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Workflow for compression of multiple filetypes, adobe cs6

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Melody Thomas
Workflow for compression of multiple filetypes, adobe cs6
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:57:44 pm

I have a large amount (a couple TB) of video, several different file types (everything from prores to p2) on an external Hard drive that I am looking to unify to a single codec (h.264), to archive in highest quality possible, and then duplicate and compress that media to the smallest acceptable (they still should be good quality) size, for upload to youtube or vimeo.
My workflow at the moment is to ingest folders into Adobe Prelude to add metadata and then chose transcode to h.264 with the HD 720p 25 preset. The files are then sent automatically to AME where they are encoded into the chosen preset.
I am wondering first off if there is a suggestion for a better workflow? am I adding or missing steps?
Also, I am going to try to stick with the native resolution as much as possible, but I am wondering if anyone has any advice about ingesting large folders of mix matched video formats, all with different resolution and bitrates - if I want to ingest and transcode them all together as a batch is there a resolution I should stick with that would be the most universally applicable without causing too much quality loss? My boss suggested I stick to 1280 x 720... Why not higher? does upscaling cause degradation?

I apologize for my totally lack of understanding - I only started learning about this stuff a week ago. Before that I didn't even know what a codec was... so I'm still feeling pretty lost.
Thanks!


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Workflow for compression of multiple filetypes, adobe cs6
on Jun 21, 2013 at 2:32:49 pm

[Melody Thomas] " does upscaling cause degradation? "

Yes. If you shot 720p then upscaling to 1080p is forcing the software to add resolution that did not inherently exist. In my experience jumping from 720 to 1080 doesn't greatly impact the visual quality. However, going from standard def 480 up to 1080 will cause a visual softening of the image.

h.264 is an efficient codec but bear in mind that it throws out a lot of data in comparison to other codecs (like ProRes, DNxHD, P2, etc.). If you're trying to archive that may be an acceptable loss. For much of what I do it usually is....but h.264 is not a good intermediate codec if you're just trying to get everything into 1 codec. h.264 is what's called a Long-GOP (Group of Pictures) format. As such, it takes a lot more horsepower to decode for an NLE than something like ProRes or DNxHD which is an intra-frame or "all I-frame" codec. More info here about i-frame codecs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_compression_picture_types

I-frame codecs are easier to edit (less horsepower needed), but tend to be bigger file size wise and therefore need more storage space to maintain. Long-GOP formats tend to be more space conscious while losing some of the high quality of an I-frame codec.

If you're looking to edit the material right away then I would stick with a ProRes-type codec. If you're just going to throw it on a shelf and maybe pick it up in 2 or more years, then h.264 is probably you're best option. As far as resolution and frame rate go, that's a decision you and your boss will need to make. It may be better to leave it all native and deal with upscaling or frame rate conversion if/when you need it.

Compression is a complicated world! I've been doing this for over a decade and I'm still learning things I never knew....so you aren't going to master it in one weekend! :-) Read a lot and experiment. Places like the COW are most definitely you're friend.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Melody Thomas
Re: Workflow for compression of multiple filetypes, adobe cs6
on Jun 21, 2013 at 4:21:03 pm

Wow! so helpful, thank you! That was my first post to "the COW," and I am thoroughly impressed! And I think it will help me impress my boss as well :)

Thanks again!
Melody


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