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How to prepare images for DVD slideshow

Stanley Spedowski , Mar 07, 2011; 05:54 p.m.

I've purchased some books on making DVD's and video editing, but none seem to address the things I want to know.

I've been asked to make a DVD slideshow of a local event. I'm using adobe Premier Pro and Encore CS3 and believe I can use them well enough to complete the DVD. After viewing the first test, I found the images were soft with poor detail in the shadows and highlights.
I've read that the NTSC format uses a compressed color scheme and a pixel aspect ratio of 0.9 on a normal sized screen.

Can anyone tell me how to prepare an image for display in a widecreen DVD slideshow production. What dimension, PAR, colorspace etc to use. I use photoshop CS3.

Thank You, Stanley.

Responses

John Deerfield , Mar 08, 2011; 01:51 p.m.

What dimension

Well, a DVD is 720x480 (rectangular pixels). That's it. Period. If nothing else, the compression engine is going to compress the video to 720x480 pixels. As to what size the image should be prior to that depends on the editing. If you are doing a 2x motion keyframe (sometimes called the Ken Burn's effect) where you "zoom" in 2x on a slide (not counting transitions), then you might want a resolution of 1440x960. The only thing a widescreen DVD is doing is chopping off pixels at the top and bottom pixels to achieve a "wide screen". So now you are dealing with the same resolution (720x480) only it chops off the top and bottom of your image to give you a wide screen... so now your actual image has less resolution.

PAR [pixel aspect ratio] pixel aspect ratio of 0.9 on a normal sized screen

You might be over thinking things a bit. Once you define the resolution of your image, let Premier handle "how it should look". A pixel aspect ratio of .9 means nothing to me. What is a normal sized screen? Physical size of the TV isn't relevant. A 20" standard definition TV (a DVD is standard definition) is 720x480 pixels. A 50" TV is 720x480 pixels.

colorspace

sRGB

I think it is important to understand that video editing and compression was designed for motion graphics. As such, I usually find it beneficial to keyframe each image so that it has motion. Say the image starts small and finishes large. You could then copy this keyframe to all the other images (unless you wanted each image to have it's own unique keyframe). In terms of getting the color, saturation, and so on that you would like to have, at some point you just have to let go.

with poor detail in the shadows and highlights

And? Again, at 720x480 pixels, this isn't a print competition where judges are looking for details in the shadows and highlights. A DVD is low-resolution. Furthermore, it is compressed for motion. If I am doing a slideshow, I just set my timeline up for a standard NTSC. If the slideshow is being played on a widescreen TV, the TV itself usually has settings that allow the image to "fit the screen" if that is the intention. And keyframing some motion keeps the viewer involved in what it unfolding as compared to discussing the highlights and shadows of a still image!

Frank Skomial , Mar 09, 2011; 04:54 a.m.

DVD Slide show perhaps means for you playing it back on a stand alone TV top set DVD player, and seeing on a NTSC standard TV.

You could just use DVD as media for slide show playback, and play at any higher resoulution of available display, e.g. 1920 x 1080 HDMI LCD monitor or large TV. In this case you will need to use a laptop computer, or a media player like WD TV Live, to play at any higher than standard NTSC resolution. Try loading full resolution pictures into an USB strage device, without any degradation of quality done by special preparation for NTSC based DVD. Slide show of your pictures could use maximum resolution of available display device.

Some latest LCD/LED HDMI large TVs have built-in media players, e.g. from Samsung, so you could just play unmodified high resolution pictures from an USB device.

Special preparing files for DVD slide shows that play on a NTSC TV quality, is becomming a history...

Let your media player, or e.g. Windows 7, play at any best resolution. Make sure you have high resolution and large size display for it. Do not cripple your high resolution pictures by doing some preparation for DVD NTSC playback.

Gleb Baida , Mar 09, 2011; 12:17 p.m.

DVD is 720x480 non-square pixels be it 4:3 or 16:9 wide screen. Nothing is cropped for 16:9, those 720 pixels just stretched wider to fit the aspect ratio.
DVD standard is low resolution, and the slideshow quality made with this standard will be pretty bad.
You could prepare your slideshow in a video editor in 'high definition' format and render it as mpeg-2 or mpeg-4 file and play it from hard drive or usb device.I would experiment with color space of the pictures and import them into video editor in their maximum resolution the editor allows.
If you absolutely need to use DVD, some video editors (Pinnacle Studio and Sony Vegas) allow to render high definition content into DVD as ACVHD (burned with a regular DVD burner), which can be played on many standalone Blu-ray players or computer DVD-drives.

John Deerfield , Mar 09, 2011; 12:58 p.m.

Nothing is cropped for 16:9, those 720 pixels just stretched wider to fit the aspect ratio

Not sure I understand that comment. To achieve a 16x9 aspect ratio via a standard definition timeline means that you are masking said timeline... in effect, cropping the top and bottom of the frame. The TV itself may stretch the image now to "fill the screen", but no matter how you slice it from the input standpoint, you are dealing with less image resolution when trying to accomplish a "widescreen" standard definition DVD. Unless you are using something to burn and playback AVCHD content on a standard DVD... but then that changes your editing timeline.

I suppose theoretically, your absolute best option would be to use something like Adobe's After Effects to create the slideshow:

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/kramer_andrew/slideshows.php

By using the animation codec, you entirely skip the whole NTSC editing timeline and just let the compression engine render out what you need for any medium: DVD, AVCHD, etc... Drawback is that the animation codec takes up a LOT of space. If memory serves, a 10-minute slideshow came in at like 30GB. So everything everything (rendering, compression, etc) takes longer.

Frank Skomial , Mar 09, 2011; 03:34 p.m.

You can rollout as big guns as you wish to kill a fly, but for simple slide presentation on an USB device, or from a hard disc folder, or from a DVD media contents, all you need is a simple slide show software, that costs about $19 to $29, or you could use a free doownload, or just use Windows 7 media player.
Those slide photo shows do not require you to deal or know anything about timelines, no need to prepare/convert files, as a good slide show software will present best resolution tailored always to the best display device that you have. The same slide show with auto star feature will always use full quality of your pictures, and resize them dynamically for the time of the presentation, and optimal for any display device. You do not need second copy of converted files, as your originals is all you need.

I use perhaps 5+ years old DSSAR.exe slide show program, and it works on all size of screens, all video adapter settings, and from all USB drives, or hard disc folders.

I am not associated and have no any interest in this product, but you could try free download, and remove or not use after free use expiration date:

http://www.digitalphotoslideshow.com/download.htm

With full paid version, you will get greater presentation flexibility, like duration for slide display, where to start, etc.

Edward Ingold , Mar 11, 2011; 09:44 a.m.

You get much better results playing a DVD on an HD set with upsampling to 720p or 1080p resolution. The quality is surprisingly good, so good in fact that it has delayed acceptance of Blu-Ray discs. Standard definition video, 720x480 pixels, is still about twice as good as standard definition TV sets can display.

I always prepare DVD images by resampling to fit a 720x480 pixel box, using sRGB for the color space. That way I control the color and sharpening, rather than rely on an unknown resampling method in the compiler (Premiere Pro + Encore). For Blu-Ray, the box should be 1920x1080 pixels. Color accuracy is always problematic. NTSC video (for SD) is jokingly described as "Never Twice the Same Color".

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