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DV sequence to H.264 blurry

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Mark Laslo
DV sequence to H.264 blurry
on Dec 20, 2010 at 9:03:58 pm

Hi All,

I recently have upgraded my workflow from an HDV handy cam to a Panasonic HMC-150. I have been working in ProRes and with some instruction from the COW have found that the best way to get videos onto my company website is to go to H.264.

I made the mistake (as a rookie editor on an internship) to capture all my footage off of the HDV camera in DV and don't have the original footage or the time to go back and convert all of the 30 original projects from DV to HDV. My problem now is that as is the nature of DV my graphics are a little blurry and when they were converted to Flash they became even more blurry and a bit distorted.

I am trying to convert the orginal .mov files that I created by using "File-->Export to quicktime movie" at sequence settings to h.264 using compressor but I am getting a lot of artifiacing and distortion especially around cross dissolves and in areas with lots of motion.

The original files are 720x480 and I have tried converting to h.264 640x360 and just using default 720x480 and neither have looked good, in fact the flash files typically look better in these sections. I have the original sequence files and footage and could reexport if there is a suggestion that would warrant that.

Thank you for your time and sorry the post is so long.

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David Johnson
Re: DV sequence to H.264 blurry
on Dec 21, 2010 at 4:16:44 am

If I understand correctly what you’re asking, converting DV footage to H264 can’t improve the blurriness since transcoding from any codec to another can’t regain image data thrown away by prior compression. DV (especially DV25, vs. DV50) is notoriously soft and nothing can be done about that short of re-digitizing the footage in a better codec. Perhaps HDV since that's what the source is, although HDV is really just a variation of DV). You could also digitize to a better editing codec like ProRes (H264 is a delivery codec, rather than an editing codec). You already mentioned you can’t re-digitize so perhaps try a slight sharpening filter, but be careful not to sharpen too much.

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Mark Laslo
Re: DV sequence to H.264 blurry
on Dec 21, 2010 at 3:08:18 pm

Thank you for your reply,

The problem I'm running into is that the footage looks fine in FCP but when it gets converted to h.264 I get artifacing and distortion especially around the cross dissolves. I understand that I can't make the footage any sharper, but I was hoping that I could change a sequence setting to atleast get the graphics to be sharper and maybe prevent this distortion from happening during the conversion process.

Sorry if i wasn't clear in my original post - I think i gave too much detail.



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Bret Williams
Re: DV sequence to H.264 blurry
on Dec 21, 2010 at 3:58:25 pm

First, DV isn't notoriously soft. It's a very good 5:1 compression scheme where most of the compression is in the color info, making itva lesser choice for bluescreen work. It's not the best format for super tiny graphics either but most of the time DV should look comparable to betacam. In some aspects better, in some worse. I'm tired of people immediately blaming DV. It's nit usually the culprit in most people's complaints. It take a pretty well trained eye to pick out any softness or artifacts.

That aside, if the footage looks fine in FCP, the the DV is fine and the problem is in your compression settings. What are they? Data rate, frame rate, 2 pass, cbr or vbr, etc?

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Mark Laslo
Re: DV sequence to H.264 blurry
on Dec 21, 2010 at 8:27:26 pm

Bret thanks for your response.

Here is the settings I'm using in compressor

File Extension: mov
Estimated size: 322.56 MB/hour of source
Audio Encoder
AAC, Stereo (L R), 48.000 kHz
Video Encoder
Format: QT
Width: (100% of source)
Height: (100% of source)
Pixel aspect ratio: Default
Crop: None
Padding: None
Frame rate: 29.97
Frame Controls: Automatically selected: Off
Codec Type: H.264
Multi-pass: On, frame reorder: On
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 75
Min. Spatial quality: 25
Temporal quality: 50
Min. temporal quality: 25
Average data rate: 0.717 (Mbps)
Maximum data rate: 0.717 (Mbps)
Hinted for QuickTime
streaming server

I've been using a similar version except it's been converting my 720p prores to 640x360 for our website and we've had no issues so I'm confused why I would be getting all this distortion when converting the DV file.

There are some issues coming out of FCP with the graphics - we have a semi-transparent logo in the corner that gets slightly distorted which is why I was wondering if it would make sense (or if it was even possible) to convert to ProRes so at least the graphics would be clean. My biggest concern however is making sure the video doesn't get increasingly blurry or gain artifacts during the transcode.



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