From FCP to DVDSP? Which format to select?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by superspiffy, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. superspiffy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2007
    What's the best way to go about outputting a Final Cut Pro project to DVD Studio Pro 4? Which is the best format and conversion option? There's a lot and I want the one that maintains the quality as much as possible.
  2. skimaxpower Guest

    Jan 13, 2006
    Export your timeline to Compressor directly from Final Cut. Compressor gives you the most flexibility with bit-rates. Go for the highest bitrate that you can fit on a disc.

    I like Compressor because of its flexibility. ie: if your movie is 2 hours and 5 minutes, many MPEG2 converters will say it's too big for a DVD. With compressor you can override and say "no, 98% quality will be ok for this project."

    Or, conversely, you can encode your 10 minute film at an extra-high bitrate.

    Add chapter markers in Final Cut first. Compressor and DVDSP are smart enough to integrate it all.

    Finally, BE SURE TO USE APAC to encode your audio. This is the BEST way to shrink down your file size. You can cut your audio bitrate a ton and still maintain excellent quality sound. This is very good for long movies pushing up against that 2 hour mark.
  3. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    The DVD-Video Standard uses specially multiplex MPEG-2 video. As skimaxpower stated, export "Using Compressor." Choose an appropriate preset and modify it if needed. Compressor 2 and the current version of DVD-SP did away with A.Pack (which converted audio to Dolby Digital AC3). Compressor 2 does that task now.

    The key to maintaining quality during compression to MPEG-2 is to use the highest bit rate available but not so high that it causes playback compatibility issues - some players will choke on bit rates too much higher that 7.4 The other key factor is using quality media. Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim are among the best. Memorex is typically one of the lowest quality.

  4. Will_reed macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2005
    Yeah compressor is the way to go the quality is always spick and span even with 1 pass VBR.

    Basically you just figure out how much space you have vs. how long the video is and adjust the bit rates accordingly.
    I suggest going with Variable bit rates all the time as even on a 1 pass encode Compressor does a decent job and Dolby Digital for the audio.

    remember you can only have 10.5 or so mb/s for video AND audio so don't waste the bandwidth on uncompressed audio.
  5. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2007
    I converted the FCP project to "MPEG-2" in Compressor like a lot of you recommended. The video played well, but there was no sound. Did it not convert audio? How can I include the audio? As much as possible I'm avoiding downloading another program for the audio. This is a quickie project. What setting do I have to use in Compressor so I can convert my FCP project (with video and audio) to a DVDSP 4 friendly format? Sorry for being such a noob at this, but I've never used FCS before so please bare with me.
  6. AviationFan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Oh, this should be simple to fix. Audio is exported separately by compressor, and imported as a separate file into DVD Studio Pro. So in addition to the MPEG-2 file that you already successfully created, you also need to export (from compressor) an audio file. Unless you have very specific needs (such as surround sound, or uncompressed audio for the highest possible audio quality), the common consensus is to use the Dolby Digitial (AC3) 2.0 format. You'll find a preset for it in compressor. It will generate a file with the extension .ac3 that you can import into DVD Studio Pro and assign to the same track that already contains your video.

    Why two separate steps? Well, it may seem less efficient at first, but the number of options and choices that you have for compressor's output would explode if you combined audio and video. Also, it is quite common to have multiple different audio tracks to choose from (different languages, DTS vs. Dolby Digitial, etc.), and this is easily handled in DVD Studio Pro by treating audio and video somewhat separately.

    - Martin

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