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  1. #1

    Default iMovie HD to iDVD Video Quality Disappoinment

    About me: Absolute newbie, never posted before. Please be kind.

    I have spent many hours working on my home video using iMovie; then more time applying themes, building menus, importing slideshows using iDVD. I eventually burnt the DVD and all seemed to work okay.

    Watching the DVD back I noticed that the colors were washed out. I never expected so much quality loss from conversion to DVD format. I played both the iDVD preview side by side with the DVD and it was very easy to see the difference. I am very happy with the color in both iMovie and iDVD.

    1/ Is it normal for the encryption to DVD format to wash out the picture colour ?

    2/ Is this a factor of the software that I have used ? Should I be using some other software?

    3/ Or more likely, is it something that I have done? If so, do you have any clues as I have scanned every possible option to see if there is anything that was set incorrectly ?

    General advice welcome as I have many hours of video ahead... 3 years worth of family video to be exact.


    My Mac is
    iMac G5, running
    iDVD 5.0.1 (626)
    iMovie 5.0.2

  2. #2

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    First suggestion: use Software Update to update iMovie and iDVD to the latest versions. This may fix the problem immediately, or not.
    Current Macs: 2.2GHz MacBook Pro C2D I 2GHz MacBook C2D I
    Successful trades: [MREVO8]; macrob69; jerrah; simo; applecollector; tim; gpillans; alexc; lavo; chris; Brains; sexyshazam; tibook

  3. #3

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    Oh, and make sure that, if you have a PAL project; you set iDVD to encode in PAL and not NTSC, and vice-versa.

    PAL and NTSC are the two main world video standards. All Australian TVs use the PAL standard for video; and all American TVs use NTSC. PAL is generally better quality than NTSC, with a broader range of colours and a higher resolution image (it came afterwards, that's why...)
    Current Macs: 2.2GHz MacBook Pro C2D I 2GHz MacBook C2D I
    Successful trades: [MREVO8]; macrob69; jerrah; simo; applecollector; tim; gpillans; alexc; lavo; chris; Brains; sexyshazam; tibook

  4. #4

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    Just a guess: Have you checked that the output is in PAL?
    Macbook Pro C2D 2.2/4GB/250GB
    Mac Pro Quad 3Ghz/4GB 8800GT 30"

  5. #5

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    My limited understanding, is that the iDVD preview is simply the raw footage from the camera. And compression to standard definition is always just lousy.

    Apparently the resulting DVD looks better on a low end CRT than on those current hi-res LCDs -- including computer screens.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cam89 View Post
    1/ Is it normal for the encryption to DVD format to wash out the picture colour ?
    No. There may be tiny blocks around elements of the picture caused by too much compression; but the colour should definately not be washed out.

    2/ Is this a factor of the software that I have used ? Should I be using some other software?
    No, iMovie HD and iDVD shouldn't be doing this. Try downloading the latest updates. I don't use any other software as they both serve me fine.

    3/ Or more likely, is it something that I have done? If so, do you have any clues as I have scanned every possible option to see if there is anything that was set incorrectly ?
    1. Make sure, in iMovie, new projects are set to PAL 25fps. This can be done by going into 'Preferences' and setting it there. (Unless you're in the US, in which case forget it.)
    2. Make sure iDVD is set to PAL 25fps. Usually you set this via the Disc Info option box.
    Current Macs: 2.2GHz MacBook Pro C2D I 2GHz MacBook C2D I
    Successful trades: [MREVO8]; macrob69; jerrah; simo; applecollector; tim; gpillans; alexc; lavo; chris; Brains; sexyshazam; tibook

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by icant View Post
    My limited understanding, is that the iDVD preview is simply the raw footage from the camera. And compression to standard definition is always just lousy.

    Apparently the resulting DVD looks better on a low end CRT than on those current hi-res LCDs -- including computer screens.
    I doubt he's using HD. Just a guess, though.

    I find that iDVD's compression is very good, but nowhere near as good as Adobe Encore DVD for (shudder) PC. Never tried DVD Studio Pro, but I believe it's even better.

    And yes, an iDVD usually looks better on a normal CRT - new LCDs are designed either to view broadcast-quality cinema-studio properly-mastered DVDs or new Blu-Ray discs. I did a film in widescreen and encoded in iDVD a while back, and it ended up looking pretty murky (due to the fact that most of the film is set at night = darker image = harder to encode well.)
    Current Macs: 2.2GHz MacBook Pro C2D I 2GHz MacBook C2D I
    Successful trades: [MREVO8]; macrob69; jerrah; simo; applecollector; tim; gpillans; alexc; lavo; chris; Brains; sexyshazam; tibook

  8. #8

    Default

    What are you viewing the final DVD on? A computer screen or a standard TV/Projector?

    Sometimes the colour differences between these can be pretty high, also if you're playing back SD on a HD monitor etc etc.

  9. #9

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    Also make sure that you set the encoding to "Best Quality" not "Best Performance" (which actually means worst quality) in preferences/general.

  10. #10

    Default

    Thanks all, I've checked all your recommendations. I've found nothing that was obviously wrong with what I have done.

    iMovie
    DV-PAL
    25fps

    iDVD
    Video Standard -> PAL
    Encoder Setting -> Best Quality

    The finsished DVD was viewed on my Std Defn CRT TV when we noticed that the picture looked washed out. Then I viewed it side by side on the MAC with both the DVD and the iDVD version playing simultaneously in synch (as near as possible) and noticed the difference again.

    The Software Updater recommended a series of updates but none for iDVD or iMovie:
    In total about 250mb worth!!! I am still using dialup so no mass update for me today!!!

    I recall that the encoding took an awful long time so something may have gone astray. I had set it off before I went to bed. I kept coming back during the night to see if it had finished. I think it took a good 4-6 hrs to complete.

  11. #11

    Default

    Just out of interest ... how does the DVD look if you play it back on the Mac using the "DVD Player" application?

    With regards to the long encoding time, I think that is typical (depending on your Mac). I made a DVD recently with lots of menus and slideshows and it took roughly the same amount of time to compile on my powerbook G4.

  12. #12

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    Yeah, I can understand how that can be a real bummer. The bad thing about iDVD is that there is no way to get full control over your encoding settings.

    Compressor and DVD Studio Pro is, however, a completely different kettle of fish. Knowing about keyframes and bitrates and that sort of thing isn't something an average consumer wants to know about. Heck - I'd done my homework and the first time I used compressor to render a big project it kept going bad. I know now what I had been doing wrong, but I digress.

    I hope you can work things out, but as I discovered the iApps really don't stand up to the pro apps in any way. Anyone who wants to dispute that - capture a tape in iMovie and capture the same footage in Final Cut Pro. The quality difference is immediately obvious and disappointing - and made me a little wary of iMovie. The applications are incredible - they allow any user to be creative. You just have to allow for a bit of quality loss, which is really unfortunate.
    If it is hidden, it is the flower - Zeami, Noh playwright

  13. #13

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    iDVD does do a pretty good job of encoding in my experience, but it isn't as good as DVD Studio Pro, particularly on larger projects.

    Just as a question, how long is the total of the video, intro menus etc you are encoding? The longer it is the more highly compressed it will be (assuming its greater than 60 minutes). Also, when you view the video in iDVD from iMovie, you are essentially viewing the DV stream, so you would expect some quality difference to be evident. However, "colour wash out" isn't a description I'd have ever used, although some darker sequences can become "muddier".

    Can you capture a frame from the DVD and a frame from the movie that illustrates the colour wash out?

  14. #14

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    Hi all
    Adding on to the above:

    I am doing a self running series of tutorial slides which I want to put on a DVD as inductions for new employees. I am also having quality issues playing back on the company windows PC's with XP SP2. I'm using a 17" macbook pro 2.33 , 3gb ram and 10.4. All sw is up to the latest version

    Slides were done in Keynote with Ariel font, images are with shadows and reflection with pre-set slide/appear timings.
    I exported from Keynote to iDVD. Generally I found the Quicktime export bad quality [maybe I was doing something wrong as well).
    This export to iDVD seems to also make a Quicktime movie and then import into iDVD.
    In iDVD I added music, multiple self-running slideshows, menus etc. Quality when playing back a review through iDVD seems fine.
    I then exported this from iDVD to a DVD and ran it on Windows Media Player with the codecs installed [Sigh!] . Quality is also bad running on my external DVD player and 52" Plasma

    Issues/where any suggestions would be appreciated:
    1. Quality (esp the text) is very bad (edges are blurred/jagged) when playing back the DVD created
    2. When trying to run fullscreen it's unacceptable for something that's supposed to impress [well, that's how I justified doing this on a mac]

    Any suggestions/ideas would be really greatly appreciated

    Thanks... Rob

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by soferfam View Post
    Hi all
    Adding on to the above:

    I am doing a self running series of tutorial slides which I want to put on a DVD as inductions for new employees. I am also having quality issues playing back on the company windows PC's with XP SP2. I'm using a 17" macbook pro 2.33 , 3gb ram and 10.4. All sw is up to the latest version

    Slides were done in Keynote with Ariel font, images are with shadows and reflection with pre-set slide/appear timings.
    I exported from Keynote to iDVD. Generally I found the Quicktime export bad quality [maybe I was doing something wrong as well).
    This export to iDVD seems to also make a Quicktime movie and then import into iDVD.
    In iDVD I added music, multiple self-running slideshows, menus etc. Quality when playing back a review through iDVD seems fine.
    I then exported this from iDVD to a DVD and ran it on Windows Media Player with the codecs installed [Sigh!] . Quality is also bad running on my external DVD player and 52" Plasma

    Issues/where any suggestions would be appreciated:
    1. Quality (esp the text) is very bad (edges are blurred/jagged) when playing back the DVD created
    2. When trying to run fullscreen it's unacceptable for something that's supposed to impress [well, that's how I justified doing this on a mac]

    Any suggestions/ideas would be really greatly appreciated

    Thanks... Rob

    I've added Keynote presentations to iDVD projects many times, with very good results. A couple of things that I do:
    Make sure your Keynote presentation slide size is 800 x 600
    Make sure all your transitions are set to run automatically
    When you export the completed slideshow to Quicktime, change the 'Interactive Slideshow' setting to 'Self Contained Movie'.
    Export to Full Quality, Large.

    Your exported movie should work perfectly in iMovie/iDVD.
    Usually, I'll import the slideshow into directly into iMovie (often as an opening sequence, for example), then export the whole iMovie project into iDVD as per normal.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers!
    'He who controls rhythm, controls.' John Lee Hooker

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