Ben Low wrote:
A client has come back for a new master of her film, shot in HDV in 2006 - mastered to HDV, then to MPEG2 via Compressor.
It's not clear (to me anyway) what the objective is. To begin, HDV is a type of MPEG2. Is the MPEG2 you're referring to a DVD encode? If so, you may be able to improve upon what was done originally. There are people here who could help you with the best workflow and settings.
If it's the original movie you want to remaster, my question would be, what specific issues are you trying to fix (like color balance, noise, audio, etc.)?
Hi Russ ...
Mmm. Can't see your question here ... though I saw it in the email that arrived.
I don't want to change anything in the original per se. I was just wondering if a codec sometimes gets a tweak over the years (by its masters) ... or if its MPEG-2, it's always been exactly the same, and will always be exactly the same? Probably. But if I don't ask I won't ever know.
Maybe it's also that when I originally made the MPEG-2 I was being very careful about the bitrate ... for old DVD players. Maybe not so much of an issue right now ... so perhaps just jacking up the bitrate will give me a better MPEG-2 than the original?
2005-06 was when HDV first came in; I remember that for several months there was NO way to convert the HDV master to an MPEG-2 ... big scramble ... lots of guys in the forums inventing work-arounds (while clients screamed murder).
There are several things you might do to improve an MPEG2 encode; a lot depends on the content (movement, details, lighting, graphics, etc) so what works great for one project may not do much of anything for another.
One step that can make a difference in going from HD to SD resolution is to turn on Frame Controls and set the Resize Filter to Best.
As for adjusting bit rates, I doubt you would see much difference in going much above 7 Mbps. But what you might try (on a section of challenging material) is comparing CBR to VBR.
Consider first transcoding from HDV to Pro Res 442 and then doing the MPEG2 encode. I've had some HDV>DVD projects that have gone without a hitch…but also enough have not so that I just routinely convert everything to Pro Res. Again, I'd try a short section to keep the testing times down.
Finally, although there are amazing looking DVD's, people are often disappointed when they see their gorgeous high def movie in the highly compressed SD format. If Blu-Ray is an option, give that a try. It can be done from within Compressor – albeit with a basic menu. Or, if the movie is under about 30 minutes, you could burn an AVCHD disk with a regular optical drive which will play in most Blu Ray players.
Very helpful, thank you.
I'll experiment with the VBR vs. CBR. I'm actually okay with the HDV to MPEG-2 Compressor conversion, it's quite decent. It's the ugly artefacting menus that Studio Pro produces. I am going to see if I can find a trial version of Premier with Encore ... just to compare. It could be that the 'science' of the click throughs to the scenes just automatically produce artefacting. But then again ... most of the DVD's I've rented for years, don't have the problem, nice clean menus.
I can see things to do in future. I'm actually cutting a feature doc right now, shot over five years ... the first three with HDV, then with XDCam. Once I get a rough cut (keeping the two formats apart) I'm going to convert everything to ProRes. I've been doing this for a couple of years to go through Color, which I've fallen in love with.
What, pray tell, is an AVCHD disk? Which will play in most Blu Ray players? THAT I'd be very curious about.
I've put your notes in my 'special notebook' as I'm sure I'll find myself here again in the not so distant future. I've got drives full of old HDV projects that clients often want remastered. And I will report back to this discussion if I figure out how to produce the nice clean menus I see in rented DVD's ... using DVD SP, or whatever.
Very much appreciated Russ, thank you kindly...
"no improvement in codec, but if the best techniques as outlined by Russ were not used, you may be able to do a better job. Why not try it and see."
I think I'm missing something in your suggestion ... a link perhaps? It's like the full message didn't get through.
All ears, and curiosity...