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  1. Member
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    I am new to the world of Digital video capturing and editing, curtesy of purchasing a Sony DCR-HC37 cam. I am have few questions which no doubt are are easy for some users on these boards.

    1) How do I know (or which tool to use to verify) that I am not dropping frames when capturing footage to my computer. This is via Firewire card.

    2) I am getting about 1Gb of avi file for about 5 minutes of footage. I want to be able to archive this footage on my external HD. But I need to reduce the space it takes as I can't afford that much disk space. Please suggest the best encoder to use for minimal data loss and reasonable reduction in file size (i.e compression). Also which file format is best to use for archiving footage for later authoring purposes

    3) The toughest question yet: I got my self Ulead Movie Factory 6+ as part of the process. I am mostly happy with it. However, when it encodes the avi file to mpeg2, I notice the detoriation in quality such that there is always slight jerking/blurring of footage. To the point that it is slightly stressful on the eye to watch it. This is most obvious when panning a landscape. I got other encoders which are not that much better (TMpgenc, mainconcept etc). I have had the Bitrate setting at constant 6000kbps but still marginally there. Anyone else had the experience/suggestions or am I being too fussy!

    Thank you in advance for your help
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  2. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lucky19th
    I am new to the world of Digital video capturing and editing, curtesy of purchasing a Sony DCR-HC37 cam. I am have few questions which no doubt are are easy for some users on these boards.

    1) How do I know (or which tool to use to verify) that I am not dropping frames when capturing footage to my computer. This is via Firewire card.

    2) I am getting about 1Gb of avi file for about 5 minutes of footage. I want to be able to archive this footage on my external HD. But I need to reduce the space it takes as I can't afford that much disk space. Please suggest the best encoder to use for minimal data loss and reasonable reduction in file size (i.e compression). Also which file format is best to use for archiving footage for later authoring purposes

    3) The toughest question yet: I got my self Ulead Movie Factory 6+ as part of the process. I am mostly happy with it. However, when it encodes the avi file to mpeg2, I notice the detoriation in quality such that there is always slight jerking/blurring of footage. To the point that it is slightly stressful on the eye to watch it. This is most obvious when panning a landscape. I got other encoders which are not that much better (TMpgenc, mainconcept etc). I have had the Bitrate setting at constant 6000kbps but still marginally there. Anyone else had the experience/suggestions or am I being too fussy!

    Thank you in advance for your help
    1. Many DV capture programs such as WinDV report dropped frames.

    2. You should consider saving your best work in DV format. DV offers the best opportunity for upscaled display on HDTV and integration with future HD material. Next best is high bitrate MPeg2. Hand held camcorder material will handle motion better at 8000Kb/s or more bit rate. Settings should be 29.97fps, bottom field first, 4:3 (or wide). Experiment with different bitrates for high motion material.

    3. You may have field order reversed. For DV use bottom field first.
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  3. Member stars's Avatar
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    3) The toughest question yet: I got my self Ulead Movie Factory 6+ as part of the process. I am mostly happy with it. However, when it encodes the avi file to mpeg2, I notice the detoriation in quality such that there is always slight jerking/blurring of footage. To the point that it is slightly stressful on the eye to watch it. This is most obvious when panning a landscape. I got other encoders which are not that much better (TMpgenc, mainconcept etc). I have had the Bitrate setting at constant 6000kbps but still marginally there. Anyone else had the experience/suggestions or am I being too fussy!
    Im using HC encoder and VBR bitrate and I get a very good pic quailty...
    I usally dont put more than 90min movie on a DVD5.

    With VBR bitrate you can put in max bitrate where its needed (8Mbps), movmen and paning..

    stars...
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  4. Member
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    [2. You should consider saving your best work in DV format. DV offers the best opportunity for upscaled display on HDTV and integration with future HD material. Next best is high bitrate MPeg2. Hand held camcorder material will handle motion better at 8000Kb/s or more bit rate. Settings should be 29.97fps, bottom field first, 4:3 (or wide). Experiment with different bitrates for high motion material.

    3. You may have field order reversed. For DV use bottom field first.
    He's in the UK so is PAL. Settings should be 25 fps and not 29.97, although everything else is correct (as always from edDV).
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    Thanks for your help so far. Here are my findings.
    I used WinDV for capture and happy to report no dropped frames. As for the HC encoder it does not give option to export in mpeg2. Am I doing something wrong?

    BTW, the encoding was set a bottom field first and I have been using the PAL setting of 25fps.
    So I am not sure why I am not happy with the result. Since most of my judgement on the quality of the end product of various encoding has been pretty subjective, is there a tool which can more objectively confirm quality of mpeg2 files based on the same 38 second clip of panning a landscape?

    This is driving me nuts. I feel like I am re-inventing the wheel here! The bottom line is that I agree, with encoding there will be loss of quality, but I find it hard to believe that the quality of mpeg2 files with the very noticable jerking is the best I can achieve.

    sorry for the moan there.
    ..Washing your car to make it rain won't work!...
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  6. Member thecoalman's Avatar
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    Have you tried burning this to DVD and viewing on a TV? Get a RW for testing purposes. That's really the only way to judge it. It will never look as good on computer. Looking at your computer specs your CPU might be choking on the MPEG file and the jerking problem is simply a playback problem and theres nothing wrong with the file, it requires more CPU to display than DV.
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  7. Quite possible the jerk is indeed PC related, your rig is a bit underpowered. Always test with DVD playback to a TV, if that is the intended playback device.

    For quality improvement, I got one word for you. Say it, repeat it, use one. TRIPOD.

    The improvement from using one is phenomenal, and it will absolutely eliminate problems which cannot be solved in any other way. In technical terms, it removes a truly massive amount of random movement which cause problems for most encoders. If you are serious about quality, stop right now and go get one.

    I would also go higher on your bitrate, use max values and VBR, time on DVD will be similar to what you are getting now with the lower CBR bitrate.

    As for archiving, it is a question of available space versus desired quality. Something has to give.
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  8. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Sorry about missing UK location. 25 fps 50 fields per second is used there.

    But I think this solves the mystery. Not that it is 25 vs. 29.97 fps but that you are making judgment from a computer monitor that can't display fields, only frames at 25fps with both fields superimposed. It is well known in the film industry that 24-25fps needs locked down computer controlled or highly skilled operator pans. You just can't make hand held amateur pans at 25fps.

    That said you do have 50 fields per second if you finish your DVD and view it on an interlace TV. If you intend to make it look good on a computer monitor, 25fps shooting rules should be followed.
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    I have an update for all, especially those who tried helping me out. I think I am making progress. I managed to get a mpeg2 encoded output with which I am happy with. This required lot of fiddling with things and to spare all the painful details, it came to basically 3 things to get a mpeg2 file which did not jerk (my point 3 in the orginal post)

    1) Use of a decent software to view results. I was using some freeware including VLC etc ..etc.. Even though they are good in few things, they are not suited to playback mpeg2 files for measure of quality. I have since used Cyberlink PowerDVD. Open to suggestions for better ones if any one has opinions

    2) Used the Variable bit rate for max 7000K. even the Constant bit rate of 7000 was worse. It was really lot of trial and error. 8000 is Ok but anything less than 7000 proved to be jerky. p.s using the encoder that comes with Ulead MFM 6+. Similar results using other encoders.

    3) Use of Lower/bottom field first This was a case of fine tuning, and trust me, it makes a difference. I was using the initial default of Frame-based.

    Also I am getting a 33Mb mpeg size for a 140Mb AVI clip. This I think is ggod enough for my archiving needs. So all in all, my faith and sanity has been restored to some extent...for the moment anyway!
    ..Washing your car to make it rain won't work!...
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  10. Member thecoalman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lucky19th
    2) Used the Variable bit rate for max 7000K. even the Constant bit rate of 7000 was worse. It was really lot of trial and error. 8000 is Ok but anything less than 7000 proved to be jerky.
    Lower bitrates do not cause jerkiness, they cause macroblocking. Addtionally even 6000 should produce a very good video. If it looks jerky at 7000 you are either doing something wrong or your sytem can't handle it. Macroblocking looks like Like this:


    Note that's from a video encoded at 3000CBR, here's a link to it. Right click and select "save as", then open the file in your player. If you open it directly it most likely will be choppy because my server isn't quite that fast, :P it should be smooth as silk whewn you open it in your player, the only issue you should see is the macroblocking.

    http://www.nepadigital.com/reencode/3000cbr.mpg

    You can try this one too, Mpeg @8000MPEG and should look perfect. If it's jerky then you have a sytem problem as I suggested above.

    http://www.nepadigital.com/reencode/8000cbr.mpg

    Both of those videos were encoded using Uleads encoder.

    3) Use of Lower/bottom field first This was a case of fine tuning, and trust me, it makes a difference.
    This is probably where you are seeing any impovement. DV-AVI is always bottom-field first.

    Also I am getting a 33Mb mpeg size for a 140Mb AVI clip.
    This is only 30+ seconds of video.
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lucky19th

    3) Use of Lower/bottom field first This was a case of fine tuning, and trust me, it makes a difference. I was using the initial default of Frame-based.
    DV format is bottom field first for both PAL and NTSC. Frame based causes a destructive deinterlace and slows motion update to 25Hz. Did you ever finish the DVD and play on a DVD player to a standard interlace PAL TV? That way you will see smoother 50Hz motion.

    VLC and PowerDVD can be set for deinterlaced 50Hz motion but will still suffer from deinterlaced progressive display.
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