3 Replies Latest reply: Nov 16, 2012 10:17 AM by Karsten Schlüter
qfieldboden Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



This is my first posting here and I'd be grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about the best way to approach this. I'll first provide you with a summary of my workflow and objective.


I record my material on a Panasonic HDC SD700 camera which produces .mts files. When using the camera I record at it's highest available quality setting which is 1920x1080p @ 50fps. The original material coming off the camera is excellent, to my eye anyway! My objective is to end up with the best possible quality I can, in DVD format, from this material, I want to be able to play it back on a DVD player, and I'm also wanting to burn short sequences in HD to DVDs and to be able to play those back on a Blu-ray player. I have available FCP X, Compressor, ClipWrap, iDVD and now Roxio Toast 11 Pro, I'm using a 27" iMac for my editing.


The first step I currently take is to convert the .mts files from the camera into a suitable editing format, I'm using ClipWrap and exporting the files using the Apple ProRes 422 codec as .mov files. I then edit these files in FCP X and produce a  "master" file which will be the file that is used as the DVD content. I also use this file as the source material to upload movies having first passed them through Compressor. To generate this master file, from FCPX, I use the File->Share-Master File menu option, in the popup settings window I have things set as shown in the image below:


Screen Shot 2012-11-16 at 17.13.01.png

This file is then generated and I then move over to iDVD, which is what I've been using so far. I simply drag and drop the clip or clips onto my template and then burn the disc, I'm using Verbatim DVD-R discs. The results so far have been Ok but in parts there seems to be a sort of "shimmering" in some of the footage which is not there in the original material and which does detract from things, though this is just in short patches of the material and not in all of it. I have been burning at the highest speed the system can deliver but having read a previous excellent post here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4160345?start=0&tstart=0 I tried burning at x1 but this did not change the results.


My plan is to try Roxio Toast 11 Pro and use the included plugin to write HD material to DVDs which I should then be able to play back on a Blu-ray player but I've not tried this yet. This should work for me as a cost effective way of getting HD quality onto DVDs as most of my outputs are short and a 20 or so minute limit will be fine.


So, that's what I'm currently doing and though I've tried to maintain quality at every step I'm still a little disappointed with the results of my DVDs and would be very grateful if any experts out there could look over my workflow and objectives and offer any pointers you think might move me towards getting the most from my original material. I do plan for the time being to stick with DVDs as well as uploading material, as they are very convenient for many users but I want to make them as good as I possibly can.


Many thanks.

iDVD '08, Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • Karsten Schlüter Level 7 Level 7 (31,655 points)

    in short:

    DVD is ALWAYS SDef only, 720x480, 60i


    the max bit-rate of a disk is 9.somewhat mbps - which isn't that much for mp2


    Your material comes highly-compressed into FCPX, although the Pana700 offers superb 28mbps max bitrate. When your recordings are not within its 'best range' , e.g. has a way too high dynamic range, or low light condition, or … , the original mts probably looks good on playback, but in step #2, processing + encoding on export/transcoding to disk, any (invisible) compression flaws get multiplied .....


    for usage with iDVD there's only one advice:

    export the original Project/cmd-E to avoid useless, lossy 'inbetweens' and keep the project under 60min, to trigger iDVD using the max bitrate. (the benchmarks are <60=9mbps, <90min=6mbps, <120min=4mbps)


    .... that's two advices? ....

  • qfieldboden Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    Thank you for your input. Using cmd-E is I understand the same as the File->Share->Master route I take and my project is well below 60 minutes. Am I right in understanding then that what I am doing is a reasonable aproach? I just don't see whay I should get the patches of image "shimmer" on the final DVD. Do the sort of settings I'm using for producing my master file look Ok? Certainly the master file produced by exporting from FCPX looks great, it's what iDVD seems to do that degrades things


    Thank you again.



  • Karsten Schlüter Level 7 Level 7 (31,655 points)

    qfieldboden wrote:

    … Certainly the master file produced by exporting from FCPX looks great, it's what iDVD seems to do that degrades things …

    a) I would import straight from camcorder - the way thru ClipWrap is only needed for 'orphanized' mts = without its full AVCHD-structure ... but ClipWrap doesn'tdo no harm ... just waste of time.-


    b) as mentioned: the biggest fails happened on recording! an underexposured, amplified low-light video looks probably good on first sight, but ANY conversion process will brutally show its imperfection.


    c) your files come in as h.264, get transformed into the intermediate proRes and finally HAVE to be converted again into mp2 ... which is far from perfect.


    example: a dark in-room scenery, 'natural' light, shadows (high in-cam amplification, ASA3200 etc) ... there ARE artefacts on recording I promise; in final step, this pic gets a) scaled, b) that 'random noise' has to be differed from black cat Felix, coming from under the couch = a dumb compressor isn't able to make such a differentiation. professional material is optimized in dynamic range, peeks (are you using scopes in FCPX?), color dynamics, noise reduced etc etc ....


    I'm afraid, your 'shimmer' (artefacts, banding, noise) has no single-click-solution ...........

    aside better cinematography ...


    with superb input, iDVD does a great job!