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Encoding video with motion text

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Mitch SilverEncoding video with motion text
by on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:50:49 pm

I have created a pretty basic title screen for a video in After Effects, which features motion text flying on screen, then slowing down and continuing to move slowly across the screen. Nothing too fancy, no 3D motion, no heavy layering - simply a line of text moving in a straight line. Nice blocky sans-serif text, not too small.

Here is my problem: when I render the video out into a lossless format (.avi on my PC, and .mov on my Mac), it looks absolutely fine. But when I then take that finished video file and encode it to any other format, the motion text looks horrible - blurry and pixelated. I've encoded it to .FLV using sorenson, and MPEG2 for DVD using Encore, DVD studio pro, etc... Even ehen I simply import the file into Premiere to incorporate it into a larger video, the same thing happens - the text gets blurry and pixelated. Everything else about the video looks fine - the images, the background, other non-motion text... it's only the text moving slowly across the screen that looks bad - really bad.

Can anyone suggest something? I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong in After Effects - again, the final rendered video looks great - it's only when I encode it that the ugliness occurs. I'm at a loss.

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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Encoding video with motion text
by on Mar 14, 2010 at 8:01:59 pm

Hi Mitch -

It almost sounds as if you might be encoding with a combination of fields, then encoding without fields, or even crossing the fields (using upper field first in one pass, then lower field first in the next). The other possibility is the quality you encode to from your "master" uncompressed file.

If you post some of the specs of these passes, it may be clear to someone on here with more knowledge than me (I might even come up with an answer...who knows?). Give the specs on your lossless format, then the specs on the encoded files. If you are doing anything in the DV realm (DV25 or DV50), you may find that what looks like absolute garbage played back on the computer looks fine when delivered to a playback system. You might also want to get down what you are delivering for (tape, playback system, NLE, etc.). These are all clues to the problem. Many times clips get trashed by either cropping (say from 720 x 486 to 720 x 480) so that the field order gets trashed. There's too much to speculate on without the facts.

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia

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