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In Encore CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins gives an extensive overview of Encore CS5, Adobe's powerful application for authoring DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and Flash-based video for the web. This course covers adding audio and subtitle tracks, creating image slideshows, and using Encore as a presentation tool. Also explained are the Blu-ray enhancements in CS5, and advanced techniques such as creating games and hidden content for disc menus. Exercise files are included with the course.
Video comes in all shapes and sizes, tons of different formats, tons of different ways to compress different files. But when the specifications for DVDs and Blu-ray discs were made, there were certain rules that DVDs only understand a certain type of compression, and that is MPEG-2 compression, and Blu-ray Discs understand MPEG-2 and H264, also called H.264, but those are the only means of compression that those file types, or those disc types will allow.
So whatever video you bring in, it will probably have to be changed into MPEG-2 or H264. In other words, it will need to be encoded, or an Encore speak, it'll need to be transcoded. Now in the Project panel here, if we resize this by putting our cursor at the vertical divider between this and the panel to its right, just stretch this out here, we can see that we have DVD Transcode Status and also DVD Transcode Settings. So right now, this file that I've just imported is un-transcoded, so it needs to be transcoded to DVD compliable or compliant video, before it can burn our DVD.
And this process takes a long a time, a very long time. That's one of the biggest e-mails I get about Encore is, 'Is it broken? It's been taking hours and hours,' and yes, if you have a full-length movie, depending on the power of your system, it could take many hours to transcode video. This is normal. So what you can do is you could right- click on a video clip, in your Project panel, that you've imported, and choose Transcode Now. So Encore will allow you to have a footage being transcoded while you are assembling your project in Encore.
If your computer is tough enough to handle you transcoding in the background while you're assembling your project, this could save you a lot of time in the end. Now let's talk about Transcode Settings. When you right-click on a clip, you could also choose Transcode Settings, so go ahead and choose that option. You get the Transcode Settings Dialog box here, and we can choose transcoding for DVD and for Blu-rays. Since this is an HD clip, 1280x720, we have the option to transcode for both DVD or Blu-ray. Now, by default, the Quality Preset for DVD Footage, if you're going to be transcoding DVD Footage, is automatic.
That means it's going to make it as high of a quality as it possibly can. This clip is only 19 seconds long, so we know that we could fit in hour and a half of really high-quality video on a DVD, so if it's only 19 seconds long, it's going to be an extremely high quality. But if we brought in another hour and a half worth of footage, it might have to start compressing all of the extra files that we're bringing in order make space. So that's what the automatic Quality Preset means. Now we might have one piece of footage that is just absolutely amazing, and it needs to be very high-quality.
So we could choose one of these High Quality Presets here. Now this 7Mb, 8Mb, this refers to megabits. This is the Data Rate of the Preset here. We'll talk a little more about this when we get into bits versus bytes, that can be a little confusing, but it's good to know about CBR versus VBR. CBR stands for Constant Bit Rate. That means you're going to get the same constant bit rate, and it's going to go faster when it encodes, so it's not going to take you as long. But the VBR means Variable Bit Rate. What that's going to do is actually be a little bit more intelligent and examine your footage.
It's going to kind of look through it and see where there's patches where it might be able to compress things little bit more and get away with it and thereby give you higher quality, when there's action scenes, or something like that, but this does take a lot longer, because it has to go through two passes. That's what this means here. It has to go through two passes of your footage to know what it can compress or not. So it takes a lot longer to encode, but if you could deal with it, then you're going to have a much higher-quality result, and you're going to be able to fit more onto a disc. Now honestly, once you're in the 7-8 Mb range, I can't tell the difference, honestly, between these.
This is pretty high megabit stuff, but when you get down to like 4 Mb or lower, especially when you are dealing with CBR, you can start to tell. If you're going down to something like 3 Mb, it's going to be very obvious. You don't want to do that. So you don't want to cram too much on a DVD. I mean, you can, and Encore will force itself to continually go lower and lower on quality, the more stuff you try to jam-pack into a DVD, but you don't want to do that. So let's say, for example, I want to do the VBR. I could click on this, and go ahead and click OK here, and I could right-click and choose Transcode Now on this clip, and I can have it transcoding in the background, so again, when it's time to burn this to DVD, I don't have to waste time transcoding this asset, which could take a very long time.
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