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Final Cut Express HD - Limited Quality Exports?

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Shane Newville
Final Cut Express HD - Limited Quality Exports?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 8:08:40 pm

Hello,

I have Final Cut Express HD 3.5.1

Being the Express HD version, I can only select from a
list of preset project templates, so I am using:
DV-NTSC

I have an uncompressed Quicktime movie:

720 x 540 pixels (Actual)
FPS: 30
Data Size: 4.4 GB
Data Rate: 186.99 mbits/s
Duration: 0:00:03:24.40

It looks perfectly the way I want it to.
I am using FinalCut Express HD to add audio
to the movie. Simply task right?

The only thing is, no matter what I've tried
using Export Quicktime Movie or Use Quicktime Conversion,
it always turns out extremely ugly. I've even used
Animation (which people keep saying is the best compression
type).

I prefer H.264.

The thing is, it seems like FC Express HD limits the
data rate. Not matter how high I set it, it keeps
turning out like tainted garbage.

What can I do? Do I need the Pro version in order
to maintain quality? The company is requesting a
high data rate for better quality and FC Express HD
can't seem to do this.

Please help!

Thanks.


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Chris Borjis
Re: Final Cut Express HD - Limited Quality Exports?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 9:34:36 pm

[Shane Newville] "Do I need the Pro version in order
to maintain quality?"


yes.

if it only allows you DV-NTSC it will be ugly no matter what.






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Alan Okey
Re: Final Cut Express HD - Limited Quality Exports?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 10:20:19 pm

If you simply want to add an audio track to your existing video file, you can do this in Quicktime Pro - there is no need to use a full editing application, especially one that limits your choice of codecs.

http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/QuickTime_7.2_User_Guide.pdf

If you need to compress the deliverable video file to a more managable size, or if your delivery bandwidth constraints require a lower bit rate (i.e. web delivery), you can simply export an h.264-encoded .mov file from Quicktime Pro once you've added the audio track. AAC (256kbps or 192kbps 48kHz 16-bit stereo) is an efficient, high quality audio codec that complements h.264 video.

If your exported file is going to be imported into a video editing application, don't use h.264, stick with uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 or Animation. The h.264 codec is a long-GOP compression format that is unsuitable for frame-accurate editing.

For more versatile compression options, use Apple's Compressor or ffmpegX:

http://homepage.mac.com/major4/

What was the source of your video file? 720x540 is a non-standard video resolution. NTSC video is either 720x486 (NTSC D1) or 720x480 (NTSC DV).

If your source file is a computer animation that was created as 720x540 (square pixels), then it's most likely already in a proper 4:3 aspect ratio. 640x480 is a more common square-pixel 4:3 format, but depending on your delivery format, it shouldn't make much difference.

What is your ultimate delivery format going to be, web or video? If it's going to be delivered on video, i.e. SD DVD, DV tape or NTSC broadcast, you'll need to resize your output to 720x480 or 720x486, respectively.



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Alan Okey
Re: Final Cut Express HD - Limited Quality Exports?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 11:31:56 pm

I forgot to mention that working in ProRes or ProRes HQ is a perfectly viable alternative to working in Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2, as ProRes is (reportedly) visually lossless when compared to full uncompressed. ProRes also has lower disk bandwidth and storage space requirements relative to uncompressed.


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Alan Okey
Re: Final Cut Express HD - Limited Quality Exports?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 11:33:05 pm

Sorry, posted this in the wrong thread - please disregard.


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Shane Newville
Re: Final Cut Express HD - Limited Quality Exports?
on Jan 9, 2009 at 12:27:31 am

Alan Okey! Thank you for the most helpful answer
I've ever received on a forum in my life!

That answers more questions than I posted.

The original file was an animation in Flash.
I had the hardest time getting Flash MX 2004 to
export a Quicktime Video file with audio, but
worked perfectly without...which is why I need
Quicktime Pro. I really need to study up on
the different ratios as well.

I am pretty sure the the file I am trying to
encode is for Broadcast.

Here is the video (YouTube quality):



Thanks again.

-ShaneNewville


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