FCE/ZI8 exporting HD quality

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by UKBorgs, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. UKBorgs macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #1
    Looks like FCE is getting a pasting today, but I need some help.

    I have just brought a ZI8 which I have some videos in 720p/60 fps and the quality played is fine when played on QT.

    However, I have been told to convert the base file with MPEG Streamclip to QT at these settings,

    Compression : Apple Intermediate Codec
    Quality : 100%
    Frame size : 1280x720 (HDTV 720p)
    Interlaced : Unticked

    And then I tell it to "Make Movie".

    The output of which I then import into FCE and the quality of sound and video in the canvas appears just as good.

    However, I then attempt to export the amended FCE file into both H.264 and MPEG4 compression, both of which seem to degrade the quality of the video.

    Can some please please please help me out here at this stage of the settings to export my HD 720p ZI8 video out of FCE (once it has been edited) into a HD movie format ultimately for DVD and YouTube?

    Thanks if you can and I can provide more details if it helps.
     
  2. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #2
    Why can't you just log and transfer the clips directly into FCE? I have the Kodak Playsport, which is the waterproof version of the Zi8, and I just import the clips into iMovie, which transcodes them to AIC. I'm not sure why FCE would be any different.
     
  3. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Umm never considered that. I can connect my zi8 to my mac book pro and download the core files. But I thought you had to convert them. By what you're saying, THAT process in MPEG Streamclip may be the culprit.

    So let's say I download the files direct from my zi8, import into FCE and then export the final edited film; what settings should I use from FCE? Also is that the process you follow with your sport? Thanks for the advice and help
     
  4. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #4
    Ok, I might have been wrong when it comes to FCE and importing h.264 clips. It appears that you have to transcode them to AIC or ProRes first. MPEG Streamclip can do that, as you know.

    What settings are you using when you export your edited movie to h.264? And what are you seeing as far as picture quality degradation? Is is jerky (framerate issue), too soft/pixelated (probably a bit-rate issue), or something else?
     
  5. advres Guest

    advres

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    What were your settings to export to h.264? I use FCP so I'm unsure if this is an option but this is what I do. For ****** quality viewing quicktimes I export "using quicktime conversion" set it to h.264 and restrict the data rate to 1200 kbits/sec. For HD quality I do the same but limit the data rate to 5500 kbits/sec.

    If you don't have these options then I don't know what to say. It isn't the mpeg streamclip conversion because it plays fine in your viewer. It is too low of quality settings on your export.
     
  6. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #6
    Thanks and it appears to me that there are many options to choose from. Ok so we believe that the MPEG conversion is not having an effect; probably true as the video does look to fine in FCE. So the issue is the export from FCE then.

    The output does not appear to be as high quality as the original. (I know this as I played the original and output side by side) From what I can see it's my output settings then.
    So what's the suggestion? I want 720p but what should the file output be and then associated settings
     
  7. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2010
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    England
    #7
    Apart from the setting the h.264 and the 1280x720 I have also set the data at 3000. Is this the problem?
     
  8. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #9
    Thanks for the advice. I have never had to do that before with any Apple piece of kit, but I am obviously missing the obvious. I shall go and have a look.
     
  9. spice weasel macrumors 65816

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    Jul 25, 2003
    #10
    Well, video editing and encoding can be complicated, so it helps to familiarize yourself with the concepts and techniques. Good luck.
     
  10. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #11
    Installing, filiming and editing all appeared a little too easy for my liking!

    Looked up the manual and it looks like I have to set the data rate as high as possible for the best quality. (Helpful for others out there!) I have been at the 3000 mark so far and thought that would be enough but obviously not, so I shall try something higher tonight and compare the two.

    I'm thinking about the 5000 or more mark, but I realise this will increase the filesize.
     
  11. advres Guest

    advres

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    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Did you read my post? For good quality I don't go below 5500 kbits/sec for h264 encoding. File size is going to be big, but that is what you are going to have to deal with. Export it AIC full quality and h264 and look at the file size difference.
     
  12. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #13
    Advres - Cheers and yes I did read your post, but have yet to trial the settings yet.....things have been busy here.

    So above 5500 under H.264 it is then for HD! Hopefully it will mean I can upload things to youtube at that stage, though I know they have a 100mb limit on data size. We shall see and I promise to report back to here with my findings for others to learn from.
     
  13. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2010
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    England
    #14
    Ok I have attempted the file conversion for H.264 at two bit rates on the same 30 sec vid footage.

    6500 - file size 20MB
    10000 - file size 32MB


    This was with the same sound settings and 720p screen size. I attempted to load them on YT and both looked exactly the same, so I shall use the 5500 to 6500 setting.

    Obviously, this is all a game of offsetting bit rate to file size but can someone tell me why I should use H264 over and above MPEG-4? Whats the difference? Which is the best for web (YT) and then for DVD authoring?
     
  14. UKBorgs thread starter macrumors member

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    England
    #16
    Fair enough. I get the impression that I have annoyed you so I shall close this thread.
     
  15. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #17
    As advres said, h.264 is mpeg-4. More accurately, it is a variant of the mpeg-4 algorithm. The reason to use h.264 is that it is a more efficient codec, allowing for more compression for the same video quality. The trade-off is that it is more processor intensive to encode than standard mpeg-4. On the flip-side, however, h.264 is easier on computers to process on the viewing end.

    In general, use h.264 as it is a more advanced and more efficient codec.
     
  16. advres Guest

    advres

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    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Boston
    #18
    If I was annoyed I would stop posting. I was just telling you the facts and showing you a link is easier for me then typing the differences out. :)
     

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