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DVD Creation using Adobe Premiere

DVD Creation using Adobe Premiere



A Creative Cow Adobe Premiere / DVD Authoring Technique



by Dan Gordon
Dan Gordon Productions

©2001 Dan Gordon and CreativeCow.net. All Rights Reserved.

Dan Gordon
Article Focus:
With this article, we are very pleased to introduce Dan Gordon to Creative Cow members. In his first article here at the Cow, Dan explores the process of DVD Authoring using Adobe Premiere for Windows. The techniques he lays out can be used in both 5.1 and in 6.x. Dan looks at the set-up, export, compression, audio and other considerations that are a part of the DVD Authoring process. In an easy to understand, graphically presented overview, Dan makes the topic of DVD Authoring a quick jump for those considering the subject.
Tools used in this tutorial (yours may vary slightly):
DVRaptor, Premiere 5.1c or 6.0 on Windows, Avisynth v0.28Beta37, TMPGenc, Sonic DVDit PE
NOTE: There are links in the article to download some of these tools if you need them.



DVD Authoring is one of the hottest topics in dynamic media right now and many users are looking to make use of this fast-growing and easy to sell technology in their own productions. There are many things to consider when setting out to create your first DVD Authoring project and in this article we'll explore these factors.

Some notes before we get started...

All of the settings I have used in this article are for 4:3 NTSC, so if you use PAL or you want a widescreen presentation, you will have to make the appropriate changes to your project settings.

Note:If you have not yet installed the AVISynth or TMPGenc programs, here is a link to download them and the instructions you will need.


With that out of the way, let's get going...

You can either start a new project in Adobe Premiere and edit it, like you would edit any project, with your editing hardware -- or take your existing project and work with it. I use a DVRaptor from Canopus, so my settings may vary a bit from yours if you are using something else. To stay on the safe side of things, here are three things to be aware of:

  • Use the supplied preset Project Settings for your capture card.
  • Do not switch your source material to "progressive" at any time.
  • Everything should be interlaced -- it always should be.

Now it's time to start the export from Premiere and the encoding with TMPGenc.

In Premiere, place the work area bar over the video you want to encode.

Select FILE, EXPORT, MOVIE, SETTINGS and ensure you have the following settings selected:


Note: If you are using a Canopus product, make sure your field settings are "Upper Field First" as in the the settings above. Bot all systems are "UFF" and in some you may have to reset to "Lower Field First".

Select "OK"

Type the file name you wish to give your new project.

Select "OK" when the Default settings loaded box appears.

You should see this window open up:

Avisynth has created a file called 'part0.avs' on your C: drive (c:part0.avs) this is trick that avisynth uses to get premiere to export to TMPGenc. TMPGenc sees this file as an avi and encodes it.

    Note: If the 'part0.avs' file was not created on the C: drive, then click here.

    • Open TMPGenc
    • Select Load, DVD (NTSC),
    • Select Settings and use the following: (These are the settings that worked best for me...please email me if you have any suggestions or experience with other settings.)

  • Rate Control Mode - '2 Pass VBR' gives the best results (this also doubles the encode time) - you can experiment with CBR, or manual VBR.
  • Select 'Setting' next to '2 Pass VBR' to adjust the bitrate. The next screen shot (next one below) shows the window that opens up.
  • DC Component Precision - '10 bits' (9 bits is the default, not sure how much this changes thing, but 10 bits is supposedly better).
  • Motion Search Precision - 'Highest Quality (very slow)' will give you the best results (again this slows things down).


This is the Bitrate Settings window. Several things to consider in setting the bitrate:
  • The maximum bitrate that DVD players can handle, including audio, is 9,800. If your stream gets this high, no DVD player will play it correctly..
  • The higher your bitrate, the less video you can get on one DVD.
  • The lower the bitrate, the less quality your end product has.
  • 8000 has worked for me; however, people are reporting good results with 5000 to 6000 as well.


  • Video source type (stream type) - "Interlaced" (as always)
  • Field Order - "Bottom Field First (Field B)" -- VERY IMPORTANT: If you select 'Field A' you will have jerky video when you play it on your set-top box.
  • Source Aspect Ratio - "4:3 525 Line NTSC"
  • Video Arrange Method - "Center (Keep Aspect Ratio)" There are several different options here. Center seems to make the most sense.


These are the default settings


These are the default setings. Note: Do not make the mistake of using CD audio's 44.1kHz band in DVD.


Select "MPEG standard" in the drop-down menu items.


    • In "Video Source", select "Browse"
    • Select the C:part0.avs file
    • Name the output file.
    • Select Start

    Wait a very long time!! These settings are the highest quality, longest encode time so stand by to do nothing for a while. Remember this is a FREE program, but the quality will be worth the wait. It takes me about 23 minutes for every minute encoded running on a 1gHz Athlon. (There are faster commercial packages available and if your goal is to create projects commercially, you will want to consider purchasing one of them.)

    Here are some comparisons between the original avi and the encoded mpg. Click on any of the pictures to see the full size images....

Original AVI
Encoded MPG



Important Audio Information to Consider...

One of the things that a lot of people overlook is the audio. Audio has always been a very important part of what we do; now we have the ability to output audio in Dolby Digital. DVDit PE offers 2.0 Dolby Digital.

One big mistake in DVD authoring is using the audio embedded in the MPG file that was just created. The audio embedded in the MPG file is a compressed mp2 format (similar to mp3s). The problem is that DVD players don't use mp2 files, DVD players use either PCM or AC-3 files. PCM files are basically WAV files for DVD's and AC-3 is the Dolby Digital standard. If you use DVDit, the program will demux the MPG stream into two streams (mpeg and mp2), then encode the mp2 into either PCM or AC-3.

The problem with this is that the mp2 file is already compressed once from the original wav file, so you are compressing the audio twice which degrades the sound significantly. DVDit allows you to use a WAV file in the authoring process and discard the mp2 file. This allows you to keep very high audio qualities.

To export the audio, ensure the work area bar is over the exact segment of video that you just encoded.

  • Select FILE, EXPORT, AUDIO, SETTINGS.
  • Select 'Windows Waveform'.
  • Select '48 kHz' (this is the DVD standard).
  • Select OK and name the file.


Authoring in DVDit...

An observation about the Sonic line, MyDVD, DVDit SE and DVDit PE are all very similar programs. So far I've only found a few differences between the three. MyDVD doesn't give you control of end action, or menu key selection, no audio in the menus, and PCM audio encoding only. DVDit SE gives you everything but AC-3 encoding and DVDit PE gives you AC-3 plus build to Tape (useless for us). A note on AC-3. My first project was about 90 minutes long encoded at 8000 with PCM audio, the total project size was 4.28 GB, I took the same files but encoded with AC-3 and the file size dropped 600 MB!!! plus I got AC-3. So it's worth the upgrade just for that, it'll give you a lot more video on the disk.

This article is a work in progress and I want your input, what do you do differently? Did this work for you? Do you find a better way to do one of the steps involved? I hope you'll take a minute to write me with you comments. Please email me.

-- Dan Gordon


Want to know more about DVD? Visit Creative Cow's DVD Authoring forum cowmunity




Visit Creative Cow's website and forums if you got here by direct link to this article...




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