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Query - Panny SDR-S26, .MOD files and editing without re-encoding

Loobster

Active Member
Hello all

Been googling for a while and also using the search function on this forum with regards to the .MOD files pumped out by this camcorder.

My main aim with this unit was to get decent quality MPEG2 material quickly to the PC for fast editing and re-authoring (in other words without the need for re-encoding). This camcorder was advertised as recording in MPEG2 to SDHC cards, that's what I need I thought, fast copy off the card using a card reader and already in the format needed for splicing and re-authoring to DVD-Video compliant filesets.

I understand that .MOD files are essentially an MPEG2 program stream, and therefore .MOD files can be renamed to .MPG and will play in your media player of choice.

Here's my issue. Whatever I use to manipulate the video (cut, join, etc - simple stuff that should not require re-encoding), when I go to save the video re-encoding takes place, and the resulting video is noticeably lower in quality than the original (i.e. worse than if I simply play the .MOD file in a media player). My current video tool of choice is Womble MPEG Video Wizard which I have used many times with MPEG2 stuff with no re-encoding, although this was with stuff ripped from DVD.

This is the exact scenario I thought I was going to avoid.

I at first thought that this might be due to varying bitrates for the two test clips I was trying to join, but it turns out when I load just one in and resave the same thing happens.

I'm also a bit perplexed as to why the bitrate was different for the two clips which were essentially shot either side of a press of the pause button. I understand that some recorders use VBR but I used XP mode (equivalent of HQ, 1 hour per DVD) and the two clips were rated at 8Mbps and 9.16Mbps. The manual says that 8Mbps is the rate for XP and doesn't mention anything about the bitrate varying.

Hopefully I've given you enough info there to know what I'm trying to do and my current procedure for editing etc.

Can anyone suggest any improvements here or point to any potential solution(s)?

TIA
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Long post..phew!

Im not sure I have the answer but based on how my DVD recorder works . I dont think the kit which record direct to mpeg use CBR
What they do is change the (upper) range for VBR when you change the recording mode

It is a bit harder if you use womble to avoid generational quality loss with mpeg2 editing as it is supposed to be the one to use
What is true is that a lot of the mainstream editors have long since become better at mpeg editing and some employ " smart encoding". In that Womble may has lost its lustre up to a point

Why not try to use an intermediate codec ( cineform) in Vegas and then reeencode either to DVD ready mpeg . ( so that no further encoding occurs)
or
Use Vegas ( or other software) and see how they handle mpeg reencoding natively

Saying that the generational loss occurring with mpeg reencoding is not unrelated to how good the original mpeg itself was...
Is the Panny delivering?;)
 
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Loobster

Active Member
Thanks for the reply.

I can't really comment on the unit yet as I've been kind of preoccupied with this 'quality loss' thing. I can say it's small, light and easy to use.

I guess I am going to have to try other software to see what happens with it. The supplied software is of course crap.

Unless anyone else has any suggestions?
 

Loobster

Active Member
Well I'm trying Vegas and it seems overly complicated like Adobe bloatware.

I don't see an obvious way to output without re-encoding, in fact there is no 'export' function, just a 'render' one, which by it's very name suggests that it re-encodes everything anyway.
 

Loobster

Active Member
Hah. Just tried Ulead DVDMF6 (I used to use v4 a lot - one of my fave ever apps) and it worked like a charm. 'Do not encode DVD compliant files' is enabled by default in the options. And it didn't. I got a message about taking time to render the project but it obviously didn't - as it took about 4 seconds to 'render' my material, so obviously it was just re-authoring it and passing through the material 'as is'. All other software has re-encoded it and taken about 3 minutes to render my 56 seconds of video.

So hopefully I can use it for editing as well as joining - will test that soon.
 
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senu

Distinguished Member
Hah. Just tried Ulead DVDMF6 (I used to use v4 a lot - one of my fave ever apps) and it worked like a charm. 'Do not encode DVD compliant files' is enabled by default in the options. And it didn't. I got a message about taking time to render the project but it obviously didn't - as it took about 4 seconds to 'render' my material, so obviously it was just re-authoring it and passing through the material 'as is'. All other software has re-encoded it and taken about 3 minutes to render my 56 seconds of video.

So hopefully I can use it for editing as well as joining - will test that soon.

Most DVD authoring applications should "convert" DVD ready mpeg2 ( or MOD) to vob without reencoding ( especially if there is no discrepancy in DVD size), : and Ulead MF is one . (Its one of my fave apps ( as well):smashin: and Ive used all versions to date) .
.This is more so if the audio format for the DVD is not very different from tat of the original mpeg2 file

However when you edit, Im less sure it will not reencode. Its bigger brother is Ulead Video studio which has "a smart encode" feature ( which minimises reencoding .. it supposedly works but folk seem to have had mixed results

I dont use MF to edit.. just to author DVDs

Vegas is not really bloatware like the Adobe products. It has a much smaller system footprint and is quite kind on lightweight hardware systems
It does have an initial unfamiliar GUI if you are new to it but once you get the hang of it ( video tutorial s ect) it is fairly easy to use, and hen the advanced bits can be learnt slowly

It does not smart encode but being one of the firsr HDV editors it is a step or 2 ahead in clever mpeg2 editing

Vegas also has DVD Architect ( a standalone but very Vegas integrated program) which tries to avoid rencoding but it is not really an editing program
If you output from Vegas using its templates, it will author a DVD wihout any reeencoding
Similarly if you use it as an authoring program with your MOD files it should create DVDs without any reencoding

For Sony files, it seems the PMB bundled with its camcorders can trim , joined without reencoing) but for most other software the need to recreate new files especially when you apply effects , text , fades, transitions ect mean reencoding has to happen
Dv AVIs get reencoded too but they seem not be suffer any significant generational quality loss as a result, that is the logic of using Av lie Proxy or intermediate files or where possible ( at least with tape camcorders, starting with DV AVI).
 
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Loobster

Active Member
..... Ulead MF..... when you edit, Im less sure it will not reencode.

DVDMF6 is fine with editing, did some last night. Opened up my two test videos, spliced and diced, joined together, exported as one title to .MPG. No re-encoding.

I then added fades at the start and end and it just smart-encoded only the fades, and not the rest.

Sweeeet. It seems to be the app to use with material from this unit.

Thanks for the input.
 

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