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First steps #5: rate your sources
#1
Lightbulb 
Now you have found several sources to use for your project, but don't know which one could be the best to use... you must learn how to rate these; experience will help a lot, but if you have not much, here you could find some hints...

Audio/video sources

UHD-BD: the best source up to date: video resolution up to 3840x2160, bitrate up to 128mbps, 10bit color depth, HDR; audio tracks are usually lossless compressed, 7.1 channels - Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, plus all the others available on normal BDs.

BD: still one of the best source; video resolution is up to 1920x1080, bitrate up to 40Mbps; audio tracks could be uncompressed - PCM - or better compressed with a lossless codec to spare a lot of space without losing quality - Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS-HD MA, Dolby TrueHD - or lossy encoded - Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital EX up to 640kbps, DTS, DTS-HR, DTS-96, DTS-ES up to 1536kbps - all of them up to 8 channels.

HD-DVD: even if today is a dead format, and almost all titles are available on BD, sometimes there are few titles better than their BD counterparts; video quality is very high, with bitrate up to 30Mbps; audio is similar to BD, with DTS-HD MA at a lower max bitrate, but Dolby Digital Plus at almost double in comparison to BD.

D-Theater: another dead format, this time on tape; few titles released, almost all (if not everyone) on BD, but sometimes there are some little jems to discover; good video quality, bitrate around 20/22Mbps but only MPEG2; audio could be AC-3 or DTS 1.5Mbps.

HDTV: a lot of titles still not present on BD or other HD discs, and many times if they are available, the TV version is different or has different grading or cropping; quality could be really high - ATSC is 1080i MPEG2 at 19.2Mbps, while audio has usually lower quality than other HD sources.

DVD: the most successful digital disc format, present everywhere; very often the same title has different features depending on editions and/or country; quality is good, but not HD; video could be up to 720x480 for NTSC and 720x576 for PAL, anamorphic or not; audio is almost everytime Dolby Digital, but sometimes DTS, usually at half rate, 768Kbps.

VCD: widespread in Asia but not so common in the western countries; some titles could still be available only on this format; video quality is low, MPEG1 352x240 for NTSC and 352x288 for PAL at 1.15mbps fixed bitrate; audio is MPEG stereo 224Kbps at 44.1KHz.

SVCD: rarer than VCD, its predecessor, but with higher quality: video is MPEG2 480x480 for NTSC, 480x576 for PAL, up to 2.6Mbps, audio is usually stereo, but could be up to 6 channels, MPEG up to 384Kbps

Digital streaming: quality varies, from bad SD to very good HD - that could be 720p or 1080p - to great UHD; video bitrates are quite low in comparison to BD and HDTV, but often high enough to obtain good quality; audio could be multichannel, but again usually not on par with BD.

LD: very important format in the past, and with so many titles is quite easy to find out some title never released on DVD or BD; when captured using good players and capture device, quality could be quite good; video resolution could be up to 564x480 for NTSC and 564x576 for PAL; audio could be stereo, analog or PCM 1.44Kbps, or multichannel AC-3 384Kbps or DTS 1.44Kbps.

VHS: once the king of home video, discontinued since few years; sometimes it could be the only way to obtain some particular title; video captured with good VHS, or better S-VHS player or recorder, could be up to 352x480 for NTSC and 352x576 for PAL; audio mono is the norm, but many movies has a stereo Hi-Fi audio track of good quality.

CED, VHD: super-niche formats, video quality is somehow better than VHS but worse than LD; audio could be comparable with VHS Hi-Fi stereo.

Of course, a SD source could be hardly better than an HD one, but how to choose between sources with similar quality? There are some things to take in account: eventual problems like noise reduction, edge enhancement, grain (or the loss of), color grading... if every aspect is similar between the two, bitrate could be a good quality indicator; at the end, you could always use the following formula to know if the bitrate of your source is good enough...

A good digital video should have a bitrate equal or better than

width x height x FPS x motion rank x constant = final bitrate in bps

where the constant should be equal or higher* than
  • 0.045 for HEVC
  • 0.070 for AVC
  • 0.075 for VC-1
  • 0.116 for MPEG-2 (hardware encoders)
  • 0.136 for MPEG-2 (software encoders)
*CBR or VBR average bitrate

and the motion rank is equal to
  • 1 for low motion (e.g. news)
  • 2 for medium motion (e.g. movie)
  • 3 for quite high motion (e.g. action movie)
  • 4 for high motion (e.g. sport)
Let's make an example: you have two sources of the same title, with same resolution but different frame rate - of course the same motion rank, because the title is the same; they are compressed using two different codecs, so to know which one is better you should find out what is the needed bitrate for a good quality video.

Source 1 is 1920x1080, 23.976fps, motion rank 2, encoded in AVC; to have a good quality the bitrate should be:
1920 x 1080 x 23.976 x 2 x 0.07 = 6960328bps = ~6.9Mbps

Source 2 is 1920x1080, 29.96fps, motion rank 2, encoded in MPEG2; to have a good quality the bitrate should be:
1920 x 1080 x 29.96 x 2 x 0.116 =14413012bps = ~14.4Mbps

we discover that source 1 has an average bitrate of 7.4Mbps, while source 2 has a constant bitrate of 19.2Mbps; to compare the real bitrate with the value of a good quality video, we could do the following:

source 1: 7.4 / 6.9 = 1.07
source 2: 19.2 / 14.4 = 1.33

so we now know that source 1 is 7% better than the good quality required by the formula - just a little bit better, while source 2 is 33% better, a whopping one third... I'd go with the latter, and you?

Audio-only sources

Cinema DTS: sometimes the home video audio track has a different mix in comparison to the theatrical one; using Cinema DTS CD-ROMs, you'll be sure the audio will be THE SAME of the one heard in the theaters! It has a fixed 4:1 compression, 16bit 882Kbps, and when decompressed has about the same quality of home DTS tracks at 1.5Mbps.

DVD-Audio: exceptional quality, uncompressed PCM or lossless MLP; up to 24bit, stereo up to 192KHz, while multichannel 5.1 up to 96KHz.

SACD: on par with DVD-Audio, lossless DLD - uncompressed 5.6Mbps, up to 24bit, multichannel, frequency up to 176.4KHz.

CDDA: good quality, linear PCM 16bit 1.4Mbps stereo 44.1KHz.

HDCD: linear PCM 1.4Mbps stereo 44.1KHz; compared to CDDA, resolution is increased to 20bit.

DTS-CD: multichannel up to 5.1, compressed at 3:1, 44.1KHz, up to 20bit.

Vynil record: depending on the quality of hardware used, it could be captured at 24bit up to 192KHz to retain even the most minute details.

Compact Cassette: quality is quite low; I think that a 16bit 32KHz at around 1Mbps capture will be more than adequate.

MiniDisc: usually recorded at 44.1Khz 16bit, like CDDA, but compressed with ATRAC-3, around 4:1.

Same considerations written about video quality should be taken in account for audio; eventual noise, dynamic range etc. could make the difference; would you prefer a 24bit 192KHz track with some noise, or a perfect 16bit 44.1KHz with no noise floor?
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
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#2
LIST OF WIDELY KNOWN AND USED HOME VIDEO FORMATS FOR MOVIE RELEASE AND/OR RECORDING

Code:
                   p/i ratio max luma   max chroma  chroma       codec(s)
                             resolution resolution  sub & bits

Ultra HD TV 8K     - p   16/9  7680x4320  3840x2160  4:2:0 10b      HEVC
Ultra HD Blu-ray   - p   16/9  3840x2160  1920x1080  4:2:0 10b      HEVC
Ultra HD TV 4K     - p   16/9  3840x2160  1920x1080  4:2:0 10b      HEVC
Ultra HD download  - p   16/9  3840x2160  1920x1080  4:2:0 8b/10b   HEVC   AVC
Full  HD Blu-ray   - p   16/9  1920x1080   960x 540  4:2:0 8b       AVC    VC-1   MPEG-2
Full  HD HD-DVD    - p   16/9  1920x1080   960x 540  4:2:0 8b       AVC    VC-1   MPEG-2
Full  HD broadcast - p/i 16/9  1920x1080   960x 540  4:2:0 8b       AVC    MPEG-2
Full  HD D-VHS     - i   16/9  1920x1080   960x 540  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
Full  HD download  - p   16/9  1920x1080   960x 540  4:2:0 8b       AVC
Full  HD broadcast - i   16/9  1440x1088   720x 544  4:2:0 8b       AVC    MPEG-2
      HD broadcast - p   16/9  1280x 720   640x 360  4:2:0 8b       AVC    MPEG-2
      HD download  - p   16/9  1280x 720   640x 360  4:2:0 8b       AVC
      HD D-VHS     - p   16/9  1280x 720   640x 360  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      HD MUSE LD   - i    5/3 ~1080x1035  ~500x1035 ~4:2…0.5:1…0.25 analog Y/C
      SD PAL  DVD  - p/i 16/9   720x 576   360x 288  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD NTSC DVD  - p/i 16/9   720x 480   360x 240  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD PAL  DVB2 - p/i 16/9   720x 576   360x 288  4:2:0 8b       AVC
      SD PAL  DVB  - p/i 16/9   720x 576   360x 288  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD NTSC ATSC - p/i 16/9   704x 480   360x 240  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD PAL  DVD  - p/i  4/3   720x 576   360x 288  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD NTSC DVD  - p/i  4/3   720x 480   360x 240  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD PAL  DVB  - p/i  4/3   720x 576   360x 288  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD download  - p/i  4/3   720x 480   360x 240  4:2:0 8b       AVC
      SD PAL  DVB  - p/i  4/3   544x 576   272x 288  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD NTSC ATSC - p/i  4/3   640x 480   320x 240  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD PAL  LD   - i   16/9  ~580x 576  ~140x 576  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD NTSC LD   - i   16/9  ~560x 480  ~120x 480  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD PAL  LD   - i    4/3  ~580x 576  ~140x 576  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD NTSC LD   - i    4/3  ~560x 480  ~120x 480  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD PAL  SVHS - i    4/3  ~530x 576  ~ 40x 576  4:2:2          analog Y/C
      SD NTSC SVHS - i    4/3  ~530x 480  ~ 40x 480  4:2:2          analog Y/C
      SD PAL  SVCD - p    4/3   480x 576   240x 288  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD NTSC SVCD - p    4/3   480x 480   240x 240  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD PAL  CVD  - p    4/3   352x 576   176x 288  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD NTSC CVD  - p    4/3   352x 480   176x 240  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-2
      SD NTSC VHD  - i    4/3  ~330x 480  ~100x 480  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD PAL  CED  - i    4/3  ~330x 576  ~ 55x 576  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD PAL  VHS  - i    4/3  ~330x 576  ~ 40x 576  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD NTSC CED  - i    4/3  ~330x 480  ~ 55x 480  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD NTSC VHS  - i    4/3  ~330x 480  ~ 40x 480  4:2:2          analog comp.
      SD PAL  VCD  - p    4/3   352x 288   176x 144  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-1
      SD NTSC VCD  - p    4/3   352x 240   176x 120  4:2:0 8b       MPEG-1
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
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