HELP! Poor quality with .MP4 on DVD, encoding help

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by wheelo28, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. wheelo28 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #1
    I'm a beginner in all this encoding video and formats, etc. stuff and feel like the reading I've done on the net has only scratched the surface. Anyway, here's my problem:

    I have a bunch of video that was captured on Mini DVD-R's and am trying to get them into iMovie for a simple edit and then output onto DVD. The camera that was used was a very entry level one, Canon DC220 I believe it was. So, the video isn't amazing to begin with, but it's alright. I've had a lot of problems finalizing all the discs, but that's something entirely different. The ones that did finalize correctly, I have tried encoding them using Handbrake putting them into .MP4 format. Editing was brief and everything went smoothly. But when watching the DVD on the player, the quality was very poor. As you couldn't really pick up the quality issues while watching the video in Quicktime. What specifically can I do to get the closest quality to the original video in the .VOB file? Or am I kinda limited if I want to take the video through iMovie to iDVD?

    I saw the following statement in another thread relating to a similar question:
    Also, converting to MP4 was a bad idea, since the videos on your original DVD would have been MPEG2, and the burning process will convert them back to MPEG2. All that re-encoding is going to lose you quality.

    For this sort if thing, I use Toast 8 Titanium. Assuming your VHS to DVD converter isn't giving you encrypted DVDs, you can use Toast to rip the MPEG2 off the DVD and then re-burn it at a bit-rate of your choosing. You don't need to go near iMovie or iDVD, and your videos stay in MPEG2 throughout, which is best for quality.
    Thanks a lot, any help would be great.

    Would doing this going through Toast Titanium be leaps and bounds better than encoding to .MP4 and using iDVD? Is this the easiest solution to my problem about the formats/quality?
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Your mini DVD camcorder stores video on mini DVDs in MPEG-2, a lossy format. Handbrake transcodes MPEG-2 into MPEG-4, another lossy format albeit one that iMovie can edit. Using iDVD, you transcode again to [lossy] MPEG-2 in the final production. You have three generations of loss on in the production of your DVD.

    This is the natural consequence of using a miniDVD camcorder. There may be ways to mitigate some of your quality loss, but you can't eliminate it completely.
     
  3. wheelo28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #3
    So, by using Toast Titanium would I be able to keep the original quality of the video (or atleast pretty close) since I would be able to strictly deal with MPEG2 format and would avoid all the back and forth transcoding which results in the quality loss?

    Would I be able to compile all the video files from the Mini DVDs into a a few standard DVDs near the same quality using Toast?

    One thing I have learned from this whole experience, especially with the disc finalizing issues, is Mini DVD camcorders are possibly the worst ever. So difficult.
     
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    No. There is no way to eliminate generational losses due to transcoding, no matter which editor you use. MPEG-2 is not an editable format. In order to edit an MPEG-2 video, it must be transcoded into an editable format--whether the editable file is stored on your hard drive as a separate file or as a temporary file by the editing application. Toast may reduce generational losses, but it cannot eliminate them.
     
  5. wheelo28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #5
    So, I guess my question is then, what's the best way to reduce as much generational loss as possible. What would be the best process to take? Or would I not see much improvement than what I've got now with the files that have been taken from MPEG2-MPEG4-MPEG2 using Handbrake through iDVD?

    Thank a lot for your help.
     
  6. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #6
    Use MPEG Streamclip (freeware) to demux/convert the DVD's VOB files in whatever format you'll be editing in in iMovie.

    -DH
     
  7. hazmatzak macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #7
    An MPEG-2 video stream is broken down into a unit called a GOP (Group of Pictures) which runs about a half-second each. If you cut only between GOPs, and if the camcorder records in DVD-compliant MPEG-2, there is no transcoding required. You can burn that "directly" onto DVD, which is of course not all that direct, but no generational loss.

    That's the video. For an NTSC DVD, technically the audio must be either PCM or Dolby Digital, and depending on the camcorder....

    MPEG Streamclip will do the cuts. Dunno if the current version of Toast will then burn the files directly. If you see it starting to transcode, you've gone down the wrong path. DVD Studio Pro will definitely work; it's intended to be at that end of the (pro) workflow, taking already-encoded MPEG-2. iDVD is intended to skip over that part, going from "raw" editable video (like DV from iMovie) and transcoding that onto DVD, which is for the consumer market.
     
  8. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    If all you are doing is cutting, then I agree. If you do more sophisticated edits such as add transitions, titles, captions, etc., then things get complicated.
     
  9. wheelo28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #9
    So, I downloaded Streamclip to give it a shot. But, I have to purchase the MPEG-2 Plugin for Quicktime to view the video and what not. Tried downloading Quicktime Alternative, but still didn't work. So, I think before I try that again and pay the $20 for MPEG-2 playback in Quicktime, I'm going to go through Toast and give it a run through there.

    Was I right when reading that you don't get the $20 MPEG-2 plugin for Quicktime when you spent the money to get Quicktime Pro?
     
  10. BiggeeC macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    #10
    Can I jump in here with a side question?

    If I rip a DVD (I use MacTheRipper), then convert the TS Video file to an .mp4 file (using Handbrake), I am losing a ton of image quality, right? If I then try to burn the .mp4 file onto a DVD, it will look like garbage, right-- nothing like the original DVD?

    Thanks (didn't feel the need to start a new thread)

    --Chris
     
  11. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #11
    QuickTime Alternative is a set of codecs for Windows, not the Mac.

    Why use MPEG Streamclip to convert your files into MPEG-2? Convert to .mov. iMovie loves .mov. iDVD prefers .mov. Do you like making life difficult for yourself?

    Yes. But then, you don't need the MPEG-2 Playback Component.
     
  12. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #12
    Methinks you misread. The OP wouldn't be using MPEG Streamclip to convert TO MPEG-2 ... he's be using it to convert the MiniDVD's VOB files FROM muxed MPEG-2 TO an editable, frame based format. The original camera recordings were to MiniDVD-R discs.


    The need for the QT MPEG-2 playback component is so that MPEG Streamclip can do it's job. If the OP had FCE, FCP, Compressor or DVD-SP installed, the MPEG-2 Playback Component would already be installed.

    -DH
     
  13. wheelo28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #13
    Alright, guys. Thanks a ton for all your help, really have appreciated it. I'm really not trying to cause problems, especially for myself. lol. Anyway, here's where I stand now:

    I've taken the VIDEO_TS folders from the original video which were on the Mini DVDs and been able to put them onto normal DVDs through Toast. Only thing is, that sacrifices the ability to really edit the video. But, I do get to keep the same quality. Just unpolished in it's presentation on the DVD itself.

    I have some options, I guess, so trying to figure out where to go from here.

    A) Go ahead and buy the $20 MPEG-2 plugin for Quicktime and then I would be able to use Streamclip to cut and edit the video as it's still in MPEG-2 format? Correct? Where, I wouldn't lose any quality and I would later be able to use Toast and put them onto DVDs, right? With Streamclip would I be able to put multiple .VOB files together, or just edit one at a time?

    B) Would it be worth buying FCE or FCP to take care of these issues? Would that make things a lot easier on myself?

    All I want to do is edit all this stupid MPEG-2 video and output it onto DVDs. I would never have thought it would be so rough, I'll for sure remember not to make borrow and shoot with Mini DVD camcorders from here on out.
     

Share This Page