Trouble with .mp4 encode in Premiere using XDCAM Clips at

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Old August 21st, 2009, 01:03 AM   #1
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Location: Anchorage, AK
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Trouble with .mp4 encode in Premiere using XDCAM Clips

Scene: Lone wolf videographer who usually lurks in the background to finds answers to issues exposes himself to public with tail tucked between legs. With a heavy sigh he admits defeat and types in the following query:

Why are my .mp4(h264) encodes turning out so awful? Here what's going on...

I jumped into the HD world with the purchase of a Sony EX1 earlier this summer, along with this I also purchased a Matrox RT.X2 editing card, CS4 Production Premium and put a couple of spiffy RAIDs in my tower. I did a lot of research (perhaps I should have done this BEFORE the big purchase) and decided that Matrox/CS4/Vista were not playing nice with eachother yet, so I completly wiped my system and did a fresh install of window XP and choose to use the 4.0.1 version of Premeire Pro and the 4.0.0217 drivers for the Matrox. The only software I have on the system is CS4, Quicktime, drivers for the video card, XDCAM Browser, microsoft office, hp's scanner software. For the most part things have worked quite nicely enough.

Well I had a green screen shoot recently for a client that wants the final product in mpeg-4 OR un-compressed AVI's. Well the AVI's look GREAT, but, as you probably know, at about 12 gig for 1+ minutes of footage in full HD that's not exactly an DVD delivery friendly method. So I'm trying to get the .MP4's to work. Here is what I 've done:The Footage was shot on the EX1 in 1080p HQ (1920 x 1080p)format. The premiere project sequences I've tried have been with using both the (XDCAM 1920x1080p) and Matrox HD (1440x1080P) presets. I bring the clips in do a very basic edit (clip the ends), add two basic audio filters(channel level and channel swap) and put ONE photo on the video 2 track. Heck, I'm not even doing the final chroma key. So I go to export the sequence and choose the h264 preset, VBR1 pass, keep the project in 1920x1080 progressive ('cuz it's for a website overlay in the end, and ,apparently, they want to shrink it themselves). Well the resulting file does not playback well in quicktime or on the sequence it was exported from in Premiere. When I render the resulting clip on the time line it starts to loop right around the point where the photo is, even though the .mp4 file does not have this same issue. If I encode the file as an Interlaced file instead of progressive, the resulting clips work much better, but is a bit "soft" compared to the original footage.

Any input would be greatly appreciated, I'll even except snarky comments as long as they help me figure this out!

Thanks- JLee
James Jason Lee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 21st, 2009, 03:19 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Posts: 1,832
A couple of things draw my attention:

1: Office on an editing rig? I would put that on another machine.
2: HP scanner software. Bloated and ineffective software and if you can do without, put it on another machine.
3. Matrox?? Can't you use it for what it was designed for, as a door stopper?
4. Chroma key in PR? That is notoriously bad. Try Keylight in AE.
5. Qui(R)ckTime on a PC is just that.
6. Why not update to CS4 4.1?
7. Why only VBR 1-pass, instead of 2-pass?
8. What encoding settings were used?
Harm Millaard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 21st, 2009, 06:57 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Conway, NH
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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm with Harm here. Conventional wisdom is that you want your editing machine to be an editing machine. Full stop. No Office. No scanning. No anti virus. No Web. Nothing but the tools to edit and polish video. That won't guarantee your entry into the land of milk and honey, but it will help... a lot. However, I'm not sure how much it will effect the output quality of your final product.

Your mish-mash of project formats probably isn't helping you here, and trial and error is a painful way to try to get things right. Use a project format designed for your source footage. It's just easier that way. There shouldn't be much mucking about with the format at all until you get to the output stage and then it's all determined by the delivery medium. For the Web, always deinterlace. Computer displays aren't designed for interlaced displays so you'll end up with the dreaded "mice teeth" where there's movement.

To help you get happily to the end, we'll need your specific settings in AME. Something's apparently going pear shaped in that step.
Tripp Woelfel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 21st, 2009, 11:12 AM   #4
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Location: Woodinville, WA USA
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While I totally agree with both Tripp and Harm -- and they know way more about all this than I do -- I actually do have Office on my editing rig as well, as we do a lot of work with titles that are taken from theatrical programs and the producers just send those files in .doc format. Saves me retyping and making all sorts of typos. I just cut and paste into Premiere's title screen. I could see having the scanner software on the rig for the same reason.

This way they can't blame me if someone's name is misspelled.

WRT VBR 1-pass, I keep reading the 2-pass does nothing but double your rendering time with no real benefit, but perhaps this is incorrect.
Adam Gold is offline   Reply

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