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H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder

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Rob Price
H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 19, 2017 at 7:34:36 pm

I know that Rule One is simply "don't do this," and usually I don't, but I'm dealing with a signage display/playback system that doesn't care what the rest of the world is doing.

What I'm trying to do is just what it sounds like: get a decent-looking .mov file with H.264 compression out of After Effects using Media Encoder.

Adobe CC 14.1.0.57 ; Mac OS 10.12.5.

File looks great at 10MBps as an .mp4, chewed to bits at the same rate (or even much higher) as an .mov. Display people insist on a file that says "H.264" when you check the Movie Inspector in Quicktime Player. They also want a very small file, so just sending them the default high-quality one is not an option, either.

Would Compressor solve this? My current donkey workaround is to remove the content from a rotten-looking H.264 .mov file and paste in the content from a decent-looking .mp4 file using Quicktime Player. Naturally this is making my head explode with anger.

Is this something that's been figured out yet?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 19, 2017 at 8:02:51 pm

[Rob Price] "Is this something that's been figured out yet?"

Not really, because QT's implementation of H.264 sucks. So no one's even pursuing an answer.

But if you're stuck delivering it, I'd make the animation in a good intermediate codec in AME, then compress for QT H.264 using Compressor or QT Pro. Now, neither of these will make good files in offbeat sizes. They need standard dimensions.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Rob Price
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 19, 2017 at 8:20:55 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Now, neither of these will make good files in offbeat sizes. They need standard dimensions."

That's what I've gathered. And, naturally, since it's a sign display, one of the files is indeed a non-standard size. I'll have to go back to pestering the venue to let me send them something else...


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Dave LaRonde
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 19, 2017 at 8:22:54 pm

Yeah, I'm afraid so.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kevin Camp
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 19, 2017 at 9:28:25 pm

i use mpeg streamclip... render out of ae as quicktime photo-jpeg, or lossless animation. then import into streamclip and export to quicktime. select h.264 for compression, check the multipass and b-frame options and set the other settings as needed.

the qt h.264 files are nearly the same as the mp4 variety with similar settings -- qt files are usually a little larger even with all the same settings.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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Daniel Waldron
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 20, 2017 at 1:19:26 am

I agree on MPEG Streamclip. Better quality Quicktime H.264 than AME in my opinion. Free download too.


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 20, 2017 at 6:15:04 am

In addition to bit rate you'll need to set a keyframe value for the encoder if you're exporting Quicktime H264. Otherwise it'll look terrible.


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Michael Szalapski
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 20, 2017 at 6:28:41 pm

If you can get a decent-looking MP4 out of Adobe Media Encoder, try simply changing the file extension from MP4 to MOV. See if it works for you. I've seen that do the trick in some cases.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Matthew Ross
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 20, 2017 at 7:38:07 pm

I used to use an x264 implementation out of Compressor to achieve this (way better than Apple's H.264), but that was so long ago I do not recall how we got that particular x264 version into Compressor.

The last time I had to do this, I rendered an intermediate file out of After Effects (or Premiere or whatever), something like ProRes or like others listed in this thread, then rendered to x264 using Handbrake, then re-wrapped the file to .MOV using Quicktime Pro 7 by simply using Save As, and it would do so without re-compressing. (I do not know if Quicktime 10 lets you do this).

Yeah, it was three steps so wouldn't be good if you had to do a lot of files, but I got good looking H.264 in .MOV containers in the end.



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Ron Price
Re: H.264 in Quicktime wrapper out of Media Encoder
on Jun 20, 2017 at 8:27:59 pm

Thanks, everybody! MPEG Streamclip did the job for me.

[Michael Szalapski] "If you can get a decent-looking MP4 out of Adobe Media Encoder, try simply changing the file extension from MP4 to MOV. See if it works for you. I've seen that do the trick in some cases."

I did that first thing, and it worked fine as far as playing back, but it changed the codec listed to AAC. It has been suggested that the venue's QC process involves checking the file in Quicktime to see if it says H.264. I didn't want to take the chance that the files would be rejected. It's a new client, and I'm trying to do this without too much back and forth or antagonizing of the venue.

[Matthew Ross] "
Yeah, it was three steps so wouldn't be good if you had to do a lot of files, but I got good looking H.264 in .MOV containers in the end."


Still better than my "make a ugly version in a H.264 .mov wrapper, open in QT, paste my nice .mp4 video in, then trim out the bad video" solution. 😳


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