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FCPX export quality & FCPX Vs Quicktime playback quality

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Vasili Pasioudis
FCPX export quality & FCPX Vs Quicktime playback quality
on Jan 6, 2016 at 8:21:49 pm
Last Edited By Vasili Pasioudis on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:50:45 pm

See updated more accurate image below.


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Vasili Pasioudis
Re: FCPX export quality - is it shocking?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 12:22:35 am
Last Edited By Vasili Pasioudis on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:48:21 pm

Ok so I am attaching an updated file with more findings


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX export quality - is it shocking?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 1:30:57 pm

Can you explain what you are seeing? It's not at all clear from your description or these images. However ALL H264 is low quality and should not be used as any sort of quality standard or measure of comparison. I would suggest running your tests with ProRes or uncompressed footage.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Battistella
Re: FCPX export quality - is it shocking?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 1:42:54 pm

It's also not clear to me either. You want H.264 to llok like uncompressed footage? H.264 is a lossy codec. When you reduce a the filesize you have to get rid of DATA. One thing you can do is experiment with your COMPRESSOR settings to make adjustments but it's quite normal for a compressor like H.264 to reduce the quality because it needs to compress data to do so.

There are a million workflows, one I have used often is to only export prores 4444 out of a project file and then use handbrake or compressor to compress the file.

Many factors come into compression and it can change on a shot for shot basis. The H264 from the FCPX project is a blanket compression which maybe does not do multiple passes, etc.

Compression is a very tricky game.

David

______________________________

http://www.bottegabattistella.com/blog/


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Bret Williams
Re: FCPX export quality - is it shocking?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 10:15:19 pm

The h264 from X is whatever compressor setting you're using. You're really adding a step (and a teeny weeny extra generation) by going to 4444 from X, then into compressor when you can output the exact same thing via a compressor preset from within X.

But as we cleared up in a later post, this has nothing to do with the issue he's having. Quite the reverse.He's having a prores output (like your 4444) actually look worse than the original h264 files. But only in QT player. You can reimport the prores back into X and it magically loses the banding it displayed in QT player, so obviously QT player is degrading the quality to 8 bit or something in favor of performance. Seems logical to me as the job of QT player is to play back and arguably not be a judge of quality.

Used to be people complained all the time DV footage looked bad in QT player. There was a setting to play DV footage at full quality that wasn't set on by default.


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Vasili Pasioudis
Re: FCPX export quality - is it shocking?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 1:46:14 pm
Last Edited By Vasili Pasioudis on Jan 7, 2016 at 1:53:02 pm

Hey Oliver thanks for stopping by.

I was just (1) surprised to see a big difference in the way quicktime/VLC handles prores display Vs prores display when played within FCPX and (2) the hard hitting compression FCPX/H264 applies on flat colors, yes granted, thats the whole point about compression, it compressor similar colors & other similar portions of a frame depending on many factors but was just surprised at how nice a job it does in others areas within the frame of well lit even highly detailed footage Vs the highly compressed flat colors of the frame, if there was just a slider to minimise compressing flat colors too much that would be a nice compromise/balance.

To see the difference in my posted image view it at full screen size.

Vasili
AegeanFilms.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: Huh?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 2:32:28 pm
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Jan 7, 2016 at 2:33:09 pm

Sorry but these results aren't much to go on. Factors like original source quality, export settings, monitor calibration etc aren't being reported. I don't doubt that to your eye and on your gear something doesn't look right.

However as someone who has used FCPX as designed to create content for years, your personal findings don't jibe with my own experiences and those of other professionals I work with.

Quality of export in X in ProRes is as good as it gets. As for H.264 that's a lossy codec and you get what you get. I suggest Compressor or Episode if you want finer grain control over specific compresssion parameters. And that's all there is to it.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP eXchange - FCPX Workshops


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Vasili Pasioudis
Re: Huh?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 3:56:59 pm

Thanks Noah.

Yes export from FCPX to prores is good, its just that solid colors don't display well on quicktime/VLC from my findings.

As for H264 if you guys aren't surprised at my findings, then I guess H264 or any lossy compressed formats is what it is & have to live with it.

Cheers folks.


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Bret Williams
Re: Huh?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:21:17 pm

I'm confused by you and Oliver's response. Except for the last example, the problem is that the ProRes outputs distinctly look worse/banded in QT player compared to the h264 source file in X. (One would think that 422 would at least retain the h264 quality). BUT the odd thing being that if he reimports that ProRes output back into X the banding disappears within the X viewer. Which, logically means that the QT player's playback engine is not the same as X. Probably only 8 bit or something. So why the title of the post isn't "QT player playback quality - is it shocking?" I don't know. But it's not surprising that a playback app isn't as demonstrative of color and resolution and a Pro video editor. What I don't see is a comparison of the h264 source in QT player vs. the ProRes in QT player. Not terribly scientific.


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Vasili Pasioudis
Re: Huh?
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:57:01 pm
Last Edited By Vasili Pasioudis on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:58:46 pm

Thank you Bret! you entirely understood my post. Yes QT playback engine seems to be inferior to X at least for prores on flat colors but haven't tried under OSX 10.11.x with 10bit core.

I changed the title of the post, initially I thought FCPX was exporting bad prores but now it appears QT doesn't play it well, surely I must be wrong, if not, thats pretty bad for QT and other players, must be a system core thing, I don't know.

The image on the bottom left is source file QT frame grab, Ive updated the image to make it clearer, see blue/green text


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Bret Williams
Re: Huh?
on Jan 8, 2016 at 1:43:22 pm

You changed the title (never seen anyone do that!) but I don't see what this has to do with export quality as you demonstrated that the export quality is perfectly fine.


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Joe Marler
Re: Huh?
on Jan 8, 2016 at 2:00:37 pm

[Bret Williams] "the odd thing being that if he reimports that ProRes output back into X the banding disappears within the X viewer."

Yes that is the mystery. There are two ways to proceed:

(1) Try the playback on more platforms, e.g, retina MacBook, Roxio Player, Quicktime Pro 7, Windows/VLC, Windows Media Player, etc. Note any differences. If he could upload a brief clip probably lots of people could try it.

(2) Examine the technical characteristics of the video file with MediaInfo, Invisor, or Exiftool, and compare those to a similarly-encoded file with similar subject material (dark monocolor gradients) which does not exhibit those characteristics.

One possibility is the X viewer has some kind of smoothing logic built in which lessens the banding.

His concern is understandable because he can't expect people to use FCPX for playback. Even though casual viewers won't notice the difference, as content producers we have a more sensitive threshold for things like this. Also if it is re-encoded (say for Youtube/Vimeo upload) the effect might be magnified. Understanding the root cause might come in handy later.


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