Opinions sought re "best" format to render video for a CD-ROM

FrankM wrote on 8/9/2001, 7:36 PM
I am confused by all the formats and variations available. In your opinion which format and specification gives the best trade-off between quality and file size?

For example, I have twenty minutes of video, which, using MPEG, can fit on one CD-ROM or requires two CD-ROMs depending on quality.


wvg wrote on 8/9/2001, 9:56 PM
It depends on what you are going to do with the CD. If you are using it just for storage, really don't make much difference. On the other hand if you want to be able to play the video off the CD it matters a lot.

Unless you have a burnable DVD drive, and I doubt many do because of price ($1000+) if you want to play a video off a CD on your DVD player hooked up to a TV your only real choice for now is to use the Video CD NTSC format which uses a MPEG-1. The quality can be very acceptable. I know, I've made a bunch already. :-)

Verson two allows you to burn directly from VF, I haven't tried that method myself yet.

If you do, I would consider cranking up the contrast a tad more than you would otherwise.

Can anyone answer if or not you can burn multiple videos at once using VF, and if so, can you add menu items like you can using Easy CD Creator?
steveh wrote on 8/10/2001, 8:19 AM
I've used the vf 2.0 'make a movie' control to create vcds. It works quite well for making a simple vcd, but unless I'm missing something it does not allow you to put multiple videos on one disk, and it does not have a menuing option. It is a basic wizard type deal: tells you to put a blank cd-r in the drive, renders the video as a mpg file, asks you some questions about the title, then burns it right to the cd-r. Pretty simple, with good results on my HP cd burner.
Hopefully sonic foundry can incorporate support for svcd in their next release... please...
FrankM wrote on 8/10/2001, 9:11 AM
I've tried buring a video CD to play in my DVD drive. I was not impressed with the quality of the picture - it looked to me like a poor quality VHS recording. So I will wait for the true DVD burners to drop in price a bit before buying one and converting my DV tapes to DVD.

But what I still would like to solicit is the preferred format folks use for burning CDs to be played back on a PC. I'd like to make "clean" copies of the video and send them out to interested friends and relatives, without having to burn 3 or 4 CDs for a 30 minute video.

wvg wrote on 8/10/2001, 2:40 PM
David, have you used the "best" video rendering quality under the advanced tab accessible from the custom button? The default is only "good" quality and can cause what you describe. The videos I edited and rendered using the Video CD NTSC template then burned to CD are close to commerical grade VHS tape quality when viewed on my TV.

Also the better premium grade cables between your DVD and VHS player and TV do maintain overall quality. The standard cables that come with your DVD VHS player or TV can cause loss of quality because they are so cheaply made.
FrankM wrote on 8/11/2001, 9:12 AM
I see that VF's "best" MPG video template is named "NTSC better". That does produce a better image on my PC, but consumes a lot of CD space.

I ran a test of each of 9 different templates using the identical video to compare PC screen output vs file size.

For use with Windows Media viewer, I've decided that WMV at 1 Mbps is the leader with VideoCD MPG a close second in picture quality and file size.

For use with Real Media player, the RM 3 Mbps is the clear winner, but the file size may be a limiting factor. Plus your viewer would need to have the Real Media PLayer installed on their PC.

So, what I've about decided is to make CDs for friends and relatives using the WMV at 1 Mbps and include on the CD an installable copy of Version 7.1 of the Windows Media Viewer (10.1 MB).
pking wrote on 8/12/2001, 7:20 PM
I learned a lesson the hard way this week: just because the the Template Box says "DVD NTSC - Better" doesn't mean the CD written using this template will play in a DVD player (set-top or computer).

I wanted to send friends a 6+ minute video of their daughters graduation ceremony I had edited. I burned a VCD (MPEG-1) cut of it and was VERY disapointed with the playback (just spoiled I guess from the fabulous playback of the native DV footage while editing the movie). So I looked around the "RENDER AS" dialog box and noticed the "DVD NTSC - Better" format had a good format which would increase the playback quality (Audio: 384 Kbps, 48,000 Hz Video: 29.97 fps, 720x480, 8300 Kbps, MPEG-2). I rendered to a CD(400MB) using this and then played it back on my computer's DVD player. It popped right up in Windows Media Player and looked MUCH better than the VCD formated movie. I took it to work and tried it there and it played in Windows Media Player. Then I mailed it to the family.

Wouldn't play! They had the same version of Windows Media Player and it wouldn't play. Finally, after three days of long-distance trouble-shooting, I had them go to the Ligos website and download a trial copy of their media player. It played perfectly. I didn't realize that rendering with the SF provided MPEG-2 template would only produce output that could be used on machines with the Ligos codec; it was a fluke that my office machine had it installed. Quite disappointed that this was not mentioned in the manual. I guess it's one of those tribal lore things that is so obvious to the SF folks they thought everybody knew it. I learned from that one.
MHampton wrote on 8/13/2001, 7:26 AM
Actually, I think you happened on what a lot of people in the Windows XP Preview program found out. Windows does not come with a MPEG-2 Decoder, which is what the DVD format uses and what you rendered to. It's not lingos specific. Once you have the codec installed, as you found out, it works fine. I think I remember reading this has to do with licensing of the media, that's why you have to "buy" a codec. Remember the DE-CESS debacle when somone cracked the CESS encryption in MPEG-2? They don't want us copying their "stuff". :)

I'm having the same problem as you. Not real happy with the quality of VCD. I would love to be able to burn DVD quality, but actual DVD burners, while dropping in price (around $500 now) are still a bit high. Maybe by Christmas. On top of that, you still need software to burn the DVD format onto the disc. The cheapest one I've seen so far is around $130. Nero will burn a SVCD which is better than VCD, but I haven't burned one of those that I'm happy with either yet.