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Apple SuperDrive, iDVD, and DVD Studio


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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted May 21 2002 - 11:21 AM

Hello -- Hopefully, there are a few Mac users here to discuss issues on burning DVD-R's on a Macintosh. First of all, is 1hour of video the maximum one can get on a disc using iDVD or DVD Studio? What are some of your techniques for getting other sources onto DVD? For example, if one wanted to get a TV broadcast onto a DVD, how would one do it? Say I want to put a show on DVD. I guess I would record it on my DV camera via the analog input and then edit it in iMovie and burn it to DVD. Would I use the same technique for porting a laserdisc over to DVD? What would happen to the sound quality? Anyone try it?

#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Joseph S

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Posted May 21 2002 - 01:23 PM

[quote]

I guess I would record it on my DV camera via the analog input and then edit it in iMovie and burn it to DVD.


[quote]


Sounds good to me and should work without any issues, .dv and .mov files are easily imported into iDVD. I'm waiting for Jaguar with Quicktime 6 to get a DVD-R drive. My plan is HiPix HDTV recordings->Mac via Firewire HardDrive->MPEG2->DVD. DVDStudio Pro is a much better product for picky folks that want the best final output options.



iDVD 2 is a piece of cake to use, but I've only had a few chances to use it. It will write to my DVD-RAM discs, but I haven't really had anything to use iDVD for at this point. The 1 hour limit is for iDVD only.

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted May 21 2002 - 02:34 PM

Actually, guys, iDVD2 will support up to 90 minutes of video, but that's a hard limit. Try for 90 minutes and a few seconds, and it's no go. For writing discs on your own, DVD Studio Pro will support as much video as you can squeeze into 4.7 gigs of space. DVD Studio Pro adds an MPEG2 export option to QuickTime, and you can set the bit rate. Higher bit rate means less time for video. I've done 90-minute videos in iDVD, and 120-minute videos in DVD Studio Pro. You can also play around with comression markers with the latest version of Final Cut Pro, meaning that you could potentially reduce the overall bit rate, but increase it for select scenes. As for importing video, I have a Hollywood Dazzler DV bridge for importing VHS, TiVo, and LD video. I have gotten fewer dropped frames, however, copying content to DV tape and then importing from the DV camcorder. - Steve

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted May 21 2002 - 04:16 PM

The Dazzle does not have the best rep for quality. The Canopus ADVC-100 is relatively inexpensive. The Formac Studio has a built-in TV tuner and the high-end model can act as a PVR.



These DV converters convert analog sound. You need to capture the non-AC3 PCM digital sound from a laserdisc with an optical S/PDIF input on your computer. (Don't know of any such hardware for the Mac, although there probably is one; and on the PC, they are hard to come by too.) Anyway, once you've got that, you can do a bitrate conversion from the laserdisc/CD 44.1KHz to DVD's 48Khz. Or encode in AC-3, which would take up a lot less space, which is important because the DVD-Rs aren't dual-layered.



There may also be a way to get the RF-encoded AC-3 on laserdiscs -- often considered better than equivalent soundtracks on DVD -- using an external RF-demodulator, but those are hard to find nowadays.



//Ken

#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Mike St.Louis

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Posted May 21 2002 - 07:24 PM

[quote]

As for importing video, I have a Hollywood Dazzler DV bridge for importing VHS, TiVo, and LD video. I have gotten fewer dropped frames, however, copying content to DV tape and then importing from the DV camcorder.

[quote]


Interesting idea. Can kill two birds with one stone that way.

#6 of 22 OFFLINE   David Hill

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Posted May 22 2002 - 12:17 AM

Guys, I've recently started this video editing game since buying a new iMac (couldn't face the problems I knew I'd get whhen I had a wintel machine!), and one thing puzzles me - I've made a home movie using the DV format, edited it down using iMovie, and then created a DVD using iDVD. There is a distinct picture quality loss when playing the DVD as compared to watching the original tape - is this normal? Needless to say the picture quality doesn't begin to approach commercial DVDs, but I was surprised at the gap. Is this normal? I don't think iDVD2 lets you play around with the bitrates, so to get the ultimate picture quality do I need FCP or something? Thanks for any comments, David

#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted May 22 2002 - 07:13 AM

I would think the loss of picture quality is related to the compression done in iDVD.



You get an MPEG2 export option to QuickTime when you use DVD Studio Pro. There, you get to set the overall bit rate to be as high as you want.



You can fine-tune individual moments with the compression marker feature of Final Cut Pro.



And if you buy both packages right now, you get a $300 rebate. Posted Image



- Steve

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   MikeM

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Posted May 22 2002 - 08:25 AM

Steve, how would you rate the Hollywood Dazzler? I'm thinking of getting into video editing and burning my own VCDs/DVDs, but I now need a tool to bring the video into my Mac. I've seen a few analog > DV converter boxes such as: Hollywood Dazzler DV Bridge Formac Sony DVMC-DA2 How does the Dazzler stack up and/or do you know of any review links for these items? Thanks.

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted May 22 2002 - 10:24 AM

I bought the Dazzler without any research. I have experienced dropped frames, but that was when I had other things running on my G4/867...frankly, I expected a little better. The DV camcorder has worked well on imports, but then it puts out timecode and the Dazzler does not. The camcorder works well as a peripheral to Final Cut Pro; the Dazzler bridge does not. I am looking at the Formac bridge, but right now am going to get by with using the DV camcorder as my bridge. Granted, that doubles capture time, but at least it works consistently. - Steve

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Mike St.Louis

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Posted May 22 2002 - 10:32 AM

I thought that the Dazzler Bridge did the analog to digital conversion internally and then transferred the digital file via firewire?

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted May 22 2002 - 10:43 AM

So, if I connected my DV Cam to my laserdisc player, would the Dolby Surround information be retained? I'm unclear on how Dolby Surround and Stereo works. did anyone try doig this with a laserdisc? I'm wondering if the picture quality stays up to snuff.

#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted May 22 2002 - 11:25 AM

[quote]

I thought that the Dazzler Bridge did the analog to digital conversion internally and then transferred the digital file via firewire?

[quote]


Without time code and device control, and (in my experience) with the occasional dropped frame.



Patrick, you've got mail.



- Steve

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted May 22 2002 - 11:38 AM

I would think the loss of picture quality is related to the compression done in iDVD.



You get an MPEG2 export option to QuickTime when you use DVD Studio Pro. There, you get to set the overall bit rate to be as high as you want.



You can fine-tune individual moments with the compression marker feature of Final Cut Pro.



And if you buy both packages right now, you get a $300 rebate. Posted Image



- Steve

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   Tom Moran

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Posted November 19 2002 - 11:24 PM

"There is a distinct picture quality loss when playing the DVD as compared to watching the original tape - is this normal? " I would not be too quick to blame iDVD for this problem. I have created a number of DVD projects with iDVD and find the quality of the MPEG-2 video it generates from my DV source material to be very good. In general terms the end result looks better than broadcast TV by a long shot. Upgrading to Final Cut Pro will make no difference in this case because it will not give you control over the MPEG compression that happens in iDVD. One approach (although not one I would recommend for the average person) is to choose a different DVD authoring application and possibly a separate MPEG compression software such as "Cleaner 5". iDVD compresses MPEG files at a much higher bit rate (higher quality) than most commercially available DVD movie titles. Granted the compression is not adjustable but in general terms this compression is not usually the source of the problem. Exceptions to this rule might be scenes with a lot of fast motion which is difficult for general MPEG compression engines like the one in iDVD to handle. Examples of typical MPEG bits rates for various material: DVD's: 3-8Mbps (Variable) Direct TV: 2-4Mbps iDVD: 8Mbps One of the things that allows movie studios to use lower bit rates is the fact that they are variably assigning more bits to higher motions scenes and using less bits for less demanding scenes...a technique know as VBR (Variable Bit Rate) compression. Also, commercial DVD producers are working from very high quality source material and professional tape formats. n my case my source material is progressive scan video shot on a Canon GL-1 DV camcorder, which is a 3CCD camera that produces very high quality video and is used for a lot of professional video production. I would guess your source footage was shot with a consumer camcorder. If so you should see if your camcorder can shoot in a progressive scan or "frame" mode as opposed to the more standard interlaced video mode. The resulting DVD will look much better from footage shot in a progressive scan mode. If you can't shoot progressive at least make sure you shoot as well as you can, paying close attention to exposure settings etc... any errors in exposure, color casts or other quirks of the source material will be magnified by MPEG compression. Another thing to consider here is that you are probably watching this DVD on a consumer DVD player. This player could have a lot to do with the quality of the playback for the DVD's you are producing. It would be worthwhile to watch your DVD on multiple DVD players and TV's to check this out. What I'm getting at here is that the quality of the source material has more to do with the quality of the compressed MPEG files than most people outside professional video production realize. iDVD will produce stunning DVD's from high quality source material but the video it produces from the output of consumer camcorders varies a lot based on the quality of the source footage. Tom

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted November 20 2002 - 06:28 AM

i have a consumer DV cam and the video I shot over the summer looks fantastic on a DVD made from iDVD. i do have a complaint about how badly the menus render out. while clear and crisp on the computer, the text and images using Apple's canned templates appear fuzzy and small once burned. i made a canned DVD after creating a completely custom interface and receiving multiplexor errors. i've yet to try a custom interface again since i lost hours of work with the last one. (it won't burn)

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted November 20 2002 - 12:02 PM

Just to be clear, it's the Dazzle Hollywood DV Bridge

#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Tom Moran

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Posted November 20 2002 - 08:35 PM

"i do have a complaint about how badly the menus render out. while clear and crisp on the computer, the text and images using Apple's canned templates appear fuzzy and small once burned." If you do all of your menu graphics, including the text, in an application like photoshop and save them out as standard Tiff or files you should not have any problems unless you have a bug caused by an application conflict. Titles and menus created in Photoshop with the right fonts (no serif or "edgy" fonts) should look better than the canned templates or even custom templates created in other applications but then saved in formats such as jpeg, etc...Make sure you read the manual section about how things can get stretched though. Also, don't forget that your computer monitor is a much higher resolution that your TV, usually by a factor of 4. Everything is smaller and fuzzier on the TV but this difference is much more noticable with still images than with video where the eye forgives a lot due to the motion. Still images will never look as good on a TV as they do on a computer screen. Tom

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted November 21 2002 - 06:34 AM

[quote]

Make sure you read the manual section about how things can get stretched though.

[quote]


There's a manual? I couldn't even find a PDF.



When creating bacground TIFFs, what size should I make them? Is the res of a TV 720x480? I assume I should make them 72dpi as well.



As for the canned menus, I just assumed that Apple optimized those for iDVD and if they don't look good, I'm afraid my homebrewed backgrounds won't look good either.

#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted November 21 2002 - 06:07 PM

TVs have a fixed 480 (approximately, visible) lines, but don't have any specific horizontal resolution. Typical DVD resolution is 720x480 (for NTSC). But you should realize that DVD pixels aren't square, while computer pixels are. So if you create a background in a paint program, it will get squished vertically (or stretched horizontally). Also, because the display is interlaced, you should avoid 1-pixel-thick horizontal lines, which will flicker. One approach is to start with a true 4:3 canvas, either 640x480 or 720x540, create the background there, then resize that to 720x480. DPI doesn't really matter. //Ken

#20 of 22 OFFLINE   Thomas Newton

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Posted November 21 2002 - 10:56 PM

From what I've seen of iMovie and iDVD, iDVD expects 720 x 480 movies, and 640 x 480 still images. That is, if you import a still with an aspect ratio other than 4:3, there will be black bars on the sides or on the top (which may or may not be visible due to overscan). With a 4:3 source image, you still need to preview the "TV Safe Area" to avoid unpleasant surprises.




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