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Custom Settings Burning Mpeg-2 To Dvd



I created an mpeg-2 video using Premiere Elements and video recorded from my iPhone4 (720p). When I play the mpeg-2 on the computer it looks great. I've tried burning this to dvd several times using different approaches and each time the resulting file plays back with a noticeable loss of quality. Clean edges are jagged and there is some pixellation of smooth surfaces.


I am using an iMac 27" dual-core Intel processor with Premiere Elements 10 and Toast 11.


I first tried converting the mpeg-2 to a .mov file, then burned to dvd using the Best settings. This gave the worst result. Then I simply burned the original mpeg-2 file using custom settings. I found several forum threads with mention of these, so gave it a shot.

Average Bit Rate 7.0

Maximum Bit Rate 8.5

Motion Estimation Best

Half-PEL box checked

Reencoding Never


The quality was somewhat improved, but the same issues remain but to a slightly lesser degree.


Should I also change the Field Dominance setting? (To be honest, I don't really know what that means.) Or am I completely missing something? Should I be using different settings entirely? The original mpeg-2 looks fantastic on the large screen, so there is something going on with the burn apparently.


My goal is to burn to dvd so I can submit to a festival, so I need to eliminate the visual issues.


Thanks for any suggestions!

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When you chose Reencoding Never did Toast say it was multiplexing the video when you clicked the burn button or did it say it was encoding the video? If it said multiplexing then Toast did nothing to the video quality. If it said encoding then your MPEG 2 file was out-of-spec for video DVD and Toast needed to re-encode it. How does Toast describe the specs of the source video after you add it to the Toast window? I suspect your MPEG 2 video is not standard definition so Toast had to re-encode it.


If field dominance is wrong you'll see jagged lines whenever there is fast motion in the video.


Obviously a standard definition video won't look as good as high definition. Are you previewing your burned DVD on a TV or on your Mac? Don't judge the quality based on how it looks on a computer screen. Look at it on a TV and compare it with other standard-def video DVDs played at actual size.


Unless you exported the video from Premiere as a standard-def MPEG 2 then it would have been better to export from Premiere using a less lossy codec such as h.264 or DVCPro25 or DVCPro50. I'm attaching a screenshot of the export format that I find works best in creating a good-looking video DVD.


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Thanks for your speedy response!

My original export from Premiere Elements was found under "Export files for viewing on computers>MPEG: use for playback on this computer or burning to DVD." Then I chose the presets for HD 720p 30. The resulting mpeg-2 file is what I brought into Toast. Toast recognized it as MPEG-2, 1280 x 720, 29.97 fps. I'm pretty sure it did say encoding video - so you were right about that. That was probably my first mistake, since I was intending to view the dvd using a standard dvd player, right?


Curiously, after I posted the message I burned another dvd choosing progressive under field dominance and it looked better on the standard tv but worse on the computer.


After receiving your response I converted the file in Toast to the specs you suggested, then burned another dvd, this time with Avg Bit Rate 6.5, Max bit rate 8, Motion Estimation Best and Half-PEL box checked. The other three fields I left at auto. The picture is a bit better though there are still some jagged edges and shimmering.

For example, there is a clip featuring a boat spinning adrift slowly in a river, and the edges of the boat have a pixellated shimmer to them which wasn't occurring in the original. But maybe as you say, I shouldn't expect the same quality.


A new question has come to mind. Should I re-export from Premiere as a standard def movie instead of converting in Toast. Then I would just use Toast to burn the dvd?


My goal is to get a dvd that can be played on a standard dvd player to show a few people before re-exporting as Blue-ray and burning the HD disc.


Thanks again for your help!

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The shimmering is a common artifact of interlacing. I found this was greatly reduced when choosing Progressive as the scan mode when creating the QuickTime export described above. The advantage of converting to standard definition before adding to Toast is that Toast doesn't need to rescale as well as encode the video. That limits some damage.


Had you converted to standard-def MPEG 2 from Premiere you could have used Toast's Never re-encode. It may be that Premiere's MPEG 2 encoder is better than Toast's.

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