Vegas, AVCHD, and that sorry thing called DVD Arch

Terje wrote on 10/27/2007, 11:27 PM
I decided to buy the Ulead DVD Movie Factory with the HD stuff and try to create my first menu-driven AVCHD disk. After rendering from Vegas with the Sony AVC H.64 encoder and using the M2TS file format, I imported it into DVDMF, created some menus etc. BTW, the capabilities of DVDMF are pathetic when it comes to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. You can not even add menues etc, only fixed templates. Wouldn't recommend this at all if there was any other solution. Anyway, I haven't received my new PS3 yet, so I have no way of testing it at home (should be here in a week or so, waiting for the 40G, 399 one), but I took it down to Circuit city, and the AVCHD disk played in all players, menus and all, and it looked aswome.

Some questions.

1/ DVDMF only supports H.264 wrapped in an M2TS (Mpeg transport stream) format. The Sony AVC codec supports this, but the Main Concept encoder does not. The H.264 output from the Main Concept encoder is not accepted by DVDMF. So, the first question is, how can I use the MC encoder and have it wrapped in an transport stream file?
2/ When I have written the AVCHD DVD, I insert it into various DVD burners I have around the house and oddly enough, it shows up as empty. Does anybody know why? Does the AVCHD DVDs use a file format not supported on Windows?
3/ Anyone know DVDMF enough by now to confirm the amazingly few options available there? I mean, you can't even determine how many menu pages your project will have, or what menus goes on which menu page.</li>
4/ How about Sony? If a tiny little outfit like Ulead, chronically out of money and people, can do this in a few weeks, why not Sony? Where is our Blu-Ray and AVCHD authoring? DVD Architect is already a rather dated piece of sadness (sorry, but it is) far less appealing for DVD Authoring than DVDMF. DVDMF is more more flexible when it comes to DVD Authoring than AVCHD authoring, and the features it has are what people want, and they far surpass DVD Architect when it comes cool things. I mean. Seriously Sony? This is just sad. And no, adding a few rather dated templates doesn't really change that.

Taking Vegas away from me, even the slightly buggy V8, is going to be a lot harder than trying to take a gun away from Charlton Heston (I don't think that is all that hard anymore), but DVD Architect leaves a lot to be desired. Considering Sony is backing the Blu-Ray format, and have in reality bet quite a lot on it being victorious (if Blu-Ray fails so will the PS3 in my opinion, and vice versa). Not being on the ball for the enthusiasts who wants to create inexpensive HD disks (AVCHD disks are a huge thing for those of us never creating anything that runs longer than 15 minutes) is, in my opinion, a Really Bad Idea (TM) for Sony.


blink3times wrote on 10/28/2007, 5:40 AM
Well, not to spark a debate but this is along the lines of the problem I have with Sony/BD

As I said before... I don't really care who wins this format war just so long as we get cheap and effective hi-def burning abilities. And you would figure that Sony would have the edge here. After all, they have the avchd cams, the bd burners, the bd players, the software NLE's.... in short they have a lot of hardware out there..... but none of it fits together very well!

I would have thought that Vegas would be at the forefront of hi-def burning abilities both on blu ray AND dvd media.... but it's not..... not even close. When you start to compare Vegas avchd to some of the other products, you begin to see that the Vegas avchd system was sort of haphazardly glued together and mounted into Vegas with a bit of scotch tape

But anyway, to answer your number2 question... dvd burners can WRITE the info for bothe HD DVD and BD, but can not read it. With HD DVD it is because the info is written as UDF2.6, which windows does not understand... I think the same is true for BD. But Nero8 has the drivers for their SHOWTIME viewer that will allow you to read the disks. (I don't know how well 8 works because I am still using 7 which has the drivers as a plugin)
Terje wrote on 10/28/2007, 6:57 AM
Irrespective of earlier discussions...

As I said before... I don't really care who wins this format war just so long as we get cheap and effective hi-def burning abilities

I agree, and given that both formats now have this capability - the AVCHD disk I created with DVD Movie Factory worked on every Blu-Ray player they had at Circuit City, menus and all, and the quality was superb - the software makers like Sony have to get their act together.

I am astonished that Sony is trailing toy makers like Ulead on this one. I mean, if you want world domination you really have to get your troops to march in some sort of lock step, or at least in the same direction.
blink3times wrote on 10/28/2007, 8:11 AM
Well I've always looked at Ulead as a bit of a toy as well, but the fact is that these guys are almost always the first ones out of the starting gate with the new technology. But even Pinnacle beat Sony to the punch, and it should not have been this way with the avchd... Vegas SHOULD have been the first one out and leading the pack. It's a bit irritating... and embarrassing!
MozartMan wrote on 10/28/2007, 8:47 AM

You can try TSRemux to remux MC encoder file into .M2TS wrapper. You need to select M2TS (192 byte packets) radio button under Output Format section.

AVCHD DVDs and Blu-ray disks use UDF 2.5 file system format. Windows XP doesn't support that. You can download Toshiba's UDF 2.5 driver clicking here.

Didn't get my DVDMF yet.

I hope that next version of DVD Architect will be called Blu-ray Architect.
MPM wrote on 10/28/2007, 11:45 AM
Totally FWIW...

Ulead does have some resources behind them, called Corel. Their movie fact. app is easier to use, being tailored to home users & offering less flexibility. HD on std DVD is not a real standard, so offering it is a marketing decision that you might feel is right or wrong, but it's not like leaving out standard capabilities.

RE: not reading the disks produced, AFAIK no version of Windows includes the ability to read every file system format possible on optical discs. It's not supported or unsupported -- just a matter of installing the necessary drivers, same as with codecs etc. [i.e. XP doesn't include mpg2]. Often installing Drag to Disc or similar also installs the drivers needed.

DVDA is a very capable DVD authoring app., IMHO pretty much on par with anything else in it's class. Encore offers some HD, and along with DVDLab Pro has CC & Chapter Playlists, but DVDA does some other tasks better, like sub handling, while being easier to use. That's not to say anyone should not be disappointed with the latest versions, which to me seem as if they were frozen in development to come up with a release providing official Vista support.

Sony I assume controls the purse strings, & maybe at the lower price for DVDA they don't feel keeping up is important, or maybe this was a 1 time, just get Vista support affair? Pretty soon it's going to be more difficult just to buy a SD TV in the US (Best Buy is yanking them off the shelves), HD drive/player prices will drop further, and whomever meets the demand for authoring software will gain a whole lot of customers. Sonic, who wrote the code most authoring apps licensed, and has marketing through their Pinnacle & Roxio arms, is probably a good bet along with Adobe (assuming they can make subtitles at least not so terribly painful).

For tools to help with format conversions, is always a good source.
4eyes wrote on 10/28/2007, 2:31 PM
If you had Vista the disks would be readable.
Make sure using MF6+ to download and install Patch# 2, very important as this allows direct insertion of avchd videos rather than having to import them via dvd.

In MF6+ using XP to get the avc/h264 videos from the disk without installing the packet reading software (some packet readers will cause burning problems) use the MF6+ import from DVD/-VR AVCHD disk feature, one of the icons on the top. The videos from the dvd made in Vegas will be copied to a folder called "Capture" that resides directly under the MF6 assigned working folder.

If you want to know how to create h264 videos directly from Vegas that can be inserted into MF6+ and not re-encoded search on some of my posts (to much to type in again).

Ulead/Corel didn't do this in a short time, it has taken them at least a year to get the avc/h264 down better. First releases were really bad.

Unless I read your post incorrectly I don't see how you could possibly compare DVDA to ulead MF6+ making dvd's. DVDA is very powerful, MF is desiged for simple use but has many advanced features that aren't documented (video related encoding).

I have made an AVCHD disk now with menus that contains both avc & mpeg2 highdefintion, burnt to a dvd in avchd mode. Plays on the PS3, menus & all. So it can be done.
Next test is to test these disks on the Sony Blu-Ray Players, I'm thinking the discs may not play the mpeg2 video because the PS3 is more like a computer.

I also think that Sony Media will make the software available for avchd disk creation (menu based) when the timing is correct. Right now, how many persons own a Blu-Ray Disk player, or an HD-DVD player, and are using either player to playback home content. Not many, when the demand is there then so will the programs. Is it worth the programming investment for such a small audience? Hard to say.

Edited Follow up:
The dvd's that played on the PS3 did not play the HighDef Mpeg2 video smoothly from the dvd in the Sony Blu-Ray Players. I didn't try any other Blu-Ray players because what's the sense, if HD-Mpeg2 from dvd's in the BDMV format don't play reliably then I choose not to use this format on dvd's. (Except for customizing the PS3). The avchd video played without any problems on the Sony Blu-Ray Players. The HD-Mpeg2 video studdered, therefore this is most likely the reason software programs aren't creating BDMV disks on red-laser standard dvd's. Many of the hardware players don't want to spin the dvd faster to playback the mpeg2 video at 25MBS, makes sense. So, staying with AVCHD avc/h264 video for playing back HighDef on Blu-Ray players appears to be the reliable route to go.
Terje wrote on 10/28/2007, 10:26 PM
Ulead/Corel didn't do this in a short time, it has taken them at least a year to get the avc/h264 down better.

Yes, it has taken them a while to get the AVC encoding and stuff better, but it has taken everybody a while to get the AVC encoding better. Once you have the AVC coding down, authoring AVC or BD disks really isn't all that hard. It is just a question of putting the correct files in the correct directories on the disk, more or less. No magic.

DVDA is very powerful, MF is desiged for simple use but has many advanced features that aren't documented (video related encoding).

The usability of DVD simply isn't up there, I am sorry, but these days, DVDA falls far short of most software out there, even simple consumer stuff like DVDMF has stuff that really should be available in DVDA, not only on the bleeding edge, but in simple DVD authoring.

I have made an AVCHD disk now with menus that contains both avc & mpeg2 highdefintion, burnt to a dvd in avchd mode.

How did you make this one?
4eyes wrote on 10/29/2007, 10:17 AM
I have made an AVCHD disk now with menus that contains both avc & mpeg2 highdefintion, burnt to a dvd in avchd mode.How did you make this one?You Posted: "Once you have the AVC coding down, authoring AVC or BD disks really isn't all that hard. Yes, there is no magic, this is what I did to create a mixed avchd disk that plays in the PS3 and maybe some Blu-Ray Players if they can spin the disk fast enough. I'm going with straight avchd on dvd's & mixed content on Blu-Ray Disks.
FritzG wrote on 10/30/2007, 3:03 AM
Nero 8 can produce an AVCHD DVD in its Vision applet, including menus and chapters. It seems possible that one can modufy menus and produce a somewhat more complex project than the default tha applet offers, but yesterday I found it a little complicated ndreally not so smooth. The strange - and bad - thing is that Nero recompress the original footage, and it takes a huge amount of time to do it. But I just tried an hour yesterday in the evening, so maybe there is a way to bypass the process I didn't find out yet.
Picture Motion Browser, which comes with Sony's AVCD Handycams, let you export avcd files to real AVCD DVDs, with no further compression. Just be aware to burn them with a recent burner an to use discs of good quality. You can test their compatibility on your pc or in other ones, just take the (long) time to install the software (you need a Sony camera to do this). Nero Showtime can open them, too, but in slower hardware a failure in video-audio syncronisaton may occurr. I tested the discs only on a Pioneer BD drive, with very good results (amazing quality on a plasma screen!).