GUI_DVDAuthor vs Ulead MovieFactory 4

ghealy

New member
Background:
Am running an Hauppauge WinTV PVR USB2 to record TV episodes. My ultimate goal is to create episodic discs containing 3-4 1 hour shows per disk.

I have Ulead MovieFactory 4 -- came with the WinTV device. It works okay but insists on transcoding when the total file size exceeds Disc size.

My intent is to encode using DVD Rebuilder & CCE Basic down to a DVD5. (Had very good results when archiving some of my commercial episodic discs.)

Questions:
Are there any advantages to use one or the other software to author the DVD?

Should I investigate other software?

My understanding is that we can pass to GUI_DVDAuthor chapter breaks that we created in VRD. Does any one know if the same is possible with Ulead MovieFactory 4?

Am still trying to establish a working workflow. So any and all suggestions & comments are greatly appreciated.

TIA,

--Gene
 

phd

Super Moderator
Another option you might consider is using DMF4 to author to a hard drvie folder, then using DVD Shrink so it could fit on a disc.
 

ghealy

New member
Another option you might consider is using DMF4 to author to a hard drvie folder, then using DVD Shrink so it could fit on a disc.
Thanks, Pat, for the suggestion.

Am I wrong in assuming that a 2.2 GB MPEG2 file once authored would result in .vob files at least as large as the initial MPEG2 file?

As it is my intention of combining 4 shows, each approximately 2.2 GB MPEG2 files, on a single 4.3 GB DVD, I don't think Shrink (though an excellent program) would give me the image quality that I will get by using DVD-Rebuilder & CCE encoding.

Ulead's MF4 complains loudly when I attempt to author 8.8 GB (4 x 2.2) worth of MPEG2 files. (To be honest I've not tried to proceed beyond its warnings.)

And I like creating chapters @ cuts in VRD. From what I've read, VRD will pass that info to GFDA. Can't find anything on how I would do that with MF4.

Was hoping to grab a few pointers from the more experienced members. Guess I need to play a bit more on my own. :)

Again, thanks.

--Gene
 

Anole

Moderator
Am I wrong in assuming that a 2.2 GB MPEG2 file once authored would result in .vob files at least as large as the initial MPEG2 file?
...it is my intention of combining 4 shows, each approximately 2.2 GB MPEG2 files, on a single 4.3 GB DVD,
Authoring with two 2.2gb mpg files would pretty much fill up a single layer DVD.
If it was close, I'd use one of the squeezers.

However, if I had four 2.2gb files/movies, etc, what I would do is either:
a) burn to two DVDs
b) burn to a dual layer DVD
There is no "c)"
I've re-encoded stuff before and find that it's just not worth my time and aggravation.
The squeezer programs have proved useful when I wanted to shoehorn just one more half hour onto a disc, but I try to use those sparingly .

Well, that's my opinion. ;)

...and now we will hear from the folks who take the time to use the tools for re-encoding.
Many have had good luck, and are happy to share their tricks. :)
 
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phd

Super Moderator
DVD Shrink does not look good in my opinion if you are going to shrink 8.8 GB down to a DVD-5 disk.

8.8 GB exceeds the capacity of an 8.5 GB dual layer DVD so I would imagine DMF4 will not only balk but reencode everything. My suggestion to use DVD Shrink only applies if the disk is moderately oversized.

DMF4 is my tool of choice for creating DVDs. It will not import chapter files from VRD. DMF has DWZ project files which appear to be proprietary and I haven't found any info on how to edit them.

I have to manually enter chapter points but I manually perform that routine. If you use the option in DMF to Add/Edit chapters, you can click in the time box and press Alt+D to set a chapter point.

Another option to consider is to lower your capture quality in WinTV so no reencoding is necessary. DMF will accept the files directly. My settings for the WinTV 250 allow me to fit 5-6 episodes on a DVD after editing.

File size for an unedited 2 hour show is about 1.7 GB.
3 X 2 hours would be about 5.1GB.
After editing it would be about 3.8 GB.
You could tweak the settings to your satisfaction. I'm sure other WinTV people could chime in with their settings as well.

Here are the file properties from a typical recording I make:

File Size: 2704888872 ( 2.52 GB )
Program Duration: 03:00:00.28
File Type: PS - MPEG2
Encoding: MPEG 2
Video stream Id: xE0
Encoding Dimensions: 352 x 480
Display Size: 352 x 480
Aspect Ratio: 4/3
Frame Rate: 29.97 FPS
Bit Rate: 2.000 Mbps
VBV_Buffer: 224 KB
Profile: Main/Main
Progressive: Prog or Int
Chroma: 4:2:0
Audio Format: Layer 2
Audio Stream Id: xC0
Audio Bit Rate: 384 Kbps
Audio Sampling Rate: 48000 Hz
 

ghealy

New member
The squeezer programs have proved useful when I wanted to shoehorn just one more half hour onto a disc, but I try to use those sparingly .

Well, that's my opinion. ;)
Appreciate the comments. I've had very good results backing up my Dark Angel & Battlestar Galactica discs using DVD-RB with CCE basic and DVD5 discs. I can't see any difference in image quality.

But I realize not everyone is willing to spend the time. Again for me, I set it up before I go to bed and let it do its magic while I sleep.

Thanks,

--Gene
 

ghealy

New member
A good bit of information in this post to digest.

DMF4 may be a viable option if I end up going with only 3 episodes as long as it will not re-encode for a DVD9. I much rather use DVD-RB with CCE.

Your settings are very different from mine. I've mine set-up for 720x480. I'm also using MPEG2 - 12 MB

When I record off TV cable, VRD states my bit rate is 7MBs. With the shows I just recorded off the VCR using composite cables, VRD reported 9.6 MB bt rate. Maybe I've got the quality settings too high?

Obviously I need to play a bit more to figure out the best settings.

Appreciate the help. Thanks

--Gene

EDIT: Sorry. This was related to the very helpful post written by Pat. Should have mentioned his name when initially posting.
 
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Anole

Moderator
well, if you're gonna be -reasonable- :)

Oh, I thought we were discussing how to handle the existing files.
Yea, by all means... if you can re-record them or for future projects, lower the recording rate/quality.
Depending on what hardware you are using to record, and what TV you expect to play back on, there's a -lot- of wiggle room.
My satellite stuff is 544x480 (that's how they broadcast it, so I don't re-encode), and in the 2.5 to 3.5 megabits per second.
At that rate, I get 1gb/hr of show, and when you edit out commercials, the 42 minute show is more like 750-850mb.
I don't favor dropping back all the way to 352x480, personally.
The 480x480 some TiVo units use is getting passable...
544x480 works out well and plays on all the current DVD players I've tried.
640x480 never seemed to play on anything...:mad:
And of course, 720x480 is DVD spec.
Now, as you lower the resolution, you should lower the recording rate with it.
But, even if you record at full 720x480, try dropping the data rate to 4..5..6mb/s and see how it looks.
No point in using 8mb/s or 9mb/s on those low rez files! :rolleyes:
Perhaps a little experimentation is in order.. :)


edit: oh, and one other thing...
VRD reports the header's bit rate using the Ctrl-L feature.
That's interesting, and very useful, but not the actual rate.
When you finish a save, note the actual average rate reported there!
This is no fault of VRD - it's a product of needing to analyze the bit stream to get a proper number.
 
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ghealy

New member
Oh, I thought we were discussing how to handle the existing files.
Yea, by all means... if you can re-record them or for future projects, lower the recording rate/quality.
Depending on what hardware you are using to record, and what TV you expect to play back on, there's a -lot- of wiggle room.
Am using a Hauppauge WinTV PVR USB2 to record. Either use the included Hauppauge software or BeyondTV to schedule and handle the recordings. Playback is via a standalone DVD player to a North American (NTSC?) 27 inch TV. (Though I expect I'll move to a larger screen in the next few years.)

Now, as you lower the resolution, you should lower the recording rate with it.
But, even if you record at full 720x480, try dropping the data rate to 4..5..6mb/s and see how it looks.
No point in using 8mb/s or 9mb/s on those low rez files! :rolleyes:
Perhaps a little experimentation is in order.. :)
Need to find out where in Hauppauge's software I can do that. BeyondTV has several setting for DVD quality, think I'll try to drop it down a notch or three. :)

edit: oh, and one other thing...
VRD reports the header's bit rate using the Ctrl-L feature.
That's interesting, and very useful, but not the actual rate.
When you finish a save, note the actual average rate reported there!
This is no fault of VRD - it's a product of needing to analyze the bit stream to get a proper number.
Thanks for that info. The bitrates I was quoting in my original post were what VRD gives in the popup after it saves your edited files.

Again thanks, I appreciate the assistance as I try to figure my way around all this.

--Gene
 

Lester Burnham

New member
Gene

I also use a Hauppauge WinTV PVR-USB2 for recording.

I've done a fair amount of tweaking in terms of bitrate, and personally I use WinTVcap and WinTVcap32 (GUI front-end for WinTVcap) for recording. The "profile" or parameters of the recordings are "tweakable" in an ini file.

You can do similar in the WinTV2000 GUI, in terms of custom recording profiles.

I've tweaked the bitrate to suit me personally, in terms of picture quality, and output file size.

If I've occasionally got it slightly out, I'd use DVDshrink after authoring to shrink down - but only by a little bit.

And although I do use DVDrebuilder, I tend not to do it with the output from my PVR-USB2 recordings, following authoring - more for backup purposes of DVDs that I may want to take on my travels, or use in portable devices.

Speaking of DVDrebuilder, I've had very pleasing results using the freeware encoders: HC and quenc - forum opinion seems to favour HC, slightly - but I have been pleased with quenc, too.

I also use GUI_for_dvdauthor (new version out, in the last few days - two choices for authoring engine: dvdauthor or muxman - I still favour dvdauthor, with quite a lot of other enhancements, too - ISO creation, plus imgburn integration). I've been using it, now, exclusively for authoring for a couple of years. I wouldn't use anything else, now.

I don't really bother with chapters from VideoReDo imported, though - I've never really made any true use of AD-detective. I use the chapter editing / creation utility in GUI_for_dvdauthor - for both the method it allows (x number of chapters per title OR chapters every y minutes) and creating animated clips for the chapters.

As a generalism, I think it's good advice to follow the whole "capture in the desired target bitrate" rather than shrink later - unless it's only occasionally, marginally out - so look to tweak that in your preferred recording software. If you only need to shrink by a very modest amount - DVDshrink is a very capable transcoder (turn AEC on), and for small amounts of shrink (say less than 10%) it's a good trade-off between quality and time.

If you are going to the steps of using DVD-rebuilder for your PVR-USB2 recordings, post authoring, I genuinely think you should tweak your recording properties - unless you plan on keeping / archiving mpegs in your desired recording constraints, and are willing to compromise a bit for authoring DVDs.

I like DVD-rebuilder and use it regularly - but I don't think I'd include it as part of my recording-to-DVD procedure, simply because of the elapsed time. I prefer capturing / recording with a conducive bitrate, and if I really need to, shrinking just a little bit with DVDshrink if I've got things out just a little bit. DVD blanks are pretty cheap, these days.
 

ghealy

New member
I also use a Hauppauge WinTV PVR-USB2 for recording.

I've done a fair amount of tweaking in terms of bitrate, and personally I use WinTVcap and WinTVcap32 (GUI front-end for WinTVcap) for recording. The "profile" or parameters of the recordings are "tweakable" in an ini file.

You can do similar in the WinTV2000 GUI, in terms of custom recording profiles.
I came across the Bitrate setting in WinTV the other night. Just not sure how much I want to knock it back so as to still have very good image quality.:confused: I'd like to throw 3-4 episodes on a single disc, so @ 3 episodes / disc, each would have to be approximately 1.3 GB each.

If I've occasionally got it slightly out, I'd use DVDshrink after authoring to shrink down - but only by a little bit.
I've a number of transcoders, Shrink, REcode & CLone DVD. All of them work well when you're only compressing 10-20%

Speaking of DVDrebuilder, I've had very pleasing results using the freeware encoders: HC and quenc - forum opinion seems to favour HC, slightly - but I have been pleased with quenc, too.
I spent the money and purchased CCE Basic. The savings in time on my old clunker of a PC is amazing. (Backing up my Dark Angel discs to DVD5 would take upto 9 hrs overnight with either HC or qEnc. Run through CCE Basic, only 2 1/2 hrs. (all times approximate - YMMV))

I also use GUI_for_dvdauthor (new version out, in the last few days - two choices for authoring engine: dvdauthor or muxman - I still favour dvdauthor, with quite a lot of other enhancements, too - ISO creation, plus imgburn integration). I've been using it, now, exclusively for authoring for a couple of years. I wouldn't use anything else, now.
Played with this last night. Found a guide on the website that really helped. Ended up with problems which I think I know the cause (Different episodes with different resolution/bitrates)

I don't really bother with chapters from VideoReDo imported, though - I've never really made any true use of AD-detective. I use the chapter editing / creation utility in GUI_for_dvdauthor - for both the method it allows (x number of chapters per title OR chapters every y minutes) and creating animated clips for the chapters.
Actually using VRD's "Write chapters" option and then taking the resulting numbers from the text file and inserting them into dvdauthor's chapters list works well.

If you are going to the steps of using DVD-rebuilder for your PVR-USB2 recordings, post authoring, I genuinely think you should tweak your recording properties - unless you plan on keeping / archiving mpegs in your desired recording constraints, and are willing to compromise a bit for authoring DVDs.
What I'm after is to have my own episodic discs of TV shows that will have a good image quality. My problem so far has been thinking I needed the highest bitrate possible and then attempt to shrink/compress/re-encode the files down to a useable disc be it DVD5 or DVD9.

What I've gather from everyone's suggestions is that the above is not necessarily the best way to go. Now what I need to figure out is by how much do I reduce the captured bitrate and still end up with very good image quality.

Lester, thanks for the suggestions and the insight on how you do things.
 

Lester Burnham

New member
I came across the Bitrate setting in WinTV the other night. Just not sure how much I want to knock it back so as to still have very good image quality.:confused: I'd like to throw 3-4 episodes on a single disc, so @ 3 episodes / disc, each would have to be approximately 1.3 GB each.
Do a search on videohelp - there's some bitrate calculators that will give you ballpark figures.

I've a number of transcoders, Shrink, REcode & CLone DVD. All of them work well when you're only compressing 10-20%
Not used the 3rd on - but I've used shrink, recode and rejig - and for a transcoder, I'm quite happy with DVDshrink, given modest degrees of shrinkage (my rule of thumb being 85%).

I've not noticed much to tempt me to use Recode (written by the author of DVDshrink) over DVDshrink, personally.

I spent the money and purchased CCE Basic. The savings in time on my old clunker of a PC is amazing. (Backing up my Dark Angel discs to DVD5 would take upto 9 hrs overnight with either HC or qEnc. Run through CCE Basic, only 2 1/2 hrs. (all times approximate - YMMV))
Agreed that the time can be a factor. But with things like this, I tend to run them overnight. My rationale being: quick and easy and for small amounts of shrink - dvdshrink. Anything more, DVDrebuilder (and usually a bit of tweaking with Vobblanker) using HC (these days, but have used quenc, and been reasonably happy with it).

If I'm going to pay for an encoder, I have to consider whether I'd be better upgrading my PC with a faster CPU, then all apps will benefit. I'm perfectly happy with the quality of HC and quenc.

Played with this last night. Found a guide on the website that really helped. Ended up with problems which I think I know the cause (Different episodes with different resolution/bitrates)
Should be OK in different titlesets, shouldn't it?

I must confess, though, that everything I tend to process does have common resolutions, and quite likely very similar bitrates.

What I'm after is to have my own episodic discs of TV shows that will have a good image quality. My problem so far has been thinking I needed the highest bitrate possible and then attempt to shrink/compress/re-encode the files down to a useable disc be it DVD5 or DVD9.

What I've gather from everyone's suggestions is that the above is not necessarily the best way to go. Now what I need to figure out is by how much do I reduce the captured bitrate and still end up with very good image quality.
My own DVDs tend to be a roughly 50/50 split of movies to episodic DVDs. As I haven't used my PVR-USB2 much in the past few months (since moving house, and logistics making it more difficult to use...), some of these DVDs are from downloaded TV, for family who can only play DVDs.
 
I'e been using the Hauppauge cards for a while and have settled on the following profiles.
Three edited shows per disk (USA):
720x480
Program Stream
4 Mbps Avg
8 Mbps Max
Audio 48Khz sampling; 224 Khz bitrate

Four edited shows per disk:
Drop avg to 3 and max to 6

Note on audio, pick one setting for all recordings and you will be able to combine all your clips if needed or desired. 384 is generally overkill for TV. Below 224 has occassionally caused problems after authoring for me; YMMV. If you need 45 to 50 minutes (PAL and UK) then drop the avg to 3.5 and max to 7.2. It took a lot of experimenting to settle on those specs but they look pretty good on a 53" Sony RPTV and 144" InFocus PJ. I use WinTvCap almost exclusively but am trying GP-PVR because of an HVR1600 that WinTvCap can't handle.
 

ghealy

New member
I'e been using the Hauppauge cards for a while and have settled on the following profiles.
Three edited shows per disk (USA):
720x480
Program Stream
4 Mbps Avg
8 Mbps Max
Audio 48Khz sampling; 224 Khz bitrate
Now I just need to figure out where I make these adjustments. :D

I've not seen WinTVCap. Will need to check that out.

Under preferences in WinTV I can set the MPEG compression quality level to a number of settings. Think that either 'DVD Standard Long Play' (6.2 Mbits/sec datarate) or 'DVD Standard Extra Long Play (4.4 Mbits/sec datarate) are what I'm looking for. Though I can't find what the estimated file size would be at those rates.

Note on audio, pick one setting for all recordings and you will be able to combine all your clips if needed or desired. 384 is generally overkill for TV. Below 224 has occassionally caused problems after authoring for me; YMMV.
Duely noted, thanks.

--Gene
 

Anole

Moderator
"sounds like..."

It's hard to compare video bit rates to quality, unless you consider resolution, too.
Seems the above discussion has moved toward 720x480, so all the bit rate discussion is comparable.

Sound is another matter.
Let me suggest you keep an open mind in that department.
I capture in the following sound formats and none have any trouble at all.
Code:
         Audio Format:  2.0
      Audio Stream Id:  AC3: 0 (x80)
       Audio Bit Rate:  384 Kbps
  Audio Sampling Rate:  48000 Hz

         Audio Format:  Layer 2
      Audio Stream Id:  xC0
       Audio Bit Rate:  160 Kbps
  Audio Sampling Rate:  48000 Hz
Just remember - I'm only recording (a pre-digitized bit stream), not encoding, and I don't have your same hardware.

I could not find an example of DD 5.1 to show.
Not sure why. Something for more research. :)
 
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ghealy

New member
It's hard to compare video bit rates to quality, unless you consider resolution, too.
Seems the above discussion has moved toward 720x480, so all the bit rate discussion is comparable.

Sound is another matter.
Let me suggest you keep an open mind in that department.
I capture in the following sound formats and none have any trouble at all.
Thanks for that input, Anole. I need to research more how to modify these values in WinTV2000.

Again, thanks.

--Gene
 

TimA-C

Member
I'm sure you could set up custom recording modes in the WinTV2000 software that came with my Hauppauge PVR150 tv/capture card. (I haven't used it much since I got a Nova-T USB2 DVB-T in 2005 and then a Humax 9200t twin-tuner DVB-T PBVR with USB socket last year.) I think there was also quite a lot of talk on the hauppauge user forums about using Leadtek's superior Winfast software (supplied with their capture cards) to control the hauppauge devices. It might be worth your while having a look at the Hauppauge forums to see if this is an option for you.

Either way, the Video calculator here http://videocalc.abelhadigital.com/ will probably help you determine your target bitrates. (My DVD recorder records SP at 720x576 @ 4650KB/s and AC3 audio @ 256Kb/s and I can't see any difference in quality from the original source. Anyway, 3 edited hour long episodes with these settings is a bit bigger than will comfortably fit on a single-sided dvd.)

Finally, to get a more accurate idea of min, avg, and max bitrates in a video file, try using PVR Strumento - http://www.offeryn.de/dv.htm. Just load your video file and hit the 'Scan' button. The bitrate and GOP info appears at the end of the report that's generated.

Hope this helps.
 
I need to research more how to modify these values in WinTV2000.
I don't have WinTV2000 currently installed so I'll have to do this from memory. When you get to the tab that allows you to select a bitrate profile, there is an advanced button that will show you the individual characteristics of the profile. You can change them here to start a custom profile. When you return to the first tab, (or previous page, this is where my memory fails me) there is an empty box where you can enter a name for the profile that you just created. Type in a name and "Save New Profile". If you hit "OK" it will not save it. Now you have a new profile that you can select, just like all of the premade ones.
 

ghealy

New member
Finally, to get a more accurate idea of min, avg, and max bitrates in a video file, try using PVR Strumento - http://www.offeryn.de/dv.htm. Just load your video file and hit the 'Scan' button. The bitrate and GOP info appears at the end of the report that's generated.

Hope this helps.
Thanks, TimA-C. Am looking forward to trying that PVR Strumento utility.

Have set up WinTV2K to record at 4.5 mbits and the resultant files after removing Ads come out at ~1.5 GB. So I should be able to squeeze 3 shows on a DVD5 with a little assist from either DVDShrink, or running them through Ulead's DMF4.

Again, thanks.

--Gene
 
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