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Re: AME CC2014 (bad quality h264 compressions when compared with Compressor)

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Bryce Hoover
Re: AME CC2014 (bad quality h264 compressions when compared with Compressor)
on Apr 13, 2015 at 2:10:58 pm

I had a pretty major issue this weekend with MP4 files that reminded me why I have attempted to avoid them in the past.
I created 25 looping animations, most had lengths of 1:27 and a few that were 5:09.
I sent the animations straight from AE to AME for compression as h264 .mp4 files with settings:
VBR 2-pass, 8Mbit target 20Mbit max, key frame distance 15, profile: main, level 5.0, no audio.

These animations were loaded into presentation software ProPresenter. I first loaded them on my MacBook Pro 17" and noticed they skipped and didn't start like they should. ProPresenter seemed to hang when transitioning between files. My MacBook has more than enough ram and VRAM to handle everything I through at it. The final play out was through a MacPro tower with a 1.5GB video card and 8GB of RAM.
Playback through the MacPro was much worse and nearly locked up the software (lots of pinwheels).

At the last minute, literally, I took the .mp4 files, through them into Compressor (Compressor didn't like the .mp4s very much either), and created h.264 .mov files, matching my AME settings as much as possible. These files played as expected, without skipping and did not cause any hangs in either my MacBook Pro or the MacPro. Playback was smooth as silk, seamless.

I've found that h.264 encoded .mp4 files seem to be more problematic than the .mov versions.
I've noticed less than seamless playback using the QT 7 player and VLC player (on Mac).
I'm in a complete Mac environment for both full-time work and my own side work (OS 10.8+)
I'm confident that the problems I experienced with the .mp4 files were not related to ProPresenter, the version of Mac OS, or the hardware on either system.
Is there something to the .mp4 wrapper that Mac/QT dependent software doesn't like?
If there's something I can do to make the .mp4 files I create in AME playback identical to the .mov versions from Compressor, I'd REALLY like to learn what to do. This weekend's experience was a painful reminder of why I have avoided AME for h.264 files.

I was initially excited that I could go straight from AE to AME and make the files I needed without going to an intermediate (i.e. ProRes LT). Thought that would save me time and drive space. In the end though, I would have been better off exporting out of AE as ProRes LT and using Compressor to make my h.264 .mov files.


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