Jerky playback on some DVD players

RoyBU wrote on 9/13/2008, 7:49 AM
I am helping my daughter, an aspiring filmmaker, to edit an amateur 2-hour feature film. Here is the basic workflow:

1. Film in HDV 24p using Canon HV20.
2. Import m2t files into computer using Vegas utility.
3. Convert to Cineform avi using Neo-HDV.
4. Edit each scene in Vegas in its own veg.
5. Render each scene to mpg (best rendering quality, 720x480, 16:9, 23.976 + 2-3 pulldown, two-pass, 8000 max, 5000 average, 192 min).
6. In new veg, string all the mgs together and add music and SFX.
7. Render out using same settings as in step 5 except for the two-pass (I did forgetfully leave the two-pass setting on my first try and it made a mess - why is that?)
8. Create the main, scene selection and audio selection menus in DVDA and prepare the project.
9. Use DVDShrink to bring the size down to just fit on a regular DVD.
10. Burn using Nero to a Taiyo Yuden single side DVD.

Everything looks good on my computer, on our 3-year-old DVD connected to our projector and on our 5-year-old DVD player connected to a 24-inch TV. The problem is that when my daughter tried to play the DVD in her college roommate's combo TV/DVD unit, it was so jerky they had to give up and watch it on her Mac laptop. Same with another component DVD that the roommate's parents own.

So if the problem is just that these particular DVD players are old are lousy or cheap, well, OK, my daughter will just have to find better ones to play it on. But I'm about to produce around 25 copies for all the kids who were involved in the production and I worry that this problem will be a plague for all these kids. Is there something in my workflow that is making for problems?


JJKizak wrote on 9/13/2008, 8:26 AM
It's probably the DVD-R, DVD+R syndrome. Make one at the +R and see if it works in the TV player.
Steve Mann wrote on 9/13/2008, 9:47 PM
And, don't burn at the max speed. Ever.
John_Cline wrote on 9/13/2008, 10:07 PM
You're converting to Cineform, then compressing to MPEG2 twice and then using DVD Shrink to further compress the file? That sounds like a perfect recipe for trouble. There are way too many places in your workflow that problems can occur, at the very least, the video quality is going to suffer a LOT. I'm really surprised that it looked very good at all. Can't you just edit everything in one Vegas project using the original M2T files and then compress the video to MPEG2 once using the correct bitrate?

To fit a 2-hour (120 minute) project on a single layer DVD, you need to compress using a minimum bitrate of 2,936,000, an average bitrate of 4,896,000 and a maximum bitrate of 8,000,000. And definitely do a two-pass encode and max out the quality slider to "31". These bitrates assume that you're using 192Kbps .AC3 audio.

EDIT: I misunderstood the "192 min" to mean 192 minutes instead of 192,000 minimum bitrate.
john-beale wrote on 9/13/2008, 11:45 PM
You mention a "two hour film" but also 192 minutes, which I think is over three hours...
RoyBU wrote on 9/14/2008, 2:07 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. Sorry about the 192 minutes; it should have been 132 minutes. And I'm not really compressing to mpg twice, because when I render after putting all the scenes together it is with the same template (except for 2-pass) so no re-rendering is actually done (or so Vegas tells me). And it actually does look quite good, I think. I did do 2-pass and had the quality slider at 31. I will certainly try the DVD-R media (hadn't thought of that) and bring the burn speed down.

The reason we did not render from one Vegas file with all the m2t files is (1) we needed to go to Cineform to convert the HV20 m2t files into true 24P (which my daughter really wanted) and, most important, (2) my daughter just found it much more efficient to work on individual scenes instead of one huge file.

The reason we used DVDShrink was simple -- I didn't know how long the movie would be in its finished form, we were trying to get done quickly so I was rendering each scene when finished, and I simply guessed wrong on length and hence rendered each scene with an average that was a little high.

Though I can see that this plan is probably not the ultimate in visual quality, there is very little loss going to Cineform and the DVDShrink didn't make any difference that I could see either. But in any case, I don't see why that approach would cause any problems in playback: are you suggesting that multiple renders somehow introduce errors that will cause some players to hang up?