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Jim Leonard
Best workflow between platforms?
on May 22, 2008 at 7:07:59 am

I am trying to research the best workflow for content created in Final Cut Pro on a mac but that must be compressed with a PC utility. The target is 720p, and ideally they'd render to a file on the mac connected to SAN, then another PC running the compression software would encode the file (the PC is also connected to the SAN... either that, or they could run Parallels to run the PC encoding software directly on the mac.)

My question is, what file format would the editor render out to in order to compress on the PC? Is there a decent cross-platform HD-res lossless (or only slightly lossy) quicktime codec that is cross-platform? How do people solve this in the field?

Also, is there a codec/utility that can change a .mov into an .avi keeping the codec and data the same, ie. only change the avi/mov wrapper? I ask this because one of the compression utilities we'd like to evaluate only accepts .avi files.

Any and all advice is appreciated, thanks!


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Daniel Low
Re: Best workflow between platforms?
on May 22, 2008 at 9:05:04 am

Firstly there's no 'neat' way of converting a 'Mov' into an 'AVI' One has to be transcoded into the other and any transcoding will have a quality hit.

IMHO a product that only accepts AVI is a poor product and in your case may well have serious workflow implications.

You might like to check out this site to help make a decsion:

http://codecs.onerivermedia.com/




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Please post back saying what solved your problem. It could help others, and saying 'thanks' is free!


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Jim Leonard
Re: Best workflow between platforms?
on May 22, 2008 at 5:11:49 pm

Transcoding from .mov to .avi without generational loss is definitely possible if the video and audio codecs are the same; I was transcoding Cinepak .avis to .mov and back with a command-line utility in the 1990s. It's just been a very long time since I had to perform a Mac workflow and was curious if there was something established for this in today's day and age.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Best workflow between platforms?
on May 22, 2008 at 1:33:45 pm

Why must it be compressed with a PC? You could use Episode Engine.
If there's some kind of restriction on computer used you might try 8 or 10 bit Uncompressed .mov but unless you test you may find issues with that workflow. Depending on your workflow needs you might look at Rhozet Carbon which can handle quite a variety of input source.

If you're going to end up using a Mac compression app to make it an AVI then . . . why not just compress it to the target on a Mac?

BTW one of the odd things about QuicktimePro is that while it does allow you to convert DVCPro50 to AVI it doesn't have DVCPro100 (HD) to AVI otherwise that might have been a (clunky) workaround.



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Jim Leonard
More H.264 options? (was: Re: Best workflow between platforms?)
on May 22, 2008 at 5:18:33 pm

The reason we were looking at a Mac-> PC workflow is because we are unfamiliar with the current state of the art H.264 encoding engines for Mac. We've been using Compressor 3 exports directly from the Final Cut Pro 6 timeline and have been unhappy with the results for 720p footage at lower bitrates.

I hear a lot of good things about Episode, but can't find detailed information about it online (other than grabbing the trial, but I won't have access to a Mac until I'm on-site). Does it allow significantly more options for tweaking H.264 encoding than Compressor 3?

This is a topic change :) but the problem we're running into is that we have to fit our footage to a certain filesize target, and the footage varies between 60% high-motion and 40% static talking heads. Since the compression artifacts are only visible on the high-motion footage (obviously), we feel that Compressor 3's 2-pass H.264 is not properly allocating bits and we want to skew it toward the high-motion footage at the expense of the talking heads. Can Episode do that? If not, what Mac solution can?


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