrake uses (x264 etc).


    And just one last thing RE lossless which was mentioned a few posts back in this thread, when you rip a CD in iTunes in Apple Lossless, AIFF or WAV (both of which are PCM formats), there is absolutely no loss of data or sound.
     
  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #17
    This is not quite the way I understand it... I understood that, in its most basic form, de-interlacing meant something along the following lines:

    If you start with 480i, each frame of the video stream has 240 rows, and on a display that is capable of interlacing, those rows are shown interleaved from one frame to the next. When you de-interlace in its most basic form, you take each pair of frames with 240 rows and interleave them permanently, replacing both frames with the 480 line result. The only sense in which there is loss of information is that extremely fast motions (something that moves during the pair of interleaved frames, so that its position is different in the two frames) gets lost because the two frames are now shown simultaneously instead of in sequence.

    But, there's no loss of video content itself, outside of that, as I understand it.
     
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #18
    There is always loss of spacial and/or temporal resolution and typically artifacts not present in the original video are created as well. At its worst de-interlacing tosses away 50% of the resolution of the image and at its best the software tries to fill in the gaps by guesstimating what the missing visual information should look like.

    Wiki has a decent overview of the different types of deinterlacing: Deinterlacing Methods.


    Lethal
     
  19. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #19

    Not quite right. In NTSC, each frame of video is made from two fields; odd and even. The odd and even fields make up the 525 TV scan lines of a full frame of NTSC video. When you deinterlace video, you throw away one field.

    -DH
     
  20. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

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    #20
    NTSC TV signals display at ~60 /fields/ per second, or ~30 /frames/ per second. You actually have both odd and even for a single frame of video. You don't throw away any fields (unless you are doing a detelecine, but that is something entirely different, and the data thrown away is redundant anyway), instead, you do as the other poster stated: you merge both fields together into a single progressive frame. No loss of data. You will get combing or other artifacts if the frames don't match up though. That is usually due to it being 'telecined' into 29.97fps for DVD from a 23.94fps source film. You get weird frames that have mis-matched even and odd fields intentionally so that it will display at 29.97fps, but the timing is still correct for 23.94fps content. Detelecine routines remove/fix these mis-matched frames, and bring the content back to its original 23.94fps format. As long as the DVD author hasn't done anything really weird (like frame blending), you shouldn't be throwing away any data you need.

    The reason for interlaced content on a DVD simply is that it closely matched the output format: an interlaced signal over composite or similar cable. No real reason beyond that.

    As for the quality loss converting from a DVD to MPEG-4, the only loss you should see is loss from converting from a lossy source to a lossy destination format. MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 are both lossy, and throw away information. Since they both throw away /different/ information during compression, you wind up losing even more converting from one to the other. Good encoder settings can minimize this though.

    Ripping a CD in a lossless format is just that, lossless (dunno why a poster thought otherwise). The audio data on the CD is sampled straight from the analog master without any compression, and a lossless copy in FLAC or Apple Lossless is identical to the CD (hence why the codec is lossless). A CD isn't the /best/ digital representation (due to limitations on the sample rate and size), but it isn't lossy in the sense of MP3, AAC, or other compression codecs.
     
  21. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #21
    You are kind of confusing pulldown and interlacing. If you "weave" two interlaced fields together (show them both at the same time) to get one progressive frame you *will* get nasty artifacts unless there is very little to no motion in the frame because you are combining two images that were recorded 1/60th of a second apart. You don't lose any spacial resolution but you do lose temporal resolution (60i down to 30p) and the image most likely looks like crap too boot.

    For videos that use pulldown to store 24p in a 60i video stream yes, you get some "junk" frames in there, and you can reverse telecine to extract the 24p images, but pulldown is not the reason that deinterlacing is problematic (artifacting, loss of image resolution, etc.,). The fact that an interlaced image is made up of two separate images recorded at different points in time is the reason deinterlacing is problematic.


    Lethal
     
  22. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

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    #22
    You are confusing the stored format and the recording format as well. I'd wager that the vast majority of DVD content out there is 24p telecined. Yes, there are others that break the rules (animation in general is a pain, but can mostly be addressed with a good VFR encoder that can detect the frame pairs)... but the general rule is pretty straightforward. Who in the world actually shoots at 60i these days? My understanding is that both movie studios and TV studios have been using 24fps progressive cameras for decades.

    And even as I say this, I will also say I /have/ run into 60i content... once. It was the end credits of an animated TV series where the translation team decided to run the end credits roll at 60i, despite everything else being run at 30 fps or lower. When you run into that, there is nothing you can do to restore the original image without doing some sort of blending, and it looks awful on newer TVs when you play back the DVD. But everything else I have ripped, old and new, has been progressive video that has been telecined or run at a VFR.

    Heck, these days I just leave Handbrake's VFR option on and run sample encodes. Maybe 1% will not find the correct frame pairs, and those are situations where the DVD author is at fault (progressive source, bad choice of field layout in the encode). None of them have been live-action DVDs where a camera was used.

    I'm not arguing that pure interlaced content isn't horrible to deinterlace... but I'm also saying that such content seems to be very rare and near nonexistant in the DVD realm. And it makes sense. Studios go back to their source footage. If it is film, it is progressive. If it is digital, it is progressive. They remaster the source before encoding it to the DVD.

    In the DVD realm, interlacing is an artifact of an old standard, not a true representation of interlaced content. Put simply, they cheated to make DVD players that have to output at 60Hz cheaper to make.
     
  23. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #23
    The vast majority of video production is done at 60i (or 50i for our PAL brothers) and has been since the birth of TV. Video cameras that shoot 24p have only been available for about 8-9 years or so and 24fps is only a good to use for certain types of projects.

    You are correct that most DVDs are progressive because they come from content that was originally shot on film (hollywood movies, bigger budget TV shows, etc.,) but my comments weren't limited to just talking about DVDs but about deinterlacing in general. Sorry I wasn't clear about that.



    Lethal
     
  24. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #24
    It's already been mentioned in this thread but I want to mention it again so that it is stressed:
    Lossless format does not lose any quality; that's the very reason it is called lossless! Encoding and compression are not always the same thing.
     
  25. lostless macrumors 6502

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    #25
    You are very wrong, but i'm here to teach and not criticize. :D Alot of TV on 480i/1080i sources are 60i sources. Mythbusters on discovery is 1080i. There are 60fps being played interlaced into 30FPS. Each frame contains 2 moments in time per frame 1/60th of a second. News is motly broadcasted in 60i. Watch CNN, fox news or even the local news. All are broadcasted in 60i. Reality shows are mostly in 60i. You can mostly tell by the very smooth motion with little motion blur. As far as scripted TV shows go, depends on the show. Ive noticed most sit coms are filmed in 30P, while drama are filmed like movies in 24P. 60FPS has not gone away.
    Home video cameras also shoot at 60i, which stretches back to the very first VHS camcorder.
    Side note, 720P channels don't interlace, but may have to deinterlace since 720 is 60P with no interlacing.
     

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