Using Quicktime as end product

Posted by Michael Allender 
Using Quicktime as end product
September 03, 2008 12:50PM
I'm making a series of 30 minute HDV educational videos for use by high schools and colleges. In trying to avoid compatibility issues with DVD player brands, as well as trying to get the highest quality image possible, I'm considering making a self-contained QT movie file available on a DVD, and have the users play it through their computers.

I'd like to shoot these in 24p on a Canon XH A1, and edit them in either FCE 5 (or I'll get FCS2 if necessary).

1. Will stopping with the Quicktime movie produce better a quality image than going on through the DVD authoring stage?

2. Will the image look acceptable whether shown on regular SD TV's, digital TV's, computer monitors, or through a digital projector onto a screen?

3. Or, would I need to shoot it or edit it differently (for example 60i for SD TV) for different final viewing options?

Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 03, 2008 01:01PM
That's generally not a great idea. If you're distributing your shows to an audience who have to view it themselves on their own equipment, picture quality has to come second to accessibility. Your best bet here is to just master to standard-definition DVD and be done with it. That way nobody will call you and complain that they can't watch your show.

Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 03, 2008 01:12PM
"trying to avoid compatibility issues"

using quicktime files would only INCREASE your compatibility issues, Michael.
DVD is much more universal.

Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 03, 2008 01:28PM
You're talking about a data DVD, which is a way of getting a large (4.5 GB) file onto disk that can be played by a computer (not a DVD player). Another problem with this approach is that the movie won't play well from the disk, you would have to copy it to the hard drive then play it from there. Another reason to not recommend that method.

Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 04, 2008 08:50AM
I'm with these guys. You won't be able to play a self contained QT movie with an editing codec as well off a data DVD as you can with video DVDs. And there isn't really that much compatibility issues with DVDs (even NTSC is playable on 99% of PAL players). And a lot less than QT, when you consider the number of PC users who may not have QT installed on their machines.
Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 04, 2008 09:17AM
Thanks all for the good advice on using QT as an end product. I'll stick with authoring DVD's, but that brings up a couple of other issues for me that I'd like advice on.

I am using a Canon XH A1, shooting HDV at 24f. I currently have FC Express and iDVD, and the results I get are less than stunning! Without getting too technical at this point, would using FCS2 offer me significantly better quality, or just more features? My educational videos are of simple, outdoor narrative scenes, and I have little need for a lot of DVD extras.

Second, would using a hard drive capture like the Quickstream, which would enable me to transfer mpeg2 files directly to my computer hard drive, rather than using Apple Intermediate, be an advantage in terms of output quality? Or does it all get get compressed the same in the end?

Third, I've heard that using a Blackmagic Intensity card would change the HDV to an I-frame format. Is that true, would it be an improvement, and is there a way I could use it given that my Canon is not an HDMI camera?

Thanks very much,
Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 04, 2008 09:50AM
At the risk of being terse ? I've got a session in a few minutes, sorry ? yes, Final Cut Pro will let you produce better-looking DVDs than Final Cut Express. But there's a steep learning curve.

Tapeless recording won't help you, as long as you're using Final Cut Express. Final Cut Express doesn't support any high-quality editing codecs. It's designed to work with DV footage. Ditto using a video I/O board; you'd still be stuck with Apple Intermediate.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure Final Cut Express will work with an I/O board at all. Every time I run into it, it seems like I discover something new that it simply doesn't do, so it wouldn't surprise me.

Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 04, 2008 11:11PM
There's another perspective to this.

If you are a teacher/instructor, QT movies are a lot more convenient than DVDs to project onto a screen. That's been my personal experience.

For one thing, before the session, you will have loaded the QT files on to the hard drive, so that you don't have to possibly mess with physical discs while teaching; and you can put them in the same folder as the other stuff you are using for the lesson. For another, typically you will have a few other things projected on the screen at the same time (Keynote, PowerPoint, PDFs): QT movies fit into that screen environment quite neatly.

Most schools and universities enjoy a limited copyright exemption, so that an instructor can easily include a few short QT movies in, say, a take-away CD for the students.

The marketing strategy I would suggest is to have two versions of product: a normal DVD; and then a higher-priced DVD-ROM with QT movies aimed at instructors.

If you include an instructor's guide (a PDF might be fine) on the DVD-ROM, giving practical suggestions to teachers on how they can use your material in the broader context of the subject taught, you might find there are more buyers.
Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 05, 2008 12:03AM
If you use compressor as your mpeg2 encoder you will have a lot more control on the quality of the dvd. Beautiful with good bit rates.

and then a higher-priced DVD-ROM with QT movies aimed at instructors.

this dvd ROM should include some nice pop notes. also where there is a chance for question or path choice interaction.

""" What you do with what you have, is more important than what you could do, with what you don't have."

> > > Knowledge + Action = Wisdom - J. Corbett 1992
Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 05, 2008 10:52AM
There was a very interesting point on powerpoint presentations- they can be done with DVD menus.

Do tests on the QT movie. I seriously doubt that DV will play straight off a DVD, and also, HDV/intermediate codecs may not be available on consumer QT players (non-Pro versions).
Re: Using Quicktime as end product
September 05, 2008 10:12PM
I seriously doubt that DV will play straight off a DVD

I wasn't suggesting it would. My apologies for excessive compression of expression! Of course, the free QT player does not include the MPEG 2 codec.

To elaborate, what I am saying is this. For classroom purposes, what works nicely is to create h.264 files, smallish in both dimensions and duration (longer clips in the MPEG 2 version usually need to be split, to keep the audience awake). If one is forced to use retarded PCs to project onto large screens, which not infrequently is the case, the video looks a lot better than MPEG2, needless to say.
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