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Two Problems



I just purchased Toast 7 as an answer to problems I was having burning DVD's with DVD Studio Pro 4 (they were freezing during playback, and the answer was to burn at slower speeds, which Toast will do).


That solved the freezing problem. However, I have encountered two new problems with Toast.


1) If I export a Quick Time movie from Final Cut, and then use Compressor to make an mpeg 2 with dolby audio, and then import that into Toast, the resulting DVD has heavy pixellation during slow transitions. That pixellation was not there when I burned the DVD from DVD Studio Pro; nor is it there if I burn DVD's using my stand-alone DVD recorder. So they are not a "given", it is something only Toast is doing.


2) If I import the Quick Time movie directly into Toast, bypassing the step with Compressor, and let Toast encode the Quick Time movie, the resulting image is digitally zoomed in. I am seeing only about a quarter of the image filling the screen. I don't see this effect mentioned anywhere in the forum or on the internet at large. I can't imagine what would cause this.


No setting changes in any of these programs, or combination of settings that I've been able to discover, solves these two problems. I've tried everything I can think of. By the way, one person recommends using CBR instead of VBR. But, I don't see an option for CBR in Toast. Is setting the Average Bit Rate and the Maximum Bit Rate at the same rate, tantamount to CBR in this program?


I also tried inserting compression markers in the Final Cut timeline, changing the motion setting from "better" to "best" and vice-versa, selected "Half-PEL" (or not), toggled the "re-encoding" option, tried different quality settings in Compressor, etc.


I have not yet upgraded Toast 7; I have not reduced "GOP size" yet in Compressor as one person posting here has recommended (I'd have to see if I can find that option). I tried burning at 2x speed, and most recently at 1x speed.


The roughness does not appear in all transitions, only certain ones in particular sections of the video. They are not fades to or from black.


Please help--my purchase of Toast is of no use at all so far, and it seems impossible to communicate with a real person on the Roxio website without spending $35. It says there is "live chat" but there is no link to it that I can find. When you get to the end of the automatic "Roxanne" Q&A routine it will not take you to a page to set up a ticket (I tried two different browsers). I'm not impressed so far. If I had bought it at a store I'd be getting in my car and asking for a refund at this point.


Steve S.

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Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and respond in detail. It was confusing the heck out of me, too, even being new to the Mac (I've been around the block with these sorts of things for years with Premiere and the PC).


I solved the problems, and I'm not sure exactly which steps I used that solved them. But I'll list the major ones. Many were from various suggestions on this forum.


1) I upgraded all the relevant programs, including Quicktime and Toast, to the latest versions.


2) I exported a new self-contained Quick Time movie from the Final Cut Express HD timeline.


3) I imported this new Quick Time movie into Toast, and set Average Bit Rate and Max Bit Rate both at 6.5; motion estimate at "Better"; Half-PEL checked; re-encoding "always"; field dominance "bottom first"; aspect ratio 4:3 (not automatic); audio format Dolby.


4) And, I set write speed for 1x.


This time, the resulting video was flawless, not zoomed in. No pixellation in transitions; no freezing in my older playback unit when fast-forwarded at any point.


(And, you should have seen the zoomed effect I was describing before. The only thing I can compare it to is when I select "digital zoom" in playback in one of my smaller mini-dv camcorders, or on a DVD player. It wasn't a 4:3 ratio thing, I don't think. It was somehow triggering, I suppose, the playback deck's digital zoom feature???)


Then, whereas previously I was unable to complete the encoding process within DVD Studio Pro, I tried it again, selecting similar specs in DVD Studio Pro, i.e., constant bit rate and one-pass (not two-pass) at about 6.0, I think it was. Then I dragged the resulting TS_Video folder into Toast, and this method, also, yields a perfect DVD.


HOWEVER, the third method, that of bringing the Quick Time movie into Compressor and compressing it with similar specs, and then dragging the resulting mpeg2 and dolby audio files into Toast, yielded a DVD where the video and audio sync was off from the beginning of the DVD. These same two files would play in sync when brought into the DVD Studio Pro timeline.


I never did solve that problem--but perhaps there was conversion taking place from 44000 hz to 48000 hz, and (per posts on the forum) this was causing the dolby audio track to change lengths slightly. However, it wasn't *drifting*, it was off from the beginning. This made no sense to me and I haven't gone back to try to make this work, since I have two better solutions.


I hope this helps somebody...the main things I learned were:

1) upgrade all the software you're using for these operations to the latest versions, including Quick Time.

2) if you have problems with some DVD's freezing on fast forward or playback, reduce the burning speed

3) if you have problems with pixellated long transitions, go to CBR and one-pass at a fairly high resolution, around 6-7.

4) if you have audio/video sync problems, be sure the audio stays in 48000 hz throughout the entire process; and be sure you have the latest update for Quicktime.



Steve S.

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Okay, by exporting a Quick Time movie from Final Cut, opening Compressor and compressing that movie, having changed the settings of the mpg2 file I created in Compressor to one-pass CBR at 6.5, plus perhaps some other adjustments, I can now import the mpg2 file into Toast 7 and the resulting DVD has smooth transitions.


However, now the audio (dolby) and video are out of sync (not drifting apart, they start out of sync.) These files play together in sync on the DVD Studio Pro timeline when I import them into DVD Studio Pro, and I can make a DVD that is in sync from these files with DVD Studio Pro (except that it freezes on playback).


I can play the Quick Time movie in Quick Time, and it is in sync. The audio and video only are out of sync on the DVD created in Toast 7.


Looking through the forum here, I identified two issues that affect sync in Toast: 1) the audio needs to be 48 khz instead of 44; and 2) Quicktime 7 needs to be upgraded.


The audio is already 48 khz. I upgraded my version of Quicktime, burned another DVD with Toast 7, and the problem persists.


However, I have not yet created a new Quick Time movie from the Final Cut timeline after upgrading Quick Time, so I'm going to go back to that step in the process and try again.


Meanwhile, any suggestions would be very much appreciated. I'm almost there--in Toast 7, by reducing the DVD burn speed, I can create DVD's that do not freeze on playback in any of the three DVD players I have, including the oldest one. And the transitions are now smooth. I just need to solve the sync problem and I should have it...


Steve S.

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I'm hoping that freshburn has some thoughts about what is happening here. Your troubles with Toast don't make sense to me. I'm not saying that the problems aren't exactly what you're describing; it's just that its hard to visualize what Toast could be doing to cause this.


You first problem is pixelation on a Toast-burned DVD when using a Compressor-created MPEG. This pixelation isn't present on the DVDSP-burned disc from the same MPEG. But Toast doesn't do anything to the video or audio streams other than multiplex them. There is no re-encoding with Toast from existing compliant MPEG or .m2v files. So how can pixelation be introduced by Toast when the video isn't altered? I don't know.


The second problem is the video being zoomed in when having Toast do the MPEG encoding. The only comparable issue I've read about is when Toast doesn't recognize a 16:9 source and crops off the sides. Changing Toast custom encoding preferences to force 16:9 fixes that issue. But you say only about a quarter of the video is displayed. I've never heard of this problem before. Have you tried previewing the QuickTime file in Toast (select the title and click Edit and then choose the Video tab)? Does it display properly in the preview?


Lastly, you've resorted to using CBR instead of VBR to encode the video with Compressor and now the audio starts out of sync. I've never used CBR with Toast nor recall a post from anyone else who has, so I'm in the dark about why there should be any audio sync issue.


So each of your problems breaks new ground for me, and I've been helping at this forum for a few years. My sense is that none of these issues should be happening.


Do you have a different Mac on which you can try any of this? Do you have a Firewire hard drive that you can use to boot your Mac (as a way to test if something is amiss with your OS)? Have you tried trashing the two Toast plist files in your User Library Preferences folder? Sorry, but I just keep thinking there is something going on with your Mac that is unique to that machine. Nothing else makes sense.

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