FCE output resolution too low

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ginafarr, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. ginafarr macrumors newbie

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    California
    #1
    Hi -

    I'm new to MAC, jumped ship recently from Windows to produce multimedia faster and easier. But not going fast or easy!

    ~Project:

    98% high rez still photography + 2% standard def footage

    Issue using FCE 4:

    I'm outputting project using QT conversion (720 x 480) which produces a movie that looks substantially lower in resolution than Windows QT export (different program used to create movie) or Soundslides Flash output. I've set everything I can find in FCE to the highest quality settings. Took this to the MAC Store and they didn't know what to advise.

    Hope you guys can help me.

    ~Possible error on my part:

    I didn't know to set up the FCE timeline resolution for my project before I starting placing images and rendering.

    When I go to export movie using QT conversion, the sequence shows movie setting dimensions of 477 x 357 (Current).

    Although I change the size for export, the results look like 450 x 350 to me.

    Then when I reopen the program and go to export, I will see the same old 477 x 357 (Current) size.

    ~Question:

    How can I produce a DVD quality movie from what I've already done? Do I need to redo this whole project (I'm holding my breath, it's a big project).

    Thank you a million for any insights and help.

    Gina
     
  2. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #2
    You didn't mention which codec you used when exporting with QuickTime Conversion; some codecs produce better quality than others. Also, if you open the movie in QT Player, hit Command j and see if HIGH QUALITY is checked for the video track.

    DVD-Video uses MPEG-2 at a reasonably high bit rate. Is that the codec you used?

    -DH
     
  3. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #3
    This is a huge red flag for me... For standard def DV footage, the resolution should be 720x480. If your sequence settings aren't set to this, then that is a major problem.
     
  4. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thanks DH ...

    I used every non-pal codec for comparison, looking at the assortment of movies I exported, command J shows either DV/DVCPRO or H.264 as the video compression format.

    I don't see an option or listing anywhere for "high quality".

    [And re the MPEG-2 -- oh, what a headache that's been! If there's a way to save and burn using MPEG-2, I could burn Windows and Mac movies using iDVD for a consistent menu look. I don't see a save option for "DVD-Video". I'm using Final Cut Express, BTW.

    Here's my ubderstanding about MPEG's on Macs:

    QT can play MPEG-2 as long as I've bought and installed the plug-in (which I have). However, QT (iDVD) can't encode MPEG-2. So what I've had to do is either suffer big resolution loss exporting Windows movies in DV/progressive so that I can use iDVD --or-- import the Windows mpeg movie into FC and export using the NTSC option. If you know how I can work in MPEG-2, that would make my future life dreamy!]


    bigbossbmb ...

    This is what I tried as work-arounds:

    1. Started a new project, easy set up to DV-NTSC.
    Copied and pasted the old movie into the 720 x 480 timeline.
    Output using either QT or DV stream set to 720 x 480 (movie setting shows quality = high).
    Same poor resolution.

    2. Started a new project, easy set up to DV-NTSC.
    Imported a short MPEG-2 file (created on Windows, standard def, looks good on a T.V.) into 720 x 480 timeline to test.
    Export using QT conversion -- and lo and behold, in Options, I see that the movie size shows 477 x 268!

    3. Started new project, easy set up to DV-NTSC
    Imported a high resolution png image (12MB) into 720 x 480 timeline.
    Export using QT conversion -- yikes!, in Options, I see the same damn movie size of 477 x 268.

    4. Started a new project, easy set up to DV-NTSC.
    Selected NTSC in format (I had let it default to "all formats" in first 3 above)
    Imported a different high resolution png image (15MB) into timeline.
    477 x 377!

    Oh, man, this makes no sense to me.

    Is this size (Current) thing a red herring? Does everyone's movie settings show low resolution as Current size in the QT options, Movie Settings export window?
     
  5. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    One more...

    5. Started new project, chose Apple codec 1080i.
    Import 15 MB jpeg.
    Export using QT, option window shows dimensions = 477 x 268 (Current)

    I can change the size by clicking on size and specifying, for example, 720 x 480, but going back to my original issue, the output for this process looks about half the resolution of the Windows MPEG 720 x 480 movie.
     
  6. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #6
    In the DV/NTSC timeline, export doing File>Export>Quicktime Movie... do not use QT Conversion. Going with QT Movie, you'll export at exactly the settings of the timeline.

    Could you post a screen grab of a frame of the "poor resolution" you're getting in FCP's export and a comparison shot to WMM?
     
  7. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Ok, will do.

    New to Mac, what do I use for screen capture?
     
  8. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Ah, Mac is so helpful!

    Ok, I've got a comparison screen shot: new vs. old

    Hi rez Image placed into 720 x 480 timeline
    Exported using QT movie

    = Image on left


    Old movie in need of rescue, unknown resolution
    Exported using QT Conversion, quicktime movie, option changed from 477 x 356 to NTSC 720 x 480

    = image on right

    [Image on left is close to Windows MPEG-2 results]
     

    Attached Files:

  9. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #9
    the image on the left looks fine, so open up the sequence settings of the trouble sequence and change them to the proper (720x480 DV/NTSC) settings.
     
  10. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    We're back to my initial question.

    I get the same poor results as the image on the right after opening the trouble sequence and setting sequence properties to 720 x 480 and then exporting using either QT or QT conversion.

    I can only get the results on the left by placing an image in a new 720 x 480 timeline.

    Do you know a way I can rescue my movie? It's nearly 80 images with intricate transitions...
     
  11. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #11
    Where are you going to be seeing the movie? In an widescreen TV?

    I am currently doing some videos with still images and some animations and at first have the same problem you have. All my movies looked horrible.

    But I have found the solution for my case. I used Apple Intermediate Codec, then selected the option below it that says HDV 1080i. And in size I just leave the native compressor size, and then once exported I change the size of the video in Quicktime to 1280x720 and select High Quality.

    I hope this helps.:)
     
  12. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Hi thanks Roco. Nice images on flickr BTW.

    I tried your technique. I'm oh so sorry to say that I'm getting a similar result to the image quality on the left. (FYI, I have QT Pro and saw only an option to export in order to select the settings you suggested, 720 x 480, best quality)

    The problem must be a factor of the resolution of the timeline when I initially placed the images, then rendered in low resolution.

    Is there any way to relink to originals and force a re-render?


    Destinations: DVD 4:3 and Flash for web 600 x 450
     
  13. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #13
    OK, now I think I understand your situation.

    You have a project you made, and already exported it to a QT movie, but the quality is horrible. Here there is nothing you can do about it, no way to improve the quality of that file.:(

    My suggestion above was using FCE, not QT. So...

    Try this:
    -Go to FCE and export your movie using Quicktime Conversion. Then click Options. After that go to Settings and select H.264 as the compression type. Make sure you put the Quality to Best.

    Then click OK and go to the button Size. There you can select the output size of your movie. For some reason, which I don't know about, it would appear as a different size in QT. But to solve this just change the aspect ration in QT and save. Also make sure to select High Quality in QT.

    Then see if the quality is good. If it is not, try using instead of H.264 the Apple Intermediate Codec. It seems this only works for widescreen, but I have had success to play my movies in a 4:3 TV without problems.

    If you still get bad quality with this, keep trying different settings. It should eventually work.:) (It worked for me at least:D)

    One last comment. MAke sure you view your movie in your TV. It might look bad in your computer screen, but look good in your TV.
     
  14. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Dear Roco --

    Thanks for your suggestions. You are all kind to help me.

    I WISH that I hadn't already tried all the options you suggested, but alas...

    I've tried every option for exporting from FCE with the recent addition of your interesting 1080i option. No matter what I do, the images come out looking like the ferns on the right. It's only when I start a whole new timeline with initial proper settings that I get a higher resolution result (fern image on left).

    You think I rendered the old movie to death?

    And does anyone know if there's a way to use the layout, but re-render the input so that the output is improved?

    I did watch it on my TV, and tho it is better as you say, it is significantly worse resolution than the PC developed movie on the T.V. The difference in resolution is consistent as in the fern comparison screen grab.

    ***And can anyone show me the check box for "High Quality"? I'm using QT Pro and absolutely do not see that check box option anywhere.
     
  15. anim8or macrumors 65816

    anim8or

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    Scotland, UK
    #15
    If you want DVD quality, do you mean you want to burn to DVD? If so you should be exporting using QT conversion>codec set to 'none', millions of colors+, best quality.

    when burning to dvd the movie file gets compressed so to compress it during export only degrades the movie more when burning to dvd.
     
  16. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    I'm burning your idea now, see if it'll fit on a DVD.

    21 GB

    woohooo!
     
  17. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Ok, so I do see some improvement when watching the compression=none DVD on a T.V.

    The resolution is still far less than the Windows equivalent, however. From what I can garner, the difference is that I can output in MPEG-2 on the PC, but FCE works in a DV environment.

    FCP allows me to export using other loss-less codecs (DV50, ProRes, or 8 or 10-bit uncompressed) and so I'd have somewhere to go.

    As it is, looks like I'll need to find FC Pro and experiment with that. I don't know if I need to re-create this whole enchilada.

    It's looking more like I'll have to do that.

    Aside from the DV issue, I think there's something else going on that I can't put a finger on. Something happened to the resolution of my movie BEFORE I got to export...

    Wish I knew more about the program and process!

    Thanks to all for trying to help me. I appreciate your generosity.

    Gina
     
  18. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #18
    You shouldn't need to use FC Pro to get good results. But you may have to start the project from scratch again.

    I guess you have tried starting a new project with the correct Easy Setup from the beginning and then just Copy all your work from your previous timeline, right?

    I wish there was something extra I could suggest. I really see no reason why it isn't working. Correct me if I am wrong, but you started your Timeline with the setup of DV-NTSC and then tried all the previous option with that project?
     
  19. ginafarr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Yup, tried the copy and paste into a 720 x 480 timeline. No difference.

    And I haven't a clue what the timeline resolution was when I started the project. Didn't do easy set up at all. People at the Mac Store glared at me, lol.

    Guess I know now!

    Folks at Creative Cow swear that I'm seeing a loss from DV timeline. I don't have FCP, so I'm not sure what's the next best solution.

    Thanks, Roco.
     

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