HD Rendering

LMI Movieman wrote on 7/22/2007, 2:30 PM
Does anyone have some good experiece rendering HD footage in VMS8?
What settings have you used to obtain the best final results?
Do you edit and render and then downgrade in DVD Architect or do you change to DV right at the beginning?
There are so many choices for the video template, field order, pixel aspect ratio, etc. I'm not sure what the best combination would be.

Any and all opinions would be appreciated.



Eugenia wrote on 7/22/2007, 2:55 PM
VMS8 currently has a bug and so no matter what aspect ratio you choose under .avi and .mov, you won't get 16:9 if your source footage is anamorphic in nature. You can definitely try out 720p, where the bug does not matter because the aspect ratio is 1.000 anyway in that resolution.

VMS works best with WMV videos btw, so if you are exporting to HD, that would be the codec to go for. The only downside is that it's extremely slow to encode. Last night I encoded my 4min HDV video to 720p WMV and took 1 hour to complete, while the same video took 35 minutes when tried with the installed DivX encoder (which unfortunately does not work perfectly as it won't remove interlacing no matter if you ask it to -- v.6.6.1).

Possibly I am not the best person to reply on this though, as I am personally not happy with any encoder UI out there, not just Vegas'. I have found bugs on all of them, even in QuickTime Pro (e.g. choices that don't work, keyframe artifacts etc) or on MediaCoder (crashes on some HD videos), DivX (it won't de-interlace). Frustrating... That's why I go with the one that works best, which is WMV on Vegas, even if it's too slow, although I would personally prefer h.264.
4eyes wrote on 7/22/2007, 8:55 PM
VMS8 currently has a bug and so no matter what aspect ratio you choose under .avi and .mov, you won't get 16:9 if your source footage is anamorphic in nature I still cannot find this bug, even though admin said there was. What am I doing wrong not to reproduce this buggy.
Eugenia wrote on 7/22/2007, 9:29 PM
On VMS8, get a 1440x1080 *anamorphic* 16:9 HDV video, and do "render as" .avi HDV 1080/60i intermediate. The resulted file is a 4:3 video without the anamorphic attribute set, so when it's played back on any media player, it will be 4:3, not 16:9. So the bug is that the app does not set a non-1.000 aspect ratio (even if you specifically request for it or not). Please note, the bug only happens on VMS8, not 7. It's reproducible here on my vista laptop and on my main PC with XP.
Chienworks wrote on 7/23/2007, 3:08 AM
LMI-Movieman was referring to HD though, not HDV. HD often is 1.0, not 1.333, so the bug you've found might not apply.

Since he's asking about DVD output i would suggest rendering directly to a DVD format, such as MPEG NTSC (or PAL) widescreen.
4eyes wrote on 7/23/2007, 5:45 AM
Eugenia, thanks for answering,
I did and still have cineform 1440x1080i avi's both from 7 & 8. They produce the same results when played back on non-certified cineform players. When I play them back using PowerDvd or other non-approved players they never were 100% correct.
I'm running XP, by what I''ve read the cineform codec uses the source PAR for encoding the overall picture frame bloc . I read Cineform doesn't render 8x8 pixel blocks like mpeg, the codec compresses the whole picture as a bloc. I was reading this information on the cineform website, they say the program must also be programmed to use the cineform codec (Vegas/VMS is). It's also stated on the cineform website that for proper playback of these intermediate cineformhd videos you need to use Neo or other approved programs to properly play them back. I think this is because the cineform is an intermediate codec and not a distribution codec. Wmv is a distribution codec.

Before VMS 8 was released, using VMS 7 and creating cineformhd 1440x1080i intermediate video files whenever I would use these 1440x1080i cineformhd videos as source material for programs "Outside" of any cineform approved program then I've always had to treat the video(s) as being square pixels in these other editors in order to properly convert the cineform videos to HD-Divx or HD-wmv and render the correct aspect ratio.

I never considered this a bug from VMS 7 because VMS7 is programmed to read the cineform avi's correctly. Other programs not approved I have to treat the videos as square pixel and turn off non-square pixel rendering to produce a 16x9 video same as original. VMS 8 works the same on my XP machine. Your using Vista, maybe there is a difference because Vista addresses DirectShow differently then XP.
LMI Movieman wrote on 7/23/2007, 6:46 AM
What I'm looking for is the right combination of settings to produce the best possible finished product. I'm working on a video that will be approx. 45 minutes in length. It's shot with a Sony HDR-HC7 in Hi-Def mode.
In the past shooting with my old handy-cam I just went with the standard settings that VMS provided, rendered as MPG-2, NTSC DV, moved it over to DVD Architect burnt the disc and it was fine.
Now with Hi-Def I don't know if I'm wasting my time bringin it in as Hi-Def only to end up down grading it at some point in the process? Should I just use the camera software to downgrade it to Std. DV right from the start? If not, at what point in the process should it be done and what setting should I use? What template should I use to render? Upper field first, lower field first, none, etc. etc?

I could make samples of each possibility and view them for myself but I was hoping that someone had the knowledge to save me the time and sort through the things I have no clue about.


4eyes wrote on 7/23/2007, 7:11 AM
I use both methods, capturing dv from the cam (downconvert mode) or letting the software convert from HD_Mpeg2 to SD_Mpeg2. When I use the software route I'll use architech and manually set the bit-rate at a high value (approx 9500 w/Dolby 2/0 audio). The default bit-rate in VMS (non-configurable) is approx 6500vbr.

I would recommend trying both methods and judge the results. The video is still so good it's hard for me to judge the difference, I think that the software conversion may be a little clearer though then using the downconvert feature.

Capturing in VMS & editing using DV is easier then working with the hd-mpeg2 video. If you only making dvd's and plan to perform a descent amount of editing then I would capture DV to make things easier and more reliable.
My method is capture HDV because I play these files back directly on a HighDef media player, then create a HD-DVD & a AVCHD disk. I'll make a Standard Definition Dvd version to distribute if needed.
Eugenia wrote on 7/23/2007, 7:19 AM
4eyes, it's not only the cineform codec that fails in that respect, but all .avi and all .mov codecs I tried. VMS7 did not have that problem, and I personally consider it major because I can't export on anything that will give me anamorphic that will automatically play correctly under VLC or WMP. It's not just cineform. Also, my main OS is XP, but I have a Vista laptop. Both OSes exhibit the problem with VMS8, while none under VMS7 does.
LMI Movieman wrote on 7/23/2007, 8:17 AM
4eyes, thanks for your experience. I will give both of them a try. I like shooting in Hi-Def with the hope that the footage will eventually be used in the Hi-Def format. I have some shots of a wilderness park I go to up north that are spectacular when shown on my Hi-Def TV. I'm attempting to put together a video for distribution showing these sights and want the best possible results.
So far (knock on wood) I've had no problems bring into my computer and VMS 8 works alot better with it then 7 did! I think it has been the best upgrade yet. The old way of getting an external monitor was a pain and was jerky.
It's great to have forums such as this to gain knowledge that would otherwise take . . . . . forever.

Thanks to everyone who responds
4eyes wrote on 7/23/2007, 11:02 AM
I only use VLC for playing back the mpeg or .m2t files (and other uses). Not to many other choices in my interface for avi or mov codecs. I'll only export wmv from VMS. HD-Divx works better exporting from other software, I can't get VMS to get the compressed audio correct which is mp3. I don't install un-necessary codecs on the system OS. Guess I should buy & install the latest Quicktime player/encoder though. But when I re-use the cineform videos in VMS 7/8 no problem.

I'm starting to look at the Core2-Quads, rendering HDV to a new .m2t file or wmv encoding does take a long time, right now using only 2.8 & 3.2 P4's. The longer I wait the cheaper they will cost.

Here is my command line to start VLC in windows or Linux, I found these switches produce 1/2 size (for managing) and better smoother de-interlacing for the motion using the linear de-interlace.
vlc --zoom=.5 --vout-filter=deinterlace --deinterlace-mode=linear

You should be able to force VLC to play the cineform as 16:9, although my version of VLC doesn't pick up the codec so it only plays the audio.
vlc --aspect-ratio=16:9 --zoom=.5 --vout-filter=deinterlace --deinterlace-mode=linear

(The --zoom=.5 prevents having to resize the video making it more manageable on the computer screen, double-click to toggle fullscreen on/off)
4eyes wrote on 7/23/2007, 11:16 AM
I have some shots of a wilderness park I go to up north that are spectacular when shown on my Hi-Def TV. I'm attempting to put together a video for distribution showing these sights and want the best possible results. For physical distribution I choose the dvd format, it's acceptable. For web distribution Wmv or Hd-wmv is probably the most common format for windows machines. I'll create my hd-wmv's using CBR for the video & CBR for the audio (after reading the MS HD-Wmv spec's). I need Eugenia's cam to get me out interlaced mode :) . My cam shoots straight HDV 1440x1080-60i, getting the de-interlacing down for good motion is a hassle, although I've done some encodings at 1280x720@59.94fps that retain the original motion. Not all computers will playback the doubled framerate though.
Eugenia wrote on 7/23/2007, 2:56 PM
4Eyes, I really don't want to force apps to change the aspect ratio, I want the file to do the right thing from the get go. I know that VLC can do it, but I need the file to be saved down as anamorphic correctly, just like it was on VMS7. You see, the .avi is one of the formats that I will be providing the bands --and maybe TV stations-- if all goes well with my music video clip plans. I can't ask from anyone to use these files with VLC only and change aspect ratio manually. I need these files to be exported in their highest quality (so that would mean an .avi codec, although not only Cineform) and also playback correctly. I would hate getting phone calls from Joe Singer asking me "why does it look that way". Under that .avi format I even have XVid and DivX there (I installed them later) and even for these Vegas won't pass through the correct flag (they get anamorphic just fine if videos are saved from another app using these same codecs).

The point is this: VMS7 did it, VMS8 doesn't. That's something that needs fixing IMO.
artone wrote on 7/24/2007, 5:04 AM
Hello Eugenia,
about the bug you found.
It's coz VMS8 'sees' the media properties of the clip as pixel aspect ration as 1 instead of 1.3333.
if you still have VMS7, you can bring in the clip rendered in VMS8 and it will look right.
4eyes wrote on 7/24/2007, 7:58 AM
No, if I'm understanding correctly VMS8 does read the cineform file correctly.
It's the other programs outside of VMS8 that do not read the video as being 16:9 and are playing them back as 4:3 aspect ratio (on Eugenia's computer system(s)).
Eugenia wrote on 7/24/2007, 11:04 AM
It is not just about Cineform. No matter which codec you use under .avi, it won't come out anamorphic. Yesterday, I hit the problem really bad. Because none of the .avi codecs would create anamorphic, there was no way I could make either of my two external apps to resize properly to 1920x1080 in order to play back the file on the PS3. Third party encoder UIs are just not sophisticated enough to let you change completely the aspect ratio of a video from (what they undrestand as) 4:3 to 16:9 -- especially not when the anamorphic flag is not set. And the .avi files exported by VMS8 are the only ones that these apps can read, so I can't just be using WMV all the time (plus WMV is really slow to encode). I feel really stuck, not being able to do what I need with my work.

Here is the explanation of the bug for the last time: The bug is that the anamorphic flag is not set no matter what codec you use under .avi exporting on VMS8. It is not a player bug, it is an VMS8 encoding procedure's one. Neither VMS8 can read its own produced .avi or .mov videos as anamorphic by default, because, well, it never wrote them that way because of its own bug.

And while under VMS7/8 I can FORCE that created file to be 1.333, it does not help me with other external apps that don't let you force aspect ratios like that. Or when I want to share a high-quality .avi version of a video with another person who doesn't have VMS. This bug really limits me in a lot of ways. The only way I can go around the problem is either to export as WMV or to export as .avi/.mov in the lower quality setting, 720p (because that would be aspect ratio 1.000 so there is no reason for anamorphic), but I don't want to export as 720p, because I bought an HDV 1440x1080-anamorphic-to-1920x1080 camera and I want to be using it in its full potential.
4eyes wrote on 7/24/2007, 11:32 PM
Finally, I was able to reproduce your problem.
I installed VMS8 on the other 3.2Ghz machine (VMS7_Plat is also installed on this other machine).
OK, on the other machine (the 3.2Ghz) VMS8 doesn't read any of my cineform avi's produced by VMS7_Plat or Vegas 7.0e trial with the correct PAR or fielding. I have to set them manually in VMS8 to the cineform file under project media properties.
VMS7 reads the cineform avi's created by VMS8 and also Vegas 7.0e Trial correctly.
Vegas 7.0e trial read the cineforms produced from VMS8_Plat correctly.
So on the 3.2Ghz machine VMS8 doesn't want to read the cineform's /avi's/mov's correctly.

The reason I kept asking you about VMS8_Plat is on my 2.8Ghz machine that I use the most for video/audio apps VMS8_Plat does read these avi's files correctly. I can't figure out why VMS8 is working on this one XP-SP2 2.8Ghz computer. I do have a directx sdk and some other sdk software installed.

To playback the cineform codec correctly in WMP, Nero_showtime or Powerdvd7 I downloaded & installed the free Neo Player (the bottom right link on this webpage), it's a playback codec and will reside under common_files\cineform directory
You may have to run the register script from the link to register the de-coder codec.
Eugenia wrote on 7/25/2007, 1:17 AM
Thanks 4Eyes, however the bug does not happen just with Cineform but with ALL codecs listed under .avi AND .mov. The bug is on writing some attributes to the new video files when Vegas exporting, and so installing a cineform "fixer" won't actually fix my problem because I don't even use Cineform in particular. I need the anamorphic bug fixed for all codecs under .avi and .mov for HDV files, not just for Cineform files.
4eyes wrote on 7/25/2007, 12:48 PM
LMI Movieman,
Sorry to go off topic with the bug that Eugenia found.
To answer your original post if you want to work with HDV then first setup your project settings for HDV 1440x1080-60/50i (depends on your country) and capture the HDV video. Then edit the video and all etc. To output a new HDV file that's meets the HDV standards (same as you captured the video at) then goto "Render As" | Select Mpeg2 | Use the template HDV 1080i-60/50 to write a .m2t HDV video file.
After this hdv.m2t file is written to your harddisk you can play it back using powerdvd7 and other highdef software players. You can also write the same file back to a new tape because it's in the transport stream format.

To create a dvd compatible file you would goto "Render As" | Select Mpeg2 |select the dvd widescreen template. This will produce a standard definition file you can use in Architech to produce a dvd OR you can use the hdv.m2t file directly in architech studio.

The above process works correctly on my system and has nothing to do with the previous avi/mov discussion.

ADB wrote on 7/26/2007, 9:57 PM
>>I think that the software conversion may be a little clearer though then using the downconvert feature.

4eyes, I have a Canon HV10. DV and HDV take up about the same space on tape. Does this imply that the latter has a far better compressor or is HDV losing information in some way, perhaps by having fewer key frames (or whatever they are called in DV) ?
What are the implications for editing, when the end result is intended to be a standard DVD ? I would imagine that HDV would allow better software pans and zooms but perhaps DV has other benefits ?
Chienworks wrote on 7/27/2007, 3:57 AM
DV and HD/HDV use different compression schemes. DV compresses each frame individually, somewhat remeniscent of JPEG compression of stills. Each frame is a complete frame, gently compressed about 8:1. HD/HDV uses MPEG2 compression. Not only is the compression a higher ratio much higher, but there is also interframe compression as well. Many of the frames are built out of pieces uses from previous frames. Only I frames are complete. The following frames until the next I frame are built up by moving around blocks from previous frames and only adding in new data as necessary. Overall HD/HDV achieves a compression of about 30:1. This way the larger frames can be stored in the same space as the smaller DV frames.

One of the main consequences of this is that HD/HDV, and MPEG in general, can suffer a lot of quality loss with fast motion. If too much changes from one frame to the next then MPEG compression is forced to store much more data for that frame but has to compress it much more as well. In order to accomplish that MPEG has to reduce the quality and throw away a lot of information. In contrast, DV handles any amount of motion very well. No matter how much changes from one frame to the next, DV starts every frame as a new unique picture.

Another consequence is that DV is very fast to edit. The timeline draws the thumbnails nearly instantly when scrolling around and zooming. The preview display is quick because no matter where the cursor is, Vegas only has to look at that one frame to generate the image. When editing HD/HDV/MPEG, Vegas has to go back to the previous I frame and generate the current frame by combining all the frames from that I frame up to the current one. This slows everything down quite noticeably.

Regarding key frames, which is what i think you are calling I frames, DV doesn't have these because every frame is complete. Or, i suppose you could look at it that every frame of DV is a key frame.
4eyes wrote on 7/27/2007, 1:41 PM
This link provides some more information about the HDV spec.
HDV From Wikipedia

A quote from the above link:
Since HDV operates at the same recorded datarate (25 Mbit/s bitstream rate) as DV, HDV recorders share the same physical (MiniDV ) tape transport as existing DV equipment. For the camera, the main expense is concentrated in the optics and imaging electronics.
I usually record in the HDV mode to tape.
What are the implications for editing, when the end result is intended to be a standard DVD ? I would imagine that HDV would allow better software pans and zooms but perhaps DV has other benefits ? DV is frame accurate editing, much easier and reliable to edit. HDV uses mpeg2 compression and editing is harder on the NLE programs, you can convert the HDV to a intermediate frame accurate editing format such as cineform (provided with a VMS_Plat installation) and then perform heavier editing (effects, filters & all). I can also edit the HDV.m2t file directly with VMS on a 2.8 or 3.2 P4 and it's very acceptable, actually great. My HDV videos are usually limited to a max of 20 minutes which is approx 4gigs.
My opinion is HDV does do better software pans & zooms (of course zooms, higher resolution source video). HDV is neat, interesting field, never stop learning, there's always something new.
ADB wrote on 7/27/2007, 3:07 PM
Thank you Chienworks and 4eyes ... very helpful.
mfoley40 wrote on 7/28/2007, 1:39 PM
Is there a way to create a "standard" mpeg rather than the m2t file? The m2t plays fine on the PC, but not on an extender such as an Xbox 360 or PS3. However, mpg files created with other renders work fine on both the PC and the extenders.
4eyes wrote on 7/28/2007, 2:52 PM
The m2t plays fine on the PC, but not on an extender such as an Xbox 360 or PS3 Your doing something wrong OR you may have a problem with the PS3 if the .m2t file doesn't playback on a PS3.
Exactly how are you trying to playback your .m2t file on the PS3? If your burning it to a dvd and it's studdering this would be incompatible media or a bad burn.
You can just put the .m2t file on a fat32 usb harddisk. Make a folder on the external fat32 harddisk called VIDEO directly off the root fat32 drive. Put your videos into this folder, otherwise when you go to grab the files on he PS3 you have to select the media and hit the "Triangle" button and select "Show All" to display all the playable video files.
I play hdv.m2t files all the time on the PS3. If you did burn the video to a dvd and it doesn't play correctly highlight the .m2t file, hit the triangle, select copy and the PS3 will copy the .m2t to it's local drive. If the file plays correctly from the PS3's local drive you know it's a dvd reading problem.
If it helps when using an external usb2 disk with the PS3 it should be formatted as FAT32 and navigation is easier if you create these folders on the external harddisk. This is the PS3's default folders it looks in for media ( these are the defined filters)
\VIDEO (put your video's here, .m2t, mpg, h264, mp4 etc )
\PICTURE ( your jpeg pictures etc)
\MUSIC ( Your music, mp3, wav, aac etc )
Otherwise to see your multi-media files you highlight the device, hit the triangle button and select "Show All", this will allow you to manually navigate external media.