HD to SD DVD what am I missing

Former user wrote on 3/30/2012, 10:41 PM
I keep seeing posts about how poorly Vegas converts HD to an SD DVD. I just did a 90 minute video shot with two cameras at 1080i and rendered to an SD DVD. I am very happy with the quality that Vegas did. No funny shimmering or unusual artifacting.

Am I missing something or just not as picky as others?

Dave T2


PeterDuke wrote on 3/30/2012, 10:48 PM
It could be that you are more tolerant but more likely it has something to do with the content. Try brick walls or check shirts at various distances/zooms.
Christian de Godzinsky wrote on 3/31/2012, 4:38 AM
This is a thing that many have been struggling with, including me. Never got satisfactory results down-converting HDV or AVCDH (PAL) source material to DVD (SD PAL), using Vegas own resources. Are you in NTSC or PAL -land and how did you do the conversion?


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Former user wrote on 3/31/2012, 7:33 AM
I am in NTSC. I set my deinterlace to interpolate and then use the DVDA Widescreen template with the fill the screen option on.

Looks good to me. It is 90 minutes so it takes way too long to experiment with other options but I will on shorter shows in the future.

Dave T2
Opampman wrote on 3/31/2012, 10:51 AM
Agree with DaveT2...I have been using Vegas for years to do a TV show shot in HDV. One of the stations requires SD so I simply make a letterboxed non-widescreen version render using the DVDA template and give them the SD DVD. It looks fantastic on the air and we get comments all the time about the high quality.

smhontz wrote on 3/31/2012, 2:02 PM
I am one who found that Vegas was NOT good at downrezing HD to SD. My project was shot at 1920x1080 24p 50MBps 4:2:2 from a Canon XF 305 camera. I had a lot of green-screen work and also used a lot of pan/crop motion on hi-res stills from a Canon T3i camera.

I found that when Vegas did the downrezing (using the "DVD Architect 24p NTSC Widescreen video stream" template), I got a lot of shimmer/twinkles around people's hair, and also shimmering in fine details of the pictures that had pan/crop motion on them. Other things (landscape shots, pictures where there wasn't fine detail) looked just fine, but the shimmering/twinkling/twittering in the other shots was very annoying.

I ended up using VirtualDub to do the downresizing, then brought it back into Vegas to use "DVD Architect 24p NTSC Widescreen video stream" to generate the MPG2 files. That worked beautifully, and solved my problems.

I'm sure it's very dependent on the format/type of footage you're dealing with, so if you're happy with what you've got, I wouldn't worry about it. But you may find in the future, with other footage, that it may not be acceptable to just use Vegas.
JJKizak wrote on 3/31/2012, 2:22 PM
You know after viewing 24P for about 60 years I never consider using it in Vegas for any project. Why try hard to recreate all those jumpy "judder" pans that the big guys jammed down our throats?
riredale wrote on 3/31/2012, 6:17 PM
Gotta admit that when I saw the Subject line I had to scratch my head. There's a problem making a DVD from an HD file using Vegas? Really?

I shoot HDV, bring the video into Vegas with HDVsplit, edit, convert to MPEG2 (with an m2v extension) with the MainConcept codec in Vegas, encode the audio into AC-3, bring the elementary streams (m2v and ac3) into DVDlabPro where it's authored, burn it with Nero. For complex projects I have the option of editing a DV proxy (created with GearShift and which gives me the option of editing on even a slow laptop if necessary), but shift back to MPEG2 before the final render.

Done it hundreds of times, output looks terrific. What am I missing here? I think the MainConcept encoder settings are pretty stock; maybe people get into trouble by experimenting and turning too many dials before encoding. Or maybe the encoder has changed as newer Vegas versions have come out. I'm still back on V7d.

BTW a 90-minute project implies an overall DVD average bitrate of 600 / 90 = 6.67Mb/sec. Take out 0.2Mb/sec for audio and you are left with about 6.5Mb/sec, probably not good enough if you use a constant bit rate and/or if the video is noisy to start with, or if it is really high rez (which could explain detail shimmer). In the latter case perhaps one could very-slightly soften the HD video before sending it on to the MPEG2 encoder. Maybe the fact that my HDV source material is NOT as super-crisp as some of the AVCHD captures these days works in my favor.
amendegw wrote on 3/31/2012, 6:36 PM
"[There's a problem making a DVD from an HD file using Vegas? Really?Prepare for mental exhaustion: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/forums/ShowMessage.asp?ForumID=4&MessageID=738303HD to SD Challenge[/link] :-)


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Laurence wrote on 3/31/2012, 9:41 PM
I tend to find that the people most happy with Vegas's HD to SD downrez are using 1440 x 1080 HD whereas the people who aren't happy with HD to SD downrez are usually starting with 1920 x 1080 to HD. Same with all NLE software by the way. I think that the easy divide by 2 1440 to 720 looks just great.
Chienworks wrote on 3/31/2012, 9:48 PM
I've been very happy rendering 1920x1080 AVCHD to widescreen SD DVDs. The results look far better than what i used to get from my MiniDV camcorder. Of course, part of that is that a 10 year newer camera has better sensors and processing, in addition to the higher resolution. 4:2:2 compared to 4:1:1 helps too, i'm sure.

Probably subject matter and type of details in the image make a huge difference in how well the downrez works.
Arthur.S wrote on 4/1/2012, 7:04 AM
I'm in full agreement with Peter (again :-) ) Vegas does 'OK' down sizing to SD - I've used it for that for about 4 years), but add some brickwork/roofing/lace work - as in a brides veil - into the mix, and it can look truly awful. My new workflow is to create the HD file with Vegas, but use TMPGEnc VM5 to convert to SD. http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/tvmw5.html There's a clear improvement on the above. I trialled even cheaper programmes such as http://www.bigasoft.com/ and even those did a better job than Vegas. I chose VM5 because of the extra customisation available, and the fact that I've been happy with TMPGEnc products before.
dxdy wrote on 4/1/2012, 8:23 AM
+1 for TMPGEnc doing the down-rez and render to MPG2 from 1920 x 1080. I spent an hour figuring out how to do the Debug Frameserve, so I am not even spending the time for an intermediate render.

Also a side benefit - If I let TMPGEnc encode both video and audio, DVDA accepts the single MPG2 file without re-rendering. This saves that second Vegas render to AC3. I know the AC3 render doesn't take long, but for a quick project it helps.
Former user wrote on 4/1/2012, 9:01 AM

I hope you realize if you are not using AC3 or PCM audio, you are not making a standard DVD. There will be a rare case where a DVD player will not play the disk.

Dave T2
JohnnyRoy wrote on 4/1/2012, 10:16 AM
It's interesting that all of the people shooting HDV have no problems with scaling down to SD DVD's. This is one of the reasons I continue to shoot HDV. Other formats... not so lucky. I think that's why we see some people saying they have no problems while others are having lots of problems.

dxdy wrote on 4/1/2012, 11:13 AM
I hope you realize if you are not using AC3 or PCM audio, you are not making a standard DVD. There will be a rare case where a DVD player will not play the disk.

Dave T2, thanks for the pointer. I have been selecting Dolby Digital for the audio format, and the following is what Mediainfo reports.

ID : 189 (0xBD)-128 (0x80)
Format : AC-3
Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
Mode extension : CM (complete main)
Muxing mode : DVD-Video
Duration : 1mn 37s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 224 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth : 16 bits
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 2.62 MiB (2%)

I think this is standard DVD audio.

Former user wrote on 4/1/2012, 11:51 AM
OH okay. I was thinking that you were making MPEG2 audio with TMPGENC.

Dave T2
riredale wrote on 4/1/2012, 3:12 PM
In PAL-land, MP2 (MPEG Audio Level 2) IS a supported audio format for DVD video. For NTSC DVDs it's not officially supported but most DVD players will play it anyway.

Also, it's common knowledge that a very sharp and crisp still photo will twinkle like crazy on video because of interlace, and if you do Ken Burns zooms and pans the artifacts will drive you nuts. The solution is to soften the still image slightly; it makes an enormous difference in the final outcome. So perhaps a bit of softening is all that is needed on interlaced footage from super-sharp formats.

As mentioned, HDV was an earlier format and was somewhat softer, given the 1440-pixel spec. And with the Sony Z1 and FX-1 (which I have had for years) the actual CCD sensor has just 960 horizontal pixels. I don't know if the three CCDs are offset to provide the 1920 horizontal spec for HD or if there is just interpolation, but there's no doubt the image is a bit softer. Softer but certainly far beyond what is needed as a source for DVD authoring, which, of course, is 720 x 480 in NTSC countries. And I know from experience these two cameras deliver beautiful DVD quality.
Arthur.S wrote on 4/2/2012, 1:53 PM
"It's interesting that all of the people shooting HDV have no problems with scaling down to SD DVD's. This is one of the reasons I continue to shoot HDV. Other formats... not so lucky. I think that's why we see some people saying they have no problems while others are having lots of problems."

Not quite true Johnny - I work with HDV.
Chienworks wrote on 4/2/2012, 3:26 PM
And i work with AVCHD and am one of the happy ones.
FilmingPhotoGuy wrote on 4/3/2012, 12:05 AM
The HD survival handbook by Philip Hodgetts strongly suggests this workflow. This book is worth downloading and is very informative.

Film in HD progressive
Set project to 1280 x 720
Render to HDV 720-25p (1280x720, 25.000 fps)

DVD-A down scales HD 1280 x 720p to SD 720 x 576 widescreen (PAL) very nicely
The upside of this is that you can back up your final HD for future use.

If you're in NTSC land use the equivalent settings.

Oh Yes, set your cam to progressive and leave it there forever.

Progressive Good, interlace bad (quote from Philip Hodgetts)

PeterDuke wrote on 4/3/2012, 1:56 AM
The downside of this is that your HD movies will have lower resolution than your camera and your TV are capable of. Purists would feel quite uncomfortable about that.

Of course if you are only going to deliver in SD then you should shoot in SD as well.
Former user wrote on 4/3/2012, 7:37 AM
Progressive Good, interlace bad (quote from Philip Hodgetts)

Sheesh. Progressive is not any better than interlace. It is just different. People have watched interlaced TV for decades and it is only in the last 5 years that people have learned it is "bad".

Dave T2
PeterDuke wrote on 4/3/2012, 9:07 AM
Interlacing makes the work of us video editors more difficult when we want to change frame size, etc., but if we go to the trouble, the viewers will be oblivious to all that trouble.
riredale wrote on 4/3/2012, 10:40 AM
Hey, nothing wrong in shooting 25p, but realize that you'll lose a whole lot of temporal resolution. But great if you want the "film look."

Interlacing was/is a means of getting increased temporal resolution without any increase in bitrate. I think for most things people appreciate the increased temporal resolution.