About H.264 Video

You can use the H.264 video format, also known as MPEG-4 part 10 and the Advanced Video Codec (AVC), in your HD projects. The H.264 encoder is twice as efficient as the standard MPEG-2 encoder. When compared to encoding with MPEG-2, this means that with the H.264 encoder:

While DVD Studio Pro does not include an embedded H.264 encoder, Compressor includes presets specifically for use in HD projects. You are able to modify these presets to suit your specific needs.

Important: You must use H.264 for HD DVD presets in Compressor to encode H.264 video assets for native use in DVD Studio Pro HD projects.

Natively Supported H.264 Formats

DVD Studio Pro natively supports the following H.264 formats. Native support means that the files are not reencoded when they are imported into the appropriate NTSC or PAL HD project. In some cases, however, frames may be set to repeat during playback to create the HD DVD specification’s required frame rate.

NTSC HD projects natively support the following formats:

  • 720p24

  • 720p30

  • 720p60

  • 1080p24

  • 1080p30

PAL HD projects natively support the following formats:

  • 720p25

  • 720p50

  • 1080p25

H.264 Bit Rates

The process of choosing a bit rate for H.264 video is similar to choosing a bit rate for MPEG-2 video—the higher the bit rate the better the quality, but the more disc space that is required. In general, you are able to use lower bit rates than you would use with an MPEG-2 encoder.

While the maximum bit rates you can use are identical to MPEG-2 video, the minimum bit rates are lower.

Video format
MPEG-2 range
H.264 range
Standard definition
2.0 Mbps to 15.0 Mbps
0.5 Mbps to 15 Mbps
High definition
2.0 Mbps to 29.4 Mbps
1.5 Mbps to 29.4 Mbps

Important: It is strongly suggested that you use H.264 bit rates of 18 Mbps or less to ensure DVD compatibility.

H.264 Frame Sync Setting

The H.264 encoder in Compressor contains a Frame Sync setting. This setting defines how often the encoder places a key frame, similar to an MPEG-2 I-frame, in the stream. The value is in seconds, with one half second increments. The range is from 0.5 seconds to 5.0 seconds.

The smaller the Frame Sync value is, the more key frames are placed in the stream, which results in better quality but with a larger file size. Higher values result in a smaller file but with reduced quality.

The Frame Sync setting does not affect where you can place markers in the Track Editor. Due to the structure of the H.264 stream, you are able to place a marker about every half second.