What format to use?

Posted by Delphinus 
What format to use?
May 08, 2015 08:13PM
I have a FCP 7 project in HD and want to make a copy without any degradation. When I use Apple ProRes 422HQ the copy looks terrible. Would I get better results using Photo-JPEG or H264? If not, what? Thanks.

Version 10.6.8
Re: What format to use?
May 08, 2015 10:20PM
Prores should not look "terrible"

what is your current format?
how are you creating and viewing the export?
also, what is the specific problem?

Re: What format to use?
May 09, 2015 12:02PM
The video came to me as a m4v file over Dropbox. I dropped it into a FCP timeline of HDV 1080p 24 and the clip looked great. But I wanted to break the long clip up into shorter clips, marking and in and out. But when I went to Export Using Quicktime Conversion, I designated Apple ProRes 422 HQ and the resulting clip was bland and had artifacts, like importing a VHS clip. Same with Photo-JPEG and H.264. I can't understand this, although I have seldom worked with an original m4v file. Normally, I import from HDV tape and the process works beautifully. Any ideas?
Re: What format to use?
May 09, 2015 12:03PM
I meant mp4, not m4v.
Re: What format to use?
May 09, 2015 12:05PM
Actually, the clip that came over Dropbox was titled BALCOMB m4v.mp4. What do you make of that?
Re: What format to use?
May 09, 2015 08:51PM
try exporting a section from MPeg Streamclip,
see if it looks better

Re: What format to use?
May 10, 2015 01:49PM
I don't have that option, at least in FCP7. It's strange. In the FCP timeline the clip looks great, but when I mark an in and an out, no matter what I use to make the clip (ProRes, h.264, PhotoJPEG) the resulting clip looks terrible. It looks like it's been shot through a fine screen and the colors are washed out. I have never had this problem before and I wonder if it is a result of the original clip, which I indicated was labeled m4v.mp4.
Re: What format to use?
May 10, 2015 06:37PM
Mpeg Streamclip is a free app

there may be problems because you have put a non-FCP friendly clip, and an-I-frame clip at that,
into a sequence which is not a great codec, and is also non I-frame.

i thought FCP ignored the sequence settings when one did an Export with Quicktime Conversion, but maybe not.

mp4 in an HDV sequence, exporting as a third codec?
too convoluted

if you want prores, make your sequence prores, and render the sections you want,
then export.
or try Mpeg Streamclip.

if you are up-scaling the clip, then that could also be a source of your problems.
FCP's upscaling is not the best.
Mpeg Streamclip is better, i believe.
Resolve is also better and also free.

Re: What format to use?
May 11, 2015 03:49PM
Export "Using QuickTime Conversion" is a dog. Instead of using that, go into to your Sequence Settings and change the video "Compressor" to ProRes 422 HQ. A red render bar will appear. Choose highest quality Video Processing and Render Control settings, but it is not necessary to do the render. Then export: "QuickTime Movie", selecting "Current Settings" and "Make Movie Self-Contained".

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
Re: What format to use?
May 16, 2015 06:05PM
FCP doesn't work with MP4 on the timeline...nor M4V. Meaning it might SEEM like it's working...you can edit and stuff. But when it comes time to export...you either lose sync or get crappy results.

You have MANY strikes against you. First off, MP4 in the timeline...converted from M4V...which was converted from who knows what. Then you used an HDV sequence setting...that's a Long GOP format really only to be used with HDV. Using that with any other formats will put them into the HDV structure, which isn't I frame...meaning no individual frames, but 3-4 real frames and then a bunch of in-between "best guess" pictures. And then you are trying to export as ProRes. Oh...and HDV is anamorphic 1440x1080, and who knows what the frame size of your originals was, so it might have been squeezed to that anamorphic frame size...and then unsqueezed when exporting full frame ProRes.

That is simply one big mess.

Best thing that you can do is convert all the footage to ProRes 422, and try to relink or over-cut it....and use a ProRes 422 sequence setting.

But that's a lot of work.

The shortcut would me to make a ProRes 422, 1920x1080 sequence, copy and paste all your footage into that...fix it by adjusting the distortion on all the footage (it's anamorphic due to the other sequence)...render that, and then export Quicktime movie, no recompression.


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Re: What format to use?
May 17, 2015 08:29AM
Shane is right that the render should be done in this case, because it will show if there are any bad surprises.

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
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