Codec queries

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by nickane, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. nickane macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    I'm a compositor editing my showreel in FCP and was wondering what kind of workflow ppl would recommend for me. I've made some sample clips of a shot from Shake using various codecs, and it seems that animation, component dvcpro50, pixlet and dvcpro offer the best image, with compression ratios ascending in that order. H264, which wikipedia tells me can be a lossless codec (didn't know that), looks very lossy even at "best" setting. In fact, I think I prefer the look of sorensen 3, at almost half the file size, which surprises me, cos I thought sorensen was relatively old news.

    This is, of course, all subjective. I was just wondering what other ppl thought the best compromise was. I have enough space to work in uncompressed although my hdd can't keep up, so I need to use something. I have all my original shake scripts and aFX projects, cineons, plus uncompressed QTs of the files I want to use. Does anyone know how easy it is to turn an offline edit into an online edit by replacing lossy clips with uncompressed ones in FCP? Is that not the best workflow? And, if so, what codec would you recommend?

    Thanks, would love to know what u guys think about all this, every time I use one of these bits of software, the drop-down menus make my head spin. I'm not really looking forward to opening up compressor again either (haven't touched my reel in almost 6 months).
  2. bleachthru macrumors member


    Nov 13, 2003
    I personally prefer to work in PhotoJPEG whenever possible. The file size is huge, but the playback quality is fantasic, and not having to deal with keyframes is a plus. I typically build content for media servers which I then use for live playback and manipulation. I have found PhotoJPEG to be by far the smoothest of the formats. Hope this helps.
  3. nickane thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    Cheers for that, hadn't tried that one and it looks ok. The file size is relatively small, if anything, at about half the size of h264 when both are at best setting, from what i can see.
  4. cdarlington1 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2006
    St. John's, Newfoundland

    I use animation exclusively because, although it's "lossless", it is VBR, which means the file will be smaller or bigger depending on what's going on in the shot...lot's of 2 cents...
  5. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    the file size will be huge for anything thats not solid colors.

    works well for LiveType and vector animations only, anything else, jeez thats a big file!

    for real, live, video, stick with the original source codec?
  6. faustfire macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2002
    You should always work with some type of lossless codec (uncompressed 8bit, animation, etc.) until your final export. First rule of animation/motion graphics/compositing. If your drive cant handle uncompressed I would suggest an external firewire drive.

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