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H264 1080p main profile export

COW Forums : Adobe Media Encoder

Juan Juig
H264 1080p main profile export
on Jun 14, 2020 at 8:20:53 pm

Until now I have always exported my h264 videos in 1080p at 25fps, using main profile and 4.1 level, since these are default h264 match sequence settings in Premiere Pro. I just used different bitrates.

I have recently researched different h264 characteristics and found out that it is recommended to use high profile when exported 1080p videos. That's cool, I'll use it from now on. But I'm wondering whether exporting my files so far with main profile was a really bad thing to do? Is there a significant difference in quality between main and high profile? Since it says on the internet that main profile also supports 1080p, but high profile is recommended for those exports is there a noticeable visible difference between the files exported with different profiles?

Also, which levels do you usually use when exporting h264 files? So far I've been using 4.1.


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Andy Ford
Re: H264 1080p main profile export
on Jun 15, 2020 at 5:21:57 pm

The High profile delivers enhanced quality over main. The tradeoff is it's more complex, which means it is harder for devices to decode. Back in the day you may have had to use baseline for certain devices and main was used for SD digital broadcasts. When the High profile was developed, it became recommended for HD applications. Over the years, more and more devices are able to decode this profile.

The encoding level that is selected dictates the choices you'll have for settings like max resolution, decoding speed, frame rate, bit rate, etc. For example, one of the main differences in 4.2 versus 4.1 is a doubling of the maximum decoding speed.

In either case, just double-check the constraints of the whatever the decoding device will be. I assume you are using Adobe Media Encoder and they have many presets to choose from that have optimal settings. Or, if you bring in a clip for compression and select match source, they will set the profile and level. However, I notice it'll usually default to main and 4.1 but I'll bump it up to high for many of my project needs/requirements.

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