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Quality of VCD from DV

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by dood, Jul 1, 2002.

  1. dood

    dood
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    I have finally created a VCD of my home movies taken on mini DV. I've used Nero burner and had to use CDRW as my DVD players don't play CDR. I also attached digital stills images taken with my digital camera as well as scanned images. What bothers me is the poor picture quality of the movies. The high res still images are outstanding however. I included the same video clip done on medium quality and high quality, but even the high quality image is poor (worse than VHS). My software is Windows Movie Maker (on Windows Me). Is the poor picture quality a function of the software I've used and if so what software is recommended. Alternatively could it be my firewire card (Texas Instruments)? My camcorder is the Canon MV300.
     
  2. LV426

    LV426
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    Depends what you mean by "poor quality".

    If you mean, excessive pixellation especially in areas with a lot of change in the image (eg much movement, or soft crossfades) and/or a lot of detail - then the cause is the restricted data rate for VCD - 1150kb/s fixed. The answer is in the mpeg converter. They do vary hugely.

    The best results I have ever seen have been from a free converter called tmpgenc - get it from www.tmpgenc.net . Use the highest quality (very slow) setting and be very patient (leave it to run overnight if necessary - the program has a "shutdown when complete" option). This converter, given a "clean" source, will produce a fully VCD compliant mpeg file almost free of visible compression artefacts - as good as it gets.

    If you mean, poor definition/lack of detail, then, with VCD it's unavoidable. The VCD format for moving images has a pixel definition of 352x288 for PAL, 352x240 for NTSC, which is half that of DVD in both directions. This is roughly equivalent to the definition available from VHS.

    Depending on your player, you could try making an XVCD or SVCD - these are "unofficial" extensions to the VCD format with higher data rates and/or better definition. tmpgenc will make suitable files, and Nero will burn them for you. But not all players will play them. And file sizes are larger, so you get less on your CD. Check out www.vcdhelp.com for more details and player compatibility.

    VCD stills on the other hand....

    a) don't suffer pixellation because there is no movement in them so they aren't constrained by the VCD data rate.

    b) have twice the definition in both directions; 704x576 PAL, 704x480 NTSC - the same as DVD.
     
  3. dood

    dood
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    Thanks, I think you've answered my question. The problem is mostly with pixelation and is definitely worse with motion. I don't think my players (Sony 525 and Yamaha S700) will play SVCDs but I'll give it a try. Will also try TMPGenc when I can make the time. Glad to infer that my firewire card is unlikely to be the problem. One more thing, I will be trying to import my movies back onto DV after editing, using DVIO. Will this suffer any loss in quality, and should I save my movies in high quality mode? From the camcorder I hope to copy onto VHS .
     
  4. LV426

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    In that case, on the assumption that the file copy on your hard disk is "clean" (ie that the pixellation is being introduced by your mpeg converter) tmpgenc will definitely improve things. (BTW - the download doesn't come with an installer; you have to unzip to a folder of your choosing and create your own shortcut).
    vcdhelp will tell you your player's compatibility.
    It shouldn't. But it is always true that, when saving to your hard disk, you should use the highest quality that you can - space and other factors permitting. Even tmpgenc won't clean up a file on your hard disk that has already got artefacts in it. GIGO.
     

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