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  1. Member
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    Is Mpeg 4 better quality than Mpeg 2? I have some video that I captured from my camcorder to my computer and one of the options with the video software is MPEG 4. I want to be able to view this on a DVD on my TV at home. Can I use MPEG 4 or is MPEG 2 better quality (more clear picture)?
    James
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  2. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    You need to stop the scatter gun approach, and put together a single post with all your question in it.

    The short answer is - used correctly, neither is better than the other - they are just different.

    Mpeg4 comes in several variants, but generally compresses better than mpeg-2. It also requires more power to encode and decode .

    H263 based mpeg4 - Divx/Xvid/WMV will give similar results to mpeg 2 at around half the bitrate.

    H264 will give around the same quality at around a third the bitrate of mpeg2, but requires around three times the computing power to encode and play back.

    Many DVD players will support some form of H263 playback using Divx or Xvid. Very few support H264 at the moment.

    All DVD players support correctly encoded mpeg2.

    Only Divx Ultra certified players support files with menus and chapters, and also support bitrates high enough to really match DVD quality.

    If you learn how to encode correctly, you will get high quality from either.

    Using a single pass USB capture device will not give you this quality.
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    Well gunslinger, how do you suggest I encode to get the best results of my mini dv video playable on a dvd? Knowing of course that my firewire port on my camcorder does not work. All I want is a clear video playable on a dvd, but I would like to edit it first on my pc. I guess what I am asking is, what is next best other than firewire?

    I have a dvd player that supports divx. SHould I endode to divx or mpeg-2,dvd?

    When I capture the video to my pc using this cap wiz usb device, it is stored on my pc as an mpg video. Do I have to endode from this point on? Can I burn it to dvd at this point?

    Or do I have to use my convertxtodvd software to get it to play on my dvd player?

    James
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  4. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    If you encode to Divx you don't have a DVD, you have a file on a data disc.

    If you can get a quality you are happy with from your USB device, captured as DVD compliant mpeg-2 then all you need to do is author and burn. No further quality drop.

    GUIForDVDAuthor is a decent, free authoring tool.
    Read my blog here.
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  5. Even though your DVD player may support Divx encoded AVI files, it probably doesn't handle interlaced Divx very well. You may find that your Divx files are deinterlaced automatically by your capture card/software. This will lower the quality.

    Your best bet is to capture at 720x480 losslessly compressed (HuffYUV for example) YUY2 video in an AVI container. Then use an MPEG encoder to compress that to 8000 to 9000 kbps interlaced MPEG 2. Audio should either be uncompressed LPCM or 256 kbps 2.0 AC3.
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    Gunslinger: WHen you say that if I Encode to divx, that I don't have a dvd and all I have is files of data on a disk, then this is not playable video on a dvd correct?
    Now after I have captured with the usb as dvd compliant mpeg 2, then I just need to author and burn; what does the authoring part do?? Can't I just burn after I capture?
    Is convertxtodvd an authoring/burning tool?
    James
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jbitakis
    Gunslinger: WHen you say that if I Encode to divx, that I don't have a dvd and all I have is files of data on a disk, then this is not playable video on a dvd correct?
    Now after I have captured with the usb as dvd compliant mpeg 2, then I just need to author and burn; what does the authoring part do?? Can't I just burn after I capture?
    Is convertxtodvd an authoring/burning tool?
    James
    Stop and rethink your strategy.

    Your DV transfer is the best quality or did you say you didn't capture DV over IEEE-1394?

    The best archive is DV. If you want to make a DVD, the only answer is MPeg2 but that will be lower quality than DV.

    MPeg4 is for those that want more compression than MPeg2 but is not supported by DVD, only certain players.

    If you encode DV to MPeg4 you are off on your own. Some players may play it if your file matches their standards. If that player self destructs, you need to find another special player for your file.
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  8. Member Marvingj's Avatar
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    MPEG-2 improves upon the MPEG-1 standard by increasing the data throughput a video file is capable of. Where MPEG-1 maxes out around 1.5Mbps, MPEG-2 is typically compressed to between 3.5Mbps and 6Mbps. MPEG-2 is the standard used by DVD and SVCD formats for encoding video, as well as the digital cable and satellite industries. Like MPEG-1, MPEG-2 is a lossy compression standard, meaning some of the originating video source is removed to make the file smaller. Because MPEG-2 video removes some of the video information from the file, it's occasionally possible to see blocky artifacts in the video file, especially in high motion scenes. This is less true for MPEG-2 video compressed in the 6Mbps range, because the quality level approaches a range where defects are imperceptible to the human eye, but as the quality level is improved the file size gets larger.

    MPEG-4 treats compression differently than either MPEG-1 or MPEG-2. Because of this compression difference, MPEG-4 video output offers higher image quality at much smaller file sizes than either MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 are capable of. MPEG-4 compresses files in a range from 5Kbps to 10Mbps making it adaptable for delivering video to everything from cell phones to HD quality output. Instead of interpreting each individual frame of a video, MPEG-4 compresses images by dealing with objects in the video, meaning it efficiently reuses image information without throwing away as much image data. Two of the more commonly available uses for MPEG-4 are DivX movies, widely found on p2p networks and the audio and video data being created through Apple's QuickTime format as MP4 video and AAC audio.
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  9. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Marvingj

    MPEG-4 compresses files in a range from 5Kbps to 10Mbps making it adaptable for delivering video to everything from cell phones to HD quality output.
    Consumer HD MPeg4 (e.g. AVC for HD/BD DVD) is 8-16Mb/s or about half bitrate of MPeg2 when encoded from the high quality master. If you recode from MPeg2 the quality will drop.

    Master quality MPeg4 AVC is set fairly clear and is very efficient by past standards.

    At SD resolutions 14 year old Digital Betacam uses 90Mb/s for 4:3 or 16:9, 720x480 (NTSC) or 720x576 (PAL). Equivalent MPeg4 AVC is defined as ~20 Mb/s or close to the DV camcorder bitrate. Pro distribution quality MPeg4 AVC HD is about

    20Mb/s for 720x480i/576i at 29.94 or 25fps (854x480 or 1024x576 on playback).
    20Mb/s for 1280x 720p 29.94fps or 25fps
    45Mb/s for 1280x 720p 59.94fps or 50fps
    45Mb/s for 1920x1080i 29.94fps or 25fps
    45Mb/s for 1920x1080p 23.976, 25 or 24fps

    Consumer AVCHD (H.264 based) lowers bitrates and quality to
    15-24Mb/s for 1440x1080i "high quality" and down from there

    Pro AVC encoders are said to get adequate HD DVD quality in the 8-16Mb/s range for HD/BD quality but this is 24p from very high quality source not camcorder or broadcast 1080i.

    You can reduce quality further to make h.264 play on coventional PC equipment
    Apple makes h.264 24p movie clips at 7-12Mb/s and still calls the result HD.
    WMV-HD is similar in quality at 6-9Mb/s.


    Originally Posted by Marvingj
    Instead of interpreting each individual frame of a video, MPEG-4 compresses images by dealing with objects in the video, meaning it efficiently reuses image information without throwing away as much image data. Two of the more commonly available uses for MPEG-4 are DivX movies, widely found on p2p networks and the audio and video data being created through Apple's QuickTime format as MP4 video and AAC audio.
    That describes MPeg in general. Like MPeg2, MPeg4 is an asymetrical codec that means more processing is needed to encode than play. MPeg4 needs a much more powereful playback processor than does MPeg2 at similar quality.

    Sure you can encode MPeg4 at lower bitrates than above but quality will drop just as it does recording EP on VHS. Quality will drop further if your source is compressed. TV broadcasts or DVD are already compressed so you won't match a commercial DVD that is encoded from primary master source.
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  10. Member
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    To EdDV: Why is DV so much more clear than MPEG-2/DVD?
    ALso, right now my firewire on my camcorder does not work (but I am getting a new camcorder). When I get a new camcorder and transfer video to my computer, it will save it as video files. Can I then author and burn to a dvd WITHOUT ENCODING, because I want the clear picture to show up when I view the video on my dvd, and dv is better than mpeg-2.

    ALso, I had asked a question but did'nt get an answer about whether or not convertxtodvd is an authoring/burning tool?
    James
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  11. Hate to say this "better" word.
    Judging by your question, you better off using Mpeg2.
    You sound like, you will like to use DVD player watch your home movie, or you will want to burn a couple of your home movies for your families and friends. It will be easier and quicker to authorize a copy of DVD by using correctly encoded (captured) Mpeg2.
    Sure, correctly done Mpeg4 is good; but when you want to burn a copy for DVD player, it takes longer to covert.
    Think about your need first.
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  12. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jbitakis
    To EdDV: Why is DV so much more clear than MPEG-2/DVD?
    ALso, right now my firewire on my camcorder does not work (but I am getting a new camcorder). When I get a new camcorder and transfer video to my computer, it will save it as video files. Can I then author and burn to a dvd WITHOUT ENCODING, because I want the clear picture to show up when I view the video on my dvd, and dv is better than mpeg-2.

    ALso, I had asked a question but did'nt get an answer about whether or not convertxtodvd is an authoring/burning tool?
    James
    The "clarity" of you picture depends on two things. The recording format determines the maximum quality of the picture. The camera lens, imager and processor (collectively the "camera") determines the quality within the capability of the format.

    DV format is what is used for most of the professional video you see on TV. The format is capable of very high quality and is easily edited and filtered because it records all frames like film. DV format cameras are available from ~$250 to over $25,000. Naturally a $20K model like this Panasonic AJ-SPX800 will make a better picture than a $270 Sony DCR-HC38 but the video recording format is essentially the same for both. That is 25Mb/s DV*.



    DV format results in the best quality DVD or internet streaming by following the time tested high quality source rule. Encoders perform best from the highest quality input source.

    MPeg2 can make good pictures at high bitrates but consumer MiniDVD or hard disk MPeg2 camcorders aren't scaled for high quality. They are designed for adequate quality for consumer use and limited editing. MPeg2 suffers significant loss with each recompression. For best DVD quality like a commercial DVD, MPeg2 is encoded as the last step in the process not in the source.

    It is possible to cut edit MPeg2 without recompression using special editors like Womble.
    http://www.womble.com/
    If you filter or add effects, recompression is necessary and quality drops further.

    So if your priority is clearest picture after all the work is done, get MiniDV format and search www.Camcorderinfo.com for the model that best matches your needs and budget. http://www.camcorderinfo.com/ratings.php

    If your priority is instant MPeg2 recording to DVD or hard disk then opt for an MPeg2 model.

    Convertxtodvd is mostly a reprocessing program to convert a variety of formats including DV to DVD. Better encoders are available if your goal is quality. This product is not needed for an MPeg2 camcorder if you plan your project properly. You would just need a DVD authoring program like TMPGEnc DVD Author 3.
    http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/tda3.html


    * The AJ-SPX800 is also capable of 50Mb/s 720x480 (DVCPro50).
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  13. Member
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    OK, here is what I want to do. Let's assume I go get a budget mini dv camcorder that will be for videotaping my family and then I want to put it on a dvd in order to keep and watch for years, and I want the clearest picture. I also may need to edit some of it first on my computer before burning to dvd.
    What are the steps; 1, 2, 3..etc from after I finished videotaping my family to get the best quality output on the dvd that will be viewed, along with the most recommended software to use.
    James
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  14. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jbitakis
    OK, here is what I want to do. Let's assume I go get a budget mini dv camcorder that will be for videotaping my family and then I want to put it on a dvd in order to keep and watch for years, and I want the clearest picture. I also may need to edit some of it first on my computer before burning to dvd.
    What are the steps; 1, 2, 3..etc from after I finished videotaping my family to get the best quality output on the dvd that will be viewed, along with the most recommended software to use.
    James
    You haven't mentioned any software you are using now but it seems you have MiniDV tapes unedited from the past as well.

    Process is important to get good results. MiniDV tape is very cheap these days (less that $3 for a 62min tape).
    http://protape.stores.yahoo.net/new-upload-one-more-level-down-sony-sony-video-tape-so...--mini-dv.html

    1. Shoot your video on miniDV tape. Transfer the DV material with WinDV software to a computer file over IEEE-1394 (aka firewire, i-Link). Save the tape as a backup*

    2. Edit the video in DV format. Popular commercial programs that work well include (alphabetical order):

    - Adobe Premiere Elements
    - Sony Vegas Movie Studio
    - ULead Video Studio

    These programs allow monitoring edit decisions on a TV monitor by sending preview over IEEE-1394 to the camcorder and connecting the TV through the camcorder.**

    You can also edit in Virtualdub or other programs with appropriate codecs installed.

    3. Save edited result "Edit Master" in DV format (13GB/hr.) to a file. This will be your quality master that can be converted to other formats such as HD/BD DVD in the future. Back up the edit master file to MiniDV tape, DVDR as data or to hard drive. WinDV can be used to back up to tape.

    4. Encode the edited DV timeline to MPeg2 for DVD. The programs listed above include the Mainconcept MPeg2 Encoder. Hand held camcorder video should use higher bitrates for better quality (~8500 Kb/s, lower field first)

    5. Author the DVD. The programs above include basic DVD authoring features. You can use many other programs for more elaborate DVD authoring.

    6. Burn the DVD in whatever quantity you need.

    This procedure will get you a high quality result and DV format "camera master" and "edit master" backups for future reuse. For family/travel tapes this is important. The children you are taping now will be using future high definition formats. It is important to save the masters in DV format so they have a high quality source to view and edit themselves.


    * If the original camera tape has shots you don't want to keep, you can edit the camera master tape to include only the shots you want to keep. I routinely trim out 20-30% of material and save the good takes back to tape as the "camera master". There is no loss doing this with DV format.

    ** When using a TV as your quality monitor, it is important that the TV be properly adusted. Use a standard DV format color bar to adjust the TV.


    PS: to view the material during editing the camcorder is the bridge to the TV. Play tapes directly from the camcorder or play DV format files through the camcorder to the TV. You can also play the DV format files to the computer monitor using a deinterlacing player like VLC, WinDVD or PowerDVD.
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  15. Member
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    To EdDV: OK here is what I just did. I had some video files that I have on my computer from when my mini dv camcorder's firewire did work (it worked only this one time) These files are still on my mini dv tape (this is my backup as I will not tape over) . Then using ulead video studio version 7 (this must be an older version), I encoded to dvd and then I authored and burned to dvd using ulead as well.
    Here is the results:
    The video was clear when there wasn't much movement, but with any movement it got blurry/jittery and got annoying to watch. The thing is, on the computer, before it was converted to dvd, it played perfectly clear, motion and all. What did I do wrong?? Am I using a too old version of ulead? Can't I skip the encoding to dvd part and just author and burn from the video files?
    James
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  16. Ulead Video Studio 7 is perfectly capable of creating decent MPG output for DVD. It sounds like you got the field order wrong. DV is normally bottom field first. After importing your DV video into UVS make sure it is recognized as BFF. I haven't used UVS in a long time but I think you right click on the video in the timeline and select Source Properties or something like that. You'll probably see three options, Frame Based, TFF and BFF (maybe called upper/lower rather than top/bottom). If it's not BFF change it to BFF. Then convert to interlaced MPG and author/burn to DVD.

    Also be sure to use sufficient bitrate. Start with 8000 kbps (~1 hr per single layer DVD) until you get your technique down.
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  17. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Any of these camcorder formats will be 480i (interlace). That applies to DV, MPeg2 formats and "pass through" TV captures. You will see line splits like this on a progressive computer monitor during motion but not on a TV. If you see this on a TV, something is wrong with the encorder settings.



    To play DV or camcorder MPeg2 formats on a computer monitor, use a deinterlacing player like VLC, PowerDVD or WinDVD. Here is what the above frame looks like when played with VLC with deinterlace on (a BOB deinterlace in this case)

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  18. Member
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    What the heck is BFF??
    I am confused, do I deinterlace or interlace. I don't care how it looks on the computer, I am more interested in a clear non-blurry, non-jittery picture when I play back the dvd on tv. Actually, like I said, on the computer it looks great. Do I use constant bit rate or variable bit rate (keeping in mind the video is around 60-80min. long)
    What about other filters?
    James
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  19. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    BFF = "Bottom Field First" (lower/even)
    TFF = "Top Field First" (upper/odd)

    Has to do with the order of precedence of the fields
    DV (when in NTSC-land) should always be BFF. It would be that way on the tape. Should be that way on the capped AVI file. Should be that way on the Edited Master DV-AVI file. Should also be that way when encoding to MPEG2. Authoring and burning from that point just takes the quality of the encode (assuming it doesn't internally RE-ENCODE for some stupid reason).

    **Often encoders make an assumption about the correcct field order, and they may not always be correct, but you should be able to change it.**

    If you had it encoded wrongly at one of those intermediate stages (probably the last one), to either TFF or Frame-based (aka Progressive aka De-Interlaced), you would likely exhibit excessive jaggy-ness (especially on diagonals) or excessively JERKY motion (as the motion is, in effect, taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back, etc).
    IOW, for DV->MPEG->DVD->regularTV, it should REMAIN INTERLACED ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

    If you did de-interlace, DON'T do the bad thing and take that and try to re-interlace: It'll just make it even worse!
    Go back to a good original and encode again correctly.

    Use VBR unless you're leaving it at REALLY high bitrates anyway (>8000kbps), then you might as well just leave it CBR.

    Use filters ONLY when you're trying to fix a particular problem (and have much knowledge on which filter, and how much to use it), or when you're trying to go for a particular artistic effect.

    Scott
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jbitakis
    What the heck is BFF??
    I am confused, do I deinterlace or interlace. I don't care how it looks on the computer, I am more interested in a clear non-blurry, non-jittery picture when I play back the dvd on tv. Actually, like I said, on the computer it looks great. Do I use constant bit rate or variable bit rate (keeping in mind the video is around 60-80min. long)
    What about other filters?
    James
    BFF = bottom field first = lower field first

    These are all forms of 720x480i interlace. Your camcorder outputs interlace 720x480i. You want your MPeg2 and DVD to be 480i interlace. To watch on the computer you want a deinterlacing player like VLC.

    Your first picture indicates you somehow deinterlaced the file which is not what you want to do. If it looks good on the computer display you are doing something wrong. You should be seeing line splits like the pictures above during motion on the computer monitor but not on the TV.

    I ran a standard DV file through PowerProducer3 and it produced an interlace output but the output file was TFF even with the auto detect field sequence clicked. It still played OK with my file. The Mainconcept output file was BFF but looked similar.

    So bottom line you should remain interlace to the DVD and your pictures should look like mine on the computer if you play using VLC.

    If you use high "average bitrate" VBR, VBR and CBR become effectively the same. In that case you may as well use CBR.

    OOPs I got you confused with the other thread. Ignor the PowerDVD reference and the "picture at the top" but the message is the same.
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  21. Each frame of interlaced video contains half of two separate pictures, each called a field. One field starts with the topmost scanline and includes every second scanline down from there (top field). The other half picture starts with the second scanline and contains every other scanline from there on down(bottom field).

    Field order terminology varies from program to program. Some call it top/bottom, others may call it upper/lower, even/odd, a/b, 1/2, whatever.

    When you watch standard definition TV you see one field at a time, 60 fields per second, an endless alternating sequence of top and bottom fields. You never see an entire frame. When a capture card captures interlaced video it combines two successive fields into a frame. If it starts with a top field, then adds the next field (a bottom field) the frames are Top Field First (TFF). If the device starts with a bottom field then adds the next field (a top field) the frames are Bottom Field First (BFF). When these are played back on an interlaced TV the fields must be played back in the same order they were captured. Either TFF or BFF.

    When you view interlaced video on a progressive TV monitor the player may or may not deinterlace as the video is being played. Windows Media Player automatically BOB deinterlaces DV AVI files. Some players will simply show both fields resulting in comb artifacts whenever anything moves. Some players perform other types of deinterlacing including things like showing only one of the two fields, blurring the two fields together (like in the picture you posted earlier), smart algorythms that attempt to figure out which parts of the picture are moving and which aren't followed by deinterlacing only the moving parts. See http://100fps.com/ for more deinterlacing information.

    You should not deinterlace an interlaced source (unless you have some special need like internet uploads). DVD fully supports interlaced video. As long as you create MPG files with the same field order as your DV source (BFF), and author with the correct field order, the output will look exactly like the original broadcast (or in the case of live camcorder footage, exactly the same as watching the DV footage via the analog output from the DV camcorder).
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    To: Jagabo
    Thanks for the info. on deinterlacing vs. interlacing. I have been hitting the deinterlacing button when I have been capturing my video to my computer from my camcorder. Now I will stop that. The only dvd authoring software that I have that seems to work well is convertxtodvd. Is there another dvd encoding/burning and authoring software that is better?
    James
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  23. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    FAVC produces higher quality but is slower
    DVD Flick can join files, produces higher quality, but is slower

    These are the simple, all-in-one solutions.

    If you want to get the best out of your video, then you need to broaden your skill set and start looking at separate tools for different tasks. It takes longer, but you get results that the one-click solutions cannot produce.
    Read my blog here.
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