I'm baffled. A clip on a client's website became corrupted so we are sending them a brand new h.264 compression of the clip to post.
The problem is that while the action in the clip looks fine seemingly no matter what setting we use, the text in the clip really, really suffers.
It's an old clip that they've had on their site for a while, since the SD days.
So our source is ProRes 422, 655 x 486, NTSC - CCIR 601, Lower Fields.
When I compress it to a progressive frame the footage comes out somewhat blocky:
When I compress it using the interlace (lower), it comes out as smooth but soft:
The source obviously looks much better:
I've attempted various fixes, with different bit rates and formats. All seems to come out the same way. I'm wondering if the strange dimensions (655?) might be part of it or if I'm just completely missing something obvious. But it's still a problem if I compress to a different format, NTSC DV for example instead of h.264.
Honestly, the original text does not look much better. Compressing text is not as easy as it sounds because of the static hard lines. Your best bet is to recut the sections that need it with new text. If that is not possible keep playing with encoding settings until you find one that looks good at a bit rate that you can afford.
Are you exporting to the same frame size (resolution) or are you scaling the image up or down?
"Think of everything in terms of building capacity."
I agree that it doesn't look great. Remember, it's an SD clip. Also, these are just zoomed screenshots of the clip.
I transcoded to h.264 through Compressor and did not have the same problem. I think I should be fine now, but I still don't really like what's going on in Media Encoder. I had the same problems even when I set it to 25 mbps.
And why would the clip ever have been in a weird dimension like 655x486? This project was edited long ago in Avid by another editor and now I'm trying to figure out why some of these things are strange as they seem.