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Extreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015

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Ralph BaerExtreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015
by on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:43:39 pm

Hello there CreativeCOW community! Through the power of Google I've stumbled upon this lovely corner of the internet and as you all seem like swell enough chaps I figured I'd see if you might be able to help me out with an issue I've been experiencing. As it happens, I've already tossed a thread up on the official Adobe forums a few days ago but I've as of yet found a resolution. So as to avoid cluttering this thread up, certainly feel free to take a gander at my post over there for a full explanation of my particular issue: https://forums.adobe.com/message/7791409

Suffice it to say, I'm quite befuddled as to what might be going on! I've been at a stand still for days with my projects until I sort this out, and deadlines are fast approaching (a problem I'm sure many of us here can relate to!). Any assistance would be super appreciated. Cheers! :)


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Extreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015
by on Jul 25, 2015 at 9:28:57 am

Hey Ralph,

My personal preference on my PC is to avoid H264 at all costs, particularly if it's done through Apple QT codec - however, sometimes that can't be helped.

Nevertheless, as someone suggested on the Adobe forum, it may be that your footage already have artifacts in it, that is being exposed through re-encoding it.

My initial suggestion would be to do an uncompressed export and compare that with the original. If it doesn't happen there, then it is your H264 settings that you need to work on.

The other thing to try is to turn off
"Render at maximum depth"
&
"Use Maximum Render Quality"
as you are already working compressed and you are not currently adding any graphics or fx to the video, I see no advantage in having those boxes ticked - if anything, it by trying to make it too beautiful, this may be the reason for the artifacts coming out.

Although it doesn't give you 60fps, have you run a test through the "H.264 Blu-ray" codec also included with PPro?

It is all about finding an output that gives you a minimum of artifacts, whilst being close to your desired result. Do keep mind though out that you are re-encoding already compressed footage, and that it will never improve - unless you use specific software to remove the "noise" with, but even that is not always perfect depending on your final method of distribution.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Ralph BaerRe: Extreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015
by on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:45:30 am
Last Edited By Ralph Baer on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:48:36 am

Hey there Mads, thanks for taking the time to write up a reply! Also, apologies if I committed any forum faux pas by linking to an entirely different forum in my initial post. Figured I'd save myself a few keystrokes, I suppose. :)

You are indeed correct that the footage that was given to me for this project is certainly not the best to begin with and already has a handful of artifacts already. So don't get me wrong, I completely understand that removing the artifacts from the source material itself is already a lost cause. They're pretty much there to stay. I suppose, though, that's why I'm taking care to try and not add any additional artifacts when exporting. Which, currently, is sadly what's happening.

As a test, I did do an uncompressed export and layered a frame from the export over the same frame from the source and they were pixel for pixel identical. When I switch over to H264, the artifacts returned. And, to be clear, it's additional artifacts that are the concern (not the pre-existing ones from the source footage), which is to say I've noticed a significant increase in artifacts in addition to the pre-existing artifacts in the source.

I've also been trying out different bitrates and I even pushed it up to 75Mbps on one export just to see what would happen. Interestingly enough, there was indeed less compression, though even at that bitrate it was still noticeable (which surprised me, to be honest). So just for kicks I bumped up the bitrate to 150Mbps and when exporting at that quality there finally doesn't seem to be any additional artifacts applied. I did a frame over frame comparison of the original footage with the 150Mbps footage and they finally matched, almost pixel for pixel. That said, I can't help but think that that's a crazy high bitrate just to avoid compression with source footage that already has a fairly normal bitrate to begin with. The source footage is only 17Mbps and I guess I've always been under the impression that if I met or exceeded the source material's bitrate that there wouldn't be much additional artifacting or compression to really worry about. I could maybe see having to boost the bitrate up to 20 to 25 just for good measure, but 150 seems pretty bonkers.

I'm honestly not sure what to do with that information though. I can't very well go exporting all my footage at that bitrate or I end up with 2GBs per every minute of video. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding something about the way bitrates work. Either way, even with the source material containing its own artifacts, exporting at an equal bitrate adds twice as many (if not more) artifacts. No idea why though and, I'm assuming and hoping, this isn't normal behavior for Premiere Pro. So alas, I remain thoroughly befuddled.

Oh, and I'll have to give the "Blu-ray" specific codec a try and report back. Good idea, Mads. Cheers!


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Extreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015
by on Jul 25, 2015 at 4:44:06 pm

Hey Ralph,

Don't worry about the cross-posting as the original post was quite extensive, and the second was just a call-out to separate part of the community.

One thing that I would suggest you try is to export the video to an uncompressed file, then re-encode that file to H.264 and see if the encoder will ignore the small artifacts that it seems to magnify when going straight from H.264 to H.264.

The other alternative is to look at noise-reduction. This was quite common to use when HDV was the carrying format for low budget HD production. However, a top-notch filter may cost you money. I haven't tried any build in solutions in either PPro or AE, but it is worth considering if there is a budget for it.

Obviously the other question is: why H.264? Would the end "client" entertain a MPeg-2 or Windows Media Player file? And does those look better than the H.264?

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Ralph BaerRe: Extreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015
by on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:59:59 pm
Last Edited By Ralph Baer on Jul 26, 2015 at 12:02:42 am

Hi again, Mads. Really appreciate you taking the time to help me out here!

Not a bad idea regarding exporting to an uncompressed file. I went ahead and gave it a shot to see what my results would be but sadly it seems that H.264 is still applying what I'd consider to be an excessive amount of artifacts (bitrate and source footage considered).

Regarding H.264, that's generally just my go-to export option due to its wide compatibility and I never quite know what file compatibility a client may or may not have, so I usually just go that route.

That said, since I'm pretty rubbish at explaining what I mean, I'm going to attempt to explain my conundrum step by step below and, from there, maybe someone can tell me exactly where I went wrong. :) Apologies if I'm coming across as daft!

STEPS
Step 1 - Original Footage
I import the source footage as provided by the client. The source footage is 1080p and 17Mbps. I can tell that there are some artifacts already present in this source footage but nothing deplorable. I then trim the clip up as desired and am now ready for exporting.

Step 2 - Exporting Footage
I then export the footage using H.264. I set it to 1080p, 2 Pass, and I make sure that the bitrate exceeds the source footage by a healthy margin. In this example, I've set the bitrate range at 20Mbps to 25Mbps.

Step 3 - The Exported File
Premiere Pro does its thing and I'm left with a video file that has a bitrate of 20Mbps at 1080p.

Step 4 - Comparing the Export with the Source
Here's a full resolution comparison: http://i.imgur.com/hMpLx9P.jpg When compared side by side, the exported footage has seen a significant increase in artifacts and compression. These are in addition to any artifacts that were already present in the source footage. Note the grass, the distant trees, and the clouds. All of them have undergone significant compression.

Step 5 - Increasing the Bitrate
As an experiment, I can take the same source material and export it at 150Mbps. It's only around this bitrate that the exported footage appears to match up with the source footage. However, the resulting file size for the 3 minute clip is 3.3GBs. You can see a comparison of these images here: http://i.imgur.com/hMpLx9P.jpg

Step 6 - 1 Pass vs 2 Pass
Furthermore, I did additional testing and discovered that while 1 Pass does still add additional artifacts to the image, even when set to a bitrate that exceeds the original footage, it's actually significantly better than 2 Pass at the same bitrate. My understanding is that this behavior should, in fact, be the reverse. Here's a comparison of 1 Pass verses 2 Pass: http://i.imgur.com/7aE0Fir.jpg

QUESTIONS
1. With the above steps considered, does exceeding the source material's bitrate still generate that much compression regardless?

2. Is the only way to avoid that level of compression to export the file at a bitrate that meets or exceeds around 150Mbps?

3. Is the behavior demonstrated in the above screenshots normal for Premiere Pro?

4. If the above behavior is not normal, where could I possibly begin in resolving this issue?


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Extreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015
by on Jul 27, 2015 at 9:23:03 am

Hey Ralph,

It is a tough one to crack. The whole point about H.264 is to compress you video to something that becomes very portable on mobile or internet network. If you are already working with compressed video, then it will continue to remove information, rather than encode it "as was".

A couple more suggestions for you to look at:
1) Is the source footage actually sized at 1920x1080? Or is it 1440x1080 that is unpacked to 1920x1080?

2) What timeline settings are you using in PPro? I'm wondering whether "cheating" PPro in to thinking that the timeline is uncompressed - or use a heavy compressed codec for TL, whether that will change how the H.264 encoding works at the end of that workflow?

Please let me know how you get on.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Matt BurkeRe: Extreme artifacting when exporting with Premiere Pro CC 2015
by on Jul 28, 2015 at 4:25:09 pm

Hi guys

You may also want to check your keyframe settings. If you're working with a 23.98 sequence, try setting your keyframe to 24 or 12 (every second or half second).


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