I am needing to encode a h264 file of a 1080 24p project to a client and I'm hoping to find the best possible settings. File size is not a huge concern but I need to deliver in an h264 instead of a typical ProRes type file format.
Right now I am using two-pass encode with a 30 / 35 bit rate and I'm still not happy with it. I'm getting blockiness in the fades and darker areas but surely there has to be a way to deliver a clean encode somehow and I'm just missing it. I appreciate any advice.
Please post a screen capture of your export settings. A few frames of video would be helpful, also. The bit rate you are using is equivalent to Blu-ray at 29p, so that should not be an issue. However, if quality is a priority you can set the bit rate target to a very high number and the encoder will use as many bits as needed to produce the best quality.
The most likely issues: key frame distance is too long (try 12), maximum bit rate is too low (use 1.5-2 times target), and stream compatibility in the multiplexer tab should be set to Standard.
Other recommended settings are high profile, 2-pass VBR, and Max render quality enabled.