I made a DVD menu for my DVD using Sony Architect Studio, I ran into some bugs with the program and in the end I decided to just pay a professional company to make it for me. They used DVD Studio Pro. In both cases the only images used are straight from the same PSD file.
I have since received a preview of the menu they have built and I have to say the quality is pretty poor. The images are far more pixelated than my own author, and there is even a distortion around all the text that constantly flickers! There is no such problem with my own author. They insist that they have done nothing that would cause this, and any differences I'm seeing are the differences between Apple and sony. When I tried to make my case, they said that 'my expectations were unrealistic.'
As it stands, I don't want to use their version as it's very poor compared to my own. But it was expensive and now they have my money for something I can't use! I just wanted to post this on here to see what you guys thought.
How can the difference in quality be so significant?
Does anyone have any advice for me now I have to go back to this company and tell them I don't want to use their author? I don't suppose I'll get my money back.
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Clarify what format the preview was in.
Often a preview version will be a low quality proxy version of the real thing. It's typically used for quick feedback, for client to make changes to the menu structure, design, etc.. usually not representative of the final quality
Is this just a miscommunication, or did they say this is the final version ?
How are you previewing it? What is the software or hardware setup ?
What kind of a menu was it? Motion menu, lots of action, or mostly static ? The reason I ask is some types of menus are difficult to compress properly
Is only the menu affected ? Or did you notice issues with the non menu elements ?
Toast using two different burners and tested it on several different dvd players and TV's - the results were the same on all.
No motion, literally 2 static PSD images. My author is smooth and looks good, theirs is jagged and pixelated and flickers. The text (as part of the PSD image) is the worst affected,
Was the text small or thin ?
What average bitrate did they use for the menu ?
It sounds to me like they just did a poor job. If they won't even listen to reason, don't be afraid to name who you took it to
As for what to do - it depends on what their policy was regarding services. They might have some "fine print" somewhere regarding refunds etc.. But a reputable service would make an attempt at least to try and solve the situation, perhaps re-author with your menu. You would think that reputation should be important in a company offering services like DVD authoring
What were the "bugs" in DVDA studio that made you look to other option in the first place ?
I will certainly have a look for any fine print, thank you!
In DVDA, when using a rectangle highlight or a custom mask over the thumbnails in my scene selection, the highlight would not cover the whole thumbnail - no matter what size the custom mask was, there was always a little space on the right hand side. This problem was only present once authored, it didn't appear in the preview. I contacted the support team and they accepted the bug and offered me a refund. I'm thinking of buying DVD Architect Pro and doing it myself! Hopefully the bug won't be present in the Pro version.
The problem with that logic is the PSD doesn't physically occur on the actual DVD. It gets re-encoded to DVD compliant MPEG2 video. How that gets done affects the quality. A higher bitrate or higher quality encoder, or better static settings will improve the quality. Likely that's what you're seeing when you say "a distortion around all the text that constantly flickers!" - If it's a regular, pulsing flicker - it's likely the temporal compression quality of the DVDSP re-encode. A "static" menu should stay static, right ? Experienced people that use DVDSP usually don't use DVDSP to do the actual encoding .
However, you are limited in what you can do if you import a compliant menu background separately. If you add additional elements that are not already built into the background besides the normal highlight (e.g. additional text, shapes etc...), it needs to be re-encoded anyway. This is true of any authoring software. So whether that occurs or not is going to depend on the menu design. If a re-encode is mandatory - that's probably what they are referring to "differences between Apple and Sony" . Sony's MPEG2 encoder or settings might be more suitable for a static menu encode.
Does this mean that it will have had to be re-encoded?
I'm slightly confused, 'experienced people that use DVDSP usually don't use DVDSP to do the actual encoding.' - How would you encode the menu within DVDSP to mpeg2 video without using their built in encoder? Also, I didn't realise that there were bitrate settings involved when authoring a DVD menu. So is it possible they have got the settings wrong or made some kind of mistake which is causing the poor quality? They did specifically tell me that there was no recompression going on whatsoever.
Last edited by rosiestarr; 5th Oct 2015 at 15:01.
So is it possible they have got the settings wrong or made some kind of mistake which is causing the poor quality?
They did specifically tell me that there was no recompression going on whatsoever.
Yes, it has to be re-encoded - because PSD is not compliant with DVD specs. PSD is a proprietary Adobe format . A DVD player can't "read" it. PSD is used only because it makes authoring "easier" to do with layers. If you open up your DVD and look through it, you won't find the PSD anywhere
What I was saying earlier is people tend to use a 3rd party encoder to do the MPEG2 encoding. They use settings optimized for stills if the menu was meant to be still - to reduce the fluttering or flickering from normal long GOP encoding (regular settings). If it's compliant video already, it will be passed through without additional loss. DVDSP (or any authoring tool) in that case is used only to author.