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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #1
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Best still quality

I am using PP CS3 and editing SD Video and inserting still images from my Canon 40D into the timeline. The look great on the timeline but when I export them to AVI using the default settings, the video looks great and the stills have lost a lot of sharpness. I have tried using various sizes of images and scaling them to the timeline and various formats including jpeg, tiff and PSD. The images going into the timeline are very good quality and far better than the video quality. Any ideas. Thanks, Scott
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Old July 13th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #2
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What codec are you using to export the movie to?
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #3
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I've had good luck with exporting 1080 X 1920 Jpegs
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Old July 13th, 2009, 04:03 PM   #4
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Microsoft DV AVI with DV NTSC. I also tried quicktime with h.264 with the same results.

Last edited by Scott Dordick; July 13th, 2009 at 04:43 PM.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #5
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I still haven't figured out how to output jpeg2000 or tiff images as a video stream. Every time I try I get one frame..thats it.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #6
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Kevin (Edit: oops I mean Scott), your still image is being converted to 720x480 pixels with a lossy DV codec, so it's inevitable it will lose much of the sharpness that's in the original. But are you saying you're seeing some kind of loss over and above what the SD conversion has caused?

Last edited by Graham Hickling; July 13th, 2009 at 07:58 PM.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 05:25 PM   #7
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Hey Graham, you got the wrong person.. I was asking why when I try to export to TIFF I only get one image.. and not 30 per second for my video. I read in a couple places that if possible, work with TIFF images or PSD images (for adobe products) instead of a compressed file to edit with. I am actually going to try using CineForm.. I got it based on that I was going to pick up a Density card too, but haven't got that yet. I figure if CineForm is easy to work with in Premiere, I'll convert any HDV/ACHDV stuff to CineForm for longer term storage and edit with it as well.

Scott was asking the initial question.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 05:38 PM   #8
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I know some sharpness will be lost with the lossy codec, but in the timeline the quality of the stills is better than the video (and the video looks pretty good), but the quality of the stills is being degraded much more than the video. Is there a better way to export the timeline without degrading the stills so much or a better image type that is not so easily degraded?
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Old July 13th, 2009, 10:31 PM   #9
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Scott, I played with this some tonight, I see some difference from the timeline to output, but not huge. The microsoft avi looked ok with dv/ntsc, and in fact better than h.264 with dv ntsc hi-quality preset with 2pass vbr, hi bit rate,etc.

Our process at work (Final Cut) which I tried with Premiere was to scale the still in Photoshop to twice the video resolution and save as uncompressed Tif. I imported it to the timeline, scaled to frame size (right click on the clip) and then output with media encoder at microsoft avi, dv/ntsc. Side by side with the tif, it was very comparable. I wonder if there is something amiss in the process, an odd codec, or missing setting? I recall that early on, Media Encoder didn't always carry the settings over from Premiere, and bit rates and such needed to be re-set in AME. Probably they fixed that in the last update, but still worth a check...

If you are doing any animation ("Ken Burns") with the still or overlaying type,that can add problems -- in FCP we have to add a smidge of motion blur to such images to eliminate darkening and jaggies, but that doesn't seem to be what you are describing.

Anyway, what I got tonight seemed acceptable to me, your needs may be more critical or maybe there is a setting off someplace.....hth...Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old July 14th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #10
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Hi Battle,
Thank you for taking the time to try things out. I am new to this so everybit of information helps (ie twice video res, uncomp tiff) . I found that the particular image is most of the problem, although it is sharp and high res, it is a flat black product with out specular highlights and for some reason the codec (I think) does not render it well.

I have added another image and did everything exactly the same way and it looks much better. I have somewhat improved the look of the original still (and have given it the appearance of being sharper) by adding some bevel and emboss and drop shadow using photoshop. I can send you a link to the video if you are interested.

Thanks again, Scott
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Old July 14th, 2009, 03:54 PM   #11
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Yes, I would like to see what the result of the original problem was, if you have it, I always learn something from problems like this, thanks! / B Vaughan
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Old July 14th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #12
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Hi Battle,

Where would you like me to e-mail the link to the video to? I would post it here, but I manufacture photographic products and I am not sure it would be OK, I am afraid they might consider it advertising. If you don't want to post your e-mail here you can e-mail it to me at info@acratech.net.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #13
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Scott, I've been using Premiere Pro since version 1.5, and I remember having an awful time with stills back in the day. It sounds like you're having the same exact problem I used to have, so here's what I ended up doing to fix it.

For whatever reason, using Premiere to scale hi-res photos down isn't the best way to do it. Whenever I scaled down photos that were in excess of 1600X1200, I saw nasty aliasing and picture quality was just awful. So, I ended up bringing the really large photos into Photoshop. I resized them down to 800X600, and then brought the smaller photos back into Premiere. 800X600 still allows you a little wiggle room so you can scale down if necessary. For really large photos that I needed to keep at full resolution because I was zooming into or from them, I would do that work in After Effects. Not sure why, but After Effects provides a much better image if you're working with very large stills.

So, give the Photoshop method a try and let us know how or if it works. If you have a ton of stills to downsize, Photoshop has an excellent automate feature that will do all the heavy lifting for you. Hope this helps!
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Old July 15th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #14
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Scott, no secret, it's in my DVinfo profile: bvaughan@miamiherald.com. Love to see what you have.

Shawn's comment is very interesting; the advice we got to double the size of the image came from a source who quoted (and this is way above my pay grade) something called the Nyquist Theorum that says, basically, you digitize from a sample that is twice the resolution you want to output to...and, we have to agree, it works for us....I think Shawn is right that if your original is way too big that the downsampling could get ugly, but the 2x seems to work very well....however, more tests with Premiere are in order, as my professional work is all FCP and this process definitely works a treat there...all the best / B. Vaughan
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