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Resizing to lower rezolution
  • Is there a tool that's better for re-sizing to sd for DVD release than media encoder in CS 5.5? I did a side by side (by side) comparison between After Effects, Media Encoder, and Virtual Dub (lanczos3) and they all look about the same. None of them look great. Will a hardware solution make any difference in quality? I always thought it just sped things up.
  • 18 Replies sorted by
  • DaVinci Resolve has some of the best scaling in the industry – now for free. But what exactly was your problem?

    The tools you tried were not really bad. BTW, sometimes SD needs a tiny bit of edge enhancement, it's resolution is just so low…

  • As far as I remember best approach is as follows:

    Two pass bilinear resize
    And sharpness boost
  • @ Nomad
    I'd love to try Resolve but I'm a PC guy and so it's not an option right now. I'm doing my sharpening in the MPEG encoder (cinevision) and that helps a lot. My main problem is with pixelation. All of these workflows are vastly better than going MPEG straight out of Premiere or letting Encore do the resizing and encoding, but I'm still getting pixelation on things like side profiles, text, and thin objects. I know that's part of the game when going that low res, but I've checked all of my hollywood DVDs and I don't see any of that in any of them, so there must be a secret to avoiding it? Is it a degree of blurring to make the gradient between pixels blend?

    I'm pretty sure all of the adobe products use two pass bilinear, is there a software that does it better?
  • The beta for PC is out already.
  • What would the Resolve workflow look like, assuming all you want to do is downscale your 1080p master for SD? Just load it all in as one shot, set up a 720x480 (or 720x576 of course) timeline and render it back out?

    I use Resolve all the time for grading now but this downscaling thing intrigues me. I was never really pleased with how my stuff looks on DVD, despite owning many finely-mastered DVDs so I know it can be done.
  • @kupchenpo, I haven't tried them personally but I guess BitVice and CinemaCraft are supposed to be good (paid) solutions used by some of the big studios.

    Edit: Just looked and I guess BitVice has a free version for SD/mpeg2 now. It's limited to 2 cores for rendering but otherwise I think it's the real deal. Running some GH2 stuff through it right now to try it out.
  • @Namad
    Fantastic, downloading now. I'll try it out and report back. I've always wanted to play with Resolve. How does the free version compare to programs like Colorista or Color Finesse for grading?

    @ Oedipax
    Those are both MPEG encoders. I have CinemaCraft, it's a good encoder, but it doesn't resize. I'm taking the quality hit on the re-sizing, not when I encode to MPEG.
  • why do I bother....? --- delete---
  • @kupchenpo Resolve is much faster than CF on the same hardware, offers far more adjustments than Colorista but is a bit harder to learn.

    @Oedipax You can grade in HD to have a perfect master and render different versions from the same TL.
  • Why would a hardware solution give you better quality? In the end its all algorithms running on some kind of CPU
    or DSP. (Unless there is some hardware resizer with tubes inside..)
    I believe more important than the resize method - lanczos3 with some sharpening applied afterwards feels quite ok in my personal view - is the amount of noise you feed the compressor with (as well as choosing a truely lossless intermediate codec with 4:4:4 color sampling.)
    Cause noise is interpreted as detail, so it will eat up the bandwith you need for the real details.

  • @Meierhans

    What tool do you use for your Lanczos3 resizing? Which 4:4:4 codec do you use? I don't see why so much color information would make for a cleaner compression. I understand noise being a problem with compression. I usually use NeatVideo to clean up my noise and then reintroduce film grain in the MPEG encoding stage if that's the look I'm going for. That's what I always thought about hardware solutions, they are just faster than CPU based programs, but essentially the same thing.
  • Adding film grain after denoising can be a very bad idea, since it will get clumped together by the encoder. You can add a tiny bit of noise to very clean images to avoid banding, but it should be a 'homeopathic' dose.
    Hollywood is going to great length degraining their footage for DVDs…
  • I render out a graded Lagarith 1080p master, then trow the avi into Virtualdub, apply MSU Sharpen at "Small overall and border" then resize (lanczos3). Lagarith might be overkill, but its does not hurt as well. The result is again.. Lagarith, this time in SD and looking nearly oversharp when watched on computer screen.
    @nomand is right if he says that you should only apply the absolut minimum of artificial noise. I know it tempting, I like noise as well.. but it will simply eat up your details due to the limited MPEG2 bandwidth on DVD.
  • Point taken, I've actually only ever done this once, as I generally prefer a cleaner picture and even then it was minimal to achieve a certain look.


    What editing software do you use? Do you find that Virtualdub does a noticeably better job? I thought it would, but I found the Premiere CS5.5's re-sizing straight out from my timeline to be visually indistinguishable and a big time saver.
  • ruffcut in FCP/PP CS5 --> to AE (colorfinesse, MB looks) --> render lossless master. From this point it really depends on the output format. Vdub is only one route, but its free, renders quick and just gives you the control you need.
  • Text, graphics and anything else not in the original footage is better introduced after downsizing. So render to DVD res intermediate without, then re-import, add the rest and export. Your text and graphics will be free of jaggies.
  • Yeah, I always create such assets at the target res, so as not to loose quality in resizing, but they still look pixelated. Is there a secret to getting smooth text at DVD res?
  • Are you referring to burnt-in text or overlay ?