Amount on DVD for VHS Transfers

Editguy43 wrote on 2/7/2015, 12:51 PM
When transferring VHS tapes- Paul could get 1 hour and 40 or 50 min on a DVD. I am having a problem getting 1 hour on DVD. I finished a project and it was 3 hours- first project since Paul died so I was pretty excited:) I ended up being able to get 1 hour and 7 min the most for the first 2 DVD and the 3rd I could only get 40 min on the DVD. I know I am doing something wrong, not sure what.


Steve Mann wrote on 2/7/2015, 2:12 PM
Fielesize is determined by bitrate. Higher bitrate=larger filesize.
riredale wrote on 2/7/2015, 2:12 PM
Not familiar with DVD Architect, but in general YOU determine how long the video is on a DVD by your selection of "bitrate" when encoding your timeline video into MPEG2 (which is then used by your authoring program to build the files you burn to DVD). If you encode at 8Mb/sec you can get about 70 minutes, if you encode at 5Mb/sec you can get about 115 minutes. There comes a point, however, where the bitrate is so low your video will look really blocky and crummy. You'll know it when you see it.
Chienworks wrote on 2/7/2015, 2:42 PM
Very simple formula is 600/minutes = Mbps bitrate.

600 / 60 minutes = 10Mbps
600 / 75 minutes = 8Mbps
600 / 100 minutes = 6Mbps
600 / 120 minutes = 5Mbps

and so forth. Subtract about 0.2 to leave room for AC3 audio.
Lovelight wrote on 2/7/2015, 3:57 PM
Better encoders look better with lower bit rates. Most encoders look good at high bit rates, but look bad with low bit rates. Invest in a good encoder, if you want more footage at lower bit rates on a dvd. Tmpg is an example of a great encoder.
dxdy wrote on 2/7/2015, 4:04 PM
+1 for TMPGEnc Mastering Works, I frameserve to it from Vegas. One of the things I like about it is Lancos resizing. I don't let Vegas resize my HD footage, I let TMPGEnc do it.

The user interface is a little unique, but I mastered it pretty quickly.

My three biggest clients insist on DVDs, so I am stuck with that old-tech.
dxdy wrote on 2/7/2015, 4:59 PM
One more thought on TMPGEnc - they use CUDA. AMD cards are completely ignored.
set wrote on 2/7/2015, 5:39 PM
To choose and plan the bitrate, I still following Adobe Encore's note:

For my personal safety, rather than set DVD's max size as 4.7GB, I set to 4.5GB, and I keep the bitrate not exceeding 6Mbps, and not lower than 4.5Mbps (except it is totally still shots, not too many motion or camera panning etc).

VHS and another analog tapes have picture noises and if you use VBR (Variable Bitrate setting), the average bitrate will be higher than set number.

Add: there are several old bitrate calculator available on the web, and I make my own too using Spreadsheet, based on Encore's way:
It was old one, but still useful until today, applicable for all disc authoring workflow too.
Hope useful for anyone.

johnmeyer wrote on 2/7/2015, 9:02 PM
The workflow I gave you a few months ago, in a PM, suggested that you put the AVI file from Vegas into DVD Architect, and then let DVD Architect do the MPEG-2 encoding for the DVD. Yes, forum members, I know that this is not the recommended workflow, but it does have the advantage of avoiding the problem that now seems to be showing up, because DVD Architect will choose the appropriate bitrate to make the video fit.

However, if you want to now use the professional approach, you do two renders: one for the video and one for the audio. You use AC-3 for the audio and, starting with the Stereo template, you then make changes to the normalization, setting it to -27 dB, and set both Line Mode Profile and RF Mode to none. Save this template so you can re-use it for all future renders. Making these changes ensures that the volume levels will match what you heard on the Vegas timeline.

For the MPEG-2 encoding, you start with MPEG-2 and then choose either "DVD Architect NTSC video stream" template for 4:3 video or "DVD Architect NTSC Widescreen video stream" for 16:9 video.

This brings you to the main issue: what bitrate to set for MPEG-2 Average bitrate? "Average Bitrate" is is the only parameter you should change, and you will need to change it for each disc you encode. You want the highest bitrate possible, without creating a file too big to fit on a disc.

Use 8,000,000 bps for all DVDs up to 75 minutes in length. For longer DVDs, you use a bitrate calculator to figure out what number to use. However, here is a quick and dirty table, that works fine, assuming you encode your audio at 192 kbps:

Minutes        Average Bitrate
75 8,000,000
80 7,430,000
85 6,981,000
90 6,583,000
95 6,226,000
100 5,905,000
105 5,615,000
110 5,315,000
115 5,110,000
120 4,889,000

The only other setting you will need to change is the checkbox for "2-pass encoding." Once you put more than 85 minutes on a DVD, I suggest you check this. You most definitely need to check it once you get to 95 minutes. It doubles the encoding time, but will result in a much better render.
rraud wrote on 2/8/2015, 10:47 AM
"make changes to the normalization, setting it to -27 dB, and "

Another option for longer run programs on DVD is a dual-layer DVD-9 (8.5GB), however they're not very reliable for trouble-free PB and I wouldn't consider them unless they're 'replicated' from a proper error free source.
PeterDuke wrote on 2/8/2015, 6:27 PM
I have made perhaps 10 to 20 Dual layer DVDs (Verbatim DVD+R) and never had a problem playing them. I have only played them on my equipment, however.

PIE (soft errors before error correction) are usually noticeably higher on the second layer, but no cause for alarm.
Dach wrote on 2/14/2015, 8:52 AM
I am currently working on a transfer project and asked myself this question. What is the bell curve in regards to bit rate when it comes to rendering VHS and equivalent transfers where the original source material is not as good as today's cameras?

Can you visually see a difference between 6 Mbps and 3 Mbps when the footage originates from VHS? A majority of clients want to minimize how many discs their old family video collections will transfer to.

I am now suggesting MP4 files for families, but the same question applies. Any insight would be appreciated.

- Chad
johnmeyer wrote on 2/14/2015, 11:40 AM
Can you visually see a difference between 6 Mbps and 3 Mbps when the footage originates from VHS?There is no single answer to that question. It depends on the the amount of motion in the source footage; it depends on the amount of noise in the source; it depends on the quality of your encoder; it depends on how astute you are at seeing artifacts before they become overwhelming; and it depends on your standards (some people aren't as sensitive to small problems).

So, if your video is taken on a tripod, and shows people opening Christmas gifts (very small amount of motion), you can probably encode longer clips without seeing much mosquito noise. Similarly, if your video is clean S-VHS 2-hour mode video, you can probably encode more, but if it is 6-hour 1st generation VHS, full of noise, you will have to encode less.

I suggest doing a test with a 30-second clip. Encode one at 8,000,000 bps, and then encode another at 2,000,000 bps. Always use variable bitrate, but don't encode your 2,000,000 bps test clip with 2-pass (normally, you always want to check this box once the average bitrate is below 6,500,000). Look at those two clips, and study the artifacts you are seeing with the 2,000,000 bps clip. Then, encode another clip, but this time at 4,000,000 bps, and with the 2-pass turned on.

The point in doing the 2,000,000 bps clip is to create something that hopefully will show some pretty bad artifacts. This will calibrate your mind to know what to look for, and make it more sensitive to the lower level of artifacting that you will get at the higher bitrates. You may find, with really clean material, that you can get as low as 4,000,000 bps before you really start to notice problems.

I suggest you burn a test DVD, using a re-writeable disc, and view the results not only on your computer, but on a big TV screen as well. Look at individual still frames on your computer (don't be put off by interlacing artifacts when looking at still photos -- those herring bone patterns are perfectly normal and tell you nothing about the quality of the encode). You can also look at still frames on your TV monitor.

So, you have to do your own tests, with your own material, and be your own judge. I have delivered a few 2-hour single-sided, single-layer VHS DVDs, but when I did that, I used an external (non-Vegas) MPEG-2 encoder that can be finely tuned for low-bitrate encodes. There are some really advanced tricks you can do with advanced MPEG-2 encoders that really help with low bitrates. There are several sites where people discuss some of these techniques.
john_dennis wrote on 2/14/2015, 1:14 PM
"[I]A majority of clients want to minimize how many discs their old family video collections will transfer to.[/I]"

Without encouraging you to become an evangelist for change in technology, it's worth asking your clients if they currently own or would consider buying a [i]Blu-ray[/I] player. For those that have one already, you can put a lot of SD material on one disk. Just because it's an HD-capable media doesn't mean it can't be used to deliver SD material.

"[I]I am now suggesting MP4 files for families...[/I]"

With MP4, there is probably little to be gained from encoding SD material at higher than 8 mbps unless it was from an exceptionally good source. I vaguely remember an article years ago that spoke of diminishing returns to quality with SD material above 8 mbps with MPEG-2 encoders. The same is likely equally or more true with the avc encoders.

John's suggestion that you actually look closely at the results you get with that particular material is sound.

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