Video editing & encoding software questions.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by absolut_mac, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #1
    A few months ago I asked this forum for recommendations to convert my DVDs, mostly educational ones, to Quicktime for convenience, smaller file sizes and ease of sharing.

    I followed your recommendations and used Handbrake and was very pleased with the results.

    For the first time last night I used iMovie to edit a few them, mostly just combining a few short clips, less than 3 minutes each, and was disappointed in the huge amount of time that it took - almost 45 minutes to combine less than 6 minutes of video. And to make matters worse, it also degraded the video quality trashing Handbrake's outstanding video conversions.

    For ease of use and in order to speed up this entire process I realize that the free apps aren't going to cut it for me, so I don't mind buying some apps if it makes my job faster and easier.

    Keeping in mind that I have very limited knowledge about video editing and encoding, coupled with the fact that I don't need complicated edits and mixing, what are the best video apps for my needs?

    Educational pricing for Avid's Media Composer is about the same price as FCProX. Sure I won't use more than 1% of what these programs offer, but my kids will make use of them plus the fast rendering and encoding times alone are worth it to me.

    For my needs, which one is faster and/or easier to use, Avid of FCPro? Do I need Compressor4 if I get FCPro? And lastly, does Avid Media include Compressor like functions in it, or do I need a separate app for those features too?

    Thanks in advance for your help and patience in helping this old fogey sort through these myriad options.
     
  2. macrumors demi-god

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    What are the specs of the Mac you are using? What settings did you use in Handbrake? Highly compressed codecs, while great for saving space, are very processor intensive to work with and can quickly bog a computer down.

    I wouldn't recommend Avid at all as it's totally the wrong tool for this job (akin to using a sledge hammer to swat flies).
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #3
    I used the highest quality output preset on Handbrake and then fine tuned it as per the instructions from a forum member by increasing the Constant Quality RF from 20 to 18. It did increase the file sizes slightly and I was happy with the result as it was virtually indistinguishable from the original.


    Last night I used iMovie to combine 2 short clips with a total running time of less than 6 minutes. Not only did it take so long, but as mentioned above it degraded Handbrake's outstanding conversion - from VOB to mp4 - quite significantly.

    I'm using a 2 year old i5 Mac Mini with 16G of RAM, the first ones without an optical drive. I do intend to upgrade it as soon as the new Haswell ones are available. Hopefully some time before the end of the year.

    In the mean time I'll make do with what I have while improving both my knowledge and video editing skills.

    Your thoughts on what best fits my needs for fast encoding while maintaining a reasonably high quality output would be greatly appreciated.

    The best example I can give of what I'm looking for is something along the lines of what Apple has done with their HD movies of which I own a few. File sizes considerably smaller than the original Blu Ray discs while video quality only takes a small hit.
     
  4. Miguel Cunha, Sep 12, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Miguel Cunha

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    Braga, Portugal
    #4
    Avid Media composers has its own export module. No need for additional software.
    However, if you Acquire Avid Media Composer you'll get a bundle of software, including Sorenson Squeeze which is one of the best encoding softwares out there, with tons of configurable presets. If you had a NVIDIA GPU, Squeeze would use it to accelerate processing.

    More information here: http://www.avid.com/US/products/Media-Composer#Everythingyouneed


    One other solution that really speeds things up is Elgato Turbo.H264 HD with a small USB hardware processor that will boost convertion speed and lets you combine multiple input files in one output file and make some basic editing of which parts you want to convert. Has a lot of presets and works with other software like Toast. The only restriction that might affect your decision is that this product encodes solely in H264 and therefore will only produce MP4 files (.mp4, .m4v).

    You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Turbo-264-Encoder-Computers-10020196/dp/B0021AEPTY

    This last one is simpler and might suite your needs.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #5
    Thanks for the info on the Avid. The reviews on Amazon for the Elgato USB CPU like its convenience and speed, but aren't too enthusiastic about its video quality. Both FCProX and Avid Media Composer are only about $100 more, so it seems worthwhile to spend a little bit more for a much higher quality output.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    #6
    with quicktime pro you can easily combine clips together and export them to a new master clip.

    Granted you dont have any editing tools (fades, titles, etc) but I use it to quickly combine clips on the fly.

    Just via copy and paste funtions is how you do it. Select a portion or an entire clip and choose edit/copy. Then choose file/new. Then edit paste and you have that portion or clip pasted into a new file.. then hop to your next clip and copy a section and paste at the end of the clip you just created. Real quick.

    I use that method alot when dealing with tons of clips of footage I deal with, and when I only need a 5 sec section of a 5 min clip to send to graphics, I dont waste time re exporting from Premiere, I just go back to the original file, copy and paste to a new clip and choose save. It doesnt have to re-encode the media, it simply wraps as a self contained file, that also keeps the time code from the original media (which is important in the business to track back to where/when the clip came from).
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #7
    Keep in mind that the video quality won't be all that great no matter what solution you choose. You're ripping an already compressed SD source.

    Having said that, ignore Avid. As Lethal pointed out it's complete overkill for your needs. Just go with FCPX and you'll have a nice little editor when you're done for your kids or yourself, should you get into any hobbyist video work.
     
  8. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    Apple's "Quicktime", the version you have on you computer now will do a primitive form of editing. It has two features that combine to allow this. The first is that QT allows you to extract a clip and save it as a file. The other feature is "append to end" where you can append a saved clip to the end of another.

    I would not call this a true editor but it does allow you to trip clips and reassemble them and it is free.

    If you want a real video editor and you have a mac. get FCP X. It is very easy to use and takes advantage of features in Mac OS X. It can do the transcoding in the background and the quality is very good

    One note about video quality: The problem you have might be due to "generational loss" then is you are re-encoding to many times. So you get a copy of a copy of a copy where each copy s not as good as what it was copied rom. What you want to do is go back to the SOURCE. If that is the DVD then use that, if you still have the camera archive files then use that. Your DVDs are already compressed. Go back as as far upstream as you can. If all you have are the DVDs used those as your source cut the shoots you need off the DVD and edit in FCP X then "share" in the format you need

    FCP will convert everything you import into "Pro Res" format which is HUGE. ProRes video files are much larger then the compressed video you are importing, this way there is no loss in quality. FCP keep these huge files as the archive and it is what you work with while editing. Then after edit it will export in whatever format you like. Say something suitable for viewing on an iPhone. Then you can export again and it will uild some other format from the ProRes files, maybe this time suitable for a large screen TV as 1018p.

    It does take TIME for FCP to import and do the conversion to ProRes. FCP is slow and sluggish while it is doing this in the background unless you are using a very fast computer like a newer Mac Pro.

    So in summary. I'd either go with FCP X or just Quicktime
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Miguel Cunha

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    Braga, Portugal
    #9
    That's a fact.

    So is FCP, Premiere, Autodesk Smoke, and the list goes on.

    I think QuickTime Pro 7 does a very good job without distracting features.
    I use it for simple stuff, when i'm interested in working fast for coding.
    It's highly customizable, which is why I use it instead of QT X.
    And it's cheap.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #10
    Of course, but I was responding to a mention in his first post that his kids would likely get some use out of the software in the long run. And if he ever got more into video himself it would be useful.

    With that in mind, FCPX or Premiere would be good recommendations. Yeah, they're both overkill for this specific need. But much better suited for the hobbyist than Avid or Smoke.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Miguel Cunha

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    Braga, Portugal
    #11
    For simplicity, ease of use and better experience, I would undoubtely recommend FCP.
    Premiere is not straight forward or smoother.
    Specially when FCP is very similar to iMovie - which by itself is a great free tool - and therefore a natural upgrade if you will.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #12
    I downloaded a trial version of FCProX so I'll use it and compare it the QuickTime Pro method that you describe above and see how ease of use, speed and most important of all video quality compares.

    Thanks a lot for the useful tips and info. Hopefully many others will also gain from the useful tips that you posted in this thread.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #13
    Thanks for the info.

    People like me check out these sites, Avid, Adobe etc and the features look and sound great, but we don't have a clue as to how well they work and just as importantly how easy they are to learn and use.

    So thanks once again for the useful info.
     
  14. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    Apple dropped the "pro" version. Well at least there is no "Pro" version of the current Quicktime 10, quicktime 7 has a pro version.

    I think just the one and one version of the current release of QT is all you need. but it is primitive, just appending clips to the end.

    I think Apple is still suporting and even selling the old QT7 Pro but even if the current version is past 7 now. You will have to sort this out if you go this way.

    Generational loss has always been a problem. Even in the film era going back 100 years ago. They would make "work prints" and archive the camera's footage and try not to handle it to many times while at the same time avoiding making a copy of a copy of a copy.

    FPC X avids this by comverting you imports to uncompressed ProRes, at the expense of huge amounts of disk space. The every export goes back and uses the ProRes from the "event" folder.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #15
    I have 30 days to play with FCProX from the day that I first open and use it. I'm sure that it'll be an easy decision for me once I've done a few projects with both.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    figaro331

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    #16
    The best video converter ever.

    I'm using iFFmpeg- it's really high quality conversion which includes +250 advanced options and supports practically all current formats, easy to use, output to all contemporary devices, you can pick how many cores in your Mac the program will use. I'm using this for almost a month every day and I really love it. It costs only $20 or 15 euro. That was best $20 I've spent on this kind of software. Website : http://www.iffmpeg.com
    :):)
     

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