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Prometheus: Giftbearer

geminigod

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Definitely pretty noticeable. I'm going to hold off on more speculation until a mac user has chimed in, but here is one general thought for you to help speed up your own troubleshooting process. Take one of these clips that are noticeably bad and just work with that instead of your whole project.

Maybe start from scratch with a small clip and see if you can't identify some earlier step that solves your problem, such as avoiding color depth format changes. If you can't keep it in YV12 (4:2:0), at least convert it to something that isn't dropping data, such as YV24 (4:4:4) like your ProRes444 codec you mentioned, or RGB 24 bit (888). I am not an expert on color coding either but maybe it could explain this banding effect?? (I haven't experimented enough with changing the formats to be sure). If you just think about it from a pure bit standpoint, basically what your current workflow is doing is going from 4:2:0 to 4:4:4 to convert back down to 4:2:2 then back up to 4:4:4 and then back down to 4:2:0. That said, this still isn't a satisfactory explanation because your mp4 that looks good is also 4:2:0 and went through the same process.

If the problem lies in your editing file, you can hopefully re-do it and replace without affecting your timeline.
 

Severian

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OK, some progress!

1. The banding - some of this is IN THE ORIGINAL. Remember how I said some of the banding problems were not noticable when previewing the H264 in Encore, but became noticable once I viewed my burned BD on my TV? Well, I viewed the retail BD (which I have not done since ripping it) on my TV tonight and lo and behold - the goddamn banding in flashlights is sometimes visible in the original on my tv. Now, I don't know why that issue actually looks *better* within my project on my computer, some issue with color-space/resolution/idunnowhat?

What about those screenshots I posted early? Well they make things look worse in my BD than they are - they're screenshots made with the "Blu-ray Player" app for Mac. Those same moments look better when my BD is viewed on the TV.

So, comparing retail BD to my BD, viewed on TV, the banding is not so different from the source. The father-dream sequence is still a bit noiser than the orig - but it's no where near as much a deviation from the source that I thought. Not that there isn't room for improvement, which brings us to:

2. Turning up the bitrate just a bit (from 22-30, to 25-30), seems to help a good deal with some problem moments.
Compare these screenshots from Encore, viewing two different H.264 renders of the same scene:

22-30 bitrate (notice especially pixellation in arch in dark background)

25-30 bitrate

Now, originally Compressor reported 25-30 would bump the file size just past 25GB, but the resulting file size for 22-30 was 2GB lower than the estimate, so I'm hoping that will hold true for 25-30, and it will still work as a BD25. The bump in quality for these issues seems worth it.

So I think I'm finally on track to get the BD decently done!
 

geminigod

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Severian said:
OK, some progress!

1. The banding - some of this is IN THE ORIGINAL. Remember how I said some of the banding problems were not noticable when previewing the H264 in Encore, but became noticable once I viewed my burned BD on my TV? Well, I viewed the retail BD (which I have not done since ripping it) on my TV tonight and lo and behold - the goddamn banding in flashlights is sometimes visible in the original on my tv. Now, I don't know why that issue actually looks *better* within my project on my computer, some issue with color-space/resolution/idunnowhat?

What about those screenshots I posted early? Well they make things look worse in my BD than they are - they're screenshots made with the "Blu-ray Player" app for Mac. Those same moments look better when my BD is viewed on the TV.

So, comparing retail BD to my BD, viewed on TV, the banding is not so different from the source. The father-dream sequence is still a bit noiser than the orig - but it's no where near as much a deviation from the source that I thought. Not that there isn't room for improvement, which brings us to:

2. Turning up the bitrate just a bit (from 22-30, to 25-30), seems to help a good deal with some problem moments.
Compare these screenshots from Encore, viewing two different H.264 renders of the same scene:

22-30 bitrate (notice especially pixellation in arch in dark background)

25-30 bitrate

Now, originally Compressor reported 25-30 would bump the file size just past 25GB, but the resulting file size for 22-30 was 2GB lower than the estimate, so I'm hoping that will hold true for 25-30, and it will still work as a BD25. The bump in quality for these issues seems worth it.

So I think I'm finally on track to get the BD decently done!

I'm too drunk to make sense of this right now, but this isn't making any sense. I highly doubt that banding is in the source BD. In fact it obviously isn't based on the pics you previously posted. Your mp4 didn't somehow magically make it look better. Your hardware and/or software on your TV and/or computer is doing something that is altering it.

It looks to me like Compressor just blows ass and probably is also struggling harder than it needs to due to some problem with earlier workflow that resulted in multiple lossy re-compressions, but this is just speculation based on your posted pics and settings.

Try borrowing an external hard drive, or just buy one and then return it and try to do an encode using handbrake from an uncompressed render. I'm guessing it turns out better, though I suspect your main problem still lies with an earlier step in your workflow going from the BD source to your editing files.

You might also check to see if there is an option for a constant quality factor or constant rate factor instead of the 2-pass option at a fixed bitrate. Allowing the computer to be more variable in the bit rate might help you get the quality up in particular shots while keeping the overall size a little lower.
 

Severian

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geminigod said:
I'm too drunk to make sense of this right now, but this isn't making any sense. I highly doubt that banding is in the source BD. In fact it obviously isn't based on the pics you previously posted. Your mp4 didn't somehow magically make it look better. Your hardware and/or software on your TV and/or computer is doing something that is altering it.

It looks to me like Compressor just blows ass at making H.264.

Well, those crappy-looking BD screenshots I posted before, showing the worst-looking banding, are from a Mac software decoder of Blu-rays called Blu-ray Player. Playing other blu-rays on it, I'm seeing it is generally just OK at playing a 1080p movie on the computer. Ie it is introducing its own crappiness to the image. As I mentioned earlier, my H.264 BD definitely looks worse through it than when viewed on TV. I used it since there's no good way to take a reliable-looking picture of the TV.

So one lens of distortion: that Blu-ray Player software program. The other lens of distortion seems to be my TV, because:

The banding doesn't occur, or doesn't occur as much, in the ProRes422 source used in the FCPX edit.
The banding ALSO doesn't occur, or doesn't occur as much, in the H.264 produced by Compressor, when viewing that H.264 file in Encore.

Here is that frame again that looked so crapulous - a screenshot from the "Blu-ray Player" software.
Here is that same frame when viewing the H.264 file in Encore instead.

So, the H.264 encode by Compressor doesn't seem to be introducing the banding itself.

The banding occurs or is more noticable, when I play the H.264-encoded BD25 on my TV.
The banding ALSO occurs or is more noticable, when I play the original retail BD50 on my TV.

So the TV itself, or the PS3's decoding, seems to be introducing the more noticeable banding in some situations, instead of Compressor's H.264's encoding introducing it.

The TV - a Panasonic VIERA TC-P42G25 - is calibrated (brightness, contrast, etc.) away from non-factory settings, following "expert" suggestions that have in general given me a great looking picture with HD stuff, but maybe something is off with it.

But my main point is that I think I was chasing my tail trying to correct the banding. On the computer, the H.264 seems to match the source, banding-wise: it is too noticeable in either. On the TV, the H.264 BD seems to match the retail BD, banding wise: it is noticeable in both.

...so my current theory is there is no problem to actually correct there, other than possible weirdness with my TV, because the encoded version matches how the source looks when viewed through the same "lens". And the other, non-banding problems seem to be fixed by bumping the bitrate.

The best test will be having others compare my BD to the retail BD on their TVs, to see if the look matches fairly enough, but that hasn't been done yet.

Does that make sense?

geminigod said:
Try borrowing an external hard drive, or just buy one and then return it and try to do an encode using handbrake from an uncompressed render. I'm guessing it turns out better, though I suspect your main problem still lies with an earlier step in your workflow going from the BD source to your editing files.


Yes, if it turns out the banding isn't just something peculiar with how my TV is dealing with the particular parts of the video, I will go the massive uncompressed render as the source-for-compression route.
 

Severian

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In non-BD-quest news, the 720p MP4 now on MEGA. DLC just submitted to fanedit.info - not up there yet, so PM me if you want it in the meantime.
 

geminigod

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Severian said:
But my main point is that I think I was chasing my tail trying to correct the banding.

...so my current theory is there is no problem to actually correct there, other than possible weirdness with my TV, because the encoded version matches how the source looks when viewed through the same "lens". And the other, non-banding problems seem to be fixed by bumping the bitrate.

Yup, unlikely as it might be, this seems to be the best fit to the story. You have both an issue with your computer's media player or monitor playback and your tv or ps3's playback.

Tweaked brightness and/or contrast settings could enhance that banding effect, but it couldn't explain it entirely considering that the screenshots you posted aren't that different from a contrast standpoint, so that isn't the problem.

You must have some setting checked in both cases that is causing the video stream to be altered on playback for the worse rather than doing a direct passthrough. It may well be that it has nothing to do with the media player but is instead some setting you have going on your monitor and TV. These things often have "smart render" type features and whatnot that are supposed to improve picture quality, decrease noise, reduce blur, etc., but are invariably crappy cheap chips that do more damage than good, especially when decoding blu-ray, which should need no "help" in the picture quality department. Quality hardware that can actually accomplish these feats well are many extra hundreds to thousands of dollars. Start by turning any fancy setting to off on tv, ps3, & monitor. See if that makes any difference in both cases. If it does solve the problem, then you can systematically turn settings back on.

If tweaking your monitor or tv doesn't solve the problem and it seems like it is your blu-ray media player app, it might be worth investing in a better app for your computer so you have at least one reliable reference option. Or since you seem to have access to a PC as well, you could plop the m2ts or avc file onto your PC and look at it using Media Player Classic, which is free but should give accurate playback.
 

Severian

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geminigod said:
Yup, unlikely as it might be, this seems to be the best fit to the story. You have both an issue with your computer's media player or monitor playback and your tv or ps3's playback.

I'm pretty sure the monitor is fine, since the H.264 (when viewed in Encore) and the ProRes422 both look fine in general, I think it's just that "Blu-ray Player" app being lame - I also found out that if you use its own screenshot feature vs. taking a screenshot via the OS, it looks worse (lower quality png), so that's an extra factor.

Tweaked brightness and/or contrast settings could enhance that banding effect, but it couldn't explain it entirely considering that the screenshots you posted aren't that different from a contrast standpoint, so that isn't the problem.

You must have some setting checked in both cases that is causing the video stream to be altered on playback for the worse rather than doing a direct passthrough. It may well be that it has nothing to do with the media player but is instead some setting you have going on your monitor and TV. These things often have "smart render" type features and whatnot that are supposed to improve picture quality, decrease noise, reduce blur, etc., but are invariably crappy cheap chips that do more damage than good, especially when decoding blu-ray, which should need no "help" in the picture quality department. Quality hardware that can actually accomplish these feats well are many extra hundreds to thousands of dollars. Start by turning any fancy setting to off on tv, ps3, & monitor. See if that makes any difference in both cases. If it does solve the problem, then you can systematically turn settings back on.

Yeah, I've had the TV calibrated to these settings for awhile, which were from some avs forum - and they've mostly served me well (especially compared to factory standard!)

Picture Mode: Custom
Contrast: 87
Brightness: 68
Color: 35
Tint: -3
Sharpness: 11
Color Temp: Warm2
Color Management: Off
x.v. Color: Off
Photo Enhancement: Off
C.A.T.S: Off
Video NR: Off
Blur Reduction: Off

Pro Settings:
W/B High R: 0
W/B High B: +2
W/B Low R: +2
W/B Low B: -4
Black Extension: 0
Gamma Adjustment: 2.2
Panel Brightness: Mid
Contour Emphasis: Off
AGC: 0

Advance Options
Block NR: Off
Mosquito NR: Off
Black Level: Light
3:2 Pulldown: On
They *seem* to turn off most of the "smart" features that would cause ugliness, but I'll poke around and see. Also I should at this point reiterate that the banding (that I see in both the retail and my BD) on the TV is not constnat or picture-ruining when it occurs, it just strikes me as not right for a blu-ray HD. Also, there were a couple of times a PS3 "app", like Netflix, was left on, on a static screen, and the dimming/screensaver never kicked in (when I of course realized hours later) - so I don't know if *those* incidents might have done something wonky to the

geminigod said:
If tweaking your monitor or tv doesn't solve the problem and it seems like it is your blu-ray media player app, it might be worth investing in a better app for your computer so you have at least one reliable reference option. Or since you seem to have access to a PC as well, you could plop the m2ts or avc file onto your PC and look at it using Media Player Classic, which is free but should give accurate playback.

Yeah, I'll look at some other blu-ray app choices, and trying it on Win instead is a good idea. You might know how hard (and stupidly) Jobs fought blu-ray support for Macs, so it's an uphill battle.

Unfortunately, it turns out Compressor is still being a jerk. Those pics of David with the helmet - how it looked better with bumping from VBR 22-30 to VBR 25-30? Well, that holds true when I render just that 5-min sequence as a test, but when I rendered the whole movie at exact same VBR 25-30 settings, the marcoblocking there (and in the pan shot when watching Lawrence of Arabia that follows) was back. :? I guess over the course of the whole render, Compressor is making stupid choices of when to lower the bitrate that it doesn't make in the short render!?

Anyway, it's looking like that even if the banding is not a real issue, Compressor (and Adobe Encoder, with which I get similar problems) is just plain inferior for H.264-rendering. I'm pretty sure that using Prores422 as source for edit and final file is a normal workflow for Final Cut HD - it's what Q2 talks about using in this thread, for instance, and other places I've been digging around mention it. But maybe part of how I created with Prores422 with Pavtube was flawed.

But before I even thinking about re-doing all the source files, I'm looking into the trials of Sorenson Squeeze and Telestream Episode (pretty much the only Mac alternatives to Compressor and Adobe Encoder for BD-encoding, AFAICT) to see if they make any difference, and if all else fails, will get my hands on an extra external drive to try the uncompressed.

(MY KINGDOM FOR A UNPROBLEMATIC FIT-ON-A-BD25 H.264 RENDER)
 

Severian

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So CBR instead of VBR in Adobe Encoder might be the answer for the few moments of macroblocking - keeps the bitrate from inappropriately dropping too low when there's dim, fading (like the above frame of David with the helmet) or flickering light, but introduces a few new issues in other places where it can no longer surge to a higher bitrate. I'll see if I can get the balance right.
 

Severian

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24 CBR with Adobe Encoder seems to be the ticket (assuming the color banding was truly was a phantom issue) - testing that BD-R this weekend.

And DLC for 720p MP4 on MEGA now available at fanedit.info. :)
 

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How's the BD coming along [MENTION=21856]Severian[/MENTION]? :cool:
 

Severian

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Well...I'm still not totally happy with what I've got so far (given the final size), but I haven't given up on it! Main issue has been so-called "real-life" things stealing my free-time. *shakes fist at real life*
 

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Watched this last weekend, and it was pretty amazing. There was a scene in the exploration of the caves that felt off (my memory is hazy as to how the original sequence went, but it seems like something was cut), and I'm not completely sold on the dream sequence, but all in all it worked really well, and opening with the TED talk was really cool. A big improvement in some areas, slight improvement in other areas, and some slightly wonky additions - but all in all a great edit, and it deserves all the praise. Well done!
 

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There. Was that so hard? This is how Prometheus should have been cut; as a scientific expedition not the 'everything is magical' approach we got with the original cut. Great fanedit here I can't wait to see what you come up with next. I really liked how you included the promotional/special feature TED Talk and used it to open the movie. Guy Pearce's performance as Weyland in that short sequence is far too amazing to have it be relegated to a special feature. It should have been in the movie.
 

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CaptainPanda said:
I really liked how you included the promotional/special feature TED Talk and used it to open the movie. Guy Pearce's performance as Weyland in that short sequence is far too amazing to have it be relegated to a special feature. It should have been in the movie.

Agreed. Without this, I was left wondering in the original why Guy Pearce was playing this role. Why plaster him in make-up? Why not just get an old actor? Seeing this version, it made much more sense.
 

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I just got finished watching this and this is quite an impressive firstling. It's been awhile since I've seen Prometheus so I don't remember a ton but I do remember not enjoying it! I guess I'm in the minority in that I didn't like the inclusion of the TED talk, but that's just me, I understand why you put it in though. And I can't say I liked the theatrical opening with the CGI guy and the waterfall creating life or whatever the hell was happening (again, i don't remember a lot from the theatrical version). This is definitely my replacement disc for Prometheus.

Nice work Severian! An excellent example of a faneditor turning a "meh" movie into an enjoyable one. I look forward to seeing more edits from you.

(Review has also been posted on IFDB)
 

TV's Frink

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Finally (!) watched Prometheus on HBO and liked enough to warrant a purchase...so now I have this to look forward to as well :)
 
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