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Best (h.264) settings for presentation on FullHD-TV

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Bogdan Brak
Best (h.264) settings for presentation on FullHD-TV
on Feb 3, 2011 at 2:25:31 pm

Hey guys,

I'm about to finnish my university university project and I'm not sure about my last steps.
I'm going to make the presentation on a FullHD-TV with around 50".
Using VLC, Media Player or Quicktime (Fullscreen Mode). The platform will be a standart PC with average Hardware. Therefore the result must be smoothly "playable".

What I got:
- CS5 Master Collection on a Win7(64-Bit) PC
- An After Effects Animation in 720p (8-Bit project)
- It's completley animated (out of PSD-Files)
- 3D-rooms, high-detailed Textures, Light-FX...etc.
- Almost no real Video-Footage (only about 5%)

For imagination:
This is NOT my video. But mine is similar but has more details.

My main procedure will be:
- rendering out as uncompressed TIFF-Sequence
- synchronize it in Premiere and add it to the Media Encoder queue
- render it in h.264

I did this and it worked so far. Just got some bandering problems in dark places where light is wiggling.
But I'm sure that there will be a way the raise the quality. And I also realized (but too late) that I'm going to present it on a FullHD TV... so the 720p file will be fitted at least to fullscreen.
Why not changing all to 1080p?

So... right now I'm not sure what to do.
1. should I take the uncompressed 720p TIFF-sequence and render it out as h.254 1080p?


2. should I render the original 720p project into an uncompressed 1080p TIFF-sequence and than proceed with h.264


3. (in After Effects) should I put the 720p composition into an 1080p composition, render as uncompressed TIFF-sequence and than proceed with h.254.
At this point I'm not sure about the behavior of AE.
My PSD-files are big. Some are about 3000x4000px.
I've put them in comps in little comps in tiny comps and finally into my 720p comp...etc.
So I don't know what will happen if i put my final 720p comp into a 1080p comp and scale it up. Is AE losing information after every step or does it use the best resolution thats possible?

Finally ... which way should I take to realize the best results for my presentation.
And... how should be the h.264 settings? (having the bendering problem in mind)

I just can't find the right information to solve this by my own. And the presentation is on next friday. There's no time to check everything. Rendertime right now is around 10 hours IF i don't get a BSOD.

Thanks in advance!

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Bogdan Brak
Re: Best (h.264) settings for presentation on FullHD-TV
on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:17:31 pm

to 3:
in my project there's nothing i could do with the "collapse" button when i'm trying to scale it to 1080p. I tried everything. It just got blown up. I have to live with the fact that I've made a mistake in the beginning.

But... I tried to compare this:
1. 720p-Frame -> PSD-File -> in PS scaling up to 1080p
2. 720p-comp -> in AE scaling up to 1080p-comp -> PSD-file

Results: Scaling up via PS seems be sharper(better) than via AE.

So... by now. the only two things I still need to know is:
1. which h.264 settings to use for rendering 720p TIFF-Sequence into 720p-H.264
2. which h.264 settings to use for rendering 1080p TIFF-Sequence into 1080p-H.264

still thanks in advance!

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Best (h.264) settings for presentation on FullHD-TV
on Feb 4, 2011 at 4:27:53 pm

What's wrong with 1280x720? That's HD, y'know. Any particular reason for wanting 1920x1080?

And you don't -- repeat, you DO NOT -- want to make an H.264 in AE. Here's why:

Dave's Stock Answer #3:

Don't use AE to compress files for final delivery. The various compressors are there only to make quick 'n dirty files showing a project's progress to producers, clients, the kids, etc. AE is incapable of doing multipass encoding, a crucial feature that greatly improves the image quality of H.264 and MPEG-type files in particular.

Render a high-quality file from AE, and use a different application to do the compression. Popular ones are Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Apple's Compressor, which comes bundled with Final Cut Suite. Even compressing in Quicktime Pro is better than compressing in AE.

Making good-looking compressed files is almost as much an art as it is a science. It is NOT straightforward at all. I recommend asking a few questions at the COW's Compression Techniques forum.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Bogdan Brak
Re: Best (h.264) settings for presentation on FullHD-TV
on Feb 4, 2011 at 7:35:22 pm

Hi Dave and thanks for ypur reply,

Well, I already repeted this a lot of times ;)... but I think you got me wrong. I don't want to use AE for h.264 compression. I am only rendering my lossless TIFF Sequence out of there.
The final h.264 compression will be done by AME. I'm just not sure about the right profile and bitrate-settings to get a playable AND good looking file.

About my reasons for 1900x1080:
At the end it will be shown to my teachers at university. And I'm going to show it on a 50" FullHD TV that is plugged to an PC.
When I fit it to the screen (fullscreen) anyway it's going to be scaled by the player(VLC, Quicktime or Windows Media Player) to 1900x1080, right?

That's why I thought:
Ok... when it's going to be scaled by the player program anyway, than why shouldn't I make directly a 1080p file that does not have to be scaled by the player. And actually it should look better than a video scaled by the player or did I get something wrong?

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Best (h.264) settings for presentation on FullHD-TV
on Feb 4, 2011 at 7:52:32 pm

Personally, I'd leave it at 1280x720. That was the size of your comp. You won't gain any extra resolution by making it 1920x1080, but you will make big gains in file size. Ugh.

Glad to hear you'll use Adobe Media Encoder. But I didn't hear what kind of physical device will be used to play the file back, and how it'll be connected to the TV set. It makes a difference.

Once you know, you can ask on the COW's compression techniques forum about bitrates and such. Those folks have a lot more experience with it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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