Final Cut Pro-to-iDVD Chapter and Widescreen Woes

33 Comments

idvdFor goodness’s sake, will the people at Apple responsible for iLife go talk to the Pro Apps folks so that iDVD and Final Cut Pro actually works together? You’d think that Apple would ensure both their video applications work seamlessly together, especially when such interoperability is touted in the Help section of both applications. Well, you’d be surprised at how broken it is.

I learnt that the hard way earlier this week, when I had to master a DVD for a client. My intention was to export five segments from the timeline, each of which would have chapter markers, while the segment would itself become a ‘Play All’ clip. 

Having finished the edit in Final Cut Pro, I placed the necessary chapter markers in the timeline and exported each segment of the timeline as DV PAL 16:9 Anamorphic QuickTime clips. I chose this format since it was what the acquired footage was shot in. 

Once I’d imported the clips into iDVD, two problems surfaced: the 16:9 clips remained anamorphically squashed in the 4:3 ratio, and iDVD could not see the chapter markers in any of the clips. After some Googling, it turned out that the problems I was facing are known issues, according to two Apple support articles. 

In the first, Article TS2179, titled “iDVD: DV widescreen 16:9 workflow from Final Cut Pro”, warned that “if you export an anamorphic 16:9 DV sequence from Final Cut Pro with the intention of burning a DVD-Video of that sequence in iDVD…. Final Cut Pro does not include the widescreen aspect ratio information that iDVD looks for.” 

Great. Prior to discovering the support article, I had figured iDVD would be smart enough to unsqueeze 16:9 clips back into their original anamorphic aspect ratio since QuickTime Player did exactly that. 

The second problem is acknowledged in Article TS1233, titled “Final Cut Studio: “All Markers” option does not include DVD Chapter Markers”. The symptoms described in it goes: “When you export a QuickTime movie from Final Cut Pro, choosing the “All Markers” option does not include chapter markers that will function in DVD Stidio Pro or iDVD.” 

Right. 

Look at the screenshot of Final Cut Pro’s export dialog box above. You can see various types of markers listed. Any user would naturally assume that choosing “All Markers” would include all the types of markers. Why this is not the case for DV clips is a mystery only the FCP or iDVD folks at Apple would know, since the support article offers no explaination. 

If your editing workflow comprises exporting 16:9 clips from Final Cut Pro for DVD mastering in iDVD, you’ll have to avoid using the DV Widescreen format until this is fixed in a future release of iDVD or Final Cut Pro. In the meanwhile, if your workflow involves DV Widescreen, I recommend that you export your clips as ProRes 4:2:2.

33 Comments

Caroline

I tried the myDVDedit work around with iDVD. When I try to convert my file to 16:9, it adds back bars to the sides of my video instead of actually changing the aspect ratio. Another problem I’m having is, even if I could change the aspect ratio, I wouldn’t be able to save it, because I can’t seem to change the permissions on the Video_TS folder.

Dave

Ummm…ignore what I posted before. The file is exports too small and the resolution isn’t good enough…my bad.

christian

export ->quicktime conversion ->Quicktime Movie ->options ->Format: DV PAL 4:3 ->Size: 1024×576

Amanda Stabach

I am having the same problem. I am exporting from Adobe Pro CS5…and even though i set idvd to widescreen format, my video is squeezed to standard format. I thought this would work with no problem and now i have a client picking up a video tomorrow, but I can not write it to the correct DVD format!!

Dave

Hmmm…this has been an unexpected source of frustration for me too. Here’s what I did…it seems to have worked…whew.

Export->Using Quicktime Conversion -> Options->Size->Dimensions (click Custom)->type in 720 and 480 and then Click OK

I imported the file into iDVD and it played in the correct anamorphic ratio (16×9), but iDVD created gray widescreen bars and there was writing in the lower left corner that read Widescreen Preview. I burned it to a DVD, played it on my TV and it played in the correct ratio…again, whew.

Dave

Hmmm…this has been an unexpected source of frustration for me too. Here’s what I did…it seems to maybe have worked, but there’s an odd catch.

Export->Using Quicktime Conversion -> Options->Size->Dimensions (click Custom)->type in 720 and 480 and then Click OK

I imported the file into iDVD and it played in the correct anamorphic ratio (16×9), but iDVD created gray widescreen bars and there was writing in the lower left corner that read Widescreen Previe. Odd, but it did come up in the correct ratio… There’s gotta be a better way…

Gina Torchia

I have been trying to export, what I have edited on final cut pro, into idvd so that I can transfer onto disc. I have done all the ways that has been said but when using QT movie only the section that my cursor is on gets transferred and nothing else. I’m trying to find out what I can do so that all my footage is transferred!!!

Ben

…but it isn’t just a FCP issue – it’s the same with FCE, which Apple market as an iMovie upgrade and encourage new users to buy. Why haven’t Apple sorted this issue after years?

Erik

Final Cut Pro is simply not a professional editing solution. The faults with it are too many to list. For those working with SD, it’s probably fine. If you do HD, get ready for tons of “Out of Memory” errors and application crashes, unless all you need is to import, trim, and export–no effects or multi-layered video. The only reason I use it is because Windoze is a bad operating system that I try to avoid. It’s too bad that the Leitch dpsVelocity editing system was bought by Harris and discontinued in order to erase their competition. That was a decent system. If and when FCP comes out with a 64-bit version that can actually use more than 3 GB of RAM maybe I’ll change my tune. Oh, and they need to fix all the issues with rendered clips on the timeline getting lost for little or no reason at all. Why not, instead, have the application rendering in background, ahead of the playhead as you’re playing the video, like other softwares can do? This bit about the DVD writing is the least of FCP’s worries if you ask me, although certainly a pesky straw on the camel’s back.

Heidi

i found the answer to half of this (the widescreen issue) on the creative cow forum from someone named Mick (i don’t want to take the credit!)

It’s an app called anamorphicizer. It’s free to download just drag your video file onto the open app on the dock and it resaves it in the same location. I dragged that into iDVD and it stays 16:9!

http://homepage.mac.com/sith33/FileSharing34.html

It took less than a second for a 2 min clip – i’m assuming it will take a bit longer the longer your video is.

Nice and simple! :-) although i do wish they’d fix the issue, i know DVD Studio is great but when you just want to put some work quickly onto a menu template (as i need to do for students to have their video’s marked iDVD is such a simpler interface to drag, drop & burn!)

LLOYD .E

Hi Guys, thank you so much for the link, I do hope that Apple.Inc reads this Blog. It’s been a great help to me and my friends.

A friend of mine has the latest FCS, and still this issue has not been resolved, and thats very surprising.

Thanks
Lloyd .E

Roy

About two week ago I bought my first Apple: a 15″ Macbook Pro. I want to use Final Cut Express 4 to make a movie of my recent holiday. To test things out I created a short sample movie, did an export of it. Launched iDVD and imported the movie. The menu is in 16:9 format, but when I play the movie (in preview, not burned yet) it is in 4:3 format…. :-(

My holiday movies are shot with a Sony HC47E in DV PAL 16:9 format. Is there any chance I can get the movie to show in 16:9 format with iDVD?

-chris

Roy – read the previous comments for a solution I posted in January.

mDVDEdit is the interim solution to the 16×9 issue.
http://www.mydvdedit.com/
Export your clip from FinalCut with Chapter Markers as 16×9. Import into iDVD, complete DVD, Save as VIDEO_TS folder. Once that is complete open the VIDEO_TS folder with myDVDEdit and change the one problematic indicator from 4×3 to 16×9. It takes about a minute to correct. Once corrected I just burn the VIDEO_TS to disc with Toast.
Alternatively you can save a Disk Image from iDVD – you just need to change the permissions before opening the VIDEO_TS with myDVDEdit.

eyedropper

I’ve found that exporting the movie out of FCE, then importing into iMovie, then ‘sharing’ to iTunes, then selecting it as a media choice in iDVD works, but it’s a right royal pain in the arse to have this tour of all the Apple apps when it should just work.

Greg

Isn’t export using compressor the same as having MPEG 2 output in Final Cut Pro? You can’t buy FCP without compressor. Wouldn’t you rather use compressor anyways. Trust me, it’s not about brand loyalty as much as it is workflow. FCS’s workflow is great. That’s why I use it. I’ve gotten into Adobe’s products and their workflow just doesn’t do it for me.

Also, if you’re doing professional DVDs, wouldn’t you want some control over the DVD creation, instead of automatic burning?

Chris

I just need to say that in the DVD creation world, DVDSP is the slowest I’ve used.
Yes, there are lots of options, and the template targets are great,
but man, Apple really could make life easier for some of us if FCP simply had a DVD burn option, or even just include an MPEG 2 output in FCP. It’s soooo obvious they want you to buy more overpriced products.

Now I love my new mac pro, and I love FCS. But this whole brand loyalty thing has got to stop. Some of us Mac users can be such defensive little twits. Emotionally driven brand loyalty is for suckers!

Don’t forget that most of the big pro animation and render farms are done on PC’s. And I’m not talking about the HP-Dell off the shelf crap. I’ve built PC’s that scream through video, and never crash. I still prefer to work on my MAC, but we have to always keep an open mind and not be mislead by our mac ‘pride’ non-sense.

Greg

Dude, if you have FCS, why are you complaining about speed? DVDSP is slow? and unreliable? You probably just don’t know how to use it. No, I don’t work for Apple. I know a good product when I use it. DVDSP isn’t slow. I can turnaround projects extremely fast with DVDSP. Maybe you should take one of those classes on DVDSP. It’s the player, not the game that has issues…

Phil

Greg,obviosly you either work for Macintosh or dont get the fact that software made by the same company should be compatible, no matter what the price. I already have FCS, but do not rate DVD studio pro, due to its unreliable nature.I never considered Ilife as an editing package however it does have a piece of software that is supposedly capable of burning DVDs in 16:9. I would like something where after you complete you online edit, can be put on a DVD quickly and viewed by an audience for feedback. I do not enjoy having to wait hours on rendering processess that other cheaper software churns through at a far faster rate and with less RAM. God even my old version of Blade wipes the floor in the creation of making DVd’s that work and this piece of software was around before the first version of final cut. Some users do not want to make professional CD’s all the time. Turnover on some jobs, especially overnight for next day requires speed and software that works. DVD studio pro, slow and unreliable. FCS, Final cut great, DVD options, to reliant on quicktime and quictime compressor.

Greg

#9, you’re an idiot. You think iLife is an editing package? You get it for free with a new mac, or can buy the upgrade for $99. You get what you pay for. If you want to do professional stuff, get FCS. If you want consumer grade stuff, stick with iLife or Final Cut Express.

Phil

Whatever happened to a MPEG2 export option, drop into a menu and burn. How simple is that. Macintosh have their arms so up quicktime. Go and buy DVD studio Pro. Why the hell should I when I’ve spent enough on an editing package that cannot even export to DVD without a separate software platform. I use both Macs and Pcs every day. Macs the friendly platform. Horse shit. I work with people nearly every day who use Final cut Express. Where are the codecs to work with DVD studio Pro, oh oka then i’ll export to IDVD, shit there goes my Widescreen. Yea i’ll go in and fix your binary code settings, oh admin lockout. Nedver been so disapointed in an overpriced, underfunctioning piece of crap software that cannot even perform a basic function like burning to DVD. Oh i’ll just do an MPEG 4 conversion and stick it on YOU TUBE. Ohh feel the quality.!!No i’ll spend more cash on DVD studio Pro!!

Connor Sprague

I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one having this problem. I can publish a DVD with either chapter markers in a distorted 4:3, or a DVD with no chapters and 16:9. Either way the software is not fulfilling the purpose that i purchased it for.

Hank

In fear of sounding too snarky, I totally agree with Clayton.

If FCP’s drop down says ‘all markers’, then all markers should be included. If iDVD is supposed to work with widescreen material, then it should recognize an anamorphic movie regardless of the app or camera that created it.

@Allen, I believe the solution you’re referring to is mentioned above as Knowledge Base Article TS2179,

Allen Huffman

I don’t have the link with me at work, but Googling should show a solution to the widescreen video issue. You just open the file in QT and make a width/height change then save it back, then iDVD will see it just fine.

I run in to the same thing all the time, but going to Final Cut Express, and sometimes the DVD markers work fine, and sometimes they don’t. I haven’t noticed any correlation (video imported from HDV to Apple Intermediate).

Clayton Lai

Pike – I would’ve gone that route if not for the fact that DVD Studio Pro had problems interpreting my HDV 1080 file correctly.

BK – Nothing wrong with having both apples and oranges if they’re all there on the table…

Chris – Thanks; I’ll look into that.

HobbesDoo

I have to agree with #1 and #3. Although one would expect that all applications made by Apple would play well together, in this case we’re talking Pro applications working well with consumer applications, which understandably was never Apple’s intention as they target different audiences. I use both sets of applications, but don’t remember ever having the need to ever mix them.

-chris

mDVDEdit is the interim solution to the 16×9 issue.

http://www.mydvdedit.com/

Export your clip from FinalCut with Chapter Markers as 16×9. Import into iDVD, complete DVD, Save as VIDEO_TS folder. Once that is complete open the VIDEO_TS folder with myDVDEdit and change the one problematic indicator from 4×3 to 16×9. It takes about a minute to correct. Once corrected I just burn the VIDEO_TS to disc with Toast.

Alternatively you can save a Disk Image from iDVD – you just need to change the permissions before opening the VIDEO_TS with myDVDEdit.

Aaron Nielsen

Chris,

I’m editing a video at the moment in Final Cut Express 3.5, where the source clips and the final sequence are 16:9 anamorphic. The problem is that I can export a FCE movie, which preserves chapters but not anamorphism, or I can convert it to QuickTime or MPEG4, with which I can force the resolution but which (amazingly) doesn’t keep the chapters.

Workaround: Convert to QuickTime, use iMovie or GarageBand to re-insert the chapters, re-encode the movie as MPEG4, and feed that into iDVD.

Better workaround: Export as (4:3) FCE movie, use iDVD to make a DVD image (or VIDEO_TS folder) complete with chapters, and use myDVDEdit to change the main video title from 4:3 to 16:9. That last step took less than three minutes on an 86-minute movie.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you in advance for how much time this is going to save me on this project. I’d never heard of myDVDEdit before, and I don’t understand all of its features yet, but the anamorphism problem is a real pet peeve and I’m glad to have something that works for me so easily.

Many thanks,

Aaron

-chris

Yer welcome! It was a problem that was driving me crazy and after some exhaustive googling I found it. As with you, I still don’t understand many of the features of the program but for the issue we have it works great.

Pike

Do you think you could have used DVD studio pro? I have been using Apples pro software for a couple years and it makes sense that Apple has their software work the way it does.

iLife apps are simple for consumers. Pro apps have 100 fold more settings and options.
So when you go from Final to iDVD there will be mishaps.

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