Why does my HDV to DVD look like crap???


Laurence wrote on 11/20/2010, 2:33 PM
OK, I can recreate your problem now. If I render to 704 (instead of 720) horizontal pixels it looks terrible in Windows Media Player.

I'm pretty sure it's just a Windows Media Player playback issue though. If I play it back in VLC the 720 and 704 renders look the same. In WMP, 704 looks terrible.

I'm the guy who suggested 704 rather than 720 in the first place and I have burned many 704 DVDs over the years. Also, keep in mind that I started using this setting back when WMP was unable to deinterlace video, and none of the current problems with that dimension and this player existed yet. DVDs were played back in DVD players!

I'm not going to use 704 any more though. Too many people play back their DVDs in computers, many using Windows Media Player. I am going to switch to 720 for this reason.

More food for thought. If you render out a 720x480 NTSC widescreen mpeg without checking the "stretch to fill output frame size" box and also render out a 704x480 mpeg, then put one over top of the other on a Vegas timeline, what you will find is that you can mute the top layer and the different sized layer under it will look exactly the same dimensions. In fact, the only difference between the two are the very narrow pillarboxes at the outside edges of the 720 render. the middle 704 pixels look the same. That is how I came to use that setting. I wanted to avoid the pillarboxes, and felt that the video in the middle was exactly the same.

The other option is to render to 720x480 and check the "stretch to fill output frame size" box. When you do that, it will stretch the aspect ratio ever so slightly and fill the entire 720 pixel frame.

What I have decided to do is to render to 720x480 and always check the "stretch" box. That way the resulting mpeg2 file will be a simple 1440 divided by two equation and should be as "jaggy free" as possible, even if it is squished a little vertically.
johnmeyer wrote on 11/20/2010, 2:39 PM
1. Use Sharpen fX on every event (not track, but event), and set it to zero (there is a link to my earlier post on this, earlier in this thread).

2. Use the standard DVD Architect Widescreen template, and do NOT change ANYTHING except for the average bitrate and/or 2-pass. In particular, do NOT set width to 704.

3. In project settings, de-select the "Adjust source media to better match project or render settings." I have not had VP10 for long, but I have seen this do some strange things. If I had more time, I would investigate and submit a report.

If you follow the above, you will get great results, unless you are doing something else on the timeline. You might post the VEG file for the test video you posted so we can look at the timeline settings.
farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 2:41 PM
OK, so from what you're saying the .m2t file is not camera original. I guess that's pretty obvious because there's a dissolve in it.

I might as well be blunt, it looks like c**p. There appears to be multiple problem with it, I have no idea how that happened but whatever. The simple fact is bad HD = really bad SD, it may become worse in fact when you scale it down and encode it.

Apart from anything else you have shot video using a lossy codec, you have encoded it again to a lossy codec, you are then rescaling it and encoding it to another lossy codec. In the midst of all that you have picked up aliasing issue, look at the horizontals in the opening shot. There seems to be many other artifacts in the shot by the pool. All of the artifacts plus noise etc, etc have a serious impact on what happens when you use a lossy codec and you are subjecting the image to multiple generations of it. It will fall apart no matter what you do or what you use to do it with.

The only solution to your issue is to start with your camera settings and how you shoot. Then go through your workflow in total.

Shooting great HD is not exactly simple. You need great HD to get great SD out of it. I agree, it is not as simple as shooting SD and delivering SD. If you do the hard work and get all your ducks in a row you can get better looking SD than you'll get out of affordable SD cameras.

Laurence wrote on 11/20/2010, 2:42 PM
John, do you check the "stretch video to fill output frame size" box?
Randy Brown wrote on 11/20/2010, 2:47 PM
720 instead of 704...that's one less headache...stretch to fit (default) is one less headache...don't shoot interlaced ...one less headache...I feel better already.
Okay so I'm now rendering stretch, best, 720, no interlacing method. It won't be as good as I had hoped for but it may be sufficient....we'll see.
BTW ushere I agree 25p (24p over here) doesn't work well with fast movement but 30P is much better.
Laurence wrote on 11/20/2010, 2:52 PM
I've been shooting 30p rather than 60i ever since I got my HVR-Z7 camera. Recently however I sent the camera in for repair and had to do two projects with my trusty little HVR-A1 which only shoots interlaced. In looking at the finished product, I must say that I really like the look of 60i. I believe that the reason has more to do with WMP and how well it deinterlaces video (as long as it's 720 rather than 704 pixels wide). The projects looked about as sharp and the motion was noticeably smoother. It pleasantly surprised me.

Another thing I noticed when I did these two interlaced projects is that Vegas's HDV smart-rendering worked again. I thought it was broken, but it turns out that it was just that only interlaced HDV smart-renders. Actually, this is pretty easy to work around. On my HVR-Z7 I just use the 30p option from the interlaced options and what I get is 30p that is flagged as 60i. This looks exactly the same as the true 30p mode I was using except that it smart-renders.
farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 2:55 PM
don't shoot interlaced ...one less headache

That is really bad advice. That WILL create a major headache when you come to deliver interlaced SD. The person giving you that advice is recommending some expensive and complex workflow and the reason he has to use it because of the issues caused by shooting progresssive.

Randy Brown wrote on 11/20/2010, 3:06 PM
I might as well be blunt, it looks like c**p. There appears to be multiple problem with it, I have no idea how that happened but whatever. The simple fact is bad HD = really bad SD, it may become worse in fact when you scale it down and encode it.

Be as blunt as you want man I need to know what the hell I'm doing wrong. That said the original footage looks okay to me...not being full HD. Regarding using a lossy codec I was told here on this forum to use HDV 60i when rendering out my segments to use later on my master timeline. Is that lossy? Should I use a Bluray template or something.

Apart from anything else you have shot video using a lossy codec,

do you mean by using an HDV camera?

if you mean by using HDV 60i what choice would I have?

I believe I used the word crappy but your description is good too...my question is, is there anything I can do about it at this point?

The only solution to your issue is to start with your camera settings and how you shoot.
What camera settings are you suggesting for those particular shots (other than progressive)?

Then go through your workflow in total.

I don't know what you mean by that but I'd sure like to know if you have the patience.
Thanks Bob,

PerroneFord wrote on 11/20/2010, 3:11 PM

I delivered well over 100 projects on DVD shot progressive. Either shooting 30p on the DVX, 30p on the EX1, 24p on the EX1, or 24 or 30p on the DSLR. Footage looks great all the time. Whether I took it through Vegas, VirtualDub, Avid, Sorenson, MpegStreamclip, whatever.

What I didn't have to worry about was whether Vegas was going to screw up my field order, whether pixel ratio changes would be right, whether the rescale would be right, etc. I also didn't have to worry about the poor deinterlacer built into Vegas when I had to deliver that same project to the internet.

There are a number of ways and tools to solve these issues. But the correct method is to shoot, and test. And do that when you don't have a delivery looming. I've lost count of how many workflows I've tested over the years. I've been happy with what I've settled on as have others.

If you are shooting 1080/60i for 1080 broadcast, that's terrific. If you're shooting 480i for NTSC broadcast, that's also great. But I find shooting HD interlaced for SD interlaced delivery is just more of a headache than it's worth. Though you're earlier point about getting back to the camera originals is well taken, because there is certainly some weirdness going on there. And that aliasing on the buildings and telephone/power wires is pretty bad.
farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 3:43 PM
Yes , really.

Put simply when you switch a camera into progressive it will (or should if it's a good camera) increase the vertical resolution. The problem is you get too much vertical resolution for interlaced footage. This leads to problems with line twitter. You will quite likely not notice this on LCD, plasma or computer displays. You will notice it very badly on a real CRT based TV.

This is a very difficult problem to wrangle in post. The web is full of posts from people trying to deal with this issue.

I have tried shooting 1080p and 720p to deliver 50i, it has been a nightmare for the simple reasons I explained above. I hope you have been checking your footage on a CRT display.

I and others here such as Ushere and John Cline have no problems using Vegas out of the box to deliver great looking SD from interlaced HD footage. Getting it out of proressive footage is another matter entirely.

The one point I do agree with you on is getting great progressive footage from interlaced footage using just Vegas is impossible. Using a smart de-interlacer is also tricky but so far I've managed to pull it off. What I am yet to find is a really good optical process to deal with line twitter. I either end up having to apply too much blur to wrangle the problem OR to avoid that spending ages masking the offending areas and blurring just them.

farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:01 PM
I'll try to keep it short and sweat, I'm kind of a deadline myself.

If you do need / want to create an intermediate master then HDV would be the worst possible choice. I would recommend at the very least the Sony MXF codec at 50Mbps. File size is reasonable, audio is PCM and chroma is 4:2:2. The free Avid codec is another choice and Cineform (costs) is another choice.

"do you mean by using an HDV camera?"

Yes but that's fine. You just need to realise that HDV is OK as an acquisition format. It is lossy and it doesn't handle noise and artifacts too well. The last things you want to do is put your image through the same process again if you can avoid it.

Quick tips regarding your camera:
Turn Detail down. I cannot say exactly by how much, I don't use your camera, ask in fora specific to your camera and its settings. I see artifacts in your footage created from the camera's edge enhancement (Detail). These degrade badly when you re-encode the footage. They make the original footage look great on a big screen, that's why the default settings in most consumer and prosummer cameras are too high, it helps sell cameras.

Watch out for wide shots. Big mistake I made initially. HD looks great so you tend to go for the big wide cinematic shots. Great when it is all HD on a big screen. They kind of become mush is SD, just the way it is. If you plan to deliver SD then still shoot as you would for SD.

Sorry I haven't addressed all your specific questions, kind of got to get back to a big project. Really best you start shooting some tests. A paying gig with a client at the door is not the time to start learning. You've got a great camera, not my favourite but it should be giving you WAY better results than what you're getting. Don't get depressed, I'll say it again, YOU BOUGHT A GREAT CAMERA !


John_Cline wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:23 PM
There are two kinds of resolution; spatial, which is the image dimensions in pixels and temporal which is how many individual images are taken per second. Ideally, I would want to shoot and deliver 1080-60p, but that isn't yet completely practical. Personally, 24p and 30p just don't give me enough temporal resolution for some of the fast action stuff that I shoot, some of it involving very fast pans. For the most part, I shoot 60i and some 60p.

Regarding John Meyer's suggestion to add the Sharpen filter, that is excellent advice. SD cameras add some sharpening, HD and HDV cameras don't, so when you downscale to SD it doesn't seem as sharp as what you might be used to coming natively from an SD camera.
PerroneFord wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:26 PM
Bob, Until June, I used a JVC Calibrated 17" broadcast monitor on my desk to check all output, especially after color. Further, I had a 36" JVC comsumer TV in my office hooked to a Sony DVD player to check finals. My television at home is also CRT so I brought my DVD home to check there.

Until quite recently, most of my clients who I gave DVDs to were playing back on CRT as many were used in house and I knew their playback gear.

So maybe I've just been lucky, or maybe my eyes are not as critical as yours, but both I and my clients have been VERY pleased with the footage. I just delivered some sports footage last week shot 1080p and delivered on DVD, and one client has called me twice to let me know how much he liked it.

I'm not saying you are wrong. I am saying I am simply not seeing what you are... for whatever reason.
farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:30 PM
The problem I and others have with shooting progressive is spatial, the temporal resolution is a another issue entirely and one best left alone in my opinion :)

I have shot 720p50 to deliver 50i. Yes the camera original looked stunning, yes it looks fantastic on YouTube and Vimeo. Because the venue had dark brown bricks with very fine detail it was an absolute disaster making a SD DVD from it. In the end I had to mask out the walls and apply a lot of GB to it. My biggest mistake was trying something different on a paying gig without testing it and testing it in that location.


Laurence wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:33 PM
It's getting to the point where true interlaced playback devices are rare. I get the odd older couple here and there who still have an old fashioned big square television, and I have one myself, but as a general rule, I'm finding that a lot of the issues with progressive are vanishing along with the last of these old sets.
farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:35 PM
Here is a sample of the artifacts I am talking about. This has been enlarged 200% in PS and I've expanded the levels a bit to make it stand out more. I doubt the camera created this. Sky tends to be noisy because it's mostly the blue channel which has the lowest sensitivity. Still it should only give you fine grained noise, not artifacts like these.

The problem is the SD mpeg-2 encoder has to encode these artifacts and that uses up bandwidth. Things go downhill.

farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:50 PM
It could well be that the encoder you're using is 'smart' enough to wrangle this issue.

Try this simple test. Take a standard zone plate or res chart at 1920x1080 into a 1920x1080p project. Simulate a vertical pan and encode it to interlaced SD. Play it back onto a SD CRT. Use just the tools in Vegas. I get a jittery mess.

I even see this issue on OTA SD broadcast since they've switched to HD acquisition. Not as bad as it can get so obvioulsy their scalers are doing a pretty good job but still the fine detail in the Sydney Harbour Bridge where the small girders have blue sky between them jitter pretty badly. This is in a station ident so obviously something considerable care was taken with.

PerroneFord wrote on 11/20/2010, 4:52 PM
I disconnected my broadcast monitor in June, and replaced it with an LCD (Dell U2410) hooked to my computer via a Matrox Mini 02 w/ MAX. Now I have excellent color HD playback The unit can scale to SD either stretched or pixel for pixel. But you can't see interlace issues as Farss said. However, I still have my CRT playback handy for when I need to check, and I am still CRT at home because I just don't watch much TV.

In a few years, I suppose this will all be academic.
ushere wrote on 11/20/2010, 5:10 PM
i do almost everything using 2 calibrated viewsonic ips screens. however, i also have my old but trusted hr trinitron crt on which i view a final test rendered project. if it's ok on that, it's ok on anything else.....

also agree with perrone's last comment - in a few years (maybe a couple), crt's will be history.
farss wrote on 11/20/2010, 6:21 PM
I believe the last plant manufacturing CRTs closed a few years back so yes they will go away.
On the other hand some LCD / Plasma TVs can make a real hash of handling interlaced footage. Add it being scaled from SD into the mix and it can get even worse. This caused much hubris on the web when HDV cameras first came out.

Of course I'd LOVE to be able to stop shooting interlaced. Aside from the frame rate issue interlaced is horrid, an engineering cludge that I wish would just go away. I very rarely shoot anything fast moving unlike J.C. and oddly enough using a 360deg shutter at 25p it looks great AND I don't loose any light. Problem I keep coming up against is that friggin line twitter.

Sure that will go away but too many times I've been caught out by what the client has to view my work on. Trying to tell them their DVD player isn't setup correctly or their DVD player uses a chip that isn't quite to spec etc, etc is bloody hard. I now have a little logo I made myself that says "WIDESCREEN", "16:9" they just don't get.

robwood wrote on 11/20/2010, 8:10 PM
Excellent thread. thx.
amendegw wrote on 11/21/2010, 4:28 AM
". Use Sharpen fX on every event Why should it make a difference whether the Shapen FX is on the event level rather than the track level? I'm not questioning this wisdom - just trying to understand it.


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craftech wrote on 11/21/2010, 5:42 AM
1. Take HDV file straight into Sorenson Squeeze, apply the mpeg2 DVD preset and render out.

Have you tried that with footage from your EX1? If so, how does it look?

Opampman wrote on 11/21/2010, 7:11 AM
I'm probably the stupid old man on the block, but I use to have this problem on our monthly music video program. It's shot 60i on HDv but some of the videos arrive from the management firm in widescreen SD.It's a mix of UFF and LFF. When the whole show was rendered to widescreen SD for distribution it was a mess with jaggies and softness. I pulled out what little bit of my hair was left and finally unchecked the box under project properties that says "Adjust source media to better match project or render settings". The problems all went away and I've had people ask if it was a Blu-Ray disc when they saw it on a 46" Sony LCD TV off the air! Probably not your problem but that's my story.