help with encoding HD video from Final Cut

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ay98182, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. ay98182 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I'm a bit of a newbie with video encoding so would appreciate any advice.

    I've shot a film on the RED one camera and our editor and colourist worked with Final Cut and in 1920x1080. I've exported this as a single Apple ProRes HQ Quicktime and used the 'DVD: High Quality 90 mins' setting in Compressor - and then used DVD studio pro to burn (all this is using Final Cut Studio 2). It looks great on the DVD.

    I'm sending out the short to various film festivals and some of them allow you to upload the film, which saves burning and sending out a DVD. I want basically the same quality/size I have on the DVD (comes to about 560mb). And I want it to play easily without stuttering on most computers.

    When I use the 'DVD high quality' setting in Compressor it creates 2 files (one audio ac3, one video m2v) - if I reimport into FCP, connect up audio and video, and try to export as a single Quicktime with 'Current Settings', it crashes for some reason.

    How do I replicate the 'DVD high quality' settings but set Compressor to create one file? Is the 'm2v' (MPEG2) format a good one to use in any case? It seems to take an age to open in my Quicktime, but then runs fine - I've also tried the H.264 codec for another film and that seems to work badly on slower computers given the compression.

    Thanks for any help in advance!
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    Sep 7, 2008
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    forlod bygningen
    #2
    H264 (MPEG-4 variant) is a more efficient and storage space saving codec than MPEG-2 is.
    Of course it will use more CPU, but it is safe to assume, that a film festival will have one or more computers that are able to handle an SD video encoded with H264.

    How much CPU use do you get while playing the H264 encoded video on what CPU?

    I can play 1080p video, encoded with H264 and using the .mov or .mkv container just fine on my two and a half year old iMac with 2GHz and relatively low CPU usage of about 20 to 40% on both cores together (if maximum usage of both cores amounts to 100%).
     
  3. ay98182 thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2007
    #3
    Yep, on my MacBook Pro 2.33Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, playing a 1080p H.264 .mov file at 30fps, I'm also using about 40% of my CPU (based on what it says on Activity Monitor).

    I think its always better to be safe than sorry with these things - it's terrifying just how technologically inept (and ill-equipped) people involved in the administrative side of the film/TV business can be (recently my producer was arranging a screening and called up a large London cinema to ask if they had 2K capabilities, and they didn't even know what that was!). And some of these are fairly small festivals.

    I tried to play the same 1080p .mov on my friend's PC and it was stuttering so much it was unwatchable. It definitely wasn't an ancient computer but I'm not sure exactly how old it was/what its specs are.

    But anyway, you're right, from my limited knowledge H.264 is extremely good and efficient - and if I'm giving them an SD H.264, I really can't imagine they won't be able to play it.

    What settings do you suggest to get DVD quality video? H.264 at 720x480?
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
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    #4
    To get back onto the CPU use while playing H264 encoded video - the CPU gets used more with HD footage than with SD footage, as more data is being processed.

    To the best settings - I have not yet used Compressor to make an H264 encoded video, I always used MPEG Streamclip to do that, set the quality to maximum and enabled Multi-Pass (which took longer, but the visible image quality was better).

    If you only need to give the festival an SD resolution file go with either 720 x 480 (don't forget 16:9) for NTSC systems (if necessary) or with 720 x 576 (1024 x 576 when 16:9) for PAL systems.


    And those 2K projectors cost serious money, those 12-20K USD ones won't cut it in a cinema. And not every cinema has the urge to go digital just yet, if it's only for the money.

    Where I studied, we also had a cinema with two halls, and every year we held our annually short film award presentation there.
    We were lucky to get our hands on university equipment like computer projectors for this evening. And I have seen many cinemas who still use those old and reliable (MEO-5) film projectors.
     
  5. ay98182 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    #5
    Thanks so much for your advice - I've only used Compressor before, but will go with MPEG Streamclip as its free anyway.

    Yeah 2K projection is very expensive - I wasn't annoyed that they didn't have it, just surprised that someone at the technical department of a pretty big cinema didn't even know the format.

    We shot our short on 4K so it would hurt to screen in SD! They do have an HD projector at that cinema, so we can use Bluray. The company who burns the discs charges something like £200 for Quicktime ProRes to Bluray format encoding though. We're just going to do that ourselves - I was planning on using the Bluray settings on Compressor 3.5. Do you have any tips re Bluray encoding?
     
  6. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #6
    No I don't no the setup of a proper Blu Ray encoding process.

    Maybe change your thread title appropriately or make a new thread in the Digital Video forum or browse the CreativeCow forums, as they have far more members working in the digital media production industry.
     
  7. SweetDaddyJones macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2010
    Location:
    Sunderland, UK
    #7
    use mpeg 2 elementary stream

    try using the mpeg2 setting in compressor. Either elementary stream or program stream - both embed audio and video into one file. filesize will depend on your quality setting - bring it down to about 6.5mbps and you've got yourself good looking video at a reasonable size
     

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