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Shouldn't Uncompressed look better than ProRes 422? And why does ProRes from Compessor look better than ProRes from FCP?

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Bob Korn
Shouldn't Uncompressed look better than ProRes 422? And why does ProRes from Compessor look better than ProRes from FCP?
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:23:45 pm

I've edited a project in Final Cut that was shot standard def anamorphic (with a variety of cameras) destined for DVD. I am unsure what kind of file to send to the production house that will be authoring and duplicating the DVDs. (At first they requested ProRes 422-HQ files).

I did some tests and came up with confusing results:

I exported from FCP an Uncompressed 8-bit NTSC file, and a ProRes 422 HQ file, and played them via Quicktime. The ProRes looks soft, especially noticeable in the text on screen. The Uncompressed looks better, as I thought it would.

However, if I create a ProRess 422 HQ file in Compressor using a QT ref file from FCP, THAT ProRes file looks as good, though slightly different, than the Uncompressed. The ProRes has a bit less contrast, and is lighter than the uncompressed.

I also exported a Self Contained QT using “current settings,” which looked very soft.

But to see how they'd appear on a DVD, in DVDSP I made a test dvd with the following clips:

Uncompressed 8-bit NTSC from FCP
ProRes422 HQ from Final Cut
ProRes422 HQ from Compressor (via QT ref)
Self Contained QuickTime using “current settings” from FCP

Playing the DVD, the ProRes via Compressor, AND the Self Contained QT Current Settings both looked equally good. The others looked “bad.”

So, I’m not sure why. I’m surprised that the Uncompressed clip looks soft on the DVD, since it looked good as a QT file.

I’m guessing that the Self Contained QT (current settings) from FCP may have the least extra compression since the show is standard def ntsc, though not sure why it looked soft as a QT file.

Given my results, I think I should make ProRes files in Compressor (from the QT ref files), which seems to be the safest (it’s the only type file that looked good both playing the QT file, and once in my test DVD).

Though I’d like to know if this is true, and why? Especially for future reference.

Thanks! Hope this wasn’t too confusing, or lengthy.


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Jeff Greenberg
Re: Shouldn't Uncompressed look better than ProRes 422? And why does ProRes from Compessor look better than ProRes from FCP?
on Aug 16, 2011 at 11:56:21 am

Bob, it was confusing...but...

Is there a reason you're not using Send to Compressor?
Also, QuickTime Player isn't a great way to measure quality - bring it back into FCP or AE and compare it to the original.

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC | Adobe Cert. Instructor
------------
You should follow me (filmgeek) on twitter. I promise to be nice.
New- my book (with Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman)- An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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Bob Korn
Re: Shouldn't Uncompressed look better than ProRes 422? And why does ProRes from Compessor look better than ProRes from FCP?
on Aug 16, 2011 at 7:55:19 pm

Hi Jeff,
Yes, good point about QT player.

So, to simplify after further tests:
ProRes from Compressor (via a QT ref file) AND
ProRes via Send to Compressor,
looked the same once brought back into FCP, and burning a DVD in DVDSP, they both looked equally good.

Interestingly, the Uncompressed 8-bit file I exported still looked Soft when I imported back into FCP; and in the DVD test, it was soft and stuttered.

Also interestingly, the two ProRes files mentioned above, both made in compressor, when played with QT player, looked different, as well as in MPEG StreamClip (though different in a different way). But when brought back into FCP, and made into a DVD, they looked identical. Just curious why (or am I expecting too much logic).
Thanks!
- Bob


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Jeff Greenberg
Re: Shouldn't Uncompressed look better than ProRes 422? And why does ProRes from Compessor look better than ProRes from FCP?
on Aug 16, 2011 at 9:08:11 pm

QuickTime 7 player (and even X) may or may not be pipelining clips correctly for playback. Things like having perian installed (for example) can effect this.

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC | Adobe Cert. Instructor
------------
You should follow me (filmgeek) on twitter. I promise to be nice.
New- my book (with Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman)- An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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