I have just started making my own VCD;s and here is how I do it
I have USB instant video and am bringing it in from a VCR feed. TV Shows that is. Good quality off of the VCR. I am bringing it in as a quicktime movie with no compression to get the best framerates and sync. When I save it as a quicktime movie should I use a codec for compression or just leave it as none. I did leave it as none and then used Astarte's mpack to convert to mpeg-1 for VCD. I burned it using toast and it is pixelated and kinda crappy looking. the audio is excellent however. Is there anything I can do to make it clearer, besides the obvious of getting a better source other than VCR.
Thanks for any replies.
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M.Pack produces nearly the worst MPEG encoding I've encountered in my tests of various MPEG encoders; I'd say that's one place you might be able to improve your video output. There are various Mac options; Movie2MPEG (which doesn't seem to always be successful, is a little slow, but is free), Cleaner, Heuris MPEG Power Pro, MegaPeg, Toast Titanium. Of the ones I've tried, Cleaner seems to give the nicest output, but it is slow. I haven't seriously tested Heuris or MegaPeg yet, but I bet Heuris does a pretty good job too.
Sticking with the stuff you probably already have, I think Toast's MPEG encoder does a better job than M.Pack, and as long as you aren't trying to do anything fancy (like increased bitrate or an SVCD), you could just drop your movie file onto Toast (set to VideoCD) and it will convert your file reasonably quickly and reasonably well to MPEG1. (That is, just skip the MPack step) Try that and see if you get better results. Ah, one other thing: This requires Toast Titanium, early versions of Toast didn't have the MPEG encoder plugin.
You're right about the source, too. A clean source will make a big difference, because static can make the video very hard to compress and as a result you'll exhaust the VCD's 1150 bitrate quickly, before the details are properly encoded. Coming off videotape can also be a problem; when I do this I often see a bit of horizontal jitter that will also make the video hard to compress. If you must come off of tape, try using SP to record instead of SLP whenever possible. Also, if you have S-Video out on your VCR and S-Video in on your USB input, that reportedly helps a lot with the random noise, although I don't have firsthand knowledge of how much...
Ah, one more thing. I don't have any experience with USB Instant Video, but I have an Eskape Labs MyVideo USB input. Eskape recommends NOT using "no compression" when capturing because it requires a fast hard disk and a lot of disk space, which could lead to dropped frames. They recommend this because they have a hardware MJPEG encoder built-in, and so the native output is actually MJPEG, which is smaller than raw video. I don't know how sophisticated Instant Video is in this regard; if it doesn't have some kind of compressed native format, then yes, you're probably better off doing what you are doing because any on-the-fly Quicktime compression is going to eat up machine cycles and risk dropping more frames. You might try MJPEGA just to compare, since I think this is a reasonably quick encoder and might not be worse than capturing with no compression, but I think you'll just have to test it on your own device and compare.