More DVD Problems

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the March, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Don writes:

DVD Image


I have just one other question about creating DVDs. I’ve included my sequence settings for you to see.


If i output this in QT using the current settings, use that file in DVDSP and create an DVD that is HD, the result is beautiful – very smooth transitions etc. but will not play on a standard DVD player. If instead I use it to create a DVD that is SD (setting attached), the result is far less quality, non smooth transitions etc.


DVD Image


I can understand the drop in quality from the HD version but I don’t understand why the transitions, pans (on stills) are not smooth and why lines tend to “flicker”. I had none of this in the HD version.


Plus if I take the same QT movie and create a DVD using iDVD instead of DVDSP using a 16:9 aspect ratio, the result is nearly as good as the HD version and plays on a standard DVD player. What is going on? I think my settings in DVDSP are not right but I don’t know what to set them to to get a 16:9 ratio in SD so it will play in a regular DVD player. Do you know the default settings for iDVD? Possibly I could just mimic those in DVDSP?


Sorry for the long question but this is really the only problem I am having. Because of your training I can move through all the other aspects of FCP and DVDSP with no problems. I’m just not happy with the SD DVD produced from DVDSP. I thank you for your help.

Larry replies: Don, we have a number of problems here.

First, DVD SP does not do a good job of transcoding from HD to SD. You are MUCH better off compressing your video in Compressor. Apple has updated the compression engine in both iDVD and Compressor many times, while the compression inside DVD SP hasn’t really changed for the last couple of years. At this point, I attribute the poor quality of your video to the poor compressor built into DVD Studio Pro.

Second, standard DVD players have no ability to play HD movies. That’s what all the excitement of Blu-ray is about — Blu-ray players can play both SD video and HD video, provided it is encoded and burned using the Blu-ray spec. DVD Studio Pro only supports the HD-DVD spec, which is no longer supported by anyone.

To create Blu-ray Discs on the Mac, you would need to use Adobe Encore or Roxio Toast.


Brian Pshyk asks:

I made a QT movie for iDVD (it up-scales nicely on a wide screen TV) and now would like to make a Letterbox version so I can offer the anamorphic (wide) version and a formatted for 4:3 version on the same DVD.

Larry replies: You can’t get there from here. You’ll need to create two sequences in Final Cut Pro – one 4:3 and the other 16:9.

Then, you’ll need to create two tracks in DVD Studio Pro – again, one 4:3 and the other 16:9. DVD Studio Pro allows you to mix and match 4:3 and 16:9 tracks in the same project, but you can NOT mix and match different aspect ratios within the same track.

Also, while not required, I would suggest creating all your menus at the same aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9) just to maintain a consistent look across your entire DVD.


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