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HD to SD DVD – Best Methods

Posted by Jon Geddes
3:24 am on July 24th, 2009

Anyone who has edited HD footage and has had to output to an SD DVD is well aware of the shortcomings of today’s NLEs. Whether you are using Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cut Pro, when you export your HD footage to MPEG2 DVD, the results are very poor. In fact, you might be thinking to yourself that it would look better had it been recorded in SD to begin with. Well you would be correct. The problem with current editing software is that they use very bad downscaling algorithms, the math that is used to convert a higher resolution source to a lower resolution output, leaving you with footage that is almost unusable. In this article, I will primarily focus on Premiere and the PC, as I still haven’t found an equally good alternative on the Mac. Final Cut users, please read the update at the bottom of the article.

Why both companies release their software year after year without offering the ability to export a high quality mpeg2-dvd file continues to go unanswered.  As an example, here are some screenshots comparing HDV 60i footage, shot on a Canon XH-A1, that was downscaled using Adobe Premiere CS4 (through the Adobe Media Encoder) versus the same footage that was edited in Premiere and downscaled using a 3rd party application:

Downscaled using Adobe Media Encoder - 7Mbit CBR

Downscaled using Adobe Media Encoder - 7Mbit CBR

Downscaled using 3rd Party Application - 7Mbit CBR

Downscaled using 3rd Party Application - 7Mbit CBR

Your footage comes out looking very low resolution using the Adobe Media Encoder’s downscaling, especially noticeable on titles.

Adobe has recently made some attempt to offer an option to have better quality rendering. In CS4, they have added an option to the Sequence Properties to enable “Maximum Render Quality” aka MRQ. With this little box checked off, your Adobe Media Encoder will take FOREVER to render, and here are the results:

Downscaled using Adobe Media Encoder w/ MRQ - 7Mbit CBR

Downscaled using Adobe Media Encoder w/ MRQ - 7Mbit CBR

As you can see, the results are much better than before, however there is noticeably more artifacts and strong ringing around high contrast areas. It looks as if the text has a black stroke effect applied. Lets not forget, it took the Adobe Media Encoder horribly long to render this out, where as our 3rd party application (which I will get into later) takes far less time and looks better!

If you are satisfied with the results of the Maximum Render Quality image and don’t care if it takes 5x – 10x longer to render, then you can stop here. For those of you who care about achieving the best quality downconversion using completely free utilities… keep on reading.

Before we go any further, I would like to give credit to Dan Isaacs who has devoted so much of his time to perfecting a downscaling workflow and offer his knowledge to the community, frequently posting in the Adobe user-to-user forums.  He does have a tutorial on his website, however it is a little outdated and his most recent improvements in the workflow are found by scouring through posts in the Adobe forums. I will be going over his methods and offering some additional suggestions when possible.

At first you may feel a little overwhelmed by all the steps involved and programs you will need to download, but I assure you, the process goes quickly and the results are spectacular.

The basic steps of the workflow involve:

  • Exporting your Video out of Premiere
  • Downscaling and applying other filters to enhance the image
  • Encoding to mpeg2

Lets go through each step at a time so you get a better understanding of why we do each process and why there are so many additional tools you must download.

Exporting out of Premiere:

The ideal way would be to have Premiere deliver it’s frames directly to a second application without compressing, altering it, or exporting a huge file. This was easily done in Premiere CS3 using the Debugmode Frameserver plugin. Unfortunately since Adobe has shifted all the exporting to the Adobe Media Encoder in CS4, frameserving is not currently possible. So we must export in a format that is near lossless, renders quickly, and doesn’t take up too much space. There is one format that pretty much meets all those requirements, and that is MPEG2 I-frame. If you have a Matrox editing card, go ahead and export using the Matrox MPEG2 I-frame codec at 100 Mbits/sec. If you don’t have the Matrox codec, you can still configure the Adobe Media Encoder to export to MPEG2 I-frame.

The output settings for MPEG2 can be overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with all it’s terms. I highly recommend you download these:

Adobe Media Encoder CS4 presets for 100Mbps MPEG-2 I-frame 4:2:2

Once you download and extract them to any folder, simply select MPEG2 as the output format in AME, click the icon to import a preset, then select the downloaded preset which matches your source footage.

Downscaling & Processing:

Once you have exported your HD master out of Premiere, its now time to apply advanced algorithms to the footage which will scale it down and do all kinds of optimizations for dvd playback. The free program you must download to do this is:

AviSynth 2.5.8 ST Official Build

The program basically works like this; you create a script (commands in a text document) in the same location as your HD master export, which tells AVISynth what file to load and what effects/filters you want applied to it. AVISynth does not actually export your file, but rather does all the processing of the effects and filters, and delivers those processed frames to another application. Unfortunately Encore is not capable of importing the .avs file that the program generates, however many other programs and mpeg encoders are, such as Procoder, HC Encoder, and Virtual Dub among many others.

Dan Isaacs has provided a plugin/preset he created for AVISynth that does just about everything for you. Download it here:

hd2sd() conversion package for AviSynth

Instructions for how to use his conversion package are included in the zip file. No additional plugins for AVISynth are required, since Dan has provided all of them for you in the zip file. Please take the time to read through his documentation. It explains all the different settings and how to tweak them, in addition to how to configure it for different footage types such as 24p, 30p, PAL, NTSC, 4×3, 16×9, etc.

If you think all of this is starting to go over your head, its really not that difficult, especially if you have HD 60i source footage, your script will probably consist of just this:


That’s it.

Now that your script is done, it might be ready to import into your mpeg encoder. If you will be using Encore to encode your mpeg2 file, you must create an AVI file that can be imported into the program. Having encore encode the mpeg2 file won’t look that bad since the quality issues mainly came from the downscaling which has already been done. The program you will need to install in order to open the AVISynth script and save as an AVI is called:


By default Virtual Dub will export an uncompressed AVI file, which takes up huge amounts of space. I highly recommend downloading and installing the free:

Lagarith lossless codec

Once you install the codec and Virtual Dub, follow these instructions:

  1. Run VirtualDub
  2. Open your .avs script file in VirtualDub
  3. In VirtualDub, go to Video : Compression and select the Lagarith lossless codec
  4. Also set VirtualDub to use Video : Fast recompress mode
  5. Save your output to lagarith.avi
  6. Import lagarith.avi into Encore for transcoding and authoring

Encoding to MPEG2:

If you will be using Encore to encode, you should know where to go from here. I would suggest VBR 2-Pass encoding for best results, with a max bitrate of 8 Mbits, target of 7 Mbits, and minimum of 2 Mbits. You may need to adjust the target bitrate depending on how much content you need to fit on the disc.

If you want near studio quality mpeg encoding using a free program, I recommend downloading and installing HC Encoder which delivers extremely high quality results. A high quality mpeg encoder will produce slightly better looking video at greatly reduced bitrates, causing the file sizes to be much lower (did you ever wonder how hollywood movies are able to fit so much high quality video content on a single dvd? Its from using a good encoder).


There sure are a lot of steps to get a quality downconversion out of Premiere. Once you go through the entire process one time and get all the programs you need, you will realize it’s not that complicated and moves along quite quickly.

One of the drawbacks to this method is that you cannot export chapter markers out of Premiere. You can always create them in Encore, or you can render out a draft quality mpeg2 file from Premiere with chapter markers intact, import that into Encore, then replace the asset with the high quality version and your chapter markers will remain.

I look forward to the day when Adobe offers some good quality downconversions. But until then… this is one of the best methods to use.

UPDATE: Apparently the latest version of Apple Compressor (3.5) is producing even worse downconversion results than the previous version (3.05). However, after comparing both versions, even with the best quality resize setting applied under the frame controls, the results are still extremely poor compared to using AVISynth and the hd2sd script.

Final Cut Users: Export a contained Pro Res 422 HD quicktime out of Final Cut, load it onto a windows system, and use the method above starting with the “Downscaling and Processing”. Your Pro Res file will be loaded by the script without issues.

UPDATE 2: For those of you interested in following this topic on the Adobe forums, where Dan Isaacs and Jeff Bellune are posting responses and even more helpful details to this workflow and process, please read this thread.

UPDATE 3: Jeff Bellune has recorded a nice video tutorial of this workflow that can be seen here.  I highly recommend watching it if you were confused in any way by this article.

UPDATE 4: There has been a good deal of discussion in forums about CS5 having greatly improved downscaling quality, and some believe the method outlined in this article is no longer necessary. It is true that the downscaling quality has greatly improved only when using the Mercury Playback Engine (read this post), however, it’s quality is still inferior to the hd2sd script. For many, the results of the improved downscaling of CS5 with Mercury Playback enabled may be good enough (and not require as many steps). But for those who demand the absolute best quality achievable, the hd2sd script should still be used.

198 Responses to “HD to SD DVD – Best Methods”

  1. Abe says:

    Awesome tips, thanks a lot!

  2. Jeff Pulera says:

    Thank you for providing this valuable info for those that can use it, but for Matrox RT.X2 users, it seems bit redundant to create a Matrox .avi, then also use the scripts. Simply open a Matrox DV Widescreen project, and Import the Matrox MPEG-2 I-Frame HD file to the timeline. The Matrox hardware offers good quality downscaling in realtime, taking Adobe “out of the equation” in the area of scaling, so the user need only Export to MPEG-2 from Adobe to get clean results at that point.

    Perhaps Dan’s scripts will yield even better results, haven’t tried, but the Matrox method does eliminate the scaling issues typically seen from Adobe with HDV to DVD and looks good to me.


    Jeff Pulera
    Safe Harbor Computers

  3. Jon Geddes says:

    Thank you for the tip as it may help some of our readers. Dan’s method does provide a better quality downconvert, however those who may not want to go through the trouble of using separate programs might try the suggestion you gave.

  4. Marc-Julien Objois says:

    Very good tip.

    Missing from the article: the appropriate amount of outrage that you need to go through all this to get good quality video when expensive software that used to be industry standard is incapable of yielding acceptable results.

  5. Natan says:

    I am a newbie to AviSynth, and all of this, and have 2 questions:

    1. How do I make the 16:9 HD footage downconvert to 4:3 SD with top/bottom letterboxing? Dan Isaacs’ instructions indicated that it would be:

    WidescreenType = -2,

    but when I typed this in at the end of my script, Virtual dub did not recognize the file.

    2. How to I incorporate the audio into the file into this process. I did a test, using AviSynth, Virtual Dub, and finally HC encoder and did not get audio (I also got squeezed 4:3 footage, hence issue #1).

  6. Jon Geddes says:

    1. Make sure your syntax is correct. Your script should be something along the lines of:

    hd2sd(“myfile.avi”, WidescreenType = -2)

    2. The audio is almost always done separately when dealing with encoding. From Premiere, you would export the audio as a wav file, then import this into Encore where it gets transcoded to ac3.

  7. Natan says:

    Thanks for the quick response Jon.

    If I’m using HC Encoder (I started using it after reading this article), how do I merge the wav file with the mpeg2 video? Also, more generally, where can I get a nice primer on getting good settings with HC Encoder?

  8. Dan says:

    Hi, my ‘HD_master.m2v’ is in 16:9 format (1920\1080 60i), exported from Premiere CS4 using the downloaded preset. Viewing this file it certainly is 16:9.

    However, getting a 16:9 file exported out of virtuadub (to put into Encore) is proving dificult as it always seems to end up a vertically stretched 4:3. My avs script reads as follows:

    hd2sd(“HD_master.m2v”, OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″, OutputBFF=true)

    Any help seriously appreciated, thanks

  9. Jon Geddes says:

    Virtual Dub does not export pixel aspect ratio information. In Encore, you must select your imported clip in the project panel, right click and go to interpret footage, then force it to conform to the proper pixel aspect ratio.

    If you use a separate application to do the mpeg encoding, that is where you would specify the 16:9 pixel aspect ratio so that your imported mpeg file into encore would already have the 16:9 flag set.

  10. Jim says:

    I am also a newbie to avisynth and hc encoder.

    I want to use the avisynth-hc encoder to create my SD m2v file.

    I have installed avisynth, and put the various files in the avisynth plugin folder. I have also loaded hc encoder.

    I have exported the file “Test1.m2v” from Premiere media encoder using the 100mbps preset. The original file in premiere was in HDV converted by Cineform Neoscene.

    I then launched HCgui_023.

    I then clicked on the “input file name” button .

    I then browsed to “C:\users\videos\test.avs” and clicked on it. “C:\users\videos” is the folder containing the video file and the “test.avs” file.

    I get the following error
    “error loading avisynth script, I don’t know what “avisynthPluginDir” means (C:\program files\avisynth 2.5\plugins\hd2sd.avsi”

    obviously, I am doing something wrong.

    Any help is appreciated.

  11. Jim says:

    Sorry, I left out some important info.
    The file “test.avs” in the same folder as “test1.m2v”. The contents of the file is 1 line

  12. Dan says:

    Thanks very much Jon, wasn´t expecting it to be that easy!

  13. Jon Geddes says:


    First, make sure your script has the same spelling as the file name. In your post, the script uses a capital “T” where as your video uses a lowercase “t”.

    Second, confirm that you placed the hd2sd content into the proper folder. Do not place the folder “AviSynth 2.5 plugins” into the AviSynth folder. You must place all the contents of the “AviSynth 2.5 plugins” folder into the following location:
    “C:\Program Files\AviSynth 2.5\plugins”

    Make sure you also installed the included fftw3.dll into your system32 folder as the instructions indicate.

  14. David Hutchinson says:

    Thank you for this John, it’s the first time have had it explained to me in a way I can understand! 🙂

    So now I have my dvd encoded (via HC Encoder) assets and blu-ray encoded versions too. I want to put them into your butterfly bliss menu, but I only want one project. How do I import the blu-ray assets and then manually point encore CS4 to the DVD versions of both the motion menus and content assets? This seems so simple but I can’t see how to do it!

  15. Jon Geddes says:

    I personally would start a new project for the SD version to avoid any problems with encore. It shouldn’t take too long to do, especially if you just did it for the HD version and can skim through the tutorial if necessary.

  16. djaqib says:

    hey i havn’t done any HD footage videos mostly sd videos.. do u guys recommend HC encoder over adobe media encoder? will i see any quilty diffrence? i do wedding videos so alot of time i exceed 120 mins.. my videos are usuly around 140-150mins


  17. David Hutchinson says:

    OK John, thanks for the advice – which I will take.
    djaqib – I’ve just done my first project in HCencoder and the quality improvement for me has been striking.

  18. Genesco says:

    Joined the thread late, I’m a bit lost – what do I actually do in Avisynth, I have typed an avs as per thread, and installed the plugins, I understand that the program causes virtualdub to think it is dealing with filtered video, whats confusing me is that I use virtual dub and create an avi – (in my test I used hd2sd(“name of my file”) that seemed to work, then I opened HCencoded input file is fine, but what should the output file be? I am thinking I use one or the other …… Help

  19. Jon Geddes says:

    HC Encoder is only creating an mpeg2 dvd video, which is an .m2v file. So you “input” your avs script file into HCEncoder, and you “output” your mpeg2 video file.
    You have 2 options for encoding in HC Encoder:
    Option 1) You can bypass Virtual Dub completely, and load your .avs script into HCEncoder and it will do all the downscaling/processing and encoding at once. Since you are doing 2 passes of encoding in HCEncoder, it is going to re-process the downscale on the second pass which will make it take a little longer.

    Option 2) You can use Virtual Dub to load the avs file, then export an SD AVI of your video just as the article explains. Once the downconversion has been rendered out, you can then create a new avs script to load that SD video into HC Encoder. The new script will not do any hd2sd conversion, and will simply consist of this:


    (Of course you will modify the path and filename to that of your own video)

    If you do it this way, HC Encoder does not have to do any advanced pre-processing on the video before it encodes to m2v, and it can improve your rendering time.
    As others have said, you will be impressed by the quality of HC Encoder compared to the Adobe Media Encoder, and it’s worth it to do the few extra steps (which don’t take that long). All you’re doing is creating a new text document, renaming the extension to .avs, entering in one short line of text, and loading that into HC Encoder.

  20. Genesco says:

    Thank you so much for your response, Okay i get it now, I am exporting from Liquid Chrome (fusing) to get a .m2v file at 1440×1080 is this okay as the starting point or should I export something else? I could not match the process from premier at start of thread

  21. Genesco says:

    Already seeing an improvement. This is exciting stuff, now just need to tweak the avs to match my needs what should it look like?

    I have progressive 1440×1080 hdv , need to go to pal it created 720 x480 how do i get 720×576?

    what other features have worked for others? eg sample avs’

    thanks in advance

  22. Jon Geddes says:


    If your source is progressive PAL (25 fps), your script should look something like this:

    hd2sd(“myfile.m2v”, Interlaced=false, OutputFieldRate=25)

    If for some reason it is still outputting 720×480 (which it shouldn’t), then you can force it by adding the parameter: OutputHeight=576

  23. Brad Kirby says:

    How to get prestine progressive DVDs from HDV 1080i source.

    It’s 2 years since I developed this work flow. If you would like true progressive picture quality on you DVDs from 1080i HDV source material this is what I do. This workflow uses readily available freeware tools. After using HDTV2MPEG2, I am able to open up the HDV material in VirtualDub MPEG-2 version. This can take 10 minutes to open for 1 hour of HDV material.
    At this stage it will be 1080 X 1920 interlaced. (The true horizontal resolution is 1440)
    In VirtualDub I use the following filters to get to pure 720 X 480 progressive.
    Using the deinterlace filter select Discard field 2.
    At this stage it will be 540 X 1920 pure progressive at 29.97 frames per second.
    I use Lancoz3 resize to 540 X 810 to obtain the anamorphic DVD aspect ratio. (Horizontal resize only)
    Using the crop option I crop 30 off both the top and bottom and 45 off both the left and right. This cuts 1/16 off each edge.
    This gets me to 480 X 720 so that each of the 480 horizontal scan lines remain intact. (i.e. no vertical scaling just horizontal scaling)
    This really helps in maintaining prestine quality of the picture. You might like to add some sharpening at this stage to suit your own preferences.

    To avoid generation of large avi files, use frameserving from Virtual to avi2mpg2_vfw making sure you run virtualDub auxiliary setup and install the handler first.
    Within avi2mpg2_vfw settings set your output mpg file to be a progressive sequence at 29.97 frames per second with 16:9 aspect ratio (Read the avi2mpg help)
    Last step is the use ifoedit to create your dvd compatible files. Place them in a folder called VIDEO_TS and burn the VIDEO_TS to a DVD using DeepBurner.

    The resulting DVD has a sharpness equal to any Hollywood progressive sourced DVD. but it will be 29.97 frames per sec instead of 24 for most film titles. It will play like any Hollywood progressive widescreen DVD offering (i.e. set DVD player to progressive scan output to enjoy the full quality)

    Everyone I show these DVDs to is really impressed with the detail and sharpness that is non existant in standard interlaced home made DVDs.
    My source material is 25Mbps HDV from my Canon HV10. The only reason I use HDTV2MPG is to remove the transport stream outer wrapping to enable it to open in Virtualdub MPEG2.

    I am throwing away the even numbered scan lines, but I end up with the 540 odd numbered scan lines which are all captured in once instance of time 30 times per second – hence true 540 progressive full resolution 30 frames per second. DVD players will only decode progressive sourced material that is 30 frames per second or less. (Just like film sourced DVDs, the material is put on the DVD at 60 interlaced fields per second, but with the caveat that the odd and even field are captured at the same instance in time, this allows the DVD player to reinterleave the fields to produce a proper progressive frame with out combing)

    Yes 5.5 % of the the picture is cropped from each side, but this is only because the HD size is not 960 X 1440 originally (which would easily scale to 480 x 720). This cropping enables the picture’s original scan lines (the odd numbered ones) to have a one to one scan line mapping without the degradation that (non interger) scaling would create.

    I am extremely satisfied with the detail of the DVDs produced. The only other DVDs with equivalent quality that I know of is that produced from my friends 480p camcorder when recorded at 30 frames per second. This 480p camcorder was 4 times the price of my HV10.

  24. Steve says:

    Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed their time and effort to this work flow. It has really dug me out of a hole on a rush job for a client, and once you’ve done it the first time, takes no time at all.

    The results are better than anything I’ve managed to achieve using ‘industry standard’ software.

  25. Dan says:

    Jon, I am using this as a Avisynth script for 720\60p footage. To create a file to be encoded in Encore:

    hd2sd(“festa.m2v”, OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″, OutputBFF=true, Interlaced=false)

    Is there anything I have missed, I read the hd2sd txt and it doesnt mention 720/60p specifically.


  26. Alex says:

    Hi there,

    I’m also a new to AviSynth, and all of this.
    I try to convert 2hours Matrox MPEG-2 I-Frame 1080 60i HD to 480i SD.
    My script looks like hd2sd(”myfile.avi”). Loaded in HC it took 10 hours just for 1 pass. I’ve stoped at this point because I’ve
    feeling I do something wrong. It was done on Core i7 920 12Gb RAM.
    Am I on right way?


  27. Jon Geddes says:


    That does seem extremely long for what you are trying to do. It should take much less time.

    Try this:
    1) Use Virtual Dub to open the avisynth script. Just go to ‘File > Open video file…” and select the .avs script.
    2) If you have plenty of harddrive space (few hundred GB), then you can just ‘save as avi’ using the uncompressed codec. Otherwise, use the lagarith codec mentioned in the article.
    3) Create a new AVISynth script for the file just exported from Virtual Dub using this script:


    Load this new script into HCEncoder and see how it goes. Using this method will reduce the amount of memory needed at a single time (since it won’t have to downscale in addition to mpeg encode at the same time). Please let me know if your results are better. The combined processing time of creating the Virtual Dub file and the HC Encoder m2v should be much less than what it is taking you now.

  28. Alex says:


    Thanks for help.
    In Virtual Dub I’ve got the same 10 hours for 2 hours timeline.
    However then in HCEncoder it took 2,5 hours to output 2 pass
    MPEG. I like the size and quality!
    But 10 hours downscaling time sounds a little bit steep.
    I’m running Core i7 with 12Gb RAM. InVirtual Dub CPU usage is 13-25%. I’ve no clue where to start.

    Thanks again

  29. Michael says:

    Dear Jon,

    Thanks for this great article/tutorial, researching all this myself would cost me a lot of valuable time…

    However, I’ve a question: in Premiere CS3 I decoded directly to m2v via CinemaCraft, but I can’t get it to work in CS4.

    Due to computer issues I found HDV editing a little laggy, so I decided to edit in SD directly, using in camera conversion from HDV to DV (Canon HV30, PAL 25PF (which is stored and read as 50i)). I’m quite happy with this in camera conversion quality.

    But, after editing my project in CS4 (which is a combination of fast moving action scenes and some After Effects animations), do you think quality-wise it’s beter to make the MPEG2 conversion with HCEnc instead of AME; and if yes, which export settings do you recommend? Are there any MPEG2 I-frame export presets for (SD) DV-material?

    Or should I send the project directly to Encore and let Encore do the conversion. Would there be any difference since Encore uses the same codecs as AME?

  30. Jon Geddes says:

    So in CS3, you used the Premiere Plugin from CinemaCraft to encode directly to m2v, and in CS4, it no longer works. This is caused by Adobe completely changing the way Premiere Exports using the Adobe Media Encoder. Many of the export plugins no longer function with the new version.

    Many editors will edit in HD if it was shot in HD so that they always have the option of delivering an HD version of the edit. If you downconvert straight out of the camera and edit in SD, it kind of defeats the purpose of shooting in HD.

    AME and Encore use the same encoder, so the quality will be the same. Only difference is in Encore, you can set the transcode quality to automatic, and it will set the bitrate to the highest possible safe value while still fitting everything on the disc. If you are using AME, and your content is over 80 – 90 minutes, you will need to use a bitrate calculator to determine the best settings.

    HCEncoder will yield superior results to AME, but the difference in quality will be small compared to the quality difference of using a high quality downconverter to go from HD to SD.

  31. Michael says:

    Thanks for your quick response, Jon. I think I’m going to upgrade my computer for editing in HD and then downscaling to DVD using your tutorial for better overall quality than what I’m converting now.

  32. Jon,

    You mention that Debugmode Frameserver works w/ PPro 3. However, I’ve downloaded and installed it and don’t see any new options listed when exporting a movie from PPro3. The Frameserver website also says that the program works with PPro through v1.5. Am I missing something? Thanks


  33. Jon Geddes says:

    You must be missing something. Go to File > Export > Movie , then go into Settings, under General, select the file type as Debugmode Frameserver (should be at the very top). If you do not see this, you must not have installed it correctly.

  34. Jon,

    I can’t figure out why this isn’t working. An option for DFS just doesn’t appear in PPro when exporting a movie. When installing DFS, it couldn’t be simpler than clicking all the “yes” “OK” and “Accept” buttons. I’ve uninstalled it, reinstalled it, closed and reopened PPro, rebooted, even emailed DFS’s creator. He said it should work also, although he’s not tested it.

    I know you’re not DFS tech support but I can’t help but think I’m missing something incredibly obvious. I greatly appreciate any help you can offer. If I can’t get this to work, I’ll just have to throw up my hands and accept the crap that PPro is exporting. Thanks in advance.

  35. Jon Geddes says:

    I and many others have tested it with CS3 and it works flawlessly. I really don’t know where your installation could be going wrong. Just make absolutely sure (double and triple check) everything is getting installed into the correct locations. All is not lost if you can’t get DFS to work in CS3. Just use an alternative method to export out of Premiere in a visually lossless codec.

  36. Matt Terry says:

    I’m still a bit lost in this world of rendering/burning and I appreciate the dialogue going on here. Here is my situation. I made a feature film using a Canon HV20 in 24fps Cinema Mode, HD. I’m using Sony Vegas Pro 9 to edit it. I want to:

    A. Render and burn it to a standard DVD in the highest quality I can.


    B. Render a version that I can upload to potential websites so it can be viewed on-line in the highest quality it can be (without running into huge size issues).

    I have had very mixed results with DL DVDs and the film is only 99 minutes long. I’ve created some DVDs already using mpeg2 and Sony DVD Architect 5 and they’re “good” just not as great as I think they could be.

    You can view the trailer here (which I uploaded in HD):

    Any advice or suggestions would be welcome.

    Thank you all…

  37. Jon Geddes says:

    A 99 minute movie will have to be encoded with a target bitrate around 5.8 mbps… which is a little on the low side for a standard mpeg encoder, however using HC Encoder and 2 pass VBR, you should get very nice results. You can export out of Vegas using a lossless codec (or visually lossless), then create an avs script for it using the methods mentioned in the article. You can either import that script directly into HC Encoder, or import into Virtual Dub, export as an SD AVI, then create a new script to import that SD AVI into HC Encoder. Using the hd2sd downconverter and HC Encoder should yield excellent results.

  38. Matt Terry says:

    Thank you, Jon. I’ll give this blog a thorough read and download HC Encoder and see what happens. If you (or any others) have more of an easy step-by-step methodology that is easy for me to understand (I’m a bit clueless in all this), I would appreciate it.

  39. Matt Terry says:

    Question: I attempted to export the Vegas File to an avi file and using the uncompressed and lossless codec. The file is probably going to top out around 200 gigs. Is that typical for this process or have I done something wrong? Should I have exported it in a different format?

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    Note: In trying to get this to work I recently did a render to .wmv using the “HD” option in Vegas. The file was 4 gigs and when I viewed it, it looked great. When I went to use DVD Architect to transfer the file to DVD, DVD Architect showed it as 6.5 gigs. When I chose to “fit it to disk” – the program automatically lowered the bit rate to the one you suggested above. It still took 3 hours to render it and burn it (far longer than it ever has before). I have yet to take a look at the final burn to see how it looks.

  40. Jon Geddes says:

    WMV is a highly compressed codec. I would not use it as an intermediate file. It’s best to use a visually lossless codec such as a matrox or cineform (which cost money) or the lagarith. MPEG2 also works well at 100 Mbit, and produces a much smaller file.

  41. Matt Terry says:

    So my questions now are:

    1) should/can I use the 170 gig AVI file?
    2) should I render the file as MPEG2 but use the lossless codec?

    I assume I want the uncompressed lossless codec file to be as high quality as possible. Quality in-Quality out, Garbage in-Garbage out.

  42. Jon Geddes says:


    1) Yes
    2) Use the 170 GB file in your script for the hd2sd script, no need to convert it to anything else before the hd2sd conversion

  43. Matt Terry says:

    Thank you, Jon…

    Last question and then I’ll leave you alone (I hope).

    I’ve got the 170 gig file, I’ve downloaded all the other files. When I open HC Encoder it automatically looks for the AVS script but…I’m stumped on how to create it and run it.

    In the directory I don’t see an application. I create a text document with the script that I want run:

    hd2sd(“DST Vegas Pro 9.avi”)

    But…then I don’t see how that creates the script. Am I supposed to be something more? I assumed there would be an application that I could just type in that and it would find the file (as they’re all in the same directory) and it would do what it needs to do…

    Please help (or if there’s someone else reading this who could help…).

    Thanks again. Hopefully I won’t bother you any more after this.

  44. Matt Terry says:


    Thank you so much for your help. I figured out how to do the script (easy as pie) and I did the double pass with a maximum of 5800 bitrate as you suggested. I was STUNNED to see that the file had gone from 170 gigs to an encoded 3 gigs. (It took, I think, 15 hours)

    HC Encoder saved it as an MPEG file: .m2v
    This is fine and I was able to upload it into Sony’s DVD Architect but, though the image is AMAZING, there’s no sound. I see that a sfx file was also saved by HC Encoder but DVD Architect doesn’t seem to be linking it to the image.

    Lastly, and this is more a DVD Architect issue, not an HC Encoder issue…when I pull the 3 gig file into DVD Architect – it reads it as 6.1 gigs and too large for a standard DVD. I will do some research on line and see if I can get answers to my questions.

    When I get this all to work, I will post detailed step-by-step instructions so others out there with Sony Vegas can learn from my mistakes.

    Thanks again to everyone.

  45. Jon Geddes says:

    HC Encoder is just for encoding the video. You should be creating the ac3 file separately. You can export a wav file from Vegas and use that in conjunction with the m2v file in Encore, or you can use any program you like to encode to ac3 and then import into Encore.

    I’m not sure what could be causing DVD Architect to detect it as twice the size.

  46. Matt Terry says:

    I was curious about that myself, pulling in the wav file I created before when I originally had Vegas render to an Mpeg without audio.

    Once I get the sound thing figured out…I’ll see if it all works.

    Question: Why would HC Encoder create an .sfvx file if it won’t actually use it?

    Hopefully this is the last you’ll hear from me until I get this all figured out and create a step-by-step guide.

  47. Matt Terry says:


    I finally had success in this process. Below is my step-by-step process using Sony Vegas Pro 9. Feel free to edit or change if I have some of the wording incorrect.

    Step-by-Step Guide

    Background: I’m a Seattle based film-maker/screenwriter/teacher. I made a feature film over 2008 and 2009 on a miniscule budget ($3,000). In the fall of 2009 I was attempting to enter the film into film festivals and wanted to figure out how to make/produce the BEST COPY I could possibly make.

    Equipment Used: I used a consumer Canon HV20 camera filming at 1080i HD on “cinema mode” and 24fps and edited on Sony Vegas Pro 8 and, eventually, Sony Vegas Pro 9. I have used Sony’s DVD Architect 5 to create DVDs that I have given to cast members and have submitted to film festivals.

    Film: 99 minutes, entitled “Daylight Saving Time” – for trailers, go to:

    Here is the “step-by-step” guide.

    1. Make sure you have well over 300 gigs hard drive space available.
    2. Download all the programs listed in this guide, except for “Virtual Dub” – you will not need that (download it if you want – it’s free! – As with all the other programs – donations accepted and you don’t need Adobe Media Encoder).
    3. Install the programs. Read the instructions carefully (especially Avisynth as there are files you are going to have to manually place)
    4. Copy all the Avisynth files to the directory where HC Encoder has been installed
    5. Open Sony Vegas (I will assume this will work on all versions of Sony Vegas, but I could be wrong)
    6. Open your film
    7. Once the film is loaded, render it as an AVI file – UNCOMPRESSED
    8. While still in that screen, go to “custom” and use the lossless codec that was downloaded earlier in step 1.
    9. Begin rendering (note, depending on your film, this may take hours to render – it took my computer – Windows Vista, 6 gigs RAM, about 8 hours to render)
    10. Find where Sony Vegas put the file. My 99 minute film rendered out to 170 gigs.
    11. Copy or Move the file (which we’ll call “Test.avi” for the sake of this guide) to the directory where you installed HC Encoder
    12. You should now see all your Avisynth files and directories, the HC Encoder executable files and its directories and the pre-made custom files (Dan Isaacs plugins ) you also downloaded and your large avi file
    13. Create an “avs script” which is very easy… “right click” and choose – make a text document – this will open up notepad. Type in notepad: hd2sd (“test.avi”) – yes you need quotes and parentheses – note there are examples in the text documents that have already been created, you can cut and paste those into your text document – just make sure you change all the titles to the title of your film
    14. Save text file with whatever you want to call it (for example: test hdsd.txt)
    15. Now change the extension to avs so it looks like this: test hdsd.avs – if you can’t change/see the extension – go to “Windows Help” and search “view extensions” – within moments you’ll be able to check a box that will allow you to view extensions. Rename the file as test hdsd.avs
    16. Note: if you want to do far more with the scripting, you can do so by looking through the txt files that are provided to you.
    17. Now it’s time to encode. Double click on HCgui_023 (not HCenc_023 – we’ll get to that in a moment)
    18. HCgui_023 brings up the interface so you can tweak how the file will encode. You can change bit rates and modify other things. I really have no idea how you do most of the things in this interface. I changed the maximum bit rate to “5800” as Jon had said I would need to run it at 5.8 to enable to burn it onto a standard DVD. You can tell the program want you want it called and then click “encode.”
    19. HCenc_023 will now run and you can watch the images go by in a small screen and take a look at all the aspects of the process. Average bit rates, how long has passed, how long it will take.
    20. Walk away. The process will go through TWO passes, both approximately the same amount of time. It took 16 hours for my film to be encoded.
    21. Once the encoding is done you will find your file (“Test.m2v”) in the directory and quite a bit smaller than what you started with (though your main file is not damaged in any way) – 170 gigs was encoded down to 3.
    22. Note: HC Encoder only encodes the VIDEO not the sound. You will have to figure out how to render the sound (Vegas does this fine).
    23. IMPORTANT: Once you are done encoding, I would suggest changing the title of your file to something like “test1.m2v” – why? Well…if you’re like me and you wanted to check out the interface and instead of clicking on HCgui_023 – you click on HCenc_023 – it will automatically start the encoding process thus completely wiping out the file you just created and forcing you to redo the 16 hour process. Make sure, though, that when you render the sound, you change that, too, so your wav file (or whatever) reads “test1.wav” so DVD Architect (or other similar program) will put them both together.
    24. A log file has also been created to give you all the details of the process – so you can re-check what did what and for how long.
    25. At the end of this process you should have a reasonably sized .m2v (MPEG) file and a sound file that you’ve encoded/rendered from somewhere else.
    26. Using a DVD creator, create the DVD. I do not know how long this will take or what issues you may find. DVD Architect 5 kept showing that my 3 gig file was going to render onto DVD at 6.1 gigs. I have no idea why. NOTE: When I did this again, DVD Architect 5 found it as 3.2 gigs – so it was reading it properly now.

    I hope this dialogue helps.

    Thanks again for everyone who helped.

  48. Jon Geddes says:

    Thanks for the guide. I’m sure it will be helpful to many people, as you included some tips for those that might be a little on the non-technical side that might be attempting this process, even for those not using Sony Vegas.

    Only thing I would comment on is that your target bitrate is what should have been set to 5.8 mbps, with a max bitrate of 7 or so, and a minimum of 1.5.

  49. brett s. says:

    Hey john, I appreciate the work you put in putting this together, but have run into a problem, and hoped you could hel;p me. I’m trying to get the .m2v into vdub through the avs file. I know the avs file is good because it loads into hcenc fine, but vdub tells me there is an error every time i try to import it. Is there some setting I need to change, or am I doing something wrong. vdub will load an .avi fine, but not the .m2v

    Thank you in advance-Brett

  50. brett s. says:

    ok, so I thought that it might be an issue with the 64 bit version of vdub, so I got the 32 bit and now the m2v file loads, but the screen is green.

    on a side note… When I load and have hcenc do all the work (bypassing the vdub step) everything works well, but I get some shift that makes the audio drift and not sync as it plays when I load the two in encore to burn it. any thoughts of what’s happening?

  51. brett s. says:

    ok, after tinkering again tonight, I figured out that there was two things going on, first was that I had the 64 bit version of vdub and it didn’t work (possibly didn’t have the right plug in available where the 32 bit had it) and the second issue was that i had dolby audio, and it needed a wav file for audio. hope this might help someone in the future.

  52. Federico says:

    Hello Jon,
    first of all, thanks for making this guide.
    I found it very complete and useful.
    I have generated a HDtoSD .AVI file from VirtualDub and I was impressed by the quality of the video.
    My only concern is now how to make the DVD from this .AVI file.
    Nero wants a .VOB file for the DVD and if I convert it with some other software (Canopus Pro Coder) the quality gets awful again!!
    Thanks in advance,

  53. Jon Geddes says:

    How long is your video? Encoding at 2-pass VBR with a target bitrate above 6 should produce good results with procoder or HC Encoder.

  54. Federico says:

    just 10 seconds, I am doing some testing.
    what I dont understand is how I can make a DVD usinc HC Encoder, since the output is .M2V and Nero want .VOB
    Am I using the wrong burining software?

    Thanks again,

  55. Jon Geddes says:

    Do you have access to any other authoring application? Just about all will accept m2v.

  56. Federico says:

    I was trying DVD Architect 5 to generate the DVD files from the .m2v file, but the quality get ugly again!
    I mean, to make a DVD I have to create VOB files anyway, right?
    And this is the thing…when I create the VOB file, no matter what program I use, they are always with bad quality again!!! (even if the .m2v was almost perfect)
    thanks in advance,

  57. Nathanael says:

    Hi Jon,

    Thank you very much for your helpful post. This is great material here. I am also new to the video world and currently volunteering to help a non profit group record live video and create dvd’s. Our SD video always appeared fuzzy or soft as you described and I can’t wait to try this out to see some great video quality.

    I have two questions which I hope you will be able to answer when you have time.

    1) Could you create a guide that details what steps/settings a person should use to export HD video from PPCS4? So basically a HD 2 HD guide. Whenever I export my HD video (using Adobe Media Encoder), the results are always soft/fuzzy and never sharp like the original footage.

    2) I noticed that Hollywood’s 1080p Movie Trailers look fantastic and yet at such a small file size. Technically, if that movie trailer were 2 hours long, a person could fit that movie trailer onto a single sided DVD (4.7GB)

    Any ideas on what settings/steps are used because I would like to convert my Canon 24Mbps HD footage so that I could fit at least 1 or 2 hours on a DVD. Right now 30 minutes of 24Mbps takes up 4Gb easily. File type doesn’t matter as I plan on always having a computer hooked up to my TV (and I’m pretty sure the future of technology will move that way also).

  58. Jon Geddes says:


    1) We will consider creating a guide in the future, however you should be using h.264 codec, not mpeg2. Make sure you use 2-pass VBR encoding, and play with the settings.

    2) A couple things to keep in mind is that hollywood movies are almost always 24p, which uses 20% fewer frames than video shot at 30 fps. That almost translates to a 20% smaller file size. Also remember they are using much more advanced encoders for h264, and are able to get those file sizes down pretty small using at least 2-pass encoding with a variable bitrate. Adobe’s h264 encoder is not too bad, producing good results as long as you are not doing any scaling. Resolution also plays a big factor in file size. If you really need to get it smaller, you might want to consider 720p (1280×720).

  59. Thomas Moore says:

    Where do you set the min bit rate in HCEcncode?

  60. Jon Geddes says:

    It’s actually set under the “Settings 2” tab, under “VBR Bias”

    A value of 0 indicates unlimited change within the bitrate and VBV limitations selected. The higher the number, the less bitrate change is allowed, up to a value of 100, which creates a CBR (Constant Bitrate) video stream

    I highly recommend reading this guide for HC Encoder:

  61. Thomas Moore says:

    Thanks, read that but still not sure what setting to put in there? Is there a formula, or do you just try and see what works best?


  62. Jon Geddes says:

    I always leave it at 0 for best results.

  63. Thomas Moore says:


    Well in this case I’ve seen my bitrate drop as low as ~436, far from the 1.5mb min discussed above? Shouldn’t this be changed if we want to maintain a higher min bitrate?

    Have another question if you don’t mind – based on what I’ve learned in this blog and other reading my current workflow is:

    1) Render out 1280X720 Cineform “highest” Intermediary file from Vegas 9C as Cineform .avi (use .709, up convert to 4:4:4, Higher HD, Progressive, square Pixels 1.0)

    2) Import into Vdub using Avisynth 2.5 script (Dan Isaacs – hd2sd(“filename.avi”, Interlaced = false) and use Lanczo3 to re-size to 720X480

    3) Export using Lagarith lossless Codec

    4) Import into HCEncode using Avisynth 2.5 and script provided by “Fit2disc”

    I’ve been pretty happy with the results so far, but one thing that I seem to have to do in HCEncode is add “ConvertToYV12() ”

    Today messing around in Vdub I noticed that in the Lagarith settings I can tell it to output in YV12.

    My second question is, should I do this in Vdub or just do it in HC encode or am I totally daft here?

  64. Jon Geddes says:

    Maybe virtual dub is converting it to YUY2 when saving to Lagarith.

    Can you skip the Virtual Dub process and just open the hd2sd script in HC Encoder? hd2sd should pass a YV12 stream to HC Encoder.

  65. Wayne says:

    Great tips,

    I am using latest Adobe Production Premium CS4 to edit my weddings, shot with the new Sony HDV Z7P, when downscaling I did initially have issues with quality but I found it was my own fault though.

    Recently converting 1440x1080i to MPEG2-DVD 720×576 PAL with render at max quality I have no issues with quality, all my clients have commented on how great it looks on their screens, could adobe have changed something apart from the render at max quality?

    Taking me on average to render at max quality a 2.5 hour wedding to mpeg2-DVD about 5 hours, with near perfect results.


  66. Jon Geddes says:

    I am pretty sure Adobe did not change anything. Like the images show, the max render quality setting does greatly improve the image quality, bringing it much closer to the AVISynth method, though it does have strong edge enhancement. This is by no means unacceptable (like the non-MRQ setting is), but it could be even better if you wanted to take a few extra steps, and use a couple more programs, though not requiring much more time.

    A 2.5 hr wedding rendering in 5 hrs does sound pretty fast for the MRQ setting to be on.

  67. Pavel says:

    Dear Jon,

    I found the link to this blog on I wonder would you just share here a simple script to encode file from FCP ProRes 422, rendered as Upper field first. It contains footage from XH A1 shot in 25f mode into PAL DVD? I wish to test the Avisynth method with HC Encoder.

    Thank you.


  68. Jon Geddes says:


    Recently I encountered a problem with a ProRes 422 file not having it’s framerate detected properly in Windows (was detected as 5.75 fps instead of 29.97). I spoke with Dan Isaacs and he offered a little adjustment to the script to correct this little problem. Assuming you encounter this same issue, I would try using this script:

    AssumeFPS(25, 1)
    hd2sd(Interlaced=false, OutputFieldRate=25, OutputColorSpace=”YV12″)

    You may need to adjust the OutputColorSpace type depending on what program you will be using to mpeg encode:

    use “YUY2” for CCE or ProCoder
    use “YV12” for HCEncoder or QuEnc
    use “RGB24” for TMPEG, Adobe Media Encoder, Encore or output to RGB .avi
    use “RGB32” for output to RGB .avi

    One other addition to the script you may or may not want to make is the WidescreenType. Just read the hd2sd documentation on this parameter and see if you want to change it from it’s default. By default it will crop a little off the top and bottom to use all visible pixels and maintain a perfect 16×9 aspect ratio.

    NOTE: If you copy/paste the script, you may need to re-type the quotation marks or else your script will likely not load.

  69. Sam says:

    Thanks so much for the your article, brilliant!!!!

    It has completely explained why I’m getting such poor results, as per your sample pictures above and have wasted 2 weeks trying to work it out

    I’m using Compressor (latest version) on the Mac and need to get a 20 min HD film (1080i) onto a SD DVD and have failed miserably but at least now I know why

    I have followed all of the instructions you have laid out, ie on the PC downloaded AVIsynth and Virtualdub and followed all the installation instructions

    Can any of you smart dudes help a non programmer get this process right?

    What I get when i run my script ( a notepad .txt doc in same folder as my from Virtual dub is a message as follows….

    Error during script execcution at line 1, column6: variable ‘hd2sd’ not foundhd2sd(“”, OutputFieldRate=50, OutputBFF=True)

    This might as well be Chinese to me. Can anyone explain what I need to do to make this work?

    ps my script is….. hd2sd(“test.vov” , outputfieldrate=50, outputBFF=true)

    Making the film and editing was easy!!!!!

    Many thanks

  70. Chaz says:

    Is there not a way to export the HD the video from Premiere with Lagarith codec (and use this as the input to hd2sd)?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but it are there not some unneccesary color space conversions (leading to qulaity loss)? Could two of these convertions be avoided?

    Source footage (YUV) is converted to RGB in Premeire for editing,
    then converted to YUV for MPEG2-I frame preset,
    back to RGB for lagarith codec (after hd2sd script),
    and finally back to YUV for the MPEG2 DVD.

  71. Jon Geddes says:


    Make sure you also install the hd2sd add-on for AVISynth (provided in the article) and install it to the correct folder. Also, make sure your script is accurate, as in your comment, you said “test.vov” when in fact it should be “”. Also, make sure you don’t reverse the fields when downscaling. If your HD source is TFF, so should your sd dvd file.


    I’ve heard of colorspace issues when exporting lagarith directly out of premiere. I recommend the method in the article. I usually use HC Encoder to encode mpeg2, which can open the avisynth script directly, therefore no going back to RGB, but even if you do, there shouldn’t be loss in quality by converting the colorspace.

  72. Sam says:

    Big thanks Jon I appreciate your help!

    I had installed the hd2sd add-on, copied the plug ins to the AviSynth plug ins folder and the .dll to the system directory as specified in the instructions (have double checked!).

    My script is accurate (unlike my post as you pointed out)

    Having verified all this I still get the same error dialog screen showing as a VirtualDub error

    Frustrating close but no cigar as yet!
    Any further ideas help welcome

  73. Jon Geddes says:


    hd2sd is a special add-on (that you downloaded) that goes with avisynth. Normally, if you just typed hd2sd(…) into an avisynth script, it won’t know what you are talking about, hence the variable hd2sd not found. If you did have it installed correctly, then it will know what to do when you put hd2sd(…) in your script. Does that make sense?

    You should have a folder called something like “AviSynth 2.5” in your “Program Files” directory. In the AviSynth folder you should have a “plugins” folder. This is where you should place all the files located in the “AviSynth 2.5 plugins” folder from the hd2sd zip download.

    Remember, do not just place the “AviSynth 2.5 plugins” folder into the “plugins” folder, you must place the contents of it into the “plugins” folder. Are you sure you did this part correctly?

    Also, make sure you renamed your .txt document to .avs

  74. Sam says:

    Your para 1… yes I have done that exactly and yes that is crystal clear (maybe I will have to uninstall and reinstall AviSynth and try again?)

    Your para 2 and 3 … Yes have done exactly this (as per included hd2sd readme instructions)

    I hadn’t renamed my text doc to .avs which I have now done, however still getting the same error when i run the scripts
    ie: variable ‘hd2sd’ not found hd2sd(””)

    Ah the joys of computing……got any other magic moves I can try?

    Many thanks

  75. Jon Geddes says:

    Hmm, I really don’t know why it would be giving you that error and not recognizing the hd2sd command. Triple check to make sure you didn’t misspell hd2sd or have caps lock on or something (hey, it happens sometimes). What version of AVISynth are you using? Maybe try a different version (either the latest or the same one used in the article). If you did indeed install it correctly, I don’t know what else could be causing the problem.

  76. Sam says:


    Have triple checked, all correct

    AviSynth is version 2.5
    VirtualDub 1.9.7

    Have uninstalled and reinstalled AViSynth (including all hd2sd mods) and same old error!

    I guess I’m beat on this one, thanks for your time and input
    All the best

  77. Tim says:

    Sam, Jon,

    I have been working all day at this technique using my Mac and Parallels. When I run my script, I get the same error that Sam gets:

    ‘Error during script execution at line 1, column 6: Variable ‘hd2sd’ not found hd2sd(“”)

    Any more ideas?

    Have any Mac to Windows users had success?



  78. Jon Geddes says:

    “Variable ‘hd2sd’ not found” is an indication that avisynth is not finding the hd2sd add-on script. I wonder if Sam is also using Parallels?

  79. Tim says:


    I just reloaded everything onto another Mac. After getting the same error, I finally realized in a prior post that from Virtualdub I need to run the script from, “Open video file…” NOT “Run script…”. Sam probably was doing the same thing. However, now I get the following error:

    Avisynth open failure:
    LoadPlugin: unable to load”C\program files\AviSynth2.5\plugins\hd2sd_sd2hd/ColorMatrix.dll”
    (hd2sd.avsi, line16)
    (hd2sd.avsi, line 73)
    (\\.PSF\.Home\Documents\VID TEST\Test.avs, line 1)

    The ColorMatrix.dll IS located in the plugins folder as are the sd2hd and hd2sd autoload files.

    Any ideas. I really want to see this work. You don’t know how much I am looking forward to getting decent quality HD to SD footage. Thanks for your thoughts.

  80. Jon Geddes says:

    It’s possible that it just doesn’t work in Parallels. I don’t think we have had anyone confirm that it does.

  81. Tim says:

    I have never heard of any WIndows programs not working in Parallels. I could be wrong but I still think I may have some other problem. I think I remember reading somewhere that it works with Bootcamp – is this correct? The Error message didn’t offer any insight? Thanks.

  82. john says:

    I’m trying to use avisynth but your instructions for this part are really confusing.

  83. Jon Geddes says:

    Please watch this video tutorial on the workflow discussed in this article

  84. Tanel says:

    One more thing to consider:
    HD has rec.709 color space, PAL has Rec.601.
    So, only downconverting HD to PAL in Avisynth does not give you proper PAL Rec601, you have to convert the color space as well.

    Read more:
    (SD color space versus HD color space)

    I suggest to use After Effects for properly downconverting HDV to PAL.
    If you are using Filedskit (, then you can get better results with AE than with any other software mentioned here. Keep in mind, that you will have to also find solutions for aliasing problems before encoding to MPEG-2, because you can loose a lot of bandwith due to aliasing problems when encoding. Brilliant option is to use TMTS free plugins in Final Cut Pro.

  85. meyob says:

    Hello, have been following this thread from the beginning.
    Tq for all the information. Just a few questions:

    1. referring to what Tanel said, i’m a lil bit confused. HD and PAL is not the same thing right? HD is referring to resolution and PAL refers to video format according to location generally and is 25 frames per second. So how can it have different color space?

    2. Jon, can the article and the video tutorial cover for PAL? Are the settings and script exactly the same for 1080p25 source footage? And must i consideer what Tanel have said about PAL’s color space?

    Thanks in advance for all the knowledge.

  86. Jon Geddes says:

    1. He was referring to PAL SD 25fps. The colorspace difference is between HD and SD material (and not PAL related). The script properly converts this, and gives you the option to specify it as well.

    2. Yes, the script works for PAL as well, and automatically detects if the source is 25 fps and converts to the proper format. You can also manually tell it to convert to a different format, such as NTSC to PAL with excellent results. All that information along with additional parameters are included with the text document that accompanies the script.

  87. Shaddy says:

    I have followed your tutorial using Dan Isaacs’ avisynth filter. Apparently virtual dub crashed and it couldn’t continue when I selected the lagarith lossless codec and saved as an avi. As a result I thought I should try H.C encoder but it took about 16 hours to complete 2 passes.

    The funny thing is that I have got a 2 hour timeline and when HC encoder completed I only had 1 hr 2mins of footage. I don’t know what happenned to the rest. When I edited SD I could fit at least 2hours of footage on a 4.7gb dvd in Encore.
    Do I really need to tweak anything in HC encoder to get it to complete the encoding in far less time, without cutting out my footage.

    I am running a HP XW6600 powered by a Xeon quad core @2.5ghz and 22 GB of RAM.

    Thanks for the help.

  88. Jon Geddes says:

    Shaddy, you might be particularly interested in the information provided in “Update 3” at the very bottom of the article.

  89. Randy says:

    Can you comment if CS5 has made any improvements on the HD to SD conversion, or should we still plan on using this sort of work around?

  90. Jon Geddes says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m not at liberty to comment on that until after it’s official release.

  91. Mike Maroney says:

    Hi Jon

    This is a great asset and has helped me vastly improve the quality of a micro budget film I made – so thanks for that. What I want to ask advise on is if you know of anyway to reduce noise. I’ve got some scenes with a lot of noise – especially on solid blocks of black.

    I downloaded and installed deen and this improved things somewhat. I was wondering of this is the best way to denoise.

    HDV 1080i 1440 x 1080
    pixel aspect ratio HD Anamorphic 1080(1.333)
    Upper fields first

    Exported using MPEG2 I-frame 1440×1080 @ 50i.epr

    Then used following script it open in virtualdub 1.9.9

    hd2sd(“Sequence 02.m2v”, Interlaced = true,
    \ Interlaced_out = false,
    \ OutputFieldRate = 50,
    \ OutputHeight = 480,
    \ OutputColorSpace = “YV12”,
    \ Output601 = true,
    \ OutputBFF = false,
    \ WidescreenType = 1,
    \ CropCenter = 0.5,
    \ ResizeSharper = true,
    \ FixWrongRGB = true,
    \ Input601 = false,
    \ InputBlackLevel = 0,
    \ InputWhiteLevel = 255,
    \ InputGamma = 1.0,
    \ ScaleBlack = false,
    \ ScaleWhite = false,
    \ LimitBlack = true,
    \ LimitWhite = true,
    \ LimitColor = true,
    \ ExpandRGB = true,
    \ Sharpness = 0.0,
    \ VerticalBlur = 0.0,
    \ HQFiltering = true,
    \ SmoothTime = true,
    \ NR = 0,
    \ GrapeSmootherAmount = 20,
    \ FFT3DAmount = 256,
    \ ShowHistogram = false,
    \ PreviewPAR = false,
    \ DeintMethod = 3,
    \ HybridProtect = false)


  92. Mathew White says:

    Totally new to all this, on a Mac, but prepared to buy Bootcamp or Parallels to get these free software packages up and running… but it would be great if they were still online! your links are now dead.

    Where oh where can I get a hold of a copy of hd2sd?? I managed to get the others from a few sources…

    any help would be greatly appreciated!

  93. Dainius says:

    This link doesn`t work any more:
    Adobe Media Encoder CS4 presets for 100Mbps MPEG-2 I-frame 4:2:2
    Could anybody suggest smething else?

  94. Jon Geddes says:

    I just tested all the links and they work for me.

  95. Randy says:

    Now that CS5 is shipping (Not to be a pest… and I promise this is the last time I will inquire…) does the version of Media Encoder shipping with CS5 bundles improve any of this, or should I still plan on this work around?

  96. Jon Geddes says:

    Speed of the export is now faster with the 64 bit native support, however we have not had time to do a full analyses of the quality differences. We will be sure to keep everyone informed of our findings.

  97. Robert Garrett says:

    I am using Premiere Pro CS4 and have exported my video as MPEG2 I-frame, using Dan’s presets.

    I then created my script:

    hd2sd(“Sequence 02.m2v”, OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″, OutputBFF=true)

    Each time I tried to open this in Virtual Dub it would freeze up (“Program Not Responding”)

    So I did a little more research and tried this script:

    MPEG2Source(“Sequence 02.m2v”)
    hd2sd(“Sequence 02.m2v”, OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″, OutputBFF=true)

    Now I get an error that reads:

    Avisynth open failure:

    Script error: there is no function named “MPEG2Source”

    I have saved the script in the same folder as my video (per Jeff’s great tutorial). But I just can’t seem to make it work. My script is obviously wrong, but I don’t know what else to do. How should my script read? Is there something else I’m over looking?

    I am fairly new to the video world and all this is a little overwhelming. Any help would be great. Thanks.

  98. Jon Geddes says:

    First of all, if you declare the mpeg2 source in the line above hd2sd, you do not need to specify it in hd2sd as well.

    Second, you should be using DG MPEG Decode, also discussed in Jeff’s tutorial. Using this, you should be specifying the .d2v file in the MPEGSource, and not the actual m2v. Once you install DGIndex, let me know if you still have problems.

  99. Jon Geddes says:

    One more thing, you should not be reversing the fields, even though SD NTSC by default is BFF. If your source is HD TFF, then keep it that way through the end. Otherwise, you will have problems with your video.

  100. Robert Garrett says:

    I copied that straight out of Dan’s “read me” file:

    # My currently recommended workflow for converting files from Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 is to export HD MPEG2 I-frame .m2v + .wav files
    # The function will “find” the .wav audio and dub it automatically, so you need only supply the .m2v filename
    # NOTE: This is only recommend with I-frame only MPEG2 files… .ts files and other multiplexed format may not work well.
    # You can download the AME CS4 presets here:

    hd2sd(“myfile.m2v”, OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″, OutputBFF=true)

    Does this not apply to my situation?

  101. Robert Garrett says:

    I am also talking with jeff over on the adobe forums. here is my last post:

    After going back and revising my steps, I finally got through VirtualDub using the following script:

    hd2sd(OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″, OutputBFF=true)

    However, my aspect ratio seems to be off (It’s “squeezed’ horizontally which makes everyting appear tall and skinny). I also have no audio.

    I checked the details of the .avi that came from VirtualDub and it said it was 720×480 @ 23 frames per second. 720×480 is correct but i’m not sure about the frames per second?

    As I said before, I am using Premiere Pro CS4 and have exported my video as MPEG2 I-frame, using Dan’s presets for 1440×1080 @ 24p (which matches my source video). The exported video from AME looks great and sounds great. (aspect ratio looks fine)

    The quality of the video from VirtualDub looks really great aside from the squeezed image.

    Is there still something wrong with my script? I’m not real sure where the “squeeze” is happening in my process. Hope you can help. Thanks for all you’ve done so far.

  102. Robert Garrett says:

    Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. I have a GREAT looking DVD of my project. With a little perseverance and A LOT of help from Dan, Jeff and Jon.

    Jon, after my last post I went back through all your post here and found the answers I was looking for. Thanks a ton.

  103. L. Unden says:

    So I am totally new to all this video editing and conversion, but with thanks to this I’ve been able to learn a lot. I went through all the steps and made a nice .avi to import into Encore, but after transcoding it at NTSC DV High Quality 7Mb VBR 2 Pass and building my dvd, I still ends up with a poor quality output. I am back to square one it feels. Am I doing something wrong?

  104. Jon Geddes says:

    So the downscaled avi looks good? Your 7mbit m2v should also look good then.

  105. L. Unden says:

    Yes my avi 7 m2v’s look good but the problem is when I build and create my dvd files and play them back they are of poor quality. Unfortunately Encore is fairly new to me too, but something must be happening during this final process. Any help would be appreciated.

  106. S. Jun says:


    I’ve tried everyting. I’ve even reload all the required files over dozen times and VirtualDub is giving error message. I’ve followed Mr. Garrett’s setting and it’s giving “no setmtmode” after i’ve erased setmtmode(2,0) and it’s giving out “no mpeg2source.
    My source video is 1920x1080i60 and output m2v following cs5 AME setting and I don’t know what to do. I’m using window 7, 64bit. Please help

  107. S. Jun says:

    Finally, Mr. Garrett’s VirtualDub using script worked:

    hd2sd(OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″, OutputBFF=true)

    The problem of not recongnizing the “SetMTMode” and “MPEG2Source” was not properly installing Avisynth, hd2sd, MT and Mpegdecorder file install.

    When you download on Window 7, 64 bit file(any files), don’t use Administer previlege thing i. Just double click the Avisynth.exe file and it will say “Don’t install…blah blah blah.”

    If you don’t double click it, the Avisynth 2.5 that creates in the C: won’t have “plugins” file.

    After following Mr. Jon’s and Mr. Jeff’s steps, the VirtualDub reconized the script.

    But there is one problem. The largarith.avi footage looks great, but it has noise and jitter problem when person or camera was moving.

    How do I use script to solve this problem?
    Please help. I live in Alaska and this is the only place I can get help. Thank you.

  108. Shirin says:

    First I would like to say thank you to Jon to shear all information and give me a direction, I did try it and the quality is become great, but still I have the same problem as “S.Jun, have, “there is one problem. The largarith.avi footage looks great, but it has noise and jitter problem when person or camera was moving.”
    S.Jun, I find out this tutorial that fix our problem, try it, hope that helps.
    Thank you all

  109. Shirin says:

    Sorry, I forgot to add the link to the tutorial here it is”

  110. Bryan Geddes says:

    This is an incredible thread and clear testimony that the pro-video community expects and demands better results from our software tools. I hope people from Sony, Apple, and especially Adobe are listening. If any readers of this blog have the resources to connect this information with the appropriate software developers, please do. We are now in CS5 and still must use workarounds to achieve desired results. I am hopeful that the new line of Matrox MXO2 products will have impressive downscaling results. I don’t think Adobe’s MRQ is the answer…far too slow, even on a fast 64-bit system.

  111. […] and I get black bars on the top and bottom rather than the native footage 16:9, 24 progressive. HD to SD DVD – Best Methods | Creating Motion Graphics Blog | Blu-Ray DVD Authoring Menu | Pre… hdv to dvd I guess my questions are, whats the best method to deal with the aspect ratio, and […]

  112. […] render quality and all that jazz, but it made no difference. THEN I stumbled upon this article: HD to SD DVD – Best Methods | Creating Motion Graphics Blog | Blu-Ray DVD Authoring Menu | Pre… It seems none of the NLE's handle this task well. Has anyone tried this workflow? I am confused by […]

  113. Hi Jon

    Don’t know if you’ve noticed but after a long period of inactivity HCEncoder has been updated to veriosn 0.25.

    Best regards


  114. Albert says:

    I created a SD DVD from a 25p full HD source from FCP–>Compressor–>DVD studio Pro, the edges of the picture looks jagged.

    Then I tried Dan’s method, output video file from CS5 in MAC with the i-frame MPEG 100Mbps as instructed and load it to PC. Use DGIndex, AVISynth and then Virtual Dub to create Lagarith AVI, everything looks great until I convert the AVI back to MPEG-DVD for Encore. End result is actually a little worst then what I’ve done via Final Cut Studio 2.

    Also the Virtual doesn’t carry the 16:9 pixel aspect ratio over to the Lagarith AVI, I had to manually stretch the avi in Premiere. I try that “widescreen=0, =1, =-1,…” code in AVISynth, it didn’t work. I also try specifying the pixel aspect ratio in AME or Encore, it doesn’t work. But when I play the AVI in KM Player and select display 16:9, the picture displays correctly.

    My AviSynth script is:
    MPEG2Source(“New Year.d2v”)
    hd2sd(interlaced=false, Widescreen=0, OutputColorSpace=”YUY2″)

    the AME setting I used is:
    PAL DVD widescreen Highest Quality
    Quality 5
    Progressive (as source)
    Min bit rate: 4
    Target bit rate: 7
    Max bit rate: 8

    I’d spent days testing all possible rendering in AME and then Encore to DVD, not much improvement.

    Any advice on both image quality and the widescreen mode? Have I done any steps wrong?


  115. Jon Geddes says:

    Albert, there are a couple things you can change with your script:

    1. since your source is 25p, there is no need to specify interlaced=false, as progressive is the default for 25 fps
    2. no need to specify widescreen=0. This setting only effects how the HD framesize is converted to the SD widscreen framesize (they are not the same ratio). The different settings will determine whether there is black borders added to the left/right, or the image is cropped, etc.

    The pixel aspect ratio info does not need to be with the downscaled avi, as you can tell Encore and Adobe Media Encoder that your source is widescreen pixel aspect ratio . You do not want to manually stretch the footage in Premiere, as this will certainly reduce the quality. Your encoding settings look good. You can get better quality using HC Encoder, but then you would have to change the colorspace to YV12.

    If you want to reduce grain in the footage, and increase the efficiency at which it can encode the frame (possibly increasing image quality on high detailed scenes), you can add this to the hd2sd script before the colorspace:

    NR=7, GrapeSmootherAmount=20, FFT3DAmount= 128,

  116. Mike says:

    I’m a bit new to all this, but I found this post when searching for “Square Pixels and Encore”.

    I’ve got a webinar video, 640×480, square pixels, that I’m trying to turn into a DVD. However, everything I do out of Premiere looks worse than just taking the original screen cast into Encore and exporting it.

    And even then I get a bit of artifacting in the final DVD around the text.

    Would this approach fix my problem?


  117. Jon Geddes says:


    No, this approach would not help you, as your source is SD. You will first want to convert it to 720×480, 4×3 aspect ratio in a program like After Effects. You can also use Premiere, but the results likely won’t be as good (as you discovered). Your video will have thin black strips on the right and left… this is normal and expected with a resolution of 640×480.

  118. Mike says:


    Thanks for the response.

    I’ll be honest, all the information that goes into video rendering is quite amazing.

    Is this one of those things where I am trying to polish a terd? The video looks fine played back on a DVD on a monitor at its actual size. It doesn’t look horrible on a TV, just lots of artifacting. Is this as good as it gets? I’ve been looking around for about 8 hours trying to find a way to make it look good in both places, but an “Optimized for Monitor Viewing” message may do the job…

    Thanks again.


  119. Jon Geddes says:

    Artifacting is the result of a poor quality mpeg encoding. You should look into using HC Encoder (Windows). It is free, and produces studio quality results when used with the correct settings… and there are lots of settings.

  120. Albert says:

    Hi Jon

    Thanks for your advice. I actually went to Premiere and go to modify–>interpret clip to solve the aspect ratio problem.
    This all goes well with Window XP. Due to slow rendering I switch to Win7 for the next project

    I have the msvcr7.dll and msvcp7.dll problem when loading the AviSynth file in Virtual dub. I copy these two files to the SysWOW64 folder. The error message is gone but now the MPEG2 i-frame source looks pixelated in Virtual Dub window. After processing the AviSynth code, the resulting Lagarith AVI doesn’t have clean image. This is so obvious as the text on the screen are cluttered.

    Am I not setting up AviSynth or MT 0.7 right in Win7?


  121. Albert says:

    by the way the original footage is from FCP render as ProRes 422, then I use Adobe Media Encoder to produce the MPEG2 100Mbps i-frame file

  122. Tim says:


    I am using fcp to edit my HD footage and Windows XP (via VMware Fusion) for further processing. Is it possible to skip the Virtual dub step and just let HC encoder encode my ProRes 422 HD clip to the necessary .m2v file for DVD burning?



  123. Jon Geddes says:

    Yes it is possible to skip the Virtual Dub step, but the encoding then takes longer, as it has to process the downscaling (and possibly noise reduction) on 2-passes of mpeg encoding, where as Virtual Dub will do one pass while creating the AVI, and then HC Encoder will fly through the mpeg encoding as it can easily process the AVI file.

  124. John Griffin says:

    Thanks for helping newbies like myself create good looking dvds. I understand and follow all the steps and end up with pretty good looking .m2v files (the source files are not great).
    My source files are Pal format at 25fps. When should I change the rate to 29.97? I am able to do it in AviSynth with outputfieldrate=30. I also see I can do it in VirtualDub. Any recommendations?

  125. John Griffin says:

    If I didn’t make it clear I want to create NTSC dvds from PAL source files.


  126. Jon Geddes says:

    You can set the OutputFieldRate parameter in the hd2sd script along with AdjustFramerate. If you read the documentation, it explains these settings and getting good quality results of PAL to NTSC 24p.

    So, you might try:

    hd2sd(“PAL_HD_Master.avi”, OutputFieldRate=24, AdjustFramerate=true)

    Add any color conversions that are necessary.

  127. […] on Vegas, but there is still a lot of good information about other tools that can be used. HD to SD DVD – Best Methods | Creating Motion Graphics Blog | Blu-Ray DVD Authoring Menu | Pre… I believe that this print discussion covers some of the same ground as the video tutorial that […]

  128. Steve Sykes says:

    I am currently waiting my new CUDA enabled graphics card to see whether this improves Adobe’s render quality from HD to SD. The write up suggests it will use Lanczos 2 algorithm so may look better than the software encode even with MRQ ticked. I’m not sure what happens when MRQ is ticked with CUDA enable GPU rendering on as well.

    In the mean time I am wondering on the implications of using either Adobe’s Media Encoder or Dan Isaacs method above to my current multicam project. The issues I have are due to mixed formats. My mixed footage is placed on a sequence that matches my main camera footage (XDCAM 720p50). Also on this sequence I have placed HDV footage 1440×1080 25i. I hope to use each field as a frame as have set the field options not to process my fields. I see 50 frames per second on my sequence for this footage when I press my arrow keys.

    My main concern is my HDV footage has different PAR and I need to select ‘scale to frame’ for many shots although some I will leave zoomed in so it doesn’t need to resize. I assume that the scale to frame option will have to be rendered within Adobe to match the sequence settings, will this cause a noticeable drop in quality? Should I resize the the whole HDV footage from another sequence and make an intermediate file?

    My last question is when I frameserve from PPr (yes I see debugmode as been updated to serve from CS5!) what PAR to I set as I have both on my screen – I assume square has HDV will be conformed to the sequence settings. What settings to I need to keep my 50 frames / fields seperate whilst resizing but interlaced to make the final mpeg2 25i?

  129. Nick says:


    This is really helpful stuff, many thanks for taking the time to help others get skilled up in what’s a tricky area.

    I was wondering how you would factor After Effetcs into this workflow (for doing compositing / effctes work post edit in APP CS4), and still maintian optimum quality by the time it gets to SD DVD

    Any suggestions would be very welcome. Thanks in advance.


  130. Jon Geddes says:


    If you are editing in Premiere, you can dynamic link to an After Effects composition without the need to render it out. You can even overlay a title created in AE over video in Premiere. If you need to export material out of Premiere to work on it in AE, you should use a lossless codec. Quicktime Animation codec is lossless but large in size. DNxHD works, as does Lagarith. I’m not sure if you are on a PC or Mac, as there are different codecs available for each OS.

  131. Nick says:


    Thanks for a quick reply!

    I’m on PC. I’ve had a few problems with dynamic link, perhaps i’m not using it right. i open up a APP project in AE, and create a new AE sequence from the APP project timeline. However AE seems to struggle with things other than basic footage and puts in placeholders for some transitions and effects etc.

    Anyway, whether i get working better or i export out of APP using a lossless codec, i assume i would then do my effects work in AE and export out of AE in the Matrox mpeg 2 iframe HD codec and continue with the workflow as described from there?
    If that’s right, would it be best to use the same lossless codec to export out of APP and AE, ie the Matrox?


  132. Karen says:

    If you are shooting DVC-Pro and editing in Premiere but in SD – will this add anything to the quality? Is it worth it to go through this if you are starting with SD?

    Thanks for the help!

  133. Jon Geddes says:

    Karen- No, if you are starting in SD, you do not need to downscale for SD delivery.

  134. Karen says:

    Thank you for responding Jon – Just looking for ways to kmake our SD look as good as possible!!

  135. John Aviste says:

    I shoot with a JVC GY-HD 200. 720p29.97 footage creates awesome widescreen DVDs using the Final Cut Pro Studio programs: Compressor and DVD Studio Pro. 720p59.94 footage, however, does not yield the same results, especially when viewed on say a 50 inch plasma HD TV. I happen to have some 720p59.94 footage to convert to 720p29.97 and have not come across a way to do this. Any suggestions? A frame rate only conversion in Compressor, followed by MPEG2 conversion did not work. I have also tried using an AJA IOHD (a stand-alone hardware converter) to down-convert component 720p59.94 into 480i29.97 and that also did not help when using Compressor to then create those MPEG2 files for DVD Studio Pro.

    I am also posting this to make the point that it is a good idea to test various formats before selecting one to use on a project.

  136. JR says:

    Thank you for providing this tutorial.

    I want to convert a 1080p file, 16:9 with 25 fps (PAL) to normal SD (also PAL, also 16:9).

    I use: hd2sd(“HD_Master.m2v”)

    Is that it?

    When using MPEG streamclip I usually need to cut 9 pixels both on the left and the right side. Otherwise the file ends up with small black bars on both sides. Is there something similar in your workflow?

    Any help is appreciated.

  137. Jon Geddes says:


    That should be all that you need to do. By default, hd2sd will crop a little off the top and bottom so that the image fills the entire 720×480 frame. You can also change how it converts the 16×9 frame to 720×480 by changing the widescreen setting. Please read the documentation that comes with hd2sd for a detailed explanation of each setting.

  138. JR says:

    Thank you for responding Jon.

  139. jimmy says:


    I’ve been trying to create a nice DVD for days.
    I exported a video using Adobe Premiere and I have a video called Holiday.m2v and Holiday.wav
    I write the script hd2sd(“Holiday.m2v”) and I get an .avi from VirtualDub. But my video looks like it’s smashed from left and right sides. I want to convert a 1080p file, 16:9 with 25 fps (PAL) to normal SD (also PAL, also 16:9).

    I couldn’t find any settings to do that. I read the documentation comes with the hdsd, i read forums and watched tutorials and so on. I still couldn’t make it. So is there anyway you guys can help me?

  140. Jon Geddes says:


    PAL DVD resolution is 720×576 regardless if it’s 16:9 or 4:3. The only difference between the two is the pixel aspect ratio. After you convert the hd source to sd in virtual dub, the video does not have any pixel aspect ratio specified, so it displays in square pixels which is very close to 4:3, and will appear as if your widescreen video is squished in. This is normal. All you need to do is tell whichever program you are using to encode to mpeg2 that your sd avi is suppose to be widescreen, and it will apply the correct pixel aspect ratio to the encoded file, making it look normal again. You have nothing to worry about, as this is all normal and expected for the intermediate file to appear that way.

  141. seema says:


  142. Jeff Pulera says:

    I had attempted the described HD2SD conversion methods a year or so back, and had interlacing issues I could not solve at the time and I’d put a post on here suggesting that Matrox RT.X2 users could get a decent result by using a workaround in Premiere.

    Well, I finally revisited the HD2SD workflow with my new edit system and got it to work correctly this time, and am blown away by the results – far superior to any HD to SD conversion I’ve seen before!

    Thank you, Jon, for sharing this information, and thank you to Dan Isaacs and other members of the video community that have made these tools available.

    Jeff Pulera
    Safe Harbor Computers

  143. yotammon says:

    i am really enthusiastic about that idea…im having serious problems with downscaling using premier cs5…
    but when i try to open the avs file in virtualdub i get an error

    unable to load colormetrix.dll from the avisynth folder…

    any ideas?

    thank you


  144. Jon Geddes says:


    It appears you have not installed the hd2sd script and it’s plugins correctly. Your plugins folder (located in your AviSynth folder), should have a folder called “hd2sd_sd2hd” which should contain the ColorMatrix.dll along with several other plugins.

  145. yotammon says:

    ok,i need the folder…,not the files,got u

  146. yotammon says:

    i have a progressive hdv source that i would like to burn to dvd

    i have used

    hd2sd(“test.avi”, OutputColorSpace=”RGB24″, OutputBFF=true)

    but i wast a perfect match for a wide screen,it had 2 small black bars on the horizon side…,is there a solution?
    another thank you:)

  147. Jon Geddes says:


    Please read the hd2sd documentation. There is a setting to change the WidescreenType.

  148. yotammon says:

    ok i did it…,last question but the biggest one,my avi file looks great after virtual dub…,but after encore the m2v looks ugly again,can it get any better?,im trying with hcencoder with no luck…,the source is 1280*720 prog,50 fps,square pixels
    any ideas?
    yotam monk

  149. Jeff Pulera says:

    Hi Yotam,

    Instead of encoding in Encore, use the free “HC Encoder” – there is a link in the blog post. I’ve done comparisons side by side and the results are cleaner than encoding in Encore


  150. Jeff Pulera says:

    Sorry, missed the fact that you DID try HC Encoder


  151. Neil Hornus says:

    I have tried this method (am using Final Cut Pro X which is still just as bad at going from HD to SD) but keep getting the same error.

    I have setup AVISynth and VirtualDub and written my script. I load the script into VirtualDub and the movie loads (exported from Final Cut as a ProRes 422 MOV file). I have selected the lossless codec as instructed and then gone to Save AVI file.

    Everytime (on different machines) VirtualDub crashes straight away with a divide by 0 error. Has anyone else encountered this as I would really like to be able to produce DVDs of HD projects that are of a higher quality than the rubbish produced by FCP and Compressor.

  152. Jon Geddes says:


    Make sure you are using the latest version of virtual dub. Also, try a different video as a test. Maybe yours has corrupt frames.

  153. Ronan says:

    Hi Guys,

    Im ronan from Ireland. Im using the framserve method by Jeff Bellune Each time I downsize my footage it is coming out as 5:4 and not 16:9 . I can get everything going but just the finished file dimensions is doing my head in !! Ive tried a few things in the script like outputfieldrate=25 and widescreentype=1 ( even though it does say this is the default, I thought it was worth a try.

    This is the first script I tried

    The files I am starting with are
    Image Size: 1920 x 1080
    Pixel Depth: 32
    Frame Rate: 25.00
    Source Audio Format: 48000 Hz – 16 bit – Stereo
    Project Audio Format: 48000 Hz – 32 bit floating point – Stereo
    Total Duration: 00:00:03:19
    Average Data Rate: 4.4 MB / second
    Pixel Aspect Ratio: 1.0

    This is what I finish with
    General : D:\VideoWork\Downsizetest\ShalomRESIZED.avi
    Format : AVI at 61.9 Mbps
    Length : 2.92 GiB for 6mn 45s 200ms

    Video #0 : Lagarith at 60.4 Mbps
    Aspect : 720 x 576 (1.250) at 25.000 fps

    Audio #0 : PCM at 1 536 Kbps
    Infos : 2 channels, 48.0 KHz

    Is there a way to set the aspect to what I need?

    Im not sure if I need to set the outputpar or maybe the width and height?

    I am using the first method you described ( not the Multithread enabled one, while I do have a powerful machine I want to get this working first before I worry about the speed of my workflow. )

    Thanks Guys,

  154. Jon Geddes says:

    Your footage is being downscaled to the correct resolution. The resulting file however does not have any pixel aspect ratio information embedded in it, so whatever program you encode it in, you must interpret the 720×540 avi file as widescreen. Does that make sense?

  155. Ronan says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your reply.
    Not quite sure, I did bring that file into PPro and tried to export as widescreen but it just has pillarboxing applied to it. I thought there was probaby a bit of script i missed to tell it to output to widescreen .
    I did bring the file into encore and clicked “interpret as widescreen but its still outputting square.



  156. Jon Geddes says:

    Try interpreting it as widescreen before placing it into an Encore timeline. Import as asset first, interpret as widescreen, then create a timeline for it.

  157. I am a high school a/v production teacher. I have some HD cameras and would like to use them all the time instead of a combo of SD and HD cameras depending on purpose of project. Sometimes we have to distribute something via DVDs such as the senior class video, end of year band compilation and talent show.

    I was excited to acutally accomplish all the steps provided through this blog. The final result is good but not as good as I was hoping. The video I chose to test was our band marching at half time. In the video, the bleachers on the far side of the field look like they are rippling and it is very distracting. There are also jagged lines around the students as they march. I did find that using the Virtual Dub to HC Encoder to Encore for DVD burn resulted in less rippling than using just HC Encoder with the script. The original footage was AVCHD – 1990X1080 – and I used a sequence setting of AVCHD 1080i30 (60i).

    Do I need to shoot video using a different format? Our HD cameras have several options. Did I miss a step or expecting too much?

  158. Jon Geddes says:

    Lee Ann Corbin, you are likely seeing artifacts from interlaced video. It could be that your settings are wrong causing a reversal of the fields, but it’s also possible that the objects are moving fast which will naturally cause interlace artifacts. My advice would be to avoid interlace entirely. Shoot in either 30p or 24p. If you shoot 24p, you will have to know what you are doing using the proper shutter speed and not doing any quick pans as it will make the video look choppy. 30p might be a better option however it will be played back as 60i on many dvd players, though the interlacing won’t be that noticeable as it is still encoded as 30p on the disc. For a true progressive playback on all televisions, it would need to be 24p which is more difficult to achieve a smooth image but very possible if you know what you are doing.

  159. Jon –
    The objects are moving fast because they are students marching. The artifacts diminsh when they are standing still or the camera is not panning. I also noticed that the artifacts diminish somewhat when I watch the video using a DVD player attached to a television. When I am watching on a computer monitor they are much more obvious.

    As for using 24p my concern is sports coverage. We do a school news program that is a mixture of news, features, and sports. We would probably be fine on shooting 24p for everything but sports. We also do things like the talent show (can involve lots of movement and camera panning).

    Where can I get more information about shooting with 24p so that I know what I am doing?

  160. Jon –

    Nevermind previous post about 24p. I went through all the steps again using a script from Dan Isaacs hd2sd documention. Previously I had not included “AutoIndex=true.” I also used a wider variety of footage. It turned out exceptionally well and I am pleased with results when viewing on a television with a DVD player.

    This blog has been a tremendous help.

  161. Jon Geddes says:

    That’s great. I have not used “AutoIndex=true” before, but I’m glad it resolved your problem.

  162. Bruce says:

    Brand new to this whole process.

    Where can I download the written step by step guide for this whole process?

    Thank you.

  163. Ronan says:

    Hi Jon,

    Apologies for not replying sooner. Your tip about import as asset, then interpret as widescreen worked a treat . Thanks.
    I did not notice a major improvement over cs5 using mpe which was a suprise but i am going to try a few other pieces of footage also.
    I am going to try the hcencoder with that downsized file as see if it is better, and i will let you know. Is there any tutorials about using hcencoder?


  164. Jon Geddes says:

    It sounds like we need to create a tutorial for hc encoder!

  165. Surya says:


    My Footage was shot with Sony EX3 Camera in Full HD 1920x1080p at 25p 16:9.

    Edited with Vegas 10. And frameserved with Debugmode to Virtual Dub to downscale with the resize filter 720×576 Lancosiz3.

    After, i frameserved in VirtualDub.

    I don’t know how the Script should look, if i want to make from HD 1920x108p 25p 16:9 to SD 720×576 25p 16:9

    In the Helpfile hd2sd.txt there are only examples for interlaced source material..

    Thanks for helping me…


  166. Jon Geddes says:


    How did you frameserve to VirtualDub? Did you create an AVI file with Vegas?

    If you are using the hd2sd script, you do not want to use Virtual Dub to resize. Place the avs script into the same folder as your Hd master avi, then use the following script:

    hd2sd(“master.avi”, WidescreenType=2, NR=7, GrapeSmootherAmount=20, FFT3DAmount= 128)

    If you are using hc encoder to encode to mpeg2, then you will also want to add:


    The hd2sd script will automatically detect that it is 25p, so no special commands need to be given for it. The widecreen, noise reduction, grape smoother, and fft3d commands are just extra ones we do for improved quality.

  167. denis says:

    i was very happy i found this tutorial to increase a quality of my hd 2 sd conversion (i use jvc 700 cam).
    but….everything works till point i want to start virtualdub. there is an error message that he cant open stream video. it seems to me there is any error with avisynth – didnt start or whatever, didnt start frameserving…
    i have never used a hocuspocus so far, just standard ame.
    could you help please?
    thank you.

  168. SoulTrain says:

    Just came across this tutorial while looking for a way to solve this problem on a project we’re submitting to a festival this month. And it was a HUGE help. Thanks for posting this. I wish all my problems on this project had such a ready made solution.

  169. scott calonico says:

    Thanks guys! Great stuff.

    I was a Magic Bullet fan, but started looking for other solutions. Once you get past the AVI script writing hurdle, it’s really not that difficult. And the results are pretty amazing.

  170. Bruce says:

    Hi Jon,

    I use a Canon A1 and A1s. HDV 1080/60i.

    What would be the ideal script for my particular scenario?

    Please let me know.

    Thank you.

  171. Damon says:

    Its a brilliant guide Jon, daunting at first for the notso technically savvy, but one you have a couple of goes it seems to run smooth.


    When I use hd2sd and Virtualdub to convert the M2V file to AVI my nice 16:9 input gets horribly crushed to nasty 4:3.

    The hd2sd info says Widescreen 1 is the default (takes a bit off top and bottom and preserves 16:9 ratio) but this doesnt happen. Have also tried WidescreenType=1 to “force” it but it still outputs 4:3.

    I believe its the whole pixel aspect ratio thing (bane of my short video enconding life) but I cant get my head around how to preserve the ratio.

    Any ideas Jon?

  172. Brent says:

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a good matrix to use in HC Encoder? I will be shooting events on a football field and always have trouble getting great looking encodes on that surface. Lots of fine detail in the field from all the grass. Camera angle is what you would see from a 50yd wide camera at a football game.

  173. Jon Geddes says:


    We almost always use FOX1 matrix except for animation and very low bitrate encodes (under 5mbps).

  174. Jon Geddes says:


    Virtual dub rendered AVI’s do not include the pixel aspect ratio info, so when opening the avi, it will appear 4×3. However, when loading that avi into an mpeg2 encoder, you simply need to tell the encoder that the file is widescreen, and it will be interpreted correctly.

  175. Scott Klump says:

    I edited HV20 footage (converted to 24p using a method found on in Vegas. The final output was saved as 1920×1080 24p using the Lagarath codec. What hs2sd script should I use to change this to 720×480 24p anamorphic (16:9) with pulldown flag (keep it progressive). I’d like to denoise also.

  176. Jon Geddes says:

    Here you go Scott…

    hd2sd(“hd_master.avi”, WidescreenType=2, NR=7, GrapeSmootherAmount=20, FFT3DAmount=128, OutputColorSpace=”YV12″)

    This will perform the best quality noise reduction, and output to YV12 colorspace for encoding in HC Encoder. If you will be using a different encoder, you might need to remove the OutputColorSpace.

  177. Alex says:

    Hi John,

    I have a project that im working on which im trying to take some raw footage off an ipad and have them edited for DVD.

    There are several formats that the recordings can be made in, I uploaded each possible format / resolution here

    I’d like to have the video’s play inside of a set area of a background image like the one here so that there’s a background image and the video I’ve taken is displayed inside the iPad’s actual frame.

    I have a video editor that can tweak the videos, but when we try to test burn the iso’s to DVD’s the quality becomes very poor.

    Any advice of what would work best to get the highest quality possible on DVD?

    Thanks in advance,

  178. Damon says:


    Thanks for your earlier reply, a quick interpret footage in Encore corrected the ratio, as you suggested.

    1 more question. Using your workflow I have an issue with some source content which has a 4:2:0 (YV12) colorspace rather than 4:2:2 (YUY2).

    The guide says that the setting should match the source right the way thru to the final conversion, but I can’t seem to export from Premiere without converting the colorspace.

    To be clear, Im going from 720p footage through to burning to a DVD. If I understand correctly DVD standard colorspace is YV12.

    So in effect, I seem to be going from YV12 to YUY2 (via Premiere) and then back to YV12 (via HCEnc)?

  179. Danielle says:

    Is it only for PC?

  180. Jon Geddes says:


    Those links are not working. What video editor are you using?

  181. Jon Geddes says:


    You might want to contact Adobe for a suggestion on avoiding any colorspace conversions.

  182. Jon Geddes says:

    Yes, these applications are only for PC, however you can run them under bootcamp and possibly parallels on a Mac.

  183. kelvin says:

    thanks to all the crew dat brought this blog together,,,u really made my efforts easy…but my question is i want a video dat will play smoothly in adobe premier cs5 witout redlines…that is i want an AVI from virualdub dat can be exported to MINI DV TAPE thru firewire…any help pls

  184. Vobla Unsane says:

    Many thanks for this post, also freeware developers. I take my had off and bow before you. This is absolutely stunning compared to CS5 output that I stared with belief that my eyes were deceiving me.

  185. Matthew Richie says:

    Is this workflow still relevant when using Adobe CS6? Are there any tweaks?

  186. Andy Smith says:

    I have just found a pretty good route for converting HD to SD for DVD. I have to use a 3rd Party programme (AVS4you) but it seems to work well. First Produce your original Prem Pro encoding as a HD mpg, standard set up on CS5, transfer finished file to 3rd Party programme AVS Video converter. Convert HD mpg to Standard SD DVD Compatable mpg Codec within AVS. Transfer file back to encore. Encore recognises file almost immediatly and will write to disc with hardly any processing (except menus). Results are the best I have seen so far. Text graphics are solid and rendering of video is alot cleaner than Prem Pro

  187. EsDog says:

    Hi Jon,

    I have an issue that I don’t think has been tackled. I have 1080p24 coming out of CS6 via the MPEG2-Iframe as directed to produce 720×480 prog 16:9. It looks nice. Then I pass that through AviSyth and Dan’s scripts via Virtual Dub. This is wonderful AVI that looks great and is much sharper than the output of CS6 with MRQ set.

    My issue here is, when I put the AVI into HC Encoder, it crops the image, killing the wide screen aspect ratio. Literally a large portion of the top and bottom of the image are missing. This is a stage performance, but in the scene that I’m viewing, in the AVI there is an audience member who is standing up to cheer the performers, I can see all the way down to her hips. In the HC Encoder footage, I can see down to the bottom of her mullet, which is covering the back of her neck.

    I was wondering if there is a setting that will keep everything the same as the Virtual Dub output and is that an issue in HC Encoder or is it the script parameters? When I use virtual dub, I use the filename and the no interlace setting just to make sure it stays progressive within the script. When I pass that to HC Encoder, I only use the filename output from virtual dub.

    In HC Encoder, I use the defaults, but change the profile to best, dc prec to 10, and the average kb/s to 65000. I take off the 3:2 pulldown. Everything else remains constant. So what’s wrong with these settings. I really appreciate any help that you can offer or anyone on this forum.

    Thank you,


  188. Chris says:


    I just wanted to thank you for putting this information out there. If you are a beginner to encoding, trying to step HD down to SD is a nightmare!

    I initially resisted trying this because it sounded so overly complicated. But, after getting dozens of unsatisfactory downscales using Encore and the seemingly simpler method of putting my original HD sequence into an SD sequence in Premiere, I had to give it a shot.

    It is definitely worth figuring out the obscure-sounding software! Without this page, I would have had a full mental breakdown.

  189. Jon Geddes says:

    Matthew, we will be releasing an article very soon on all the issues with CS6 and the new CC.

  190. Jon Geddes says:

    EsDog, it should not be cropping your footage. The downscale/cropping is only done during the hd2sd process using the WidescreenType command in the script. For example, WidescreenType=2. Also, since you have 24p footage, you will want the pulldown turned on. DVD/Blu-ray players supporting true progressive will automatically output 24p and ignore the pulldown. HC Encoder should not be doing any cropping. Make sure your AVI source being fed into HC encoder is not cropped.

  191. EsDog says:

    Thank you very much Jon.

    I learned a valuable lesson here, don’t change settings when outputting multiple sequences unless you document them as you make changes. My project consists of multiple sequences and my guess is that “part 1” looks good because I didn’t tweak anything. “part 2” looks like there’s something wrong because I must have changed the aspect ratio or one of the scaling settings out of Premiere. That’s my best guess.

    I’m currently testing three small files output from Premiere to see what may have happened.

    You mentioned the pulldown, should I turn that on in Premiere when outputting in the first step or is that a default of the Dan Isaacs script? Also if in Premiere, would 2:3 or 3:2 work best? At which stage should the output receive the pulldown and does that carry through the other stages? Or will it need to be set at each step in the work flow?

    I hope this isn’t too verbose or confusing. Thank you for your time and advice. I really appreciate it!


  192. EsDog says:

    I think I know what happened after running some tests. All of the footage comes out of VirtualDub as 0.9091 AR. If you make a sequence within Premiere, you can start as widescreen (1.2121). So the blank background of the sequence will look like a widescreen format. When you bring in footage, you have to interpret it first as (1.2121) before putting it into the sequence. This will stretch everything out to fill the frame. If you put it into the sequence as a 0.9091 and THEN interpret that footage after, you will get the black bars on the side.

    There doesn’t seem to be a way to change this on the fly. Once the settings of a sequence are created, it looks as though you can’t change them. You can only start a new sequence and bring the footage in, interpreting BEFORE you drag it into the timeline.

    These are multicam sequences, so I must have interpreted the footage before making them for part one and didn’t on part two. I’m just going to see if I can correct this in DVD Architech, if not, I will have to re-edit the footage again. 🙁

    Thanks again, as I hope this helps others. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this.


  193. Jon Geddes says:

    You should not be downscaling your footage before editing. Edit first in the native HD format, then you can output to SD, HD, or whatever you want.

    Virtual Dub does not put any aspect ratio info on the avi output, so when you import it into Premiere, it must make a guess as to whether it is 0.9091 or 1.2121 aspect ratio. Since 0.9091 is closer to 1.0 (default), it chooses that. This is why you must manually set the interpretation if bringing your AVI back into Premiere. But as I said, you should be editing first, exporting, then downscaling. So really there is no need to bring it back into Premiere. If you import your AVI into the Adobe Media Encoder, then you will also have to manually set the interpretation to widescreen.

  194. EsDog says:

    Thanks. That makes sense. I sort of did a round-about, but will know better for the next project. One last question referring to the Pull-Down on export. When should that be initiated, in Premiere’s export? If so, is that carried throughout the workflow automatically or would I need to set the pull-down in each application along the way to my final output?

    Thank you so much for your advice and help.


  195. Imran M says:

    Hi Jon Geddes 😀

    What is the appropriate ‘PULLDOWN’ to use on the export settings under ‘MPEG2’? I have 23.976 HDSLR footage which I want to put on a DVD using Encore. I really hate seeing the weird lines (interlaced look) when I view it on DVD.

  196. Thanks for all your work,
    does this apply to CS6 as well?

  197. Malte says:


    I hope you can help me here as I’m running into the same problem for a week now. Since I’m on FCP my source-file is a ProRes file. Whenever I try to do the re-sizing using the HD2SD script it does only the first half of the movie and the rest doesn’t play at all.

    The source-file is a 1920x1080i 25i Apple ProRes 422 file with 3hrs running time. I try to use the HD2SD script with VirtualDub:

    – create: movie.avs
    – in there: hd2sd(“”)
    – open in VirtualDub -> Lagarith Codec (Multi-Threading/YV12), Fast recompress

    It starts encoding and creates an avi file but only the first half plays fine, the rest doesn’t play and is just a frame of the video. I tried using the Lagarith codec from the package, rolled back a few versions (.20) and tried using Huffyuv all with the same result.

    I want to go to HCEnc after that to put it on DVD.

    A shorter clip worked fine. Is there anything I need to set for a long movie?

    I hope you can help me or give me a clue on where to start looking for a solution.

    THanks a lot,


  198. Malte says:

    It seems that I found the solution. After some more trial and error I changed my input script to:


    …and the encoded file plays through without problems. I already sent it to HCEnc to go to MPEG2 but didn’t have the time yet to a quality comparison to the downscaled one I did using compressor.

    I hope this helps anyone who might be looking for the same problem.



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