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Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?

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David Green
Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 4, 2008 at 7:46:34 pm

Hi,

I am using compressor 3 to compress a DVCPRO HD Quicktime MOV file into a lower res, H.264 .mp4 file for the web.

My goal is to use the .mp4 wrapper, because I have read that it is more compatible with cellular devices like the iPhone.

I compressed the file down into a 640x360 1500kbps .mp4, and for comparison's sake, I also compressed the file down into an identically sized .mov file.

When I compare the two files, the mp4 and the mov, the mov seems to have truer color and less blocky compression artifacts than the mp4.

Is the quality of a mov wrapper innately better than the quality of a mp4 wrapper?

Many thanks for any help

David


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Ed Dooley
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:09:34 pm

If you compressed them both to H.264 with all the same settings, they should look the same. Are you viewing them both in the same program (QT for example)? They're just wrappers with different ways of handling meta-data.
Ed



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David Green
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:24:53 pm

Hi Ed,

I am viewing them both in quicktime.

Could it have something to do with Compressor 3?

When I change the wrapper type from mov to mp4, a lot of the compression settings get greyed out, and I don't have the same control over the image as I do with the mov file....

Thanks for your help

David



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David Green
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 4, 2008 at 9:18:25 pm

I think my last question was a little confusing.

What I meant to say was, how do you create a MOV and an MP4 with the exact same compression settings? At least in Compressor, when you change the file wrapper from Quicktime to mp4, it greys out a lot of the compression settings, presenting you with a whole new group of settings.

I've tried to match as many of the settings as possible -- but some of the same options can't be selected. Therefore, the comparison between MP4 and MOV isn't an equal comparison.....

Does this make sense?

Is there another program that I can use to get the same settings for both MOV and MP4?

Thanks again

Dave



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Daniel Low
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 4, 2008 at 11:16:25 pm

Having .mov on the end only indicates its a Quicktime movie, any codec or any combination of codecs could be used to create that mov file, including MPEG-4 codecs.

Having .mp4 on the end only indicates that it is an MPEG-4 encoded file - it does not indicate whether it's an MPEG-4 pt2 or an MPEG-4 pt10 (H.264/AVC) file.

So your comparison is like saying "I have one plastic bag full of potatoes (MPEG-4 potatoes) and an identical plastic bag full of 'other stuff'(.MOV potatoes carrots and wine) Why aren't they the same?"

.MOV is a wrapper and a format, .MP4 is just a format, not a wrapper.

What codec did you use in the .MOV?



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


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Ed Dooley
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 5, 2008 at 1:48:07 am

The way I understand it, MPEG-4 is also a wrapper, .mp4. You can wrap DivX, Xvid, and 3ivx (probably more) into MPEG-4 part2, and various types of AAC use an MP4 wrapper too. I think wrapper and format are pretty interchangeable (codec, however....)
Ed


[Daniel Low] ".MOV is a wrapper and a format, .MP4 is just a format, not a wrapper.
"






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Daniel Low
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 5, 2008 at 1:18:52 pm

Not so, strictly speaking MPEG-4 is a standards based format, (based on the Quicktime file format) of which DivX, Xvid and 3vix are not part of, only based upon.

In fact Divx is now deemed a container format in its own right although it was initially a hack of Microsofts MPEG-4v3, which is unrelated to MPEG-4 - Microsoft simply arrogantly assumed that their development work with the v2 & v3 codecs would become the MPEG-4 standard. (Not taking anything away from all the real work MS have done for MPEG-4 standards)

Google "divx mp4" and you'll get a list of software to convert divx to MPEG-4. That aside you generally see divx and xvid with an AVI extension, not .mp4.

Although MP4 is based on the Quicktime file format and therefore can be a container for other 'objects' and atoms, the .mov wrapper can contain not only video and audio tracks but also text, sprite, chapter and a mixture of video and audio codecs in the same track, this is not possible with MP4. As such I use the differentiator of Mov being a wrapper as well as a format.

Anyway - all this is highly pedantic!



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


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Ed Dooley
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 5, 2008 at 2:26:19 pm

Agreed, pedantic (and different definitions depending on your source). It may be that like Kleenex, wrapper is becoming the generic word. If you Google MP4 wrapper or MPEG-4 wrapper you'll also find lots and lots of instances of it being used. Granted some of them are people using the term on the COW and other forums, but Sony and many other companies refer to MPEG-4 as a wrapper. Sony describes their EX format as being in an MPEG-4 wrapper for example:
>>>The PMW-EX1 uses an MPEG-4 wrapper to record video unlike XDCAM HD camcorders, such as the PDW-F330 and PDW-F350, that record their data within an MXF (Material eXchange Format) wrapper.<<<
Broadcast Engineering calls QT, AVI, MPEG-2 and 4 containers, and OMF, AAF, MXF, and GXF wrappers. The U.S. Government's Library of Congress' digital preservation department calls it a file/format wrapper.
Dotwhat.net, the file extension web resource says:
>>>>.MP4 (MPEG Audio Layer 4) is a multimedia container format, and is often used to store digital audio/video streams. The MP4 format can hold many different types of data such as audio, video, pictures and even text. As the file is a container/wrapper format, it can potentially store any number of files making it ideal for holding video with subtitles or enhanced podcasts with pictures. <<<<

Ed



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David Green
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 5, 2008 at 6:22:49 pm

Thanks for your responses guys.

Long story short, I have a Quicktime file that I’m very happy with. Looks great, plays smoothly. It’s an H.264 .mov file that’s about 1500kbps bitrate. The size is 640x360. It's hosted on my website.

After reading this article: http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/webvideo/story/encoding_web_video_in... I've decided that I would rather host an mp4 file on my website, instead of an mov file, because mp4 files are compatible with iPhone playback...and they are supposed to look great.

I’m using Compressor to re-encode my master HD file into a mp4.

My question is:

How do I make an MP4 file that looks just as good as my H.264 encoded, beauty of a Quicktime file that I described above? According to the article, just changing the file extension from MOV to MP4 won't cut it.

In Compressor 3, when I change the file type to “H.264 for Apple Devices” all of my compression options change. Certain options are greyed out, certain options just don’t exist. I can set the bitrate to approximately be the same as I did with my Quicktime beauty, but other options just aren’t available.

What this means is a compromise in quality. When I compare my compressed MOV h.264 file (described above) to the “h.264 for Apple Devices” (iPod / iPhone VGA setting, with mp4 typed in as the file extension), it seems that the mp4 is brighter, shows more blocky pixel artifacts, and the color appears less smooth than with the mov file.

Just for reference, both the mov file and the mp4 file are the same size....and both are encoded with H.264.

So my question is: how do I make an mp4 that looks just as good as an mov? Or, does the mp4 format mean a slight compromise in quality?





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Daniel Low
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 5, 2008 at 8:23:16 pm

I don't use compressor anymore but I think what you are seeing is the difference between MPEG-4 pt2 and MPEG-4 pt10 which is also called H.264.

Have a good read through Chapter 16 of the compressor manual (on page 211) which will give you a better understand ing of the differences.

Basically you want to end up with an MP4 file that uses the H.263 codec not the MPEG-4 pt2 codec.

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


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David Green
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:18:53 am

Thanks Daniel.

After reading through the chapter, I gathered quite a bit of information about encoding a MPEG-4 pt. 2 mp4 file. Just for a test, I tried running an output based on the suggested settings, and found the same crispy / blocky / slightly washed out results. Just like you said, MPEG-4 pt. 2 is not what I should aim for.

But do you know how I can achieve an MPEG-4 pt. 10 file that has an mp4 file extension? Or, as you said above, an MP4 file that uses the H.263 codec? And just to clarify, why is it H.263, and not H.264 that I should be aiming for?

Sorry if I might be missing something here. Thanks again for your help and patience.




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Daniel Low
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 6, 2008 at 10:06:48 am

I'm sorry, that was a typo, I meant H.264, not H.263.

However it seems compressor isn't up to the task, like I said I don;t use it anymore so I can;t verify this article:
http://www.dallasfcpug.org/2008/06/02/h264-anyone/

You may find this useful:
http://www.apple.com/quicktime/tutorials/h264.html

and this
http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/compressor_h-264_movies_fcp.html


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


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Danny Hays
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Oct 8, 2008 at 3:44:31 am

I don't use Compressor but Vegas, Procoder and other converters have a H.264 preset for Ipods and Iphones. I make MP4s with Vegas and they look good on my Iphone. I also doownloaded a video of mine from you Tube and it looks great on my Iphone too.





You can use Keepvid and save as flash or MP4.
Hope this helps Danny Hays



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Rosa Linda Román
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on May 5, 2010 at 2:36:07 am

I know this thread is old, but David Green is asking the EXACT question I am looking for an answer to:

do you know how I can achieve an MPEG-4 pt. 10 file that has an mp4 file extension? Or, as you said above, an MP4 file that uses the H.264 codec?


I, too, am finding the .mov file to be so much better in quality than the MPEG-4 and can't figure out which settings to use in Compressor to get the highest quality MPEG-4 possible. As it is I can't stand to look at the degraded quality of the .mp4 file when compared to the .mov file.

The responses above offer the suggestion of using something other than Compressor (Vegas, I believe), but I am looking for a suggestion for sticking with Compressor itself.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.


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Christian Clark
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Jul 15, 2010 at 12:59:21 pm

Did either of you figure this out, David or Rosa Linda?

--
Christian H. Clark
City Limit Films
http://www.citylimitfilms.com


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Jason Castellani
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Dec 15, 2010 at 4:14:17 am

My exact question too with Compressor. I can't seem to get an answer anywhere.


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Onur Yolalmis
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Dec 17, 2010 at 10:39:25 am

Hi, I'm having similar problems when converting mov to mp4.

I'm exporting my sequence from FCP(DV PAL, lower field first) to .mov (DV PAL 48 khz).The mov file looks fine but when i convert the mov file to mp4 (H264) the video is jittery on movements. When i put a deinterlace filter on my clips before exporting to mov, there's no problem. but i lose a significant amount of quality. Does anyone else have this problem, thanks for the help..

Onur


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Craig Seeman
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:55:26 pm

Sigh! I wish you'd read the sticky at the top of this forum. We have no idea how you are creating the mp4. We're faced with lots of back and forth questions or responses based wrong assumptions.

All I can say is use a good compression utility with a good deinterlacer. There are crappy deinterlacers or people who don't know how to use the settings.

Telestream Episode has a good deinterlacer for example but you have to know how to use it.

You can create .mp4 in Compressor but you need to use one of the iOS presets, duplicate and modify the settings to your needs, deinterlace, change .m4v to .mp4 which you can do because they actually are the same metadata.

Really, please read the sticky otherwise I have no idea what your workflow is. I don't even know how you're checking the file let alone settings you're using to encode them.



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harry miller
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Jul 27, 2011 at 2:58:21 pm

Apparently it is a fact that Compressor is not good for encoding H.264 within the mp4 container.
I testet various settings, but the quality is not satisfying. Compared to Adobe Media Encoder, the Compressor mp4's are larger in file size at the same target bitrate - at a definitely lower visible quality.
My verdict: forget Compressor for MP4, use Adobe Media Encoder.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Jul 27, 2011 at 3:37:07 pm

Compressor doesn't do H.264 .mp4 so I'm not sure what the basis is for your comments.
Compressor does .mov and .m4v (related to .mp4 but those settings don't have user control).



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harry miller
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Jul 27, 2011 at 5:24:37 pm

Craig, sorry, you're absolutely right, thank you for the clarification:
Compressor cannot pack h.264 in the mp4 container. I simply did not imagine it could not - as this is the most important format for the HTML5 video standard (Internet Explorer does not play the mov-Container).


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Craig Seeman
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Jul 27, 2011 at 5:40:45 pm

Ironically Quicktime 7 Pro can encode H.264 .mp4 so Apple conspicuously left this out of Compressor 3 and earlier.

I mention the versions because the new Compressor 4 has HTTP Live Streaming templates (which can be altered) which encode H.264 .mp4. Baseline and Main Profile (not High Profile though) along with Multi-pass checkbox and bitrate slider from 64kbps to 10Mbps



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Scott Smith
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Jan 19, 2012 at 11:28:41 pm

sorry. just realized the dates and versions being discussed.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Jan 19, 2012 at 11:40:54 pm

Compressor 4 now supports H.264 .mp4
I think it's a big deal and very under reported given all the focus on the FCPX update.
For $50 Compressor 4 is worthwhile even if one isn't using FCPX.



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Kasey Allen
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 4:54:02 pm

In Compressor 3, there's a preset for YouTube. Duplicate the preset, change the file extension to mp4 instead of mov, enable the frame controls but leave everything the same in that tab. Leave the filters the same too. For the size, crop to custom - you can choose custom 16:9, and then I normally use 480x270, but you can size it as you need it. Rename the preset and hit save. Easy-peazy.

That's how I got around the MP4/H264 problem, and the results look really good.

KC Allen
Allen Film & Video

"My name is actually spelled KC...really...it is..."


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Craig Seeman
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:16:37 pm

Sorry but in many cases that won't work. .mov and .mp4 are not interchangeable due to internal metadata. Some systems might handle it and others not. Which is not the kind of risk I'd recommend taking.

Compressor 4 creates a proper H.264 .mp4 and for $50 it's worth the cost rather than risking file rejection.



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John Dinh Doan
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Apr 5, 2012 at 1:48:35 pm

Aside from purchasing the new compressor, another option would be compress the file as h.264 in the old compressor, then open the compressed .mov in Quicktime 7. There, you would set the audio and video codec settings to "pass through" which avoids any additional compression and simply re-wraps the h.264 in an .mp4 wrapper.

Audio and Video unchanged, just muxing (is that word?) .264 stream into .mp4.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Quality of an mp4 is different than an mov?
on Apr 5, 2012 at 1:52:12 pm

That would work. Basically it's rearranging the metadata so it's a valid .mp4
It's kind of a pain as a standard workflow if you have to do this frequently.



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