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QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion

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Andrew Clark
QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 6:45:39 am

Hello -

When using QT to convert an AVI file to a MOV file, will there be any loss in image quality?



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Robin S. Kurz
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 10:30:18 am

That's entirely dependent upon the used codecs in each case. The particular container, be it AVI or QT, is irrelevant. Transcode to e.g. ProRes 422 and the differences should barely be measurable, but not perceivable.


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Andrew Clark
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 3:49:01 pm

Thanks for the reply Robin.

I was more curious to know what QuickTime is using to convert an AVI file to a MOV file.

When I click on an AVI file to play it, QT opens up and starts converting it to a MOV file. (This is quite a cool feature by the way!!)

After it's done converting, it plays in QT just fine.

When I opened up the AVI file in the VLC player, (on the same screen, side by side with the QT player) it looks a bit more saturated in color.

Don't know if it's a player thing or if it's the QT player's conversion process.



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Walter Soyka
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 3:56:35 pm

[Andrew Clark] "I was more curious to know what QuickTime is using to convert an AVI file to a MOV file. When I click on an AVI file to play it, QT opens up and starts converting it to a MOV file. (This is quite a cool feature by the way!!) After it's done converting, it plays in QT just fine."

Apple is deprecating the QuickTime API, which is a cross-platform set of tools that application developers can use for writing media files, in favor of their new technology AV Foundation.

Along with this, Apple is also dropping support for a lot of codecs, some horribly outdated (Cinepak), some still very relevant (Animation, which is the default codec for the Ae lossless preset on Macs, and DNxHD which is the native Avid format). AV Foundation only supports a few codecs directly (ProRes, MPEG codecs including H.264, and camera-original codecs). Unlike QuickTime, it does not currently have a method for third parties to add codecs.

Mavericks still supports QuickTime, but deprecation means that eventually, some version of OS X will not. As the beginning part of this transition, Mavericks runs QT Movie Modernizer on any movie that does not have a native AV Foundation codec. QT Movie Modernizer guesses what the best format to transcode to would be (H.264 or ProRes), and transcodes for you. It's not strictly necessary today -- Mavericks can still run QuickTime Player 7 for these soon-to-be-unsupported codecs -- but eventually, some future release of OS X will not support them, so Mavericks is trying to help you prepare your media for that eventuality.

For clarification: the QuickTime .MOV file format is not going away. QuickTime Player X is not going away.

Deprecation means that the QuickTime API that underpins QuickTime Player 7 is going away someday in the indefinite future, so eventually QuickTime Player 7 will no longer run, and eventually, the "legacy" codecs that Apple chooses not to support will be unplayable on Macs without a third-party media player like VLC.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Andrew Clark
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 4:41:37 pm

@ Walter -

Very interesting stuff!!

Thanks!!



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Robin S. Kurz
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 3:59:55 pm
Last Edited By Robin S. Kurz on Jul 9, 2014 at 4:06:56 pm

If you want to avoid the conversion thing, which will more than likely be to H.264, then you'll have to open it in e.g. the Quicktime 7 player. The discrepancies in color will most likely be due to the better color management pipeline that QTX (or FCP X for that matter) offers and therefore somewhat varying gamma values.

Try opening it with 7 and exporting it as ProRes. Not much you can do wrong with that. But then, if you're fine with the other conversion, go with that and save time. ;)


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Andrew Clark
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 4:43:34 pm

@ Robin -

Thanks again!!


By the way, I'm using QTX.

Is QTX a "better/improved" version of QT7?



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Robin S. Kurz
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 9, 2014 at 4:55:02 pm

[Andrew Clark] "Is QTX a "better/improved" version of QT7?"

Depends on how you look at it. QTX works off the AV Foundation framework as explained above (which is why it insists on transcoding) and QT7 off the "old" Quicktime framework. All depends on what you need. If you don't need any of the extra features the 7 player offers and/or are not working with any old codecs, then QTX is likely to be your best choice. Eventually that's all there'll be.


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Andrew Clark
Re: QuickTime AVI to MOV conversion
on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:40:33 pm

I've played both files (AVI and MOV) on both the Mac and Windows OS's and find that the footage on:

- Windows Media and the VLC players look the same (colors appear more saturated compared to the QT players)

- QT X and QT 7 (Windows) look the same as well (colors appear more neutral compared to Windows Media and VLC players)

Neither appears bad by any means; just different.

Using a film analogy ... this sort of reminds me of Provia vs. Velvia ... (both Fuji brand slide/transparency/reversal film stocks) ... where the QT players would be Provia and the WM/VLC players would be Velvia ... at least to my eyes.



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