HD Sound Encoding

Dts I am now working out how to make an HD DVD or BluRay disk for Gone Fishing, so I can show it on courses and at home in HD – and also, send it off to festivals (if they start to move in the ‘domestic HD delivery format’ direction). While the difference between DVD and HD-DVD / BluRay is not sooooo noticeable to the layperson, on a big screen (projected), you can really see it, especially when you see one next to the other.

So far, the tools to make an HD disk are pretty thin on the ground. There are lot’s of ‘halfway houses’ on both Mac and PC, designed really for HDV home movies or Sony BluRay camcorders, but my problem is accommodating 24fps AND 5.1 24bit sound. So I have to approach sound and picture separately.

As it stands, I think I may be forced into a 25fps version of Gone Fishing – but that may not be set in stone just yet. As for sound, I previously made a Dolby Digital AC3 file which worked well on DVD, but it’s highly compressed like MP3 and I could hear we were losing detail. I have since found a way of encoding in DTS, which has a bit rate of 1.5mb/s, opposed to the max of Dolby Digital which is 640kb/s (and usually lower). So effectively, DTS has three times more digital data – and you can hear it! I made a test DVD last night and was really impressed with the sound I got with this extra information. So for now, DTS will be the way that I deliver the sound on the HD disk I choose. It isn’t 24bit, but until I find a better way, DTS is good enough. In fact it’s splendid! And of course, even the cheapest players now handle DTS sound.

Now, onto the picture element… How on earth do I get it onto my PC in full uncompressed HD, and then encoded into a stream that the HD-DVD / BluRay software can handle? Crickey. Watch this space.

Onward and upward!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author

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