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Preserving HD Quality

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Steven Lerner
Preserving HD Quality
on Sep 19, 2013 at 11:35:57 am

I have a 1 Hour movie that was edited on Final Cut Pro. It is 92 GB .mov file and 1920 x 1080 HD quality.

I need to convert the file to under 4.7 GB to fit on a DVD.

I tried quicktime, but it did not retain the HD quality.

What should I do?


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John Fishback
Re: Preserving HD Quality
on Sep 19, 2013 at 2:35:38 pm

I'd use Compressor or Squeeze to encode the mv2 and ac3 files. In Compressor, be sure to turn on Frame Controls and use the highest applicable quality settings. DVDs are not HD, so there will be some degradation. However, starting with HD footage should look better than SD.

John

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Drew Umland
Re: Preserving HD Quality
on Sep 20, 2013 at 3:12:21 am

I think he might be talking about burning it to a data DVD for archiving or distributing purposes. At least I hope that is what he is trying to do.


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Drew Umland
Re: Preserving HD Quality
on Sep 20, 2013 at 3:10:30 am

Hey Steven,

Short answer:
If good quality HD films could be stored on DVDs they wouldn't have needed to come up with blu-rays. Even that requires a dog choking amount of compression.

Long answer:
You can't fit a watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon without squeezing some juice out of it. So you are going to loose quite a bit of quality trying to get that 90 gig file down to 4.5 gigs. What you mean by loosing it's "HD Quality" I'm not quite sure. As "HD" only really refers to the display dimensions of the image...and loosely at that since it can (usually) mean 1920x1080 or 1280x720.

Compressing it as an h264 MOV using FCP, Quicktime Pro, Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder or whate have you will give you a good looking file that is much smaller. However, if it probably won't fit down to the size you need unless make the quality settings at around medium or lower. Which might not give you the result that you want.

If you really need to transport the file at a reasonable quality your best bet is going to be a pocket USB hard drive. Or squeeze it down to about 14 gigs and dump it onto a cheap SD card. :/

Keep in mind that your master file is probably an Apple ProRes and that it won't be playable on most computers. So you do need to convert it to a different codec. And don't overlook the audio settings. An hour long uncompressed stereo audio track can eat up a lot of space. AAC would probably be your best bet.

This will get you a good looking file that is much smaller. Still not small enough to fit on a DVD I'm afraid.

VIDEO
Compression: H264
Quality: Medium to High (Don't bother with best it will make a file of similar size to your master)
Key frame rate: Automatic
Frame Reordering: Yes
Dimensions: 1920x1080 or 1280x720 (If displaying on a TV I find that 720 scaled up to 1080 looks better than 1080 with aggressive compression)

SOUND
Format: AAC
Sample Rate: 44.1
Channels: Stereo
Bit Rate: 128 kbps

Prepare for internet steaming (NO)

Hope this helps, buddy.

- Drew


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Ivan Myles
Re: Preserving HD Quality
on Sep 20, 2013 at 5:26:01 pm

I agree with Drew's comments.

For reference, fitting a one hour movie into 4.7GB requires a total average bitrate around 10 Mbps including audio. With this rate H.264 will yield excellent quality at 854x480, good to very good quality at 1280x720, and moderate to low quality at 1920x1080. Consider that Blu-ray is encoded at 35-40 Mbps.

If a larger storage medium like a USB drive or SD card is not practical, try encoding at a lower resolution and upscale the image upon playback. Also, consider using 25 or 30 fps if your source footage is 50 or 60 fps. I have gotten good results using QuickTime to encode 1280x720-30p H.264 video at 10 Mbps. Quality will be better, though, with an encoder that supports H.264 High Profile.

Alternatively, if the intent of the original post was to create a DVD using the MPEG2-DVD codec, then, no, you will not get HD quality at SD resolution. However, you can get an excellent looking DVD.


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