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hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Discussions on third party software for the final creation of DVD including Nero, Roxio, DVD Architect, Magix, Ulead, etc...

hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:09 pm

Hi,

I have an 1280 x 720 hd project that I build in Camtasia Studio 8 that I'd like to produce in sd for DVD. What is your favorite work flow for optimizing quality?

My skill level is kind of novice+. I own Camtasia (obviously) and PrE v12. PrE not producing satisfactory scaling results.

I spent the last couple of days trying to follow this open source work flow but I think I'm failing: http://bellunevideo.com/tutvideo.php?tutid=12. It's a bit deep and I'm not sure how to install and work with DGMPGDec on Win 7 nor whether it's still supported,

I could drop a few bucks on a commercial product if worthwhile but a pro product might be a bit of a leap.

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Bill
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:30 am

You could try one of these:-

http://en.softonic.com/s/hd-sd-converter

In the "paid for" product sector there are these but at US£40 or so you would need to use it often to make it worthwhile.

http://www.vso-software.fr/products/convert_x_to_dvd/
http://www.xilisoft.com/hd-video-converter.html
http://www.deskshare.com/audio-video-converter.aspx

I am sure there will be more posts with other suggestions.... :-D
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby Steve Grisetti » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:27 am

Also, remember that you ARE reducing your project's resolution by going from a 1280x720 project to a 720x480 DVD -- so a DVD can't possibly be as detailed and sharp as your original project.

BTW, what are the dimensions of the area of your computer screen you're capturing with Camtasia? If you're capturing, say, a 1280x1024 video monitor at full screen, then putting that video into a 1280x720 project and THEN converting that to a 720x480 DVD, your DVD will be only be one-fourth the resolution of your original capture -- in other words, you've lost about 75% of your original video's resolution.

How do you plan to use your video? There may be a better medium for sharing it.

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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:10 am

Steve,

To answer your questions:

Disclaimer:
This is my first project.

Content Details:
Video on the Camtasia project consists of two video streams and a collection of jpgs. Audio of narration, a music sound track, and some sound effects.

One video stream is a screen capture of a PowerPoint presentation. The screen is 1200 x 900 recorded with a 1152 x 864 (the closest I could get in the Camtasia recorder).
The other started out as an AVCHD recording of a presenter from my DSLR of 1920 x 1080. The only resolution option available. I captured the presenter on green screen then chroma keyed out the background and superimposed this on the PowerPoint screen capture.
I note that the .jpgs are even larger. jpgs that I used for chapter titles are 2048 x 1536.
I put these all together on a 1280 x x720 project in Camtasia Studio.

Distribution:
I rendered at the same resolution as the project and uploaded to Vimeo. Those seem acceptable. But now we'd like something to put into people's hands that they can play on their TV set, hence the DVD objective. We have a rather small low tech audience. I realize that BlueRay discs would accommodate the 1280 x 720 resolution but figure that not enough people own and use them. Please let me know if you know of a better way to meet these objectives.

Problems with DVD production:
The video degradation resulting from the down scaling is most obvious in those .jpg sourced title slide images. Curved sections of text show a disturbing degree of aliasing, especially when displayed on a large screen hd tv. Looking back on it, I thought the larger resolution of the .jpgs would make for better quality but I suppose it would've been better to create a maximum pfoject based 1280 x 720. Maybe, this would still be worth doing for the DVD even though the project and the Vimeo production looks acceptable. On the other hand, there are 13 subsections with title slides and many other text slides inside as well. it'd be easier if I could maintain sufficient quality when down scaling. Your thoughts?

I'm also concerned about video/audio sync problems but haven't gotten that far yet. My little exposure to frame servers and some of their applications over the weekend added to my concern.

Alot of down scaling:
Yes, I agree, there is a lot of down scaling. Is it too much to be produced with acceptable output? It doesn't have to be top notch but just decent enough so the average viewer doesn't think it looks bad on their tv sets.

What to do?:
I'm sure I'm not the only one faced with this problem or set of objectives. Should I have done things differently? I can't believe people produce the same thing twice for hd and sd objectives. What do others do?

thanks for reading!

Bill
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby Steve Grisetti » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:28 pm

Yes, if you've got text on those JPGs, they're going to be rezzed down pretty far by the time you get from 2048x1536 to 720x480. They're probably not going to look good at all. You'd be much better off recreating the text in Premiere Elements' titler.

Can you post a screen capture of a frame from your DVD that shows the quality issues you're concerned with?

Your DVD should look pretty good on a TV -- but DVDs as a whole don't look good when played on a computer. Have you played your DVD on a TV yet to see how it looks?
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:14 pm

Hi Steve,

Here are a few screenshots captured when playing the standard def DvD on my 1920 x 1080 computer monitor at slightly less than full screen display:
  1. This is from a title slide. http://screencast.com/t/XauVf1hUNh It may not look so bad here but it's alto worse when displayed on my large screen tv.
  2. This image shows the video on top of the PowerPoint screencast. http://screencast.com/t/m6VZpUGYuh No .jpgs here. I guess I'd call it low grade. The doc doesn't look so good but I don't think the text problem jumps out at you as much as with the aliasing of those large fonts on the title slide in the previous image.
  3. In this one the background is a .jpg with similar down scaling as the title slide but the text was created in Camtasia. http://screencast.com/t/pRuDAAlLD Though not great, it seems like its a bit better than the text on the title .jpg.
Your suggestion to use the PrE titler (or Camtasia text) for the title slides would likely improve the title slides somewhat in line with the text quality shown on the second and third slides. I could replace the title .jpgs but there is yet another problem to resolve.

Re: Audio Sync
I have confirmed that there is a problem with audio sync. It doesn't show up on the intermediate files that I produce from Camtasia, even when I down scale. It only shows up in DvDs that I author with PrE. The timing differences are not acceptable. I'm not sure what the problem is there or what to do about it. I guess this is where a frame server may help but I don't quite grasp that yet. Any ideas?

Authoring Tools:
I was hoping to author the DvD in PrE 12 since I already own it and Camtasia does not support DvD authoring. Your thoughts on whether a different authoring app might make much of a difference and what you would recommend?

Distribution Method:
The reason we'd like a physical product is that we run a clinic where we have in person contact with clients and occasionally speak at public events but I am beginning to wonder whether a product of reasonable quality can even be produced in standard def given my high def project specs and whether blu ray would be a better choice. Unfortunately, PrE doesn't seem to write blu ray folders. I'd have to find another authoring app or purchase a blu ray R/W drive and player to address a smaller audience. At least the quality would be better though. What would others do in this situation?

Thanks for helping!
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:22 pm

John,

Thanks for your app suggestions! I was planning on trying some of them out until someone else mentioned to me that I will get my best quality product if I down scale from the app in which I built the project but his experience is limited. Unfortunately, down scaling from the project app (camtasia) seems to yield unacceptable result when displayed on a large screen tv. Your thoughts? Do you think his reasoning is sound or do you think it might be worthwhile to explore outputting an intermediate file and down scale it in one of the apps you mentioned?

Bill
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby Steve Grisetti » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:17 pm

Ultimately, you're still going to have to deal with the same issue.

A 720x480 DVD is never going to look as clear and as detailed as a 1920x1080 (or larger) source video or a 2048x1536 photo.
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:21 pm

Steve,

What would you do?
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:48 am

BillyB wrote:...I was planning on trying some of them out...

At least one of the "paid for" products - http://www.deskshare.com/audio-video-converter.aspx - has a free "try before you buy" option so you could always download it and see what you make of the results.
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby Steve Grisetti » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:13 am

Your options are pretty much either to:

a) Live with DVD resolution.
b) Burn the lesson to high-def BluRay -- but risk that many of your viewers may not have Bluray players.
c) Produce your video as a 1920x1080 MP4. You can distribute this on a disc, but people will only be able to play it on their computers.
d) Post the video online.
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:15 am

Steve,

Yes, you may be right. it helps gather one's thoughts to look at a list of possible options.

The thing that causes me to question whether a good quality sd Dvd is still possible is that I have Hollywood DvDs in hand of current feature films that must've been shot in hd but were produced in sd. I rent them from Netflix and play them on my sd cd player to my 720p largish screen tv and they look fine. So, there must be a way to do this. Wouldn't you agree?

If my project looks decent when rendered to .avis and .mp4s in its native resolution, doesn't it make sense that the deterioration is taking place either in the down scaling or the dvd authoring processes or both?

How does Hollywood or perhaps, others with less invested, do this? What's their secret sauce? Is it that they use technologies out of reach of the home producer? Or are their tools affordable but require advanced user expertise? Or is it within reach of the home producer as long as he just makes the right choices? (I just read that a major film was just completed using PrPro. Apparently, it was a novel but successful approach.) Do you know the techniques that allow them to produce good quality sd from hd? I suppose you could probably write a book about it but I wonder if you might summarize briefly where am I falling short and what I need to do to emulate them?

Thanks again for your generous attention!

Bill
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby Peru » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:14 pm

BillyB wrote:Steve,

Is it that they use technologies out of reach of the home producer?


Yup. Usually.
Those DVDs are not burned, they're pressed.
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:54 pm

Peru wrote:Yup. Usually.
Those DVDs are not burned, they're pressed.


I take it then that burning inherently implies a loss of quality and pressing doesn't or, at least, less so.

thanks for that insight!
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Re: hd 2 sd - best work flow?

Postby BillyB » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:02 pm

Well, I was finally able to get a pretty clear image onto a sd disc with this workflow:
  1. Publish from Camtasia to AVI at project resolution of 1280x720 using Logarith lossless codec.
  2. Downscale AVI using hd2sd filter for Avsynth.
  3. Encode and burn to dvd using Sony Architect Studio. (worked better than PrE)

I still have a significant problem with audio going out of sync somewhere in step 3. Any advice anyone?
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