Why won’t my DVDs made on elements 8 look like store-bought?

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Technique Editing Why won’t my DVDs made on elements 8 look like store-bought?

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    • #47318

      Could someone please give me a technical explanation for why this is happening?

      Anyone who’s familiar with Elements 8 knows that the only way to burn a DVD straight from the program is to use one of their inalterable presets: DVD Standard or DVD Widescreen. I am assuming that the set frame size for both of these is 720X480. Is this why everytime I try to burn a DVD from Elements 8 I get a really sub-standard picture on the screen, complete with jagged edges? I’ve tried De-Interlacing before rendering, and still no help. And jaggies are not the only problem-the picture quality is just, generally, pretty bad.

      With just about any storebougt DVD I have, the picture is gorgeous (though I am assuming that the resolution for these DVDs is the same as the 720X480 resolution that is offered with Elements 8). If my assumption is wrong-and the fact that these store-bought DVDs look so much better is because they are output at a much higher resolution, then why can’t I access this type of resolution in Elements? Is it because Elements is Adobe’s “Consumer” offering, and in order for the customer to be able to output at higher, more professional settings, they want you to have to upgrade to full Premiere?

      I have tried to output for DVD using the various MPEG2 settings that you can see in the share for Personal Computer settings (MPEG2 at both 1440×1080 and 1980×1080) but I can’t figure out how to get burn those files as a DVD Video file once they’re output, or if that size file is even permitable with DVDs.

      Answers would be deeply appreciated.

    • #194875

      And, btw, these are all AVCHD projects shot with an Canon HFM31 camcorder. All my project settings are set optimally for the output of this camcorder.

    • #194876


      My friend you are a victim of the ‘Sizzle’. It’s just like that old saying; ‘We’re not selling the Steak, we’re selling the sizzle.’ When companies sell you consumer-grade gear and software, they show you slick professionally looking demo videos of what their product will do for you in your hands. However, those videos were professionally shot with professional gear and edited with said gear and software. Only once can I remember seeing a commercial which showed the actual footage shot with the product being sold.

      So in answer to your question is; yes, your videos don’t look like what you buy at the store because they were not shot and edited with higher grade gear and software. Now, that said running out and buying Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere or Vegas Pro won’t automatically make your videos better. They’ll be a help in doing so, but you’ll also have to make the best of your camera by using the techniques pro’s use, like lighting your scenes to your advantage, maintaining good focus and using stabilization to keep your images steady like a tripod and such.

      Then once you get it into post for editing, that’s when a higher grade of editing software will come in handy. The first thing to do is make a good cut of your video, then make a clean soundtrack and then perform color-correction and color grading to give your work the finishing touches. Once that’s all done, the higher grade NLE software will give you a better platform to make a clean uncompressed digital print in Quicktime or AVI so that when you’ve ready to make your DVD you’re DVD creation software will have something to work with. Remember that the transfer from the digital print to MPEG2 for DVD will add compression so you want the DP to look good as you can make it. That way it won’t look terrible when you put it on DVD.

      Lastly, you’ll have to up your DVD software as well. Elements and other consumer grade software is really intended to allow people to make their ‘little home movies’ not something which could be considered high-grade. If you want to get beyond the consumer grade level, you’ll have to up your game some. Again, don’t run off and buy the most expensive stuff you can find. Take it easy and ask around the forums as there are plenty of folks here with knowledge about intermediate software, camera gear and techniques which will help you up your game. Oh and check out the numerous video tutorials here at VM as well. A lot of good info is available here for free!

    • #194877

      OK-thanks Composite 1.

      I think I’m generally aware of the basic concepts you’re speaking of, though. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t importing my raw AVCHD footage from my camcorder (shot at 24 fps, with a Film Look setting used) basically the same, if not better, than as you suggested saving raw footage to an uncompressed Quicktime or AVI file?

      And if this is so, then there’s small wonder why my previews of the rendered footage in Elements looks so good. I just want to know why there’s such a disconnect from the previews I see in Elements and the final look I get from the DVD setting. And furthermore, I know that Elements 8 is capable of outputing files that, in terms of look quality, rival what one is seeing in the preview window-I’ve witnessed what it can do with MPEG2 and H.264 settings at 1440×1080 and at 1980×1080. The only problem here, as I stated before, is that I can’t figure out how to then get these files compiled as a final DVD Video.

      I am not trying to suggest that if I just light a scene with my reading lamp then I actually expect it to come out looking like The Godfather. But there are definitely things that you can do on the production level, and on the post-production level, all of which contribute to the final product. I have professional-grade lights that I could use to light up any scene very well, but based on the Burn to DVD settings that I can see are available in Elements 8, it still wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans because it’d still end up at a crappy 720×480, with jaggies and artifacts all around. My question is: is there a way to do a decent DVD from Elements without all these issues? Is there a way to use the MPEG2 outputing functions with the higher resolutions in order to make a DVD Video? If so, can it be done inside Elements, or do I have to basically organize all the clips, output a higher definition movie of the whole thing in Elements, and then seek out another program to author the DVD?

      Or am I just fundamentally misunderstanding something about how DVDs are created?

    • #194878


      AVCHD footage is compressed. Also, putting effects on compressed video usually makes it look worse. Also, you’re taking compressed HD video and then compressing them down further to standard def for MPEG2 to go onto a DVD. Each step degrades the image further. Not to mention if you’ve got good computer monitors, you’re footage in the preview window will look much better. What you’ll need is a feed to an actual television to see what the footage is going to look like there. I don’t know if Elements has the capability to let you view your footage on a TV at the same time you’re editing it. You’ll want to calibrate the tv using colorbars to get your tv close to NTSC standards as possible.

      Every step taken to improve your footage during the production phase will make things easier and improve the material you’ll have to work with in post. Lighting even with a reading lamp in the right place with the right exposure can work wonders. (I know, I’ve done it) Remember shooting film or video is nothing more than painting with light. So yeah you could get a ‘Godfather’ look with a little know-how and light placement.

      Now far as ‘jaggies and artifacts’ go, again part of the problem is your working with compressed video. Another question I have is are you just putting clips on DVD or are you making a complete edit? I ask because you mentioned ‘compiling the files as a final DVD.’

      The most direct way is to cut your video clips into one complete video on your timeline and then export the timeline (or work area) as an uncompressed HD QT or AVI at whatever pixel size you shot it at (1280 x 720p, 1920 x 1080i/p.)

      This will give you a single movie or ‘Digital Print’. When making your DP, if you shot it with a progressive scan camera, you don’t need to deinterlace. If you shot it with an interaced camera you can use deinterlacing if you plan to show it on a progressive scan tv or computer screen. There will still be some interlacing left but on an interlaced tv you won’t see the ‘jaggies’. Then take that DP, and make a new project and then export it as a SD widescreen 16 x 9 @ 720 x 480 MPEG2.

      Once you’ve got the MPEG2, play it with a feed out to a tv to double check what it’s going to look like. If there are no problems there, then all you should have left to do is hook up your menus and graphics ’cause you’re done with the video part. Check your data rate settings for burning to DVD. Now since you’ve already turned your vid into an MPEG2, your DVD software will convert everything into another MPEG2 which will compress it more. You’ll lose more data from the video but it will help you keep the data rate around 7 or 8 Mbps and keep the size of the video from going over the max data rate of the DVD disc.

      You can skip turning your Digital Print into an MPEG2 if your software will allow you to import the HD video. If it does, you’ll no doubt have to tweak the data rate to compress it down enough to not blow your data budget. Problem with that is most DVD players prefer to run DVD’s in the 6-8 Mbps range.

      The bottom line is to accept the fact that you are not going to get an HD movie by putting it on an SD DVD disc. The quality and clarity of your film will depend on your camera (you’re using a consumer grade video camera), how well your scenes were lit, whether you used the raw clips in AVCHD or converted them to uncompressed, and what your compression settings were when you converted your HD edited movie into an SD MPEG2 to burn on DVD and the last bit of compression accrued from the process of burning everything onto an SD DVD.

      You shoot it as best you can then take the steps to keep the quality high as you can during the post and DVD authoring process. Keep in mind that you’re using consumer grade gear and software so it’s only going to look so good. Now if you’re still having problems after all that, then there may be codec issues or hardware issues that are beyond the scope of this particular topic.

    • #194879

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; color: black; font-size: 7.5pt;”>Composite1, correct me if I am wrong but don’t TV’s play at 30 fps? The increased frame rate intrduced by Elements 8 may be introducing all of the problems, not sure on that but it could be possible.</span>

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; color: black; font-size: 7.5pt;”>Clay, try setting your camera to 29.97 fps andif you have the option, set your camerafor 720Pand see what happens. Even though they like to say that 25 fps will giveyou the film look, it does not and only withmuch larger sensor and high quality prime lenses will you get the film look.Major video production gear has much larger sensors and usually has 3 of them for each color. <o:p></o:p></span>

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; color: black; font-size: 7.5pt;”>When you import your AVCHD clips, are your settings in Elements 8 for HD or are you bringing them is on an 480 screen? Try importing the clips in the size you shot it in and export the same size, if you are trying to up-convert the footage, you will have artifacts and such. When I first started in this game I was using a Sony XR500-HD and achieved surprising results from it. That being said, I was also working with CS4 Premiere Pro and Encoder, which may have made all the difference in the world.<o:p></o:p></span>

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; color: black; font-size: 7.5pt;”>Good luck. Charles<o:p></o:p></span>

    • #194880

      It sounds to me that you are using a frame rate of 60i to record your video. Try using 30p. When you deinterlace you are removing one of the two fields by removing every other line, i.e. you are throwing out half of your data and cutting the resolution in half.

    • #194881

      how much footage are adding to each disc?

      the more you add to a disc, the more compressed it needs to be to fit… keep them under 1 hr 20 mins to avoid compression..

    • #194882

      Thanks for all the feedback thus far-I have already learned very much!

      So Composite: I took your advice and saved to an uncompressed AVI file, and then from there I went to a DVD burn. Unfortunately it is still the same problem.

      I spoke to a friend of mine who does video editing for a living. He thinks the problem is that, somewhere between the setting up of the movie in Elements and the final burning of the DVD, that the file is getting interlaced. I say “getting” because I shoot all my video in PF24. My friend says that this PF24 is not a true Progressive Scan, and so the interlacing might be getting introduced there-so naturally he suggests that I simply deinterlace in Premiere. The problem is I have used deinterlace, to absolutely no avail. He suggests perhaps there’s something wrong with my deinterlacing function.

      When looking at the DVD on my flatscreen TV, it sure looks like interlacing to me.

      Any suggestions from anybody?

    • #194883


      NTSC is 29.97 to be exact. Even when you shoot at a 30p frame rate, it gets knocked down to 29.97. I don’t believe the camera Clay’s using has the 29.97 setting that you suggested.


      After reading your last message and rereading your earlier one’s, I agree with your editor friend. Have you watched the uncompressed clips on a tv prior to burning them? I see you mentioned looking at them on a tv. Also, you say you have a flatscreen but what’s the scan type, progressive or interlaced? As I mentioned if your tv is progressive you’ll see the jagged lines from interlacing.

      Okay, I looked up your camera and that pf24 frame rate is actually 24p over 60i so interlacing is being introduced. Like I said, you can use deinterlacing but it won’t get rid of it all. My advice would be not to use that frame rate. It would seem that Elements can’t handle it to get a result closer to what your looking for. Actually, it’s better to shoot in the camera’s native framerate and then try to convert to 24p if it’s going to work at all. That is if you need it to be 24p at all.

    • #194884

      This my experience. I have a Canon HF11. It has frame rates of 60i, 30p and 24p. If I use 60i and make a DVD is has poor quality, like you describe. However if I use 30p the DVD is good. I have not tried 24p.

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