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DV Filmmaking by Ian David Aronson

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Shooting with DVD Compression in Mind

As I mentioned in the last chapter, DVD production offers fantastic opportunities for the independent producer. Using prosumer equipment, you can affordably shoot, edit, and distribute professional-quality copies of your work in an all-digital format. Editing applications and DVD production packages ship with encoders that convert your DV footage to the DVD-compatible MPEG-2 format. Understanding how these encoders function before you go out and shoot can help you create better quality DVDs.

Not all shots compress as easily, or as well, as you might want them to. Certain backgrounds and some types of movement might look great when you record them but lose significant quality when compressed for DVD. Once you develop a solid understanding of DVD compression, you can compose shots that still look really good after they’ve been compressed.

As always, your artistic vision is the most important factor. If you’re spending the time, money, and effort to make a film, you have to include the shots you want and the images you think people want to see—even if they aren’t the most compression friendly. Understanding DVD compression can help you ensure your most ambitious compositions and framings translate to DVD the way you want, with a minimal amount of headache.

Compression algorithms

Audio and video files take up tremendous amounts of memory. Five minutes of DV footage takes up approximately 1 GB of memory on your computer’s hard drive. A single DVD only ...

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