FCE - Working with HDV Footage

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by superman666, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. superman666 macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2007
    I kind of asked this question before but noone really awnsered, so I thought i'd try again.

    I filmed in HDV, 1080i, and have been editing in FCE for a while. It's been working great, and now i understand that FCE converts HDV into AIC. So, since i'm done editing, i can't seem to export it without significant reduction in quality.

    I.E. Basically i'm looking at the source clips in AIC, and i'm like WOW! I feel like i can touch the leaves i've filmed. I want to export my footage and make it look like that, but it never is. It never outputs looking like HD. Any advice on the best output settings for 1080i HDV video?
  2. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Final Cut Pro comes with an HDV codec, I thought FCE was the same way?

    Anyway, if you uncheck the "recompress all frames" check box, and render using exactly the same settings you've captured with (codec, dimensions, framerate, etc), you will not experience any quality loss because the video is not reprocessed.

    Additionally, if you uncheck the "make movie self-contained" box, it will reference the video from your source files during playback, so definitely no recompression there.

    I think the real thing, though, depends on how you're looking at it. HDV (converted to AIC or not) looks pretty crappy at 100%. While you're editing, I'm assuming you have it scaled down a whole bunch in a window, which always makes stuff look a lot better and more crisp.

    So perhaps the best solution is to output a file that's scaled down 50% or more? ;)
  3. superman666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2007
    Thanks for responding, but i lack the intelligence to properly use what you've just told me. Can you explain that in steps as if i were a monkey lol. Where is the 'recompress all frames', and are you talking about exporting as a quicktime movie or using quicktime conversion?
  4. bennyboi macrumors regular


    Jun 1, 2006
    West Coast
    when u export- just export to quicktime movie (no conversion). Look for options at the bottom of the dialogue box that say: recompress all frames. Leave those unchecked. Recompression is bad. When finished, you'll have a quicktime movie that looks like a fcp icon. When u try playing this in the OS, it will choke and not want to play back. If you're going to dvd, drop the file in dvd stu or idvd. In this process- your video will be significantly chopped in compressing the file as all dvd videos are (it's an mpeg 2 compression), so the leaves may lose some detail.
    Also, when you're viewing the file in quicktime- keep in mind quicktime is SCALING DOWN your file JUST FOR PLAYBACK. You're not natively viewing 1080i so it's going to look fuzzy because the software is working to cut the data only for viewing purposes. Fear not. Try making your dvd and see what it looks like on a tv. If you have a macbook pro or mac pro capable of displaying native HD, then you can see what it looks like, but sounds like you don't have that option. But don't worry- you shot and edited in hd, so when it down converts to dvd, it will look better that anything shot on dv (pixel wise).

    By the way- what is your intended delivery? DVD / Web ? How long is the peice? This is pretty important for ensuring highest quality possible / minimal compression / reasonable file size
  5. scamateur macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Are you exporting back out to HDV tape, or to a high-definition-spec Quicktime file?

    I had quality issues with iMovieHD and HDV editing. I thought it was due to the use of AIC, or just to iMovieHD, but I was never sure.
  6. superman666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2007
    Thanks for replying, but all I wanted was to test how my MBP and my camera handles HDV footage. It's about 3 minutes, and i was planning on just exporting as a quicktime file, and play it back. That's also because I heard MBP's can't burn HDV? That could be wrong though. Basically I just want to play it back somehow IN HD.
  7. scamateur macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2007
    I suppose I'm not really helping, then...

    ... but your MBP should handle anything (playing, editing, converting) you want to do with HDV just fine. It won't work as fast as a Mac Pro or a PC workstation, but it should work great anyway.

    If you want to see HDV output, you must output your project in an HDV format -- which means HDV tape or AVCHD (back to the camera), Blu-Ray or HD-DVD (which OSX doesn't yet support), or Quicktime at HD specs (1920x1080). Or Windows Media, which isn't going to happen.

    My experience with Quicktime HD was not good, with the finished product looking nothing as good as the source. My HDV-tape output from iMovieHD was substandard, too -- so I've been waiting to get a new MBP or iMac so that I could use FCE or FCP (which will edit native HDV, for a price!), in hopes of getting better results.
  8. superman666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2007
    I understand what you guys are saying, but I really don't understand that if I look at the SOURCE CLIPS that I captured (in my Videos/Capture Scratch/FOOTAGE folder), and than look at my final product... I really don't understand why the quality gets that much worse. Is there a way to make it into a quicktime file, uncompressed, so FCE doesn't have to 'mess with it'. I don't care if its some massive file, I just want to play it back on my computer at the same viewing quality as the original clips. Even when I export:using quicktime conversion, and MATCH all the original specifications of the source clips, it still outputs a worse quality.
  9. galetto macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2009
    same problem

    Dear people her ein the forum hallo supermann 666,
    my name´is Joerg and i have the same problem. I capture video material with my HDV-Camcorder, the original files viewed with my popcornhour Multimedia player lookes wonderful crispy sharp without sticking ( hope this is the right word for that waht i mean!?!? ) If i import the same clip into FCE and export it with several setting ( i realy tried it out systematically ) the result is far away from the original !!!! That means it looks like there is a softener added to the video or a blurr, but the pictures are far behind the original picture quality. I tried it out with a full HD Tv also with a beamer ( 1280*720 ) and with my popcornhour multimedia player and also with the latest PlayStation!
    I capture in 1440*1080 60i (i purchased the camera in the US ! )
    So i would be very glad if somebody knows a solution for this problem or just to let me know if it makes sense to proceed with FCE ! For me it is important that i receive the same picture quality the camera gives me ( of course any coding decodng occures losses, but i think not so obvious! )
    I appreciate any answer! Thank you! kind regards from germany joerg!
  10. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    I here feel compelled to point out that your footage is compressed to begin with, so your analysis is somewhat flawed. HDV is thoroughly compressed and the original quality is actually more compressed than AIC. But Final Cut does have to "mess with it," because the capture process is the act of playing back footage and recording it into a quicktime container around the original footage (which would ordinarily be an .m2t mpeg-2 transport file).

    That said, you say your source clips look fine. Is your sequence in HDV at the right specifications? I've watched a lot of people dumping their footage into DV sequences and ultimately crunching it to DV resolution and quality. Check your sequence settings in final cut and make sure they're correct.

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