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  • JulianM
    Posts: 21
    Joined: Nov 17th, 2006, 12:05
    working with DVD audio - which app?
    I've asked this question on various forums and got no responses so I really hope you guys can help! I have a friend who's paid a video company to record a couple of professional seminars - these recordings resulted in one set of 10 DVDs and another of 8 DVDs. The audio on all of them is truly horrible! There's frequent massive speaker distorting feedback, the volume levels are wildly erratic and none of it does any justice to the content, which is excellent. Basically my friend got ripped off and was quoted an enormous figure to put things right. Knowing I'm into recording and mixing music he asked what could be done . . . I have no problem with editing the audio - it'll be laborious but not technically difficult to make a big improvement. But first I need to get at the audio on these dvd's, so I can edit and re mix it and then get it back onto dvd for him. It's obviously going to be a huge project and while I'm pretty experienced with Logic Pro I've never worked with video. So please can someone give me some pointers? I've ripped the dvd's to Video_TS folders (using iSkysoft DVD Copy Pro) and now need to convert them again in order to work with the audio. What app do I use to convert and into what format? Do I use Soundtrack Pro 3 rather than Logic? I've owned Soundtrack as part of Logic Studio for ages but never had reason to open it til now. I also own DVDRemaster Pro which will hopefully help me get things into the right format to work with? Feel like I'm stumbling around in the dark here! Any help appreciated!
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  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    Hi Julian, Two colleagues of mine specialize in audio restoration, and both have described to me the kinds of things they do to fix bad recordings. It generally requires a lot of work and sometimes specialized software to achieve a good result. The best thing you can do to get the ball rolling is to obtain the original recordings, even if was just the audio. That way you're working with first-generation recordings as opposed to second gen recordings which will contain whatever audio processing the DVD company may have imparted to the sound. I imagine that since your friend submitted material to them that it should be zero problem at all to request (and obtain) the original files from them. If your friend has additional budget I'm sure that you could get someone to do the audio restoration so that you don't have to slog through it yourself. And if you contacted me privately I could put you in touch with both of the guys who I mentioned previously. But if you're keen on doing this yourself, I'd suggest first investigating the capabilities of SoundTrack Pro for noise reduction and some of its other fixit capabilities. Then you might want to check out some of the higher end plugins from Izotope or other audio restoration plugins. Some of them are quite specific/specialized -- and pricey. But I think key here is to obtain the original files. If that's not possible, then you'll want to rip your DVD's to QT movies. Hopefully the DVD's have 24-bit audio. But very often, the resulting audio in a QT movie ripped from DVD will only have 16-bit audio. Even if you can obtain 24-bit audio from the DVD, importing that into Logic at 24-bit is, to the best of my knowledge, not possible. I've recently been in a situation where QT movies, known to have 24-bit audio, were automatically converted (without dithering!) into 16-bit files when the audio tracks in those movies were imported into Logic. And there's no pref to adjust this. Note that whenever you rip video from a DVD that the resulting movie file will not replicate the exact color or image fidelity as the original. So the picture quality is going to suffer by ripping it to a QT movie (this has to do with codec selection and capability). So really, your friend would be best off getting all of the original files (e.g., edited video and original audio), having you or an audio restoration professional fix the audio as best as possible, and then lay those tracks back up into the [i]original[/i] video session (e.g. Final Cut or whatever was used to edit the video). Then re-render files for the DVD's from there.
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  • JulianM
    Posts: 21
    Joined: Nov 17th, 2006, 12:05
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    Hi Ski, Huge thanks for such a detailed and thoughtful reply. I doubt the original video and audio are available, though I will check. These seminars were run in 2000 and are a highly specialised interest, selling to interested professionals within the field. The content is so good this tiny "audience" has been extremely forgiving to date. The seminars are a combination of lecture and demonstration of technique split roughly 50-50, however the audio is definitely the more critical element. Having watched these on my iPhone I can attest that the video quality suffering a bit want seriously impact on appreciating the content. The audio is the problem. If I do nothing more adventurous than simply silence the sections of massive feedback it will be an enormous improvement, but I think with some careful compression to even out the levels it should be possible to make it an easier listen without my spending a colossal amount of time on it. I'll check out the izotope plugins - I believe I own Bias Soundsoap (?) but haven't used it for a long time, so that might help too. cheers and thanks again Julian
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  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    You're welcome! If "saving the day" is what you want to do, then sure, you can use Soundsoap, various plugs in STP, and manual level changes (volume automation) and/or compression to even out the levels (adjusting the volume manually will give you a much more natural sounding result, though it will be much more time consuming than using a compressor or limiter). Anyway, here's what to do: 1) Take any one video and rip it to QT. Hopefully you're given a choice of codecs in the software you use to transcode from the DVD video to QT movie. If so, experiment with various codecs to obtain the best-looking picture possible. This may take a lot of trial and error. Post back if you want suggestions. 2) Once you've settled on a codec, create your QT movies and then open them in Logic. Make sure that Logic's frame rate is set to be the same as the movie files (probably 23.976, which will appear as 23.98 in QT's info window). Then import the audio and go to town on it. 3) Once you're satisfied with the audio, use the Export to Movie function to "print" your audio to the QT movies. (There are details you need to know about doing this, but those can wait for now prolly). 4) The movie files you bounce your restored audio to will be your "finals". And that's why it's important to get the codec right when you're transcoding from DVD to QT movie. If your ripping software doesn't offer you a choice of codecs, I'd suggest finding/purchasing one that does. HTH, Best, Ski
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  • JulianM
    Posts: 21
    Joined: Nov 17th, 2006, 12:05
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    Hi Ski, DVDRemaster offers a huge number of possible options re compression type - it's defaulting to H.264 - does that sound about right in theory? If not please suggest an ideal and I'll see what it can deliver. Presumably I should also set the compressor quality to "best" rather than its default "High" and encoding to "best quality (multi-pass) rather than faster encode (single pass)? As always trying to strike a balance between this taking an age and doing the best job I can. Please bare in mind that having ripped these to my iPhone I find them perfectly watchable - the video is not critical. thanks again!
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    You're welcome! H.264 is a great codec for certain types of footage (especially if you set it to "best" and "multi-pass", as you described). But this will result in files that require a huge amount of CPU to decode. Running those movies in Logic will make Logic appear to act sluggish, sometimes extremely so that it becomes a real drag to work. So that's the downside of high-quality H.264 renders -- Logic will likely act sluggish or appear to choke from time to time. It's not actually Logic but your CPU hogging resources to decode H.264 movies. Ultimately, you should target the picture quality to the medium in which it's most likely to be viewed on. If it's iPhone, color and detail may not be as critical as if the target medium is high-def TV. Anyway, let's talk codec settings some more... Frame rate setting is critical. So when you transcode the DVD's to H.264 or any codec, set the frame rate in the codec to "original". Then open the resulting file in QT and hit CMD-I. This is the info window that will show you the frame rate of the file. It should read 23.98. If it doesn't, post back. So back to H.264... What you might want to do is transcode two different versions: one will be your working copy, where the quality setting is set somewhere on the low side. This will result in a file that won't look great but will (theoretically) be easier to decode while you run it in Logic; thus, Logic may not appear to choke as it likely would trying to play back a high-quality copy of the movie. Then transcode a "real" version of the movie (with quality settings set to "best", "multi-pass", etc.). Ultimately this is going to be the movie file you deliver back to your friend. Now... In Logic, you'll load up the high-quality version and import the audio. Then, remove that movie and import the low-quality version. Do your audio fixes on the audio you imported from the high-quality movie. Once you're happy with your audio, remove the low-quality movie and open the high-quality movie again. The sync should be exactly the same as it was when you first imported the audio. Then, export your fixed audio to the high-quality version. That's your delivery copy to your friend. Now... if Logic appears to choke even when using the low-quality H.264 movies, then you should take another approach... Transcode a high-quality version using H.264 as previously described, but make your low-quality copy using DV or PhotoJPEG. The latter two codecs are very easily decoded by your computer and won't seem to put a strain on Logic. The procedure would be the same as above, except your working copy would be the low-quality DV or PhotoJPEG version. Gotta run, but post back if you still have questions. Cheers, Ski
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  • JulianM
    Posts: 21
    Joined: Nov 17th, 2006, 12:05
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    The frame rate on the H.264 Quicktime movie is 25.00 - so posting back as requested? Presumably this is a problem? thanks Julian
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    To the best of my understanding, the frame rate for video encoded on DVD is 23.976 ("23.98"). If I'm correct about that then your QT render is at the wrong frame rate. Just a hunch, though... do you live outside of the US? If so, what country? (believe it or not, this is a relevant question).
    Reply
  • JulianM
    Posts: 21
    Joined: Nov 17th, 2006, 12:05
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    yes - I'm in the UK and the DVD's would have been recorded and printed in Australia . . . ? cheers Julian
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: working with DVD audio - which app?
    Great. Then you're dealing with PAL and not NTSC (which is what I'm used to dealing with in the US). So I'm going to venture a guess that 25 fps is the correct frame rate. Therefore, and assuming this is all correct, all mentions I made of the 23.976 (23.98) frame rate should be read as "25 fps".
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