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Setting the standards: codecs and delivery formats
#1
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Setting the standards: codecs and delivery formats

I must admit I LOVE to take a DVD, a BD, a Laserdisc into my hands, read the back cover, and the inner sleeve or booklet, admire the image in the front of the cover and the disc label, and finally take the disc, put it into the player, press "play" on the remote... it's a guilty pleasure nowadays, where every audio and video content seems that should be delivered in non physical form... but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone here, right?

Even if it's pretty easy today for the tech savvy to take any audio video file, which is encoded using a given codec, and remux or convert it to another one, I still think it's a good idea to release our project using an established standard, both for audio video codecs, and for the delivery format, to give our friends, parents, grandparents a disc, and say them "put it in the player, and press play"...

Here you are my thoughts:

DELIVERY FORMATS

today, everyone has a DVD player at home; it could be a stand alone player, a videogame console, a PC recorder... so, a project, in standard definition, should be available at least on DVD, but... this is not my first option... because DVD is rather limited today - just one video and few audio codecs, not high-definition etc... plus, many time there is a DVD version of a movie, but not a BD...

So, to me, we should set the Blu-ray disc (BD-25 or BD-50) as the default delivery format. Granted, there are a lot less BD player around, in comparison to DVD, but any movie lover has one... it has all we need; several video and audio codecs, high-definition, a lot of space... plus, a menu is a welcome addition!

Personally, I release my projects on BD-25 because they are a lot cheaper and available than BD-50, but not only for that reason... the fact is, the only Blu-ray disc, recorded at home, which will last for a very long time, is made by Milleniata; the M-Disc seems to last for centuries, and they are available as BD-25 only (for the moment), so...

The next format, that probably will be the last physical audio video delivery format, will be Ultra HD Blu-ray... we'll talk more about it when the standard will be finalized, but it promises UHD, new codecs, higher frame rates and color gamuts...

Anyone who would like to obtain a file-only version of a project, could just take the .m2ts file and use it as is, or remux it in whichever other container, like .mkv, .mp4 or others... but, of course, it will lack the menus!

VIDEO CODECS

AVC (or H264, or MPEG-4 Part 10): I think anybody agrees that it's the only codec to use today, not only for high-definition or for Blu-ray authoring, but for any high quality file; the free x264 encoder is considered one of the best ones around, and best thing of all, is free... some retail BDs are encoded with it, too!

VC-1 quality is almost on par with AVC, but it's not that easy to encode, and not all standalone file players are compatible, so I think there is no reason to use it instead of AVC.

MPEG-2 is the third option; used on BD, HD-DVD and DVD, to reach the same quality of AVC it should use about twice its bitrate, so I think it's better to avoid it, unless you have some content encoded with it, which should be used "as is"; for example, it's possible to put DVD content on BD, just without re-encoding it.

HEVC (or H265) is the new codec, perfect for UHD... it will be used in the next Blu-ray format, and it seems to work really well; I'd wait to use it, until the Ultra HD Blu-ray will be ready, or if the "classic" Blu-ray will change its standard...

AUDIO CODECS

PCM is the older and simpler audio codec, yet its quality is very good; audio CDs and Laserdisc with digital audio has it; easy to edit, the big downside is its size.

Dolby Digital (or AC-3)  is the most known lossy codec; it's perfect for good quality multichannel audio tracks, but today there are many better codecs around. Remember that is possible to capture AC-3 from a laserdisc, and use it without conversions for a BD or DVD project.

DTS once was the best lossy codec; many laserdiscs are available with full bitrate DTS tracks, as some D-Theater tapes, while many DVD use the half bitrate; plus, even if it uses a different codec, we have also the Cinema DTS for some movie!

Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA: lossless codecs, the best quality available today; to me, they should be used only when an original audio track is avaible, because there is no reason to use them when the original source use a lower quality lossy codec...

SUBTITLES

Last, but not least, subtitles... I always try to add them to my project, one for each language used for audio tracks; I think it's useful for hearing impaired persons, as well as foreigner like me, who may want to listen to the original audio and use the subtitles to not lose any word.
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#2
I'll bet you love to pull out your old LPs and play those too Tongue  I still miss mine that were all destroyed when my parents basement flooded many years ago.  I've been meaning to start picking them up again, but always seem to have too much else to work on.

BD-25 vs. BD-50 doesn't really matter much to me these days since I'm moving all my video to a media server anyway.  But I will say that for HD projects I think it's nice for the original maker to release the lower resolution at the same time (for people who choose to consume that format).  This way they can take the time to do a careful encode from the original source, not the HD release.  In theory the quality will be slightly better.

If one is putting in all the work in the first place, creating the secondary encode seems like a very small part of the overall pie.  Of course, this excludes distribution of the final bits, in which case the encode would make up maybe 1/3 of the HD version.
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#3
Sadly, my LPs all lies in their boxes in the attic, as ALL space is taken by laserdiscs... I hope one day to have some space - or a new house - to play them again, even if I must admit I'm a bit worried for the continuous wear due to the turntable needle... maybe I should buy a laser turntable! Wink

About SD version: I try to make the best possible audio video projects, quality wise, so I see no point in a reduced quality version, where most of the work will be lost - resolution first, but also grain for example... apart small file size, I think that if someone is really interested in an HD project of one of his/her favourite movie, he/she will do everything to obtain it and play it at the best, including buy a new BD burner or media server or another "thing" (that will be used for something else, I hope!) - just my opinion, of course!
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#4
DVD are useless. Who wants to revisit a film in low res? All preservations should be HD, or in case of only SD sources existing, combination of several sources to add extra detail (PaNup)
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#5
I'm just thinking about UHD projects, released on Ultra HD Blu-ray... Wink
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#6
I agree, where possible I always go for the highest quality, but I refer back to the Star Wars De-specialized Editions.  There are many on OT who can't get (or can't play back) the HD version that still want to enjoy the film as they remember it.  In these cases there are other advantages to the title in question besides resolution (restoration, color, edits, etc.).

Special case, maybe.  But it is easier for the original author to to the extra down conversion given the sources used, leads to a better result (an official result at least), and takes only a very small percentage of the time compared to the entire project.

I also agree it should not be standard for every release, but for some it may make sense.
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#7
Quote:guiser wrote:

BD-25 vs. BD-50 doesn't really matter much to me these days since I'm moving all my video to a media server anyway. But I will say that for HD projects I think it's nice for the original maker to release the lower resolution at the same time (for people who choose to consume that format). This way they can take the time to do a careful encode from the original source, not the HD release. In theory the quality will be slightly better.

If one is putting in all the work in the first place, creating the secondary encode seems like a very small part of the overall pie. Of course, this excludes distribution of the final bits, in which case the encode would make up maybe 1/3 of the HD version.

I'm on the fence with this one. The people putting in all the work shouldn't have to make multiple encodes just to satisfy everyone. If folks know they want a lower size encode chances are they know how to make it from a larger source. HD prices have come down a lot and there really shouldn't be a need for space. With patience, chances are, someone who downloads the larger source will make a smaller one to share. That should be sufficient for those wanting a specific encode outside the release.

These take a lot of resources to create, including money most of the time, and the project creator should not be made to feel obligated just because a smaller group of folks don't have bluray drives/burners and blank discs. There are software programs that will play the larger sources even if one doesn't have the hardware capability, especially with a media server.

Now, just for the record, I'm not taking digs at you guiser, I'm just stating how I feel about it. It's a tough spot for any project creator to be in.
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#8
(2015-03-25, 12:24 AM)Jetrell Fo Wrote:
Quote:guiser wrote:

BD-25 vs. BD-50 doesn't really matter much to me these days since I'm moving all my video to a media server anyway.  But I will say that for HD projects I think it's nice for the original maker to release the lower resolution at the same time (for people who choose to consume that format).  This way they can take the time to do a careful encode from the original source, not the HD release.  In theory the quality will be slightly better.

If one is putting in all the work in the first place, creating the secondary encode seems like a very small part of the overall pie.  Of course, this excludes distribution of the final bits, in which case the encode would make up maybe 1/3 of the HD version.

I'm on the fence with this one.  The people putting in all the work shouldn't have to make multiple encodes just to satisfy everyone.  If folks know they want a lower size encode chances are they know how to make it from a larger source.  HD prices have come down a lot and there really shouldn't be a need for space.  With patience, chances are, someone who downloads the larger source will make a smaller one to share.  That should be sufficient for those wanting a specific encode outside the release.

These take a lot of resources to create, including money most of the time, and the project creator should not be made to feel obligated just because a smaller group of folks don't have bluray drives/burners and blank discs.  There are software programs that will play the larger sources even if one doesn't have the hardware capability, especially with a media server.

Now, just for the record, I'm not taking digs at you guiser, I'm just stating how I feel about it.  It's a tough spot for any project creator to be in.

I agree with this as well, which probably means this part of the discussion doesn't belong in the standards thread or shouldn't be a standard (though the option could very well be) Tongue

Multiple encodes is something that should definitely be at the discretion of the author(s). My example was a very specific project with wide interest and dissemination. In that case it made sense, but it certainly won't for others. No project will ever please 100% of the people 100% of the time.

Oh, and the nice part about standards is that there are always so many to choose from...
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#9
(2015-02-06, 09:01 PM)spoRv Wrote: VIDEO CODECS
AVC (or H264, or MPEG-4 Part 10): I think anybody agrees that it's the only codec to use today, not only for high-definition or for Blu-ray authoring, but for any high quality file; the free x264 encoder is considered one of the best ones around, and best thing of all, is free... some retail BDs are encoded with it, too!

VC-1 quality is almost on par with AVC, but it's not that easy to encode, and not all standalone file players are compatible, so I think there is no reason to use it instead of AVC.

MPEG-2 is the third option; used on BD, HD-DVD and DVD, to reach the same quality of AVC it should use about twice its bitrate, so I think it's better to avoid it, unless you have some content encoded with it, which should be used "as is"; for example, it's possible to put DVD content on BD, just without re-encoding it.

HEVC (or H265) is the new codec, perfect for UHD... it will be used in the next Blu-ray format, and it seems to work really well; I'd wait to use it, until the Ultra HD Blu-ray will be ready, or if the "classic" Blu-ray will change its standard...

JPEG 2000 is free as well (although most encoders are not), and it is used for DCPs.

(2015-02-07, 05:48 PM)Stamper Wrote: DVD are useless. Who wants to revisit a film in low res? All preservations should be HD, or in case of only SD sources existing, combination of several sources to add extra detail (PaNup)

That's not true. I've got a file encoding at the moment that's based off a DVD. The encoding quality on it is only average really, yet it still looks very good when converted to HD.

Before:

[Image: x9B8DZ9.png]

After:

[Image: gaZjP4K.jpg]

In motion the gate-weave has been stabilised as well.

Once a layer of film-grain is added it looks better still.
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