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Making DVD-Video DVDs from AVI files


aw_giantsfan

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I am actually still on Toast 7, which can make a standard DVD from an AVI file, but the DVD video quality is noticeably worse than the source material.

 

(I understand that I can make a DiVX disc from the AVI file and play it on a DiVX-capable player, but I prefer to make discs I can play on any player.)

 

Is this conversion improved in Toast 8? Do the resulting DVDs look any better?

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Thanks for the reply, Tsantee. I appreciate how you've shared your knowledge over the years :)

 

The movies are less than 2 hours long, so it's unlikely that Toast is doing additional compression.

 

The interlacing is a plausible explanation for the noticeable image degradation. I can see that if Toast has to fill in the blanks, so to speak, it can do a poor job of guessing what it should add to the image.

 

Am I better off trying to convert the AVIs to MPEG in an outside application, and then bring that MPEG back into Toast to make the DVD-Video?

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Am I better off trying to convert the AVIs to MPEG in an outside application, and then bring that MPEG back into Toast to make the DVD-Video?

 

I have done that before with OK results using Bitvice. I normally don't mess too much with converting DivX back to mpeg2 but if you must do it Bitvice produces the best results. It's a multi-pass variable bitrate encoder and outclasses any encoder I have used.

 

It's a lot less trouble just making a DivX disk and getting a set top player that can play it. That's what I would do.

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Just wanted to document the steps I took to finally get acceptable DVD-Video from an AVI file.

 

1. I used ffmpegX to save the movie as MPEG-TS. This was somehow squeezing my 640x320 AVI file to 4:3.

 

2. I opened the file in MPEG Streamclip and saved it as an MPEG file.

 

3. I brought the MPEG file into Toast and made a disc image out of it (it was 4:3).

 

4. I copied the VIDEO_TS folder from the mounted disc image file to my hard drive, and opened it with myDVDEdit. I forced the VTS to 16:9 and saved it.

 

The result was less pixelated than bringing the AVI straight into Toast and making a DVD-Video DVD from it, even with Half-PEL checked.

 

It took a lot of work and time, though. ffmpegX took a lot of experimentation to get it to where I could work with it. (The pre-set DVD options resulted in very choppy playback, as though frames were skipped.) There are some trade-offs doing it this way, too. I noticed a slight bit of pixelation compared to the original, but the aspect ratio somehow was corrected in the result (the original AVI was stretched a bit too wide).

 

I recommend this method only if the original source is a good enough place to start, and you don't want to go the DiVX route.

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Thanks for the reply, Tsantee. I appreciate how you've shared your knowledge over the years :)

 

The movies are less than 2 hours long, so it's unlikely that Toast is doing additional compression.

 

The interlacing is a plausible explanation for the noticeable image degradation. I can see that if Toast has to fill in the blanks, so to speak, it can do a poor job of guessing what it should add to the image.

 

Am I better off trying to convert the AVIs to MPEG in an outside application, and then bring that MPEG back into Toast to make the DVD-Video?

One thing you can do to make the video a little better with Toast is in the Custom Encoder window put a check mark by Half-Pel. Toast's MPEG encoder is very good. You could gain quality by using multi-pass encoding with BitVice or Compressor (part of DVD Studio Pro) but those are spendy.

 

If you want to experiment use Toast to export the AVI to DV or MPEG 4 (DV requires lots of hard drive space) and then use that exported file in iDVD. iDVD doesn't compress the audio so that means it has to compress the video more than Toast (on videos over 1 hour in length). Even so it will give you another point of reference for quality. If the iDVD encoding looks better then something isn't right with how Toast encoded the AVI to video DVD.

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Toast 8 has updated the MPEG encoder so it might be slightly better - or not. But picture quality is dependent on a lot of variables. If the AVI has a resolution that is less than standard for DVDs (which is 720x480 in the U.S.) then Toast's encoder has to make up those extra pixels affecting sharpness. If the video is longer than about 2 hours then the MPEG encoding bit rate gets pretty low which decreases quality. And then there is the issue of the DVD being interlaced whereas you're watching the AVI on your computer without interlacing fields.

 

If the only reason you're considering the upgrade to Toast 8 is in the hope of getting somewhat better-quality video DVDs from those AVIs, I won't be the person to recommend that to you. But if this is one of several reasons....

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