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Dave Newman

I'll be waving the white flag, effective immediately.

Question

I never claimed to be a rocket scientist...yet I do consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, sensible and resourceful. And I never shy away from the challenge of learning something new.

 

...But, I've got to admit: this whole "video processing" thing (i.e. editing/converting/authoring/etc.) is kicking my &%$! I can't remember ever feeling this damned stupid.

 

Obviously, there is a ton of useful information at our disposal...and I've been availing myself of it frequently. However, I'm finding that for every question I have answered, another two or three spring up to take its place. I'm so friggin' lost.

 

So many different formats...processes...options...variables, in general.

 

Well, for the purposes of this post, let me try to express my confusion and frustration strictly limited to the realm of my experience with burning disks in Toast.

 

(I should preface this by stating that none of my problems have to do with the performance of Toast, itself. It has done everything it is supposed to, in my dealings with it.)

 

My needs are varied...and can range from simply backing up files to composing presentations which would include photos and miscellaneous (often dissimilar) video clips.

 

From the onset, I jumped in with both feet - and made sure I had all my bases covered. In addition to the 7.1.2 Titanium, I've got a Lacie dual-layer DVD burner (which, believe it or not, will actually burn dual-layer DVD's...ever since I began feeding it properly). Additionally, I armed myself with MPEG Streamclip, QuickTime Pro, DivX Pro, VLC, VisualHub, Flip4Mac, ffmpegX...and other apps which I've since ended up trashing.

 

I read the full Toast manual, prior to my first attempt at burning. It basically said "Drop your various sources on the content area, hit the jolly, candy-like button, and - voila! - you get a DVD!"

 

I thought "...Hell, I can handle that!"

 

Now, there's nothing inherently inaccurate in the information they'd provided - however, I wasn't prepared for the sobering eventuality that video encoding is an extremely taxing process, necessarily resulting in the frequent hijacking of one's CPU - and requiring an ungodly length of time to accomplish, in addition.

 

What I gather is that, due to those last facts, the experienced users of Toast are in the habit of breaking their media down and editing it in its most basic components, and then providing it to the Toast app in such a way as to limit the functions Toast will have to subsequently perform (ideally reducing its role to simply burning only).

 

Am I right, so far?

 

Well, that all seems like a great idea, and makes perfect sense to me.

 

My problems arise when I look down at the twenty video clips I'd like to burn to a DVD - and their properties are so mixed...having different formats, physical dimensions, frame rates, Height-Width proportions, data rates, resolutions, etc...

 

Where would I turn, to find out the best way to prepare each of those sources for its ultimate place on the DVD? I'm sure each kind of video format must be prepared differently. How does one go about learning all that?

 

While I'm at it: how close do we need to get the properties of all of these clips to one another, before we can present them collectively to Toast and have it accept that it doesn't need to perform any re-encoding? Do we need to get the frame rate of every clip to 29.97 fps before burning it to a disk that's going to be used here, in any case? What about the physical dimensions of the many video windows...do they need to be identical? ...Within a certain percentage of one another? How about all this I hear, regarding the need to fall with certain acceptable DVD standard parameters? (e.g. only certain, specific display sizes are permissable?) How would I learn more about those compliance issues?

 

If it is determined that some of the aforementioned steps must be taken prior to the final procedure of burning to a disk...what do you try to take care of beforehand, and what else (if anything) are you comfortable having Toast involved in?

 

If you do have Toast perform additional roles in the operation, are there ways to streamline and simplify its tasks - thereby reducing the chance of it needlessly stagnating - or getting "hung up" in an application?

 

That was a sampling of the numerous questions I've been carrying around. I think they're all pretty viable - yet I wouldn't have much chance of getting them answered in a theoretical environment. The Elders here have gained all the practical knowledge from working with the app in the real world, over time. Short of picking their brains...how else would I figure this stuff out? (The old "Trial and Error" system hasn't been particularly productive, as yet.)

 

Thank you, if you're still reading way down here.

 

...And thank you even more, if you'll be able to provide me with any of the information I'm seeking!

 

Dave

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The nice thing about Toast is it figures most of this out for you. I don't prepare video clips in other applications before dragging them to Toast. The exception is when I need to do editing. MPEG Streamclip is often helpful there, but I still just export the video in its source format if possible.

 

You could use Toast as a mass MPEG converter and then later use those MPEGs in DVDs that you want Toast to burn. Let's say you drag in a variety of differently-formatted video clips to the Toast Video window with DVD video set as the format. Now choose Save as Disc Image from the File menu. Toast encodes the clips to video-DVD compliant MPEG files. It writes these to the Roxio Converted Items folder and eventually authors a video DVD disc image from those MPEGs.

 

Go to Toast Preferences and change the preference for emptying the converted items folder to Never, so the files don't automatically get deleted when you quit Toast. After the encoding is completed you can move or copy the encoded MPEGs elsewhere from that folder for storage. You'd also want to give them file names that make sense to you.

 

There you have it. All your various video files converted to video-DVD-compliant MPEG files which can be used in Toast without further re-encoding.

 

The only thing you might be concerned with is the encoding bit rate setting. Toast automatically encodes at the best bitrate that will fit the targeted disc size for all the videos in the Video window. If you want smaller MPEG files than the default you should go to the custom encoder settings window and reduce the average and maximum bit rate settings.

 

An alternative to moving or copying the MPEGs from the Converted Items folder is to keep the disc image file. When you mount the disc image and choose DVD in the Toast Media Browser the individual titles on the disc image appear in the window. Just drag the titles from the Media Browser to the Video window and Toast extracts the MPEGs from the disc image and writes them to the Converted Items folder for use in making your next video DVD.

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Thank you both for your replies.

 

Pursuant to your suggestions, I have pulled the Sig Sauer P220 back out of my mouth and will try working things out once more.

 

I'll let you know how it goes...

 

Appreciatively,

Dave

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Still taking it one day at a time, my brethren...trying to keep it all in perspective.

 

(...inhale...exhale...)

 

tsantee or ffooky: if I follow your suggestion and place two clips in Toast to be converted for use at a later date...and one happens to be in PAL and the other in NTSC...Toast (knowing that I run NTSC) does not offer to simply convert the one clip; instead, it generates an alert prior to beginning any kind of conversion. Something like: "You've got two different TV formats going on here. If I do this, your DVD is going to come out f__ked up. You know that, don't you?"

 

And I can then choose to either acknowledge it and let it proceed, or cancel the request.

 

Do y'all have a different experience with yours? Am I doing something wrong?

 

Thanks again!

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Still taking it one day at a time, my brethren...trying to keep it all in perspective.

 

(...inhale...exhale...)

 

tsantee or ffooky: if I follow your suggestion and place two clips in Toast to be converted for use at a later date...and one happens to be in PAL and the other in NTSC...Toast (knowing that I run NTSC) does not offer to simply convert the one clip; instead, it generates an alert prior to beginning any kind of conversion. Something like: "You've got two different TV formats going on here. If I do this, your DVD is going to come out f__ked up. You know that, don't you?"

 

And I can then choose to either acknowledge it and let it proceed, or cancel the request.

 

Do y'all have a different experience with yours? Am I doing something wrong?

 

Thanks again!

It's no wonder this is driving you nuts.

 

I've never tried using both PAL and NTSC videos on one video DVD project so I don't know what the result will be. You set your PAL or NTSC preference in Toast Preferences. Toast then points out when it will have to transcode a video to the format you've selected in preferences.

 

Now here's something else to confuse you. Your Mac doesn't care about PAL or NTSC. It will play either. It only matters if you want to play the DVD with a DVD player and watch it on a TV.

 

To see the differences between PAL and NTSC, click on What is DVD at www.videohelp.com.

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Thanks, man.

 

Yeah, I've learned all about the differences between the formats - and I know that if the DVD's were intended only for my computer, it would be irrelevant. Unfortunately, more often than not they're ultimately to be used in set-top DVD players. (And in America we're screwed...as everyone else gets multi-format players but us.)

 

My Toast is set for NTSC - but it will not do the conversion from PAL while doing the "multiple clip" thing and having them mixed together. I've got to separate them, and do each format by itself.

 

Not a big deal; just making sure I wasn't overlooking something obvious.

 

Thanks!

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GFD!!!

 

Must've jinxed myself with that last message.

 

My reliable Oregonian friend, I don't think even you will be able to shed any light on this one...

 

Today marked my first attempt at burning a DVD since the official beginning of the Suicide Watch.

 

Wanted to do everything slow and deliberate - to a ludicrous extreme - in my efforts to ensure that nothing could possibly go wrong.

 

Had six clips to put on a DVD. I actually went through the mock "Save as a Disc Image" procedure for each file INDIVIDUALLY, thereby having them accumulate in the "Converted Items" folder until I was ready to bring them all back and make the actual disk.

 

To compensate for the fact that Toast would think it had limitless space for each clip, I turned off the "automatic" settings and lowered the extended controls you'd mentioned.

 

Now, here's the f__ed up part...

 

For each of the the PAL clips (and remember, it was treating them one-at-a-time, today), it put up a little alert prior to starting the preparation process...something to the effect of "Hey, this is a PAL clip...but all your stuff is NTSC. You want me to reencode it to NTSC for you?" To which I happily replied "Hell, yeah! Thanks for asking!" We went through that on each European video.

 

So, by the time I finally finished preparing the sixth clip, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy. THIS would be the day!

 

Double-checked the cumulative size of the six clips. Plenty of room to spare; not a problem. Subsequently selected "Reencoding: Never"

 

(I could TASTE it by that point, man...I'm telling you!)

 

Arranged my clips, selected "Save as Disc Image", and crossed my fingers...

 

Within seconds, Toast said "Hey, you've got both PAL and NTSC in here. Your disc is gonna suck! You know that, right?"

 

...To which I replied WTF?!?

 

Killed the operation, checked the three PAL clips...and, sure enough, they were saved to the "Converted Items" folder still at 25 FPS.

 

Why did the app do this to me, folks? I'm one of the few here who doesn't incessantly pick on it. Up to know, I've blamed my failures on my own limited abilities.

 

Somebody's gotta come up with a suggestion or two...I need to get back on the horse promptly - or I'm likely going to scrap the whole concept of burning DVD's for a while...

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You're charting new territory for me as I've never had reason do what you're needing to accomplish. But there's always something else to try.

 

Mount a disc image that has one of your converted PAL-to-NTSC videos. Now choose DVD from the Toast Media Browser, go down to the title level and drag the title to the Video window. After the MPEG is extracted click the Edit button. There you'll see a description of the video's format. Is that one NTSC?

 

If so, you can mount your other disc images and drag the MPEGs from them using the Media Browser.

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As soon as I went to put one of the files in question back on a disk image, Toast once again sweet-talked me with:

 

Liar.jpg

 

I allowed it to do its thing...but was subsequently thinking to myself that I'd just thrown off the integrity of our test. This file had effectively now gone through the PAL to NTSC conversion twice - so how much useful information could we really derive from that?

 

Yet, after it was all said and done, that clip STILL hasn't been converted!

 

That duplicitous little sack of coding! How could it mess with me like this?

 

(...And the manual doesn't seem to have much to offer, in helping to figure out what's going on.)

 

~ sigh ~

 

Well, thanks for the attempt. (...Was a promising suggestion!)

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Oh, hell...you could give me just a little credit!

 

:)

 

...Reencode to NTSC, of course!

 

(And when it said "all of my content", realize that it was looking at the one and only disc it would use in that session.)

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Just the same as you I'm trying to figure out why this is turning out wrong. If Toast asks if you want to reencode the PAL video to NTSC and you tell it to go ahead -- and then Toast goes through the time-consuming re-encoding process- I can't imagine what happened to the NTSC video it supposedly encoded. I'm about to grab my white flag, too.

 

Tomorrow I'll try this in reverse. I'll make a PAL video from an NTSC clip. If it works I'll try to change it back. Have I asked if you are using Toast 7.1.2?

 

I understand there are low-cost Philips DVD players that play both PAL and NTSC discs in the U.S. That's me waving a white flag.

 

More tomorrow.

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I just completed a test and it worked okay for me. I converted a NTSC video to PAL and that conversion came through, then I converted that PAL video to NTSC and it worked as well. One thing I noticed is that the Converted Items folder only contained the .m2v file from the conversion. That's because the audio (AC-3) was not converted. So to get the version with both the audio and video I needed to mount the disc image file and drag the title to the video window using the Toast Media Browser.

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Drat...I thought for sure I'd responded to post #14 - but nothing's showing. Well, I was very tired at the time.

 

I just completed a test and it worked okay for me.
(...How do you spell "inevitable"? :) )

 

tsantee, did you demux the file prior to the initial conversion, or did Toast do it?

 

Thanks for your help. I'll conquer this thing, yet.

 

P.S. - "When they say multi-format, do you suppose they're referring to DVD, CDV, SCDV...or NTSC and PAL?" he hypothetically asked, only semi-jokingly.

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