I'm capturing video for tutorial DVDs. What are the best settings so text stays sharp?

DVDs are kind of an extreme case. The MPEG2 codec is a lot less effective than modern compressed formats like MPEG4 or h.264 and tends to produce block artifacts which are very bad for anything text-related. Then you have a low resolution and the PAL / NTSC color and resolution differences.

So in order to get the best results for your target market:

  • Choose a capture resolution as close to the DVD resolution as possible.
  • Don't ever encode anamorphic video, as this will absolutely destroy text legibility
  • This means: 704 x 480 px (NTSC) or 704 x 576 px (PAL)
  • Capture best quality, avoid capturing compressed material
  • Then use the best MPEG2 compressor you can possibly find
  • Definitely compress in multipass. More passes mean less artifacts and better sharpness
  • Choose the highest bitrate you can get. Absolutely don't compromise here, DVD capacity is cheap and as mentioned before: MPEG2 is bad for text

Definitely take a look at Screenium's User Guide for general tips on improving capture quality

You can find it in Screennium's Help Menu or for download here.