DVD Rebuilder Advanced Settings
While the third party utilities for tweaking DVD Reuilder encodes provide some great additional functionality, you really should start by looking at Rebuilder itself. Generally speaking, if you can do it in both Rebuilder and another program, it will be easier in Rebuilder. Even if all your tweaking will be done in other programs you at least need to put Rebuilder in Three Click Mode.
If there's only one button (Transcode) at the bottom of the DVD Rebuilder window, go to the Mode menu and select One Click Mode to uncheck it. You should now have 3 buttons (Prepare, Encode, & Rebuild) instead of one.
Starting with DVD Rebuilder 0.53, there's a setting for CCE Basic that's enabled called Quality_Prec. You can set this by going to the Options menu, then to CCE Options, and selecting Advanced (Expert) Settings. Quality_Prec is on the bottom left (the other settings don't apply to CCE Basic so you can ignore them) and is set by selecting a value from the dropdown list. In CCE Basic this is referred to as either Quantization Characteristics or Flat Part Priority. I like the second name because it describes what the setting does pretty well.
Setting this to a lower number will increase the number of bits available for motion and fine detail. Since this bitrate has to come from somewhere, it means that solid surfaces (flat parts) will get fewer bits. The default setting of 16 is fine for most encodes, but if you want to experiment you can set it lower to reserve more bits for motion or higher to get more bits for solid surfaces. If you set it too low you'll get a "banding effect" which essentially means that solid colors will appear to be made up of smaller bands or stripes of color. If you get this effect (whether you changed this number or not) you should raise the Quality_Prec number until you no longer get it. Of course that means that motion will get fewer bits, and with high enough compression you may have to make a compromise.
There are a couple of ways to add filters directly in DVD Rebuilder. The easiest is to do it indirectly using options like Half D1 (more detail later), but you can also use the built in AviSynth editor. On the Options menu, go to Advanced (Expert) Options, and select Filter Editor. That will open up the editor window where you can type in lines to be added to all AVS files. If there's something you want added only to select files you can still add them here, but you'll have to remove them manually (you can do this with Notepad) from any scripts you don't want them in. Alternatively, if there are only a couple of segments that you want to apply filters to, it's probably easier to manually edit just those files to add the lines. All lines you add here will be inserted right before resizing (right after the Trim filter), so if that isn't where you want the lines, you may want to use RB-Opt to edit scripts with. Also make sure you don't put in any blank lines.
When you have the desired lines entered, click the Save & Exit button or click the Quit button to cancel. See the beginning of this guide for more information on AviSynth filters.
Resolution And Bitrate
The quality of your final DVD is partly dependent on the number of bits per pixel for each frame. In some cases there's an advantage to having a lower bitrate for certain titles because it allows you to use those bits for a more important titles (ie reduce trailers to improve the main movie). If you reduce the number of pixels in half by resizing, but keep the bitrate the same, each pixel now has around twice the bitrate it had at full size. This means that if you drop the resolution you can also drop the bitrate and keep similar quality (on smaller screens) as you started with. The downside is that you have less detail since each pixel will now have to fill twice as much space on the screen. The smaller your screen, the less difference this makes, but with very large screens it can be very evident no matter how well it's done.
There are a couple of ways of changing the resolution and bitrate, and while there's some redundancy, it's just a result of adding specific features when they were requested and then adding more later on with similar functionality. I'm going to focus on using the Steal Space and Resize To Half D1 options.
On the Mode menu there's an option called Steal Space From Extras. There are 3 options - 25%, 33%, and 50%. This is the level of reduction and not the final size, so 25% means 25% less. If you decide to steal more than 25% of a title's bitrate you should seriously consider resizing it as well. If the compression level is already high, you may need to consider this even at 25%. If your disc has more than one "main movie", like a TV series, don't use this option as Rebuilder will only recognize 1 main movie per disc and everything else is considered extras. If you have a disc like that and want to reduce the bitrate for some of the titles, you should look at RB-Opt later on in this guide. If you want to resize, on the Settings menu, go to AVS Options, then to Advanced (Expert) Options, and Resize To Half D1. There will be a list of titles to be encoded and you can select one or more of them to be reduced to slightly less than half their original resolution (most DVDs are 720 pixels wide but Half D1 is only 352 wide).
Written by: Rich Fiscus