It must really spoil the lab's day when they have a customer who know what "a proper job" is, or at least can find a forum on the internet where people can tell them what a proper job is.
I won't!What ever you do, don't point them to this thread. A bunch of amateurs telling professionals they don't know what they're doing - it never goes down well!
By the way, I spoke to the filmlab guy again today. After I told him AAC is not a standard audio format for DV, he said he didnt know what the correct codec is for DV... So I just wrote back to him: PCM 16 bit, 48 KHz PCM audio.
He then remarked "DVD is lossy too, just like AAC".
The reason the audio in the file is AAC, may have to do with QuickTime. The fimlab used QuickTime to make a DV wrapped in a .mov container. QuickTime doesn't support PCM.
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And make sure they don't create PCM audio by decompressing the AAC.
I'd wonder about how they're creating DV video in the first place. Are they using something like an ADVC-300 and "downloading" the DV via firewire? Are they using a regular capture device, capturing YUY2 (or other YUV 4:2:2 raw format) and compressing with a DV encoder? The video looks clean enough that they probably aren't using a hardware MPEG 2 or h.264 encoding capture device, then converting to DV.
God, I hate it when they throw the "some expensive machine" line at consumers, thinking that will browbeat them or impress them enough so that they won't inquire any further.
Having worked for DECADES at production, post-production & dub houses, I can tell you from experience that if you approach them with humility, but still with insistence that you deserve a good quality transfer, and you act "curious" to what their procedures are, without giving any hint of judgement or blame-throwing, a GOOD, PROFESSIONAL house should gladly & proudly get all excited-geeky on you and give you the full rundown of the equipment (including model #s, codecs, etc) and workflow processes. Hell, if they are doing it right, they would want to BRAG about how well they are doing it (like you see online over at gearslutz, etc). So, to blow you off or brush you aside with a vague phrase like that smacks of incomplete knowledge on their part. Which leads me to assume they really don't fully know WHAT they ARE or SHOULD BE doing. Or, they do, but are cutting corners to make their job easier/cheaper/faster, and not wanting to admit it to you but instead trying to throw techy buzzwords around (which maybe they know SOMETHING about, but not in the full engineering/physics perspective).
Just to give you a bit of perspective on this, a TOP-OF-THE-LINE VHS->DVD transfer using the most expensive equipment out there would be no better at giving you a good copy of your VHS source than something that Orsetto, LordSmurf, Sanlyn or others here would recommend:
* VHS/SVHS/DVHS broadcast deck in top condition, with switchable separate LineTBC & DNR
* via component, S-video or composite to
* Broadcast-quality Full-Frame TBC (with built in ProcAmp, and possibly some additional switchable DNR, like dropout compensation)
* then via similar cabling to
* Analog card that allows capture of YUV 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 to Uncompressed or Losslessly-compressed source files in SD (of course, along with a synchronized parallel audio chain that gives you LPCM audio of at least stereo, 16bit, 48kHz).
* Creating a median/time-averaged composite from multiple captures (to remove random playback-chain analog noise)
* Then, post-processing digitally using the best AVISynth scripts, or using a scriptable, pro compositing app
* Then, back to a clean, finished Uncompressed/Lossless master copy
* And making optimized DVD, DV, Mp4, Youtube, etc versions from that master.
The thing is, most post-pro/dub houses don't have the time/energy to devote the full amount of adjustment, tweaking, restoration & just downright CARE (babysitting) that is necessary for this kind of optimal output. But the better houses will still have tried-and-true straightforward processes near to this that should still give you something quite good (and acceptable for your needs). NOT something that is ALREADY COMPROMISED. Especially after you have point it out to them.
<edit>BTW, why didn't they just give you the "lossless Quicktime" version?
Last edited by Cornucopia; 25th Nov 2013 at 23:54.
Quicktime .MOV files are not the NATIVE format for iMovie, but they are a perfectly acceptable input. Likely, it'll just want you to convert it first (to AVCHD, mp4, MPEG2 or DV, from what the literature says). Then it will be native and editable.
So this company was giving you DV, and they gave you AAC, huh? Stupid move on their part.
<edit>...on further research, it seems iMovie should work natively with Apple Intermediate Codec-type MOV files (aka "AIC"). This IS a type of lossless Quicktime MOV, so your transfer house should be giving you THIS, as opposed to any other kind of file, if they wanted to give you the best quality (from their workflow).
AIC uses I-frame only compression like DV, but it isn't lossless either.
Maybe this company has become too busy chasing big accounts to bother with small customers like me. Until a few years ago, small customers were all they had. But since they're dealing with broadcast companies and such, small customers seem to have become less important. Good for them, bad for me.
Yeah, you're right PDR. AIC is supposed to be "visually lossless" (though it usually is still SLIGHTLY noticeable), but is still under the hood a lossy codec. In terms of "lightly compressed, I-frame compatible" lossy codecs, AIC falls in the middle ground between DV and ProRes (which is ALSO a lossy codec, though MUCH better, newer).
Since ProRes isn't an option for you with iMovie, that's why I suggested AIC, as it's probably the BEST you could natively work with (for the moment).
The Supersens company sent me new DV's, using the same laser disc captures. They did the audio right this time (from AAC to PCM), they did some chroma noise correction and they maintained the original NTSC signal. But...
... the picture on two of the three discs transfers ("Swing vol. 1" & "Swing vol. 2") looks snowy now, and seems to have a lower contrast. Please take a look:
And this is how both disc transfers looked before they were redone:
Any idea what happened here?
The third DV ("The Ventures - Beloved Invaders") was anamorphic, and the new one is anamorphic too. But still without a 16:9 flag. Although the audio seems to have been improved (from AAC to PCM) the resolution has degraded from 1024 x 480 to 720 x 480.
This is the new anamorphic DV they sent me from "The Ventures - Beloved Invaders":
And this is the old anamorphic one:
Last edited by HitTheRoad; 20th Dec 2013 at 17:00.
Are those guys blind? I've only looked at Swing 1 so far but they've messed up the interlacing.
It's the same with the other two new videos. They resized interlaced video (720x576 to 720x480) treating it as progressive video. The two fields are co-mingled. Complete trash. Nothing else matters as this is a catastrophic failure on their part.
For example, from the old Swing 1, this frame contains two half pictures:
The two half picture converted to two single pictures with a simple bob algorithm:
Their new version cannot be split into two "clean" images:
If your laserdiscs are NTSC they should go back to step one and capture as NTSC, 720x480, interlaced, 29.97 fps. If the discs are PAL they should capture them as PAL, 720x576, interlaced, 25 fps. They should give you the raw caps. They should not attempt to process the video in any way as they have no idea what they're doing.
Last edited by jagabo; 20th Dec 2013 at 17:31.
Time to look for a new company that offers reliable services , or buy/borrow the equipment, and learn how to do it yourself
I'm flabbergasted myself. The owner assured me everything was okay now. And it should have been from the start, since these Supersend guys are twice as expensive as other similair companies in Holland. These Supersens guys are not some hobby club. They have some mayor clients in their portfolio, like the Dutch national audiovisual archive (Instituut Beeld & Geluid).
They probably stuck some intern with your little job.
They probably stuck some intern with your little job.
the owner is simply looking at the results on a tv screen, and will not notice anything unusual. they are not scrubbing through some timeline to truely review and analize what has been captured or obtained. it seems that a dvd recorder (if that is what they are using) is all wrong for this process. its a cheaters way out especially for small business that do these sort of transfers. the whole thing is convoluted since you started this venture. like pdr said, get a hold of your own equipment and do it yourself:
go online (ebay or amazon) get yourself a pal laserdisc player
an analog capture card and
a windows os and start capturing the darn things
Swing 1 and Swing 2 look snowy now. Anyone any idea how this artefact was created? Also, these tranfers seem to have a lower contrast, they look less sharp.
I noticed the differences in levels, but when I saw the interlacing problem I didn't bother looking more closely. I don't know why the overall brightness of the picture went up. The additional noise is partly because the additional brightness makes the noise more obvious, but beyond that it may be a result of the resizing filter he used to go from 720x576 to 720x480. A "sharp" resizer will increase noise.
Since I like the kid (do you know who he is?) here's the old Swing1 after little processing. A little too dark?
Jagabo, The new Swing 1 excerpt looks excellent. Unbelievable you were able to make something out of this mess.
The boy's name is Sugar Chile Robinson. He's the best.
That was made from the old Swing1