View Full Version : MPEG and VCD converter...

08-14-2001, 09:37 PM
I'm having a great time making movies these days, thanks to my vamped up PTP500/250/10 w/miles2 and raided 15k cheetahs.(All thanks to Guru's!)

When I capture I use the ATI exclaim VR128, I don't use compression and then compress and convert on exporting final versions for various applications. I have heard VCD files are superior to regularly compressed quicktime files,(true?).

I need a plug-in for premiere that will export MPEG-1 and 2 and VCD video files. I have looked at a few but don't know which will do the job well for me.
I also would be happy with a stand alone option, or plug-in for quicktime.

Want an inexpensive solution, could upgrade to Toast 5 (now at 4.1.2) to do the conversion, but other forums berate the quality, (true?).Media Cleaner is a bit beyond my reach financially...
I have visited several forums, all of them stuffy and "Wintel" biased. I know I can count on you guys for the straight poop and the best bang for the buck.

Terribly happy with my movies and all your help...

08-15-2001, 12:59 AM
Toast Titanium (5) includes a plugin for Quicktime 5 that allows you to convert any video into VCD format. For an hour video (end result about 650MB) expect to let it run overnight.

08-15-2001, 01:53 AM
I use toast 5.0 for VCDs all of the time, and I think the quality is fine. I used to use Astarte M.Pack and toast is much better. It doesn't look blocky like most MPEG 1, but you can notice slight vertical lines. I use media cleaner pro 4.0 when I have to, but toast is much easier and faster, but a fraction of the cost. I capture uncompressed in FCP, then after editing, render uncompressed for a/v synch and trans and effects, then export to VCD from quicktime. I think imovie is the only app (other than quicktime pro) that you can export directly to VCD. I could send you a couple seconds of Toast VCD if you wanted to see.

08-15-2001, 09:52 PM
I include this quote (in quotations) off a mac video forum for your comments and amusement.It makes one glad to have a forum where you can ask a question without being humiliated:

"Once again, I read misinformed info and just plain bad advice at this forum. It appears that too many people here have never seen a properly mastered VCD.
Not surprising, I suppose, given that the majority's experience with VCD is the Toast export option.

The truth of the matter is that VCD can offer near S-VHS quality and superior sound to either VHS or S-VHS if it is made correctly. And, no, you don't need
a hardware encoder to do it.

First off, forget about Toast 5's VCD codec. It is useless. You can get excellent results from Cleaner 5's VCD codec. ALWAYS CREATE VCD's ON PAL
AND NEVER NTSC: superior resolution, of course. (But then NTSC has never done anyone any good.)

VCD's have acquired a bad reputation only because ignorant people who have no experience on how to create a decent VCD continue to spread their useless

I'll say it again. If done correctly (and it's not exactly rocket science...), you can create VCD's that are superior to VHS."

Wow. Now you know what I have been up against trying to gain a little knowledge.
I'm surpised this guy can reach his keyboard from his high horse. Perhaps his way of making VCD's is superior, but who would take advice from such an ass?

One of you guys want to try his way and see if your results are as superior as his? He is claiming broadcast quality. Is he working in PAL or converting to PAL? Maybe we'll never know, as he used up all his space putting others down instead of explaining clearly what he was doing.

Well, back to our topic.First some questions...

Vegas, how big are your uncompressed file sizes before exporting to VCD from quicktime 5? I'm trying to get an idea of compression ratio.

Despaxas: How does imovies VCD or Quicktime pro VCD compare to Toast5 VCD's?

I'll trust you on the quality of your videos, upgrading to toast 5 is something I planned to do anyway. This will give me a chance to play with this codec without investing too much. I use CD speed tools to control my burner, will that cause me any problems in Toast 5? I haven't had any problems with 4.1.2.

Will I lose quicktimes movie player with quicktime 5? I love it for quick short edits, clip trimming and fast exporting to various codecs. Could leave a copy on my older HD I guess if I needed it, but it's my favorite quick editor, (low RAM requirements compared to premiere, faster exports too with some great export features to spruce up a movie file without having to labor through premiere).

Thanks for all your help again, will get the upgrade and try out the plug-in, will also have to upgrade to quicktime 5, as I was waiting to see if there were problems with it.Just went to adaptec site, they say the plug-in is compatible back to Q4. Maybe I'll give that a try first..

Let me know your thoughts on all of this, after all, I'm...

Terribly Interested

[This message has been edited by tekcan (edited 15 August 2001).]

08-16-2001, 01:15 AM
Well, for one thing, VCD is neither PAL nor NTSC. It's VCD. PAL is the television format used throughout most of the world outside of Japan and North America where NTSC is used. PAL uses 720 line screens and NTSC uses 525 lines. They are incompatible with each other. VCD players dictate the formate that will be transmitted to the TV not the disk. This is why a Chinese VCD will work in an American player (VCD's are real popular in China!). VCD video is usually stored as 320 lines (320 x 240) which allows about an hour on a CD. Any larger picture would force a shorter video. With interlacing, this produces quality about that of video tape without the glitches inherent from magnetic media.

08-16-2001, 05:16 AM
I use Toast 5 with Quicktime 4.1.2 and CD/DVD Speedtools 5.6 and it's fine. I'm too cheap to pay the Quicktime Pro fee for 5.0 yet.

**I think imovie is the only app (other than quicktime pro) that you can export directly to VCD.**

oops, I should have been clearer. Toast installs "Toast Video CD Support" or something similer, into the extensions folder to be used by quicktime "aware" apps like other codecs do. I just meant that imovie and quicktime were the only two apps that Toast VCD shows up as an export option. For some reason, it is not an export option in other apps like Final Cut Pro, Premier, ReelEyes, etc. When using these, you must export (in uncompressed, DV, whatever codec there's space for) so the edits and transitions can be incorporated. It's this final rendered file (16G 1hr 320x240 millions uncompressed 29.97fps) that is opened in quicktime pro so that it can be exported into Toast VCD. Lucky imovie users can do it in one step. I could never give up FCP, though.

It's important to note that the Toast VCD codec's only difference with other mpeg 1 encoders is that the audio and video are encoded to two separate tracks, instead of encoded as one mpeg track with integrated audio. Therefore, the Toast application itself can make VCDs from any mpeg 1, as long as its a/v are encoded on separate tracks. Problem is, most encoders use integrated audio.

08-16-2001, 02:13 PM
Vegas: Ya, I was aware of the PAL/NTSC thing, I just wonder how he converted to PAL, did he capture it that way or export it as PAL after capturing NTSC, or if he was just capturing direct digital video... whatever....he sounds full of it.

I capture with ATI software, ( I get a better looking digital video copy doing this than premiere, (probably because I've never really set up premiere's capturing preferences properly), I like to think that ATI uses less system resources, so I get better capturing, then render in premiere uncompressed at 320X240.

I then open in Quicktime 4.1.2 movie player and re-export to the proper codec I am shooting for. This also gives me the opportunity to use movie players great sharpening tool that really tunes up my blurry shots, (am not a great photographer).

Am ordering Toast 5 today, look forward to playing with it all winter. If I get good enough at it, I'll be getting a "real" capture board, (or good digital camera) and Final Cut Pro.

Thanks for the heads up on opening MPEG-1's and separate audio tracks, I don't forsee opening alot of MPEGs, as they are my final output, but it's nice to know if I ever try to.

Thanks for all your help and support!

[This message has been edited by tekcan (edited 16 August 2001).]

08-26-2001, 11:49 AM
Got toast 5 and it took a few days, am now making 320x240 MPEG movies that look good enough to play back at full screen and make video copies of....

Just a small hang-up, and I believe it has more to do with Premiere than anything, Premiere 5 won't let me write files bigger than two gig. Do you know of a patch, or does Premiere 6 have this fixed? I write files bigger than 2 gig in all my other programs, just Premiere says no. I know I've read about this somewhere before...but getting old, (lucky to have remembered how to force "HAVOC" code in XCLAIM Video player).

Might get FCP sooner than I thought.

Terrible films....but happy with Toasts MPEG movies.

08-26-2001, 12:06 PM

Look here http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/100d2.htm about the 2GB limit in version 5. Really not Premiere according to Adobe but rather limitations of the OS. Anyway, there is a workaround. k

08-26-2001, 12:43 PM
BTW Terri,

One of the fixes was MoviePlayer Pro. If you have any of the xlr8 stuff like the FireWire or USB cards or InterView2 that came with a Pro key for QT4, that key also works with QT5. k

08-26-2001, 12:49 PM
Well now I'm not so sure that it will update MoviePlayer to Pro. I can't even find it on my OS9.1 volume. Anyone? k

08-26-2001, 03:38 PM
QT 5 requires a new QT 5 serial number to convert it to pro. The QT 4 serial number will extend the features marginally (Kind of a QT Pro Lite!). I don't know of any software packages yet that include such a serial number. You can buy it from Apple of course.

08-26-2001, 07:47 PM
I just installed (w/i the last two months) a DualPort and a MachFire card from XLR8 - I think they both came w/ a valid QTPro upgrade key - I'm running QT5 Player Pro right now...


08-26-2001, 11:31 PM
Yes, both the xlr8 DualPort and a MachFire cards have QT serial numbers that will update QT5 to the Pro version. k

08-27-2001, 04:10 AM
ah... the 2 gig problem. That is actually the problem that brought me to post my first topic on this forum. For grins, I was going to provide the link to show all the probs it caused, but it is not even in the archives anymore. The 2 gig file limit is lifted in 9.x and higher. If your in 9.x, then I don't have a clue.

I used to capture full screen with the ATI Best codec, I read that full screen capture that is shrunk to 320x240 during MPEG encoding would look better than video that was originally captured at 320x240. The problem was/is that the ATI codecs (including HAVOC) capture in thousands of colors. It used to not bother me until I started seeing blotchy smoke and fog. IMO, VCDs look better when captured 320x240 uncompressed so that millions of colors can be selected. Of course, editing with a small size clip can be a pain. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

08-27-2001, 08:48 PM
I don't have a problem capturing video file files over 2 gig with my ATI card, or working with quicktime files over 2 gig in Movie player. It's just with Premiere.

I capture 320X240 with "none" compression and millions of colors. Tried the "HAVOC" thing to see if my capture quality improved. Noticed the thousands of colors thing right away. Went back to 320X240.

I open the clip in Movie player and perform rough edits and export as a ".mov".

I import .mov clip into Premiere and add sound, render and export as quicktime movie with "none" compression.Here's where the problem is, I can't export a movie larger than 2 gig. Somehow I have to post string together my 16 gig file, now in 8-2 gig pieces. For now I stay under 2 gigs.

I open in Quicktime Movieplyer, export as VCD.

Getting real good results.

Terribly proud of output.

(A note about my ATI card, if I select file>present movie in movie player and select double size it plays back the movie full screen, full size on both my monitor and my TV monitor, then switches back to the computer monitor when the movie is done playing.Does a great job of scaling on the TV monitor. Saves me from switching to the TV monitor manually.)

[This message has been edited by tekcan (edited 27 August 2001).]

08-27-2001, 08:52 PM
nice to see you up and about, Terri !


I'm about ready for Fall here. You guys seeing the leaves change yet out at your hide-out?


08-27-2001, 08:55 PM
Fall is in the air here, "bird hunting weather", we call it. I love this time of year best....had a velvet antlered buck in my back yard this morning. Listened to Coyotes last night. Just a sliver of a harvest moon...

Glad to be back....Terrrible, ain't it

08-31-2001, 03:18 PM
funny you should mention that. My doggie and I were hiking in White Creek state park down the road here the other day and a stag leapt right past her on the trail. She actually stopped in her tracks, looked back at me as if to say "did you see THAT?" before she gave chase. I almost sat down in the trail, I was laughing so hard. She came back complaining about brambles and sticker bushes, and we sat awhile, waiting to see if he was a lone deer or had some fawns following him. Turned out he was solo, but he was a big one, and we both liked the way he crashed through the underbrush, leaping.

it is still too hot here, though. I look at the weather reports for Northern Montana with envy, as they have warm days in the '80's, but their nights are down in the '40's, perfect for a good fire on the banks of the Clark river. Here in Delaware, it feels like it's the South, like Georgia, with air like soup. The air isn't clean, either, and there is no way you can drink water from a ground source without major treatment. It's all polluted. I need to get out of here.

hope you're feeling well! I liked your site.


09-06-2001, 09:23 PM
Thanks for reminding me where I live, you can imagine as far out in the woods as I am, there isn't alot of demand for my real talents, so I work for lower wages at a newspaper building ads, paginating, outputting film, process all sorts of internet and intranet stuff, but nothing that is challenging.

At night I work on my pet PTP and make videos. I don't know another soul within a hundred miles that loves MACs like I do and works on them, so sometimes it's wierd being the only one around who can crack a case.

I tend sometimes think only of the isolation, cold, and low wages and forget there are other places in the world that maybe aren't so great..

You reminded me, (when I most needed it), that my world is really special. I've never locked my door in all the years I've been here, (the Rotts help), and our air is cold and clear.

Terribly Glad to hear you dog is up to chasing around in the woods, and that you are too...

09-09-2001, 11:15 PM
soon there won't be any place left to retreat to.......

09-12-2001, 04:16 PM
How very prophetic your words were Michael.

I'll be off the forum for a while, gotta hug my kids and do a little prayin' for a while. See ya when I see ya....

Terribly Sad this day....