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Roxio Easy CD/DVD Creator / file sizes

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by pmb, May 28, 2003.

  1. pmb

    pmb
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    Hi all,

    Am happily capturing analogue video via a Creative SB Personal Cinema, no problems encountered whatsoever (ok so it's not cutting edge but it's fine for what I'm doing).

    I am, however, being a bit dim when it comes to capture settings, conversions, etc with winDVR / NVidia WDM / Roxio Easy CD/DVD creator. I've tried looking round the web - some good stuff - but I need a 'Noddy's guide'...

    For instance, let's say I'm capturing a compact VHS tape, 45 mins long (Note: Although the original tape is VHS, it's connected to the unit via an Svideo cable) direct to MPEG-2.

    Everything I've read seems to say that 'there's no point capturing using maximum bitrates/framesizes because the original quality of VHS is so low'. So, naturally, I try capturing using frame sizes/bit rates matching that of the original footage. (WinDVR has 'good'/'better'/'best' settings plus 'user-definable': eg: VCD). I then burn a VCD (again advice says 'no point in burning a SVCD because the quality of the original footage won't warrant it') but on viewing, the quality is poor - blocky + with a strange 'film-like' quality.

    Conversely, when I whack the video bits per second up as high as they can go and burn an SVCD as opposed to a VCD, I get much better quality - as good as the original I would say. No surprises there but:

    a) is is necessary to do these massive captures? Is there a 'threshold' over which it makes no difference what your bitrate settings are for VHS -> VCD? (-> SVCD?) I only ask because having a big capture file seems to make editing that much slower...

    Where it gets more interesting is that from a 3Gig captured MPEG file, EasyCD creator tells me I'm only going to consume 810Meg on the SVCD. I presume there is some kind of conversion going on here but:
    b) what is it?
    c) how do I/can I set my originating capture settings to take into account that the file is going to go 3Gig->810Meg....

    Other questions:
    d) Should I always be burrning SVCDs even if my footage is only VHS?
    e) Any advice for capture/save settings when I eventually get round to my newer footage which is SVHS ?

    Other than the above niggles I'm really impressed with the whole video capture thing - manipulating video files with the same ease as stills is soooo great...

    Thanks for any input - apologies for dimness!

    pmb
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    <takes a deep breath>
    Right lets try and go through your questions.
    You are capturing an analogue, therefore low quality sorce. The better the quality captured, the better the final output. At lower capture rates more noise (audio & video) will get captured. The best method for 'the threshold' is trial and error, but I would suggest that you capture as good as you can. The final output has nothing to do with the capture.
    b) You capture in AVI and copy to VCD in MPEG-1 or SVCD in MPEG-2. The software will conert it as required.
    c) AVI is 15 minutes of footage = 1Gb disk space. When the software converts to MPEG-1/2 it compresses the file. This is set by the software, you may have some control but I do not know your software.
    d) If the quality of VCD is not good enough for you then yes. It's really up to you.
    e) Yet again it's trial & error.

    Mark.
     
  3. pmb

    pmb
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    Thanks Mark (including the deep breath) - much appreciate the response... I rather thought it would boil down to 'trial and error'...

    However as I understand it, WinDVR (or at least the NVidia drivers it uses) generates MPEG-2 (or 1 depending on settings) files when I'm capturing rather than AVI. Given that there is only so much room on a CD, say 600Meg, I would expect to be able to set my capture bitrates etc to generate an MPEG file of this size and then effectively have minimal encoding when burning the SVCD (plus lesser time editing since the file would be only one fifth of the size).

    However it seems to me that capturing a big MPEG then letting the SVCD encoding process in 'Easy CD Creator' reduce it to the relevant size gives better results. Is this likely, and if so, why?

    Feel free to call me dim but I'd have thought reducing an existing MPEG to another, smaller, MPEG (I assume that's what's hapening in EasyCD) would have resulted in a worse quality than having captured a similarly sized *original* MPEG in one pass...

    Maybe it's just my eyes....

    Cheers,
    pmb
     
  4. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Ok, I am by no means an expert, I just do the editing to get the results that I require. So here is my understanding of what is going on. I am sure there will be others along to correct me!

    When you capture an AVI file, be it from Dv in digital or Hi8 etc as analogue the capture gets ALL the information from the tape. If the capture creates an MPEG file then a large part of the information is not captured, less disk space needed, but this is because MPEG is a lossy compression. MPEG will capture the full origional fram, but then all the following frames it only captures the changes on the frame. Therefore if you start editing out sections the quality will drop as not all the information for the following frames are available.

    The final quality of any video is also down to the quality of the encoders used. You could use 2 different products to makes the same final product from the same sorce material and get VERY different quality end results.
    Setting of bitrates etc is all down to the software. Obviously it is a more advanced programme that lets you set the bitrate and often therefore more expensive.

    Mark.
     
  5. army

    army
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    hello pmb ,
    a ----Yes I would always capture without encoding for example ive just captured 1HR 37 minutes of DV video (video 8) it took up 19.5 gig ! [i use videostudio 6 for capturing]
    b --- its converting from mpeg? file to mpeg file? it shouldn't need to convert/encode again if your captured file was of the same mpeg type , it would just make it compatible for svcd use.
    c ---- get yourself a decent encoder & editing software [procoder & Honestech are what i use or PD equivilents,TMPGEnc is a good encoder/editor]
    d ---- YES , i encode at 2520 kbps cbr video & 224kbps audio (sometimes a little higher video & lower [192]audio) at the highest quality setting very slow but worth it. This approx = 38 minutes of svcd video on a 80 minute cdr.
    Ive just started the encoding of the 19.5 gig file to mpeg 2 svcd format using master quality settings on procoder it will take about 6hours to complete on a 2ghz PC
     
  6. pmb

    pmb
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    Thanks both (Mark + Army), the PC is reasonably powerful so storing/working with 'raw' AVI seems to be the answer (for me at least) at the editing stage.

    Seems to make things quicker when scrolling thru footage, I guess it avoids lots of decoding issues.

    Tried a few captures/encodes with VirtualDub/TMPGenc and can safely say I'm really pleased with the quality...
     

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