Another DVD question

Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Fri, 31 Jan 2003 23:59:41

I'm doing my first dvd and was hoping someone with some experience could answer this question.

When I output from AE and look at the layered photoshop file next to the AE original comp (PS window next to AE window) the difference in levels is DRAMATIC! What is happening? Obviously the two windows are open within the same LCD. Should I be manually fixing the levels of PS file to match by eye the AE original? It's important that they match, because these menu frames directly follow movies outputed from AE.

Which leads me to my next question. I assume that once I go and convert the movies to Mpeg2 the levels and colors will change yet again. Should I bring the mpeg2 file into ae (if I can... don't even know if that's possible) and output my final frames with buttons from that?


Another DVD question

Post by David Bogi » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 00:16:12

Fredo, I can't help you directly but this isn't anything new for DVD producers so the information must be available somewhere and it should be easy to find.
Ben Waggoner's book for compressing and transcoding with Cleaner has tons of info on the disparity between color spaces for the various universal codecs and how to cope.
iDVD and DVDSP have large user groups and there are forums on And there are several advanced books for DVD authoring and production at amazon or your local Barnes and Noble.

Hope you figure it out!



Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 00:30:10

Thanks, Maestro! So what about the AE to PS problem? They look so different. Is AE doing something odd to the footage when outputing (output at lossless photoshop layered file, millions of colors) or is PS doing something funky when it's opening the file?

Another DVD question

Post by stevo patterso » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 00:44:02

hey fredo,
that really shouldn't be happening. sounds kinda weird. are you sure you're using the same color settings in both apps? same bit? you could always export the resolved frame of your ? comp as photoshop layers in order to ensure that your backgrounds have the same luma/chroma values (you can reuse the same bgd)..



Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 01:23:26

Thanks, Stevo. Here's the thing, I just went to import an mpeg2 file into AE and found that I could not. The files were all greyed out! Maybe what I should be doing is applying some action to the movies in DVDSP that will hold the last frame. But that's obviously not an AE question.

Yeah, both are RGB 8 bit. If I can get that freeze framing action in DVDSP that would solve my problem because it would just be the buttons coming in from PS.

Thanks again, guys.


Another DVD question

Post by stevo patterso » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 02:51:32

hey fredo,
you can get around the problem with dvdsp either by using the timeout options, or jumpto options. however, did you have a second to try outputting your ?comp as psd layers? if your background is seperable from your other elements in ?, you could reuse the exact same background in photoshop. as for ? reading mpeg2, it's not gonna happen. you have to decompress the mpeg2 file first to another format. that's one of the reasons the dvd comission decided to go with mpeg2. it's a bit harder to just pop-it on your desktop and view it in quicktime, or do much of anything else with it right out of the box.



Another DVD question

Post by Felix Mac » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 05:01:54

Hi fredo -

you can get the motion clips to stop on the last fame in DVDstudiopro by doing the following:
Place the clip in the project, double click the icon of the clip in the folder, go to:
general>wait after playback>infinite

The problem with that is that many dvd players show 'paused' video clips as half of the field information, making the image only half vetical resolution. Not pretty.

If you have the space on the DVD, the easiest way to get a match is to make a looping quicktime of the single still image. This way you can ensure that the colour will be identical to the animated version.



Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 04:57:04

Lord, quicktime mpeg2 compression looks like poo! The transitions are abysmal. Actually, the only thing they have going for them is that they remind me of the quality change you'd see in features back when dissolves (etc) were all done optically. I was super careful, and yet I'm finding all kinds of back little transitions between animations and stills. Guess the lesson here is that it's not wise to set up these kinds of transitions! At least not when one's only form of compression is quicktime. I looked into buying software compressors. The most affordable is Cleaner 6 and I have been led to believe that it is only a faint tad above Apple's compression. The cheapest of the packages that would make a difference is close to 700. smakers. Too much to invest right off the bat!

What I did with the PS layers was to solo just the buttons in AE and make a layered ps file out of that, then went back and solo'd the layers making up the background and did a plain and simple ps file (non-layered) of that. Still looks mighty different, but again, with the dreadful mpg2 compression it makes no difference at all!

I am spent. Thanks again for your good advice, Stevo. Much appreciated.


Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 07:59:33

Felix! My hero! Thank you so much. And I can place the buttons over the looping quicktime?

Another DVD question

Post by Felix Mac » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 08:13:15

Sure you can. You basically make a motion menu, except there is no 'motion.'
Wait - are we talking simple subpicts or the crazy phtoshop layered ones? The latter won't work on any DVD authoring system in conjunction with a video stream. If you use video, you MUST use the simple highlight method.

If you want use the layer method, which is often really slow to navigate ( hence you wont see it on movie releases particularly often ), you'll have to go to a still first.

I'll check out some stuff and see exactly what DVDSP does to the still that makes it look so different from the movie version.

Sorry, this is probably not what you wanted to hear...


Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 09:44:36

Buuuuuuumer! No it most definately isn't what I want to hear. But I'm so new to it that I'm not sure what I want to hear to begin with. I am indeed doing the layered thing. You're right, I always wondered by theatrically released DVDs are generally so bland, and why they keep using the horrendous highlights! Now I know.

Thanks for all your help, Felix. Let me know if you have any further ideas. It's back to the User's Manual with me!


Another DVD question

Post by stevo patterso » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 13:25:13

it's sad but true (as felix said, the limitations of motion rollovers), but there's always room for creativity. for the first time, i saw someone do something fairly original with the spiderman dvd (although, i think that it didn't read as well as they may have hoped), they used the "anti=aliasing" faking options used in dvd motion menu sub-picturing (4 colors total, 1 representing complete transparency--the other 3 usually representing varying levels of transparency of a master value: by using the extra color definitions as timing options. in event, they created the first, rough (although as good as possible with the technological limitations) compared to web/video game rollovers, with a very inventive workaround. by assigning different colors to the differnt "timings", they were able to feign/create an animated rollover. fairly impressive how there was minimal delay between swapping to the next button too.
lots of possiblities to consider with that in mind, and the methods tthat felix mentioned earlier.



Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 14:26:01

Cool, Stevo. I'll have to check that one out. Good film too. Really fun. Can't say I completely understood the content of your post, but I certainly aspire to understand, and maybe sitting down with post on one screen, movie on other will do the trick!

Another DVD question

Post by Fredo Viol » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 14:44:52

Sort of had it answered. Sort of not. I'm not sure why my ps files output from ae look different from the ae files. Still a mystery. But it doesn't matter at this point because the compressed movies are totally different from the stills.

I heard that Cleaner is not much better than Quicktime. What's your opinion?


Another DVD question

Post by smull » Sat, 01 Feb 2003 14:41:33

Did you ever get your original question/s answered? I kind of lost track of what it was you were asking.

I'm on my second major DVD project and have had pretty good success encoding with Cleaner. The compression isn't too bad.



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