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DVD-to-DVD-R transcoders, in terms of quality
cd-rw.org
post Nov 15 2003, 13:12
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I very quickly went through a number of DVD transcoders (aka shrinkkers) and made some very subjective conclusions.

Mostly I used Lord Of The Rings - Two Towers DVD, and a Philips 952 standalone player for the quality review. This comparison definitely is NOT scientificly valid, but I'd like to start the discussion as I know that there are some video gurus hanging around this forum.

1) DVD Shrink

DVD Shrink is free, and most tweakable. With the "deep analyze" function, it seemed to provide the best picture quality. Tendency for macro blockyness. Handled the dark fight scenes at the end of LOTR TT very well. Flexibility, such as the ability strip credits from the end, give this one an edge.

Link
Guides

2) CloneDVD

Best user interface and best execution of DVD shrinkker seen so far. Easy to use & fast compressor. Initially I thought that this one had the best quality. The compressor doesn't introduce macro blocks. But when I took a closer look at the dark fight scenes of LOTR TT, I noticed that the rainy scenes looked somewath messy - but not blocky. For short movies, this is a top choice for snappy compression. With giants like LOTR TT, I go for Shrink.

The rest:
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DVD2One: Has a fast compression engine and is very easy to use. Tends to introduce macro blocks more than the best ones.

Intervideo WinDVDCopy: The GUI has some glitches, for example in audio stream selection (insuffucient information about the stream). Claims to have some sort of intelligent bitrate variator algorithm, but introduces a shitload of macroblocks. Also supports Divx, but the bitrate options were "funny". Support SVCD, but the bitrate is ridiculous, and no settings to change it. Seems to create a nice VCD quality though.

Pinnacle Instant Copy: This is no actually a transocder/shrinker, since it applies a fast MPEG-2 recompression. There are some reports that it has a good image quality, especially when a lot of compression needs to be done. I tried this a dozen times and it crashed every time I tried it.

Opinions?


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Latexxx
post Nov 16 2003, 08:52
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Lets wait for those dvd-9 burners coming next year. The best option would be to re-encode the whole film using cce sp but it costs and it takes too much time.
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cd-rw.org
post Nov 16 2003, 11:38
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This thread is not about dual layer DVD-R or CCE re-encoding. Why don't you just go ahead and by Verbatim's flipper DVD-9 discs today?


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Latexxx
post Nov 16 2003, 13:57
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I just said that these methods will become obsolete in less than year and therefore I don't consider that these methods will have future(after majority of people have dvd-9 burners).
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CiTay
post Nov 16 2003, 15:56
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QUOTE (Latexxx @ Nov 16 2003, 01:57 PM)
I just said that these methods will become obsolete in less than year and therefore I don't consider that these methods will have future(after majority of people have dvd-9 burners).

Remember that flipper DVDs are much harder to produce and will cost considerably more than two 4.7 GB DVDs. So i don't see these "compressed domain transcoders" disappear soon.

Back on topic, i get great results with DVDShrink 3.0 b5. The c't magazine also did several reviews of such programs, and DVDShrink was always among the best, together with CloneDVD and InstantCopy. They used a tool called JNDmetrix to judge the image quality, which uses a psychovisual model that has been refined in many real-life visual tests. The result is a JND graph (Just Noticeable Difference) which tells about the probability that the viewer can discern the analyzed video from the original. More details are on the c't website about the initial roundup, albeit in german.

A while ago, i have posted on the DVDshrink forum about the review with DVDShrink 1.03, here's a summary of the JNDmetrix testing:

QUOTE
Basically, the lower the graph, the better the quality. If the "Just Noticeable Difference" graph is at 0, it means that it's identical to the original. Anything from 1 to, say, 1.8 should look great on a normal TV set. Above 2, and you'll notice the difference even on the blurry TV.

The red curve is the "Only the main movie"-curve, where DVDShrink used Level 2. Visual quality was rated "very good" (it's the first line at the bottom that shows (++) / (O) for DVDShrink). The JND index is 1.54 points average, which is excellent. Note that only InstantCopy and the CloneDVD beta do better. When it comes to backing up the whole DVD though (blue curve), DVDShrink has to use Level 6, and the JND index goes up to 2.08 on average. Visual quality "average". InstantCopy really shines there.

DVD95copy and DVDXcopy Xpress show some curious behaviour: For the first part of the movie, they use some heavier "shrinking", but then they notice that the overall bitrate falls below the target rate, and simply make a 1:1 copy of the source material from there on. You can see the curve dropping to zero and staying there.


Pic of the result page in c't
Note that this is only a small excerpt from an older issue. By no means i want to harm c't magazine. If you like those kind of reviews, buy the magazine, it's truly great.

Now, with DVDShrink 3.0 b5, the focus lies on copying the whole movie, but the quality is also better, due to the recently introduced "deep analysis". I must say, if you use higher compression for the extras ('still pictures' for trailers etc.), leave out unnecessary audio tracks, yet keep the original DVD structure intact, you can still get astonishing results for the main movie.
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Latexxx
post Nov 16 2003, 16:33
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QUOTE (CiTay @ Nov 16 2003, 06:56 AM)
QUOTE (Latexxx @ Nov 16 2003, 01:57 PM)
I just said that these methods will become obsolete in less than year and therefore I don't consider that these methods will have future(after majority of people have dvd-9 burners).

Remember that flipper DVDs are much harder to produce and will cost considerably more than two 4.7 GB DVDs. So i don't see these "compressed domain transcoders" disappear soon.

I'm not talking about any flipper discs. There are real dual layer recorders coming to market next year: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/33733.html http://www.twice.com/index.asp?layout=stor...ay=breakingNews
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CiTay
post Nov 16 2003, 16:40
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QUOTE (Latexxx @ Nov 16 2003, 04:33 PM)
I'm not talking about any flipper discs. There are real dual layer recorders coming to market next year: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/33733.html http://www.twice.com/index.asp?layout=stor...ay=breakingNews

Sorry, i got a little confused there with the terminology. I mean dual-layer discs of course. They are harder to produce because the bonding of the two layers requires very high-precision manufacturing methods. The cheap manufacturers usually don't have the knowledge and the devices for that.
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Latexxx
post Nov 16 2003, 19:10
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QUOTE (CiTay @ Nov 16 2003, 07:40 AM)
QUOTE (Latexxx @ Nov 16 2003, 04:33 PM)
I'm not talking about any flipper discs. There are real dual layer recorders coming to market next year: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/33733.html http://www.twice.com/index.asp?layout=stor...ay=breakingNews

Sorry, i got a little confused there with the terminology. I mean dual-layer discs of course. They are harder to produce because the bonding of the two layers requires very high-precision manufacturing methods. The cheap manufacturers usually don't have the knowledge and the devices for that.

Might be so, but atleast every commercial dvd disc is made of two different discs which are glued together(even dvd-5s) but afterall the burnable discs are completely different case.
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cd-rw.org
post Nov 18 2003, 10:29
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CiTay,

Yes, I once digged your post & that c't article with google. Too bad the their analysis are quite obsolete, as Shrink 3 has the reworked engine.

Nero Recode will be interesting, as the Shrink-guy now sleeps with Ahead. Will Shrink evolv or does he put his everything to the Nero Recode software. I was about to test it too, but Recode had too much playback problems when removing or compressing menus - I decided to wait for an update.


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NeoRenegade
post Nov 19 2003, 08:13
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All this headache is part of the reason why I'm most content with re-encoding movies to VCD.

... In case you're wondering, another is because DivX really sucks these days. You just can't watch a "DVD-quality" (640480 or 640360) DivX5 movie on a PIII-733 without synch or skipping issues. It doesn't bother me in the least that video encoding takes me 16 hours typically on this machine, but it really does bother me that I can't watch anything I do in high-quality DivX.
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cd-rw.org
post Nov 20 2003, 10:31
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NeoRenegade,

Really? Have considered kicking the Divx codec (as the decoder) out of the window(s) and installing FFDSHOW?


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smok3
post Nov 20 2003, 13:45
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QUOTE (NeoRenegade @ Nov 19 2003, 09:13 AM)
You just can't watch a "DVD-quality" (640480 or 640360) DivX5 movie on a PIII-733 without synch or skipping issues.

use lower-res then (or the good old sbc), should still look better than vcd.


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cd-rw.org
post Nov 22 2003, 09:58
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My old 650mhz PIII had absolutely no problems with Dix/Xvid content.

But transcoders people, transcoders?

Ahead recently announced further Recode v2 details. It seems that Shrink v3 features are included (deep analyze) and it will also support DVD->Nero Digital conversion. ( http://www.cd-rw.org/news/archive/4714.cfm )


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rpop
post Nov 27 2003, 19:48
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Has anyone heard of/used DVD X Copy? I have a chance to pick it up very cheap tomorrow, about ~$20. Would this be worth it?


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CiTay
post Nov 27 2003, 22:18
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QUOTE (rpop @ Nov 27 2003, 07:48 PM)
Has anyone heard of/used DVD X Copy? I have a chance to pick it up very cheap tomorrow, about ~$20. Would this be worth it?

No, i wouldn't buy it. DVDShrink has better quality for free.
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cd-rw.org
post Nov 28 2003, 19:11
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I may have to take some words back about the InterVideo's WinDVD copy. It is poorly executed, but perhaps it's compression engine has potential after all.

CiTay, any opinions? Others?


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damiandimitri
post Dec 3 2003, 13:23
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[QUOTE]Has anyone heard of/used DVD X Copy?

YEs, you have 2 versions. DvdxCopy itself, which can split DVD-9 to two DVD-5.
Next to it you have dvdxcopy express, which is a transcoder.
I used both. But as both can be done bij free tools dvdfab (splitting) and dvdshrink (transcoding), i use these the most.

Besides that i prefer CLONE-dvd which is very fast. A kind of fire and forget tool. When you come back the dvd-5 is burned.

Damian

ps try to use it with dvdregion free or anydvd. it gets rid of the dvd protections, so there is no need to rip them anymore
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Canar
post Dec 9 2003, 05:29
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QUOTE (cd-rw.org @ Nov 15 2003, 04:12 AM)
Opinions?

No, but I have a question... did you encode the entire thing (3hr) onto just one disc?


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Mac
post Dec 9 2003, 13:15
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I agree with Latexxx in that I don't fully see the point of this idea smile.gif The c't magazine shows compression ratios around the 70-80% mark, which to me is nowhere near enough of a reduction to warrant the drop in quality!


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cd-rw.org
post Dec 10 2003, 23:00
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QUOTE
No, but I have a question... did you encode the entire thing (3hr) onto just one disc?


Yes I did. If I would split it to two discs, I would not need to compress it. blink.gif


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den
post Dec 20 2003, 03:07
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I'm still fairly new to this , but I'm getting excellent results with Instant Copy. It's not the most robust piece of software around, but the quality is excellent. The key too is to select Custom resize rather than let it run itself, so that you can be more selective regarding what you keep, what you shrink, and by how much.

I also briefly tried DVDShrink, but went back to InstantCopy. If I had a complaint, it would be that sometimes it undershoots. ie you end up with san underfilled DVD, particularly with widescreen movies. In that case though, I usually just go again and tweak down the compression some more.

Based on this article though, I'm guessing that DVDShrink is also said to be similar to InstantCopy in quality?

Den.


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kl33per
post Dec 23 2003, 13:05
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I've been using Recode 2 to transcode DVD's and I've been fairly impressed with the results thus far. The roots of DVDShrink can be seen quite blatantly in Recode, and the quality is quite good.


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den
post Dec 24 2003, 07:09
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Since I wrote my last post, I did my own comparison between DVDShrink and InstantCopy, using Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines as the test case.

InstantCopy 8 gave a slightly underfilled DVD, but I left it as is. DVDShrink 3 filled it to the brim. (I actually lost some of the end credits). This movie almost requires no compression. If I recall correctly, the shrunk file was something like 93 % of the original size for InstantCopy and higher than that for DVDShrink.

I then selected a few key scenes and zoomed in at 4x with my player and bog standard 51 cm TV. At first glance, the DVDShrink copy actually looked slightly better (less jaggies), particularly where there were clearly defined edges, such as the opening credits. DVDShrink had smooth edges, InstantCopy had some jaggies. I then compared each to the original disc , and was surprised to see that the original also had jaggies in the same scenes as InstantCopy. I again checked DVDShrink, and on my TV, I could see more smoothing around the edges.

Unzoomed, they both look very similar in quality, and the motion is smooth, etc.

I will probably try another movie sometime for my own interest, but it looks to me that perhaps InstantCopy actually yields a compressed file that is closer to the original in appearance, ie not filtered or smoothed to the same extent. I don't even know if DVDShrink employs any such processing anyway, and it may just be a coincidence, but a difference was very clearly visible in this instance when zoomed in.


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den
post Dec 29 2003, 08:38
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Me again.

Has anyone here tried rejig? Rejig.org

A quick browse through the doom9 forums and other places suggest that it is gives remarkable quality with a short processing time. I'm bashing a few DVDs through it now for curiosity sake.

Den.


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user
post Jan 17 2004, 01:30
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Hi, I checked

test report

CloneDVD,
Nero recode2
Instant Copy IC 8


I selected for each program highest quality setting.
test movie: DVD Die toten hosen , 7,8 GB, compressed to 4,7 GB, about 53 - 60% approximately, test is 2 weeks past.
slow machine: P3 @800MHz, 133
I checked several test scenes and took still pics,s creenshots on PC, and DVdplayer with still pics, too.


CloneDVD:
only 1pass possible, so it was the fastest, 1 hour, quality still ok, besides scenes with a lot action,. you see big macroblocks

Nero recode2:
2-pass encoding, double time of CloneDVD, but the result looked same like CloneDVD, disappointing, as recode2 was told to be at top end.

IC8:
4 hours in HQ mode, and they were worth it ! Clearly better picture than with both other competitors. despite the high compression, the result is really fine.


Conclusion:
if a movie needs compression, I use Pinnacle Instant Copy 8 ,
if it is below 4.7 GB and does not need compression, I take nero recode2, which allows adding DVD-rom content, or as example jpegs, cover scans, or whatever you might want to add to dvd.



edit addon August - October 2005


Now Nero recode 2 has same or maybe better quality as IC8.
I prefer clearly Recode 2 nowadays.

This post has been edited by user: Oct 10 2005, 22:04


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