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margarida lucas
h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 16, 2012 at 10:14:53 pm

Did a job with a Canon 7D and need to submit the footage to my client as if they were original files straight from the camera.
The issue is when I export the h.264 whether I do Export=Quicktime or Export using quicktime conversion , even though I tick all of the best possible settings, the bit rate seriously lowers, which makes me think it's losing a lot of quality.

How can I make sure that the export settings preserve the exact same quality as the original file?

This is driving me crazy!


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Michael Gissing
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 16, 2012 at 10:53:51 pm

Are you sending an edit or the unedited material? Is there a reason why you are not providing a copy of the original backups of the CF cards?


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Shane Ross
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 16, 2012 at 10:57:36 pm

So you are editing the DSLR footage, and want to export it to be in the EXACT SAME format as it was recorded by the camera? As if the edit came from the camera itself?

First off, FCP doesn't work with the camera native files well at all. They need to be converted to ProRes before edited. But you can TRY to edit them in the same format and then just hit FILE>EXPORT>QT movie...self contained, no recompression. FCP will make sequence settings to match the footage if you use native H.364. But it will be sluggish, and might do wonky things to the exported file. because, again, FCP doesn't work wiht H.264 native files well.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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margarida lucas
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 16, 2012 at 11:26:03 pm

I am aware FinalCut doesn't "like" native h264,
I don't need to edit them though, I'm just rotating slightly some shots that are a little off or correcting white balance. I've exported the way you-ve told me and again, the total bit rate is let's say 1,xxx instead of 45,xxx , a file that is 30mb is reduced to 1.8mb... it's just not good.

I've also tried to convert them to prores and re-export them back to h.264 but then the bit rate of the h.264 becomes way higher and it messes up even more

For instance mpegstreamclip is able to export h.,264 and preserve the exact bit rate that the original file has, however I can't to the fixtures I need on mpegstreamclip so it's pointless...

I just thought there must be a way for FinalCut to respect the original size of the h.264!

I was always under the impression that File-export-quicktime would preserve the original settings, but that's not true at all.


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Steve Eisen
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 17, 2012 at 3:11:37 am

[margarida lucas] "I just thought there must be a way for FinalCut to respect the original size of the h.264! "

This would have been the perfect project for FCP X (could have auto corrected your footage natively), Adobe Premiere Pro or Media Composer. As you know, FCP 7 was not designed to work with h.264's.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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Bret Williams
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 17, 2012 at 3:51:42 am

If you want a new h264 from an h264, there is no NATIVE. You have to recompress it. Just like any codec.

Assuming FCP 7 can even accomplish the task at all correctly, which it is not designed to do, nor supposedly able to do, you are in control of e quality. The Canon is probably CBR. Export as h264, same fame size, SAME audio (big part of the file size) at 100% quality. It s going to make big files.

But true, a much better job for FCP X as that's what it's designed to do. Best h264 editor around ime.


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margarida lucas
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 17, 2012 at 5:08:28 am

Are you saying if I import these files into FinalCutX it will automatically replace the original native file (for instance with the correct white balance) without the need to re-export once it's been Color corrected? As in, it physically alters the native files automatically? cause if not the re-export is still the same problem I'm getting with final cut 7...

My surprise is that final cut can't re-export something respecting its full quality settings.
Also, you-d be confused if I told you that if you re-export an intact h264 from the browser without applying any resize/color correction you get the exact same settings as the original. it's only once you've used a filter or enlarged the image by 2 or 3 percent that final cut gets stuck with poor settings...


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margarida lucas
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 16, 2012 at 11:28:27 pm

yes the footage has to be perfect and some of the white balance is off...


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Bret Williams
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 17, 2012 at 5:09:05 am

Well I ran a few tests on some 7D footage with rotation and color correction in both X and 7. I'm able to export the h264 either current settings where the file goes from 400MB to 35MB and with QT conversion set at 100% which makes it 800MB. Oddly enough, both look fairly similar. But both look softish, and lacking the original detail.

In FCP X, I did same and used share>export media and chose h264 (I don't have new compressor) and the result was a 200MB file which looked pretty much like the other two. Softish. Big difference was the file exported in 60 seconds vs. more like 6-10 minutes in FCP 7. Same machine. i7 iMac.

Bottom line I think is you're in for a hurt. Maybe compressor will be your friend. Use a ProRes 422 seq. Export ProRes masters and run them through compressor and see if you can get better h264 results. But you have to recompress your h264 files. They're already very compressed. It's a miracle of hardware compression by the DSLRs that they look so good. But now you're running it through h264 software compression and it's just going to look noticeably worse. If you screwed up the white balance and the camera level, then you should bite the bullet and fix with ProRes and then if you're trying to pull a fast one and hand the footage over to the client or something as original, then you should probably use compressor to do it. Or mpeg stream clip, or whatever will do the best for ya.


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margarida lucas
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 17, 2012 at 6:16:01 am

Thanks so much for all your help.
I actually had already tried to do that. Compressor doesn't really add at all, one can set the bit rate but the maximum is 29, most of these files are around 45..I tried a few options and none was better than using quicktime conversion on final cut 7.
Mpegstreamclip was the only software I found that maintained the exact same size...however, it doesn't correct white balance nor one can rotate the image slightly.
But I guess streamclip is a "smarter" software than final cut when it comes to output.


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Michael Gissing
Re: h.264 total bit rate
on Jul 17, 2012 at 6:34:40 am

When you change an image it has to be re-rendered. MPEGStreamclip is probably just re-wrapping the original data so nothing changes. Once FCP changes the image however, it doesn't guess the data rate or encoding type of H264 based on the original file.

Nor does it seem that FCPX does either.


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