OK, Sopranos Season One is the odd one of the lot as it contains four episodes on the first 3 discs compared to the Second and Third seasons, which mainly contain three episodes over all four discs. On Season One, they wasted the space of the fourth disc with only the Season Finale and a few mini-documentaries.
My objective is to see how the ‘longer movie’ compression enhancements implemented in DVD2One 1.1.2 would improve Sopranos S1 in Full Movie mode. Another objective is to maintain the best/most Audio Options with minimal digital artifacts. It has been previously reported (w/ v1.1.1) that the only way to get an acceptable copy of S1 was to retain only the 2.0 Dolby Surround Audio track using the IfoEdit/DVD2ONE “movie only” method.
Setting One - my most preferred: Full Movie - keeping 5.1 and 2.0 Directors Comments = no good. Noticeable artifacts, but better than a previous IfoEdit/DVD2ONE Movie Only back-up I had done with V 1.1.1 (plus in losing IfoEdit in the process, much faster)
Setting Two - keeping 5.1 only - Same Pixelation
Setting Three - keeping 2.0 Dolby Surround only - looks pretty much the same as One and Two
Setting Four - keeping 2.0 Dolby Surround and 2.0 Directors Comments - looks pretty much the same as One, Two, and Three
Setting Five - DVDShrink 1.0.3 - In the Customize section, I saw that the 5.1 is .5+ G, the 2.0 about .25 G, and the Director Comments - .08 G. I fit level 4 compression, only kept the 2.0 Surround with Still Movie compression on the Menus. - Result = A working disc that is has more artifacts than any DVD2ONE method. At least I used this tool to get a good read on the sizes of all associated files - a possible addition for DVD2ONE?
Setting Six - IfoEdit/DVD2ONE Movie Only - 5.1 and 2.0 Director’s Comments - This was the same method I used with V1.1.1 to produce a slightly pixelated S1 copy. Setting One produced the same quality while keeping all the extras, so there is an improvement with longer movies with V 1.1.3, just not to my video standards. When the compression engine improves enough to handle Full Movie’s on this disc, then that’s the day DVD2ONE is a perfect tool. RESULTS: Still noticeable, but less Pixelation
Verdict - Full Movies Setting - 2.0 Surround + 2.0 Directors Comments on Disc One, 5.1 on discs 2 and 3, Full Movies with everything on disc 4.
This keeps all menu functionality, which is excellent, and all features. For the barely more noticeable Pixelation, it’s worth it going with these settings. There is room for improvement as more advanced compression becomes available before claiming that this DVD collection has been tamed to acceptable video standards; but hand’s down, it’s the best there is as of May 2003.