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DVD Transcoding and format conversion
[User Deleted]
Posted 9:37 AM Nov. 23, 2009

Transcoding and format conversion question - Sony XDCam EX 1080i60 from Final Cut Pro to SD DVD

Hello, all. I have been struggling with finding the correct way to do this, and I was wondering if anyone has a workflow they have used successfully and would be willing to share with me.

I have:
XDCam EX 1080i60 (35 Mb/s VBR) footage
Edited in Final Cut with sequences settings matching the source footage
I am trying to make an NTSC SD DVD

This DVD is basically a screener. Our final deliverable will be HD, but right now I just need to find a way to make the best-looking output from this that I can for the DVD.

When I look at DVDs for actual TV shows that have been down-converted from HD to SD, they look great. You can hardly even tell they're SD from a distance.

The footage I'm working with, on the other hand, always ends up with artifacts. Either I get jagged edges, visible interlace lines, flicker, or some combination of the three.

Here are some work-flows that I have tried unsuccessfully:

  • FCP timeline - XDCam EX 1080i60 (35 Mb/s VBR) - Send to Compressor - Add "DVD: Best Quality" setting
  • FCP timeline - XDCam EX 1080i60 (35 Mb/s VBR) - Export to ProRes HQ - Drag exported file into Compressor - Add "DVD: Best Quality" setting
  • FCP timeline - XDCam EX 1080i60 (35 Mb/s VBR) - Export to ProRes HQ - Drag exported file into Compressor - Add "DVD: Best Quality 90 minutes" setting - Change Frame Controls to "Best (Statistical prediction)" for "Resize Filter", "Same as source" for "output Fields", "Best (Motion compensated)" for "Deinterlace", "Adaptive Details"
  • FCP timeline - XDCam EX 1080i60 (35 Mb/s VBR) - Export with XDCam Transfer to an IMX NTSC (50 Mb/s) MXF file - Unwrapped the MPEG from the MXF file on a PC using Snell & Wilcox (now Amberfin) MXF Desktop - (couldn't import this file into anything on the Mac, but I don't believe the video would have been any better, from watching the playback in VLC)
  • FCP timeline - XDCam EX 1080i60 (35 Mb/s VBR) - Copy all elements to new FCP timeline - MPEG IMX 525/60 (50 Mb/s) - Send to Compressor - Add "DVD: Best Quality 90 minutes" setting

Then used iDVD which wound up giving us the best looking DVD of all of these but still not to the quality that we'd like.

As you can see, I've tried a lot of workflows, probably more than listed above, but these are the ones I can think of that I tried most recently.

I've read some opinions online that state nothing in software today can compare with a hardware down-conversion (through a Teranex box, for example). Can anyone speak to that statement?

If you've read to the bottom of this mesage, thank you very much! I really need some professional opinions at this point.
Al Korslund -

[User Deleted]
Posted 12:20 AM Nov. 24, 2009
I'd like to help, but I['m not familiar with FCP, only Premiere and not even HD yet. Have you tried
They have some fine guru's there who I know can help you!
Best of luck,
Phil Lister
[User Deleted]
Posted 12:25 AM Nov. 24, 2009
Thanks Phil,
We'll check that out.
[User Deleted]
Posted 1:08 AM Nov. 24, 2009
Hey ERB, for SD DVD, I would have down converted from the Sony EXcam to FCP, then dubbed from iDVD to SD DVD.....
least amount of encoding and recoding.....
but thats for the future...
in the current condition its going to be tough to better image,
its because of the 2 cents....FIL Sibley
[User Deleted]
Posted 3:33 AM Nov. 24, 2009

I don't believe I've used that codec. Personally, I thought the conversion to HD would standardize things, but now we have all these different HD formats. Sorry I can't be of more help unless I had the footage or the camera. Creative Cow will probably provide an answer.

[User Deleted]
Posted 8:55 AM Nov. 24, 2009
I see that you placed your question on WIFV DC list-serve. Thats where I got my own compression questions answered. Did you get the responses that you needed from them?

They walked me through a similar scenario about six months ago and with many responses and such. Good luck,
[User Deleted]
Posted 10:46 AM Nov. 24, 2009
Michelle - We've gotten a lot of help, but still haven't been able to get it to the place we're wanting it to be. I really appreciate everyone's input.

Sean - Yea, standardizing things with HD would have been nice!

If either of you have the time and maybe some thoughts could you contact my Editor directly?

Thanks everyone!!