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Problems converting XDCamEX .Mov files to MP4 for Web

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W. Lawrence Stevens
Problems converting XDCamEX .Mov files to MP4 for Web
on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:55:06 am

Hi Folks:

We shoot a PMW-350 and EX-1R (for b camera.) We post on FCP and output to XDCam 1080i/60i 35mb/s VBR(quicktime).

I've had a lot of trouble compressing this format down to MP4 for streaming on the web. My target is 1920x1080 @ 3000 kbps using H264.

I use Mpeg Streamclip: 1920x1080 (unscaled), H.264, multi-pass, Data rate limit:3000kbps, deinterlace video, upper field first, 100% quality.

The result is less than spectacular. The picture is blocky and noticably degraded. I've tried it on a number to types of clips. What am I doing wrong? I expect some loss but is there a better compression solution that does a cleaner job with XDCam? I'm willing to invest $ for something that's noticably improved.

Many thanks.

Steven

PMW-350
EX1-R
Nikon D3
(wlstevens.com)


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Don Greening
Re: Problems converting XDCamEX .Mov files to MP4 for Web
on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:41:37 am

I get great results with the following work path:

  • Normally I'll work in a ProRes 422 timeline in FCP7.0.3, render and export using current settings.
  • If your project is interlaced then use Compressor to convert to progressive. If you need to down-convert to something like 720p I'll do this at the same time. Make sure frame controls are turned on. Keep in mind that anything that's shot with the web in mind you should be using progressive anyway.
  • Use QT Player 7 for your conversion to H.264 with an MP4 wrapper. Use the 2 pass VBR setting and even Vimeo and Youtube recommend an encoding bit rate of 5000kps, expecially if you're leaving it at 1080. If you've converted to 720 first you can get away with 3000kps. But not 1080.


Cheers

- Don

Don Greening
A Vancouver Video Production Company
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Brent Dunn
Re: Problems converting XDCamEX .Mov files to MP4 for Web
on Dec 21, 2012 at 4:41:54 pm

Did you edit as ProRes? It needs to be edited in proper format. I export my current settings first so I have a best quality edit. Then for VIMEO, for example, I select File, Export, and change the settings to 720p 1280 x 720HD, 5000kbps, AIF audio 24k, set to download or stream.

I do the conversion from Final Cut and I haven't had any issues. But if I need a later conversion, I sometimes use Adobe's CS6 presets for VIMEO.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro
with Final Cut Studio Adobe CS6 Production






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W. Lawrence Stevens
Re: Problems converting XDCamEX .Mov files to MP4 for Web
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:12:54 pm

We edit in the native Sony XDCam EX 1080i/60i 35mb/s VBR setting which I would have thought was the best way to go if we are not mixing footage with other cameras. It keeps the file sizes sane and I figured staying with the same format the footage was shot in made the most sense. The target is television broadcast/cable so it is interlaced.

I have tried exports using FCP, QT and Streamclip and still see artifacts and downgrade. FCP is too slow and wont do batches. QT does not do batches either and does not allow control bandwitdth. Once I figure this workflow out, I will have 30 hours of edited footage to encode all at once (hundreds of clips) and I just want to set up a machine and let it rip.

Is Sorrensen Squeeze worth the investment? Are there noticable enhancements to output quality? So far, the available tools I have are not doing it for me.

Thanks for the help! Cheers, Steven

PMW-350
EX1-R
Nikon D3
(wlstevens.com)


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David Wheeler
Re: Problems converting XDCamEX .Mov files to MP4 for Web
on Dec 24, 2012 at 10:22:12 pm

I edit native XDCAM EX 1080p30 (35Mbps VBR) but always output a ProRes 422 file for the master. Editing in XDCAM on FCP makes more demands on the computer to process and requires more rendering time, but the source file sizes are much smaller, which I prefer. It's a tradeoff you'll need to decide. Converting your source files to ProRes and editing a ProRes timeline takes less processing power and requires a lot less rendering time, but the source files will be much larger. I agree with Don that the best workflow is to output ProRes 422 for the master file and do all conversions from ProRes. Squeeze is a good choice for MP4 files, but beware that Squeeze 8.5 currently has bug and audio sync with MP4 and WMV files is a problem. If you do not have someone speaking on camera, you should be OK until the bug is fixed. They are testing a beta patch now which seems to fix the MP4 conversions but WMVs are still a problem. Squeeze 8 does not have the issue I'm told. Alternatively, Compressor does a good job with MP4s but the file sizes are somewhat larger. That's my experience at least.

David Wheeler
EX1R; EX3; nanoFLASH; FCP 7; 17" MBP, MacPro Quad, Matrox MSO2,CS5
dave@marcombiz.com


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W. Lawrence Stevens
Re: Problems converting XDCamEX .Mov files to MP4 for Web
on Dec 27, 2012 at 8:05:44 pm

Thanks for the head's up on Squeeze. As far as outputting to ProRes, it seems the increased file size and bitrate are not justified. The XDCam spec is is about 35 mbit/s and going up to ProRes gets you 212 mbits/sec. Where, however, does that extra data come from? Why do I need it if it isn't there to begin with? It jus seems unnecessary. Obviously, I'm probably missing something :)

(I have pretty much solved my original problem by increasing the data rate in the Streamclip encoding to 5k.)

One last observation: when I export from FCP as a Quicktime movie, sometimes the spec shows XDCam EX 1080i60 and sometimes I get MPEG-2Video, Linear PCM, HD 1-1-1. What on earth is that about? I'm mindful of exporting from FCP under the XDCam spec but that doesn't seem to make a difference. Can anyone figure that one out?

Cheers.

PMW-350
EX1-R
Nikon D3
(wlstevens.com)


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