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Old February 23rd, 2011, 09:02 AM   #1
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What's the best consumer encoding format?

Hi there,
first I have to say that I love the overall smoothness and visual quality of cineform encodes.
But my space is limited, and I want to backup my footage on DVDs somehow after editing it with Adobe Premiere CS5.
Therefore I have to find a codec that kind of capture the original cineform qualities without being too big in size.

What I have:
Canon HV20 (1440x1080, 60i, HDV, NTSC), Premiere CS5

Videofootage captured with Cineform AspectHD (3 years ago, don't know about the exact encoding settings), but GSpot says:
http://www7.pic-upload.de/23.02.11/ig391big93ty.jpg

When I export my cineform footage in premiere into, for example "h264, 1440x1080, progressive, 98Mbit (no matter if anamorphic, or square pixel)" I just get a stuttering video as an endresult. Not really stuttering, but rather a slow motion playback, in KmPlayer, VLC-Player and Mediaplayer classic all the same.
For this h264 encode GSpot says:
http://www7.pic-upload.de/23.02.11/6d8opt1dn1c.jpg
When I export instead of high bitrate (90mbit) with 14Mbit I get a smoother footage, but low bitrate (quality) h264 encode.

I hope someone can help me. :)

Last edited by Chris Cosic; February 23rd, 2011 at 10:19 AM. Reason: tried out some more export methods
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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Re: What's the best consumer encoding format?

I think you are confusing the quality of your material with the ability of your hardware to play it back -- this vague talk of 'smoothness' and 'stuttering' hints at a playback failure, likely caused by a bit rate and pixel aspect ratio that demand more of your computer than it can deliver.

h.264 is a computing intensive codec -- older computers simply lack the ability to decode it in real time, period. The newer and more powerful the computer, the better able to handle an h.264 stream -- but you can eventually get too large & too awkward (PAR, for example) a stream for even new hardware.

It's hard to know what to suggest, given that we don't know what your hardware limititations are, nor what your budget constraints might be -- fact is, I just bought a 2 terabyte drive for back up storage and got change back from $100. I'm currently transferring 150 hours of HDV material to that disk for back-up and convenient access -- as I paid an average of $6 an hour for the original tapes, and am now storing them in exactly the same quality for roughly 60 cents per tape ... it is hard to see why you wouldn't just buy bigger hard drives and save the quality you have.

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 11:39 AM   #3
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Re: What's the best consumer encoding format?

Yes, you may be absolutely right about the current situation of cheap harddiskdrives to backup your videos.
Sorry, I forgot to mention me hardware specs, how silly of me.

My specs:
Intel Q9550, 2,8ghz Quad, 8GB Ram, 5x1TB HDD (with only 50 GB left :P ), Geforce GTX460, Win7 Ultimate 64bit, NeoHD, Premiere CS5

I didn't know that h264 is really that power consuming to defeat my good (not great) system.
So, what are possible solutions to convert those huge cineform files to a more size friendly (instead of 50GB/hour to 20GB/hour with minimal visual quality loss).

But in the end I will think about saving my footage on hdds, still I am not confident with saving precious material on mechanical and easily breakable devices.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 12:41 PM   #4
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Re: What's the best consumer encoding format?

CineForm HD high is between 100-120Mb/s and you want 40Mb/s. Distribution codecs are typically under 20Mb/s. There isn't much that can maintain some of the CineForm 4:2:2 quality at 40Mb/s, the next best would be MPEG2 4:2:2 at 50Mb/s. H.264 at 98Mb/s was funny, as you haven't reduced your datarate much, but given yourself a headache. H.264 is best a lower bit-rates, the older MPEG2 is fine for higher bit-rates.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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Re: What's the best consumer encoding format?

Given that your source was originally HDV, with a data rate around 7Mb/s if memory serves -- why not just stick with that? h.264 was never intended as a high bit rate edit ready codec -- even though your computer is powerful you are giving it far too much to calculate and that is why your playback is collapsing.

Your material didn't get better when you went from HDV to CineForm originally -- archiving at HDV may be the sensible balance.

I hear your anxiety over drive failure, and I agree -- but the solution is relatively simple. Duplicate your HDD, and periodically copy your HDD to a newer one. DVD media will fail as surely as HDD & tape -- the only real protection is multiple copies and occasional refreshing by recopying. A HDD cloned five years on will be good as new, and at current price declines cost nearly nothing. And the security of a second HDD copy kept somewhere off-site is pretty solid.

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 01:44 PM   #6
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Re: What's the best consumer encoding format?

Don't confuse Mb/s and MB/s, mega-bits vs mega-bytes. HDV is 25Mb/s or 3MB/s. All my numbers above where in mega-bits.

If the user did more than splice, the resulting edit does have more information that the source, so HDV encoding will lose data. That might be acceptable, but it is a trade-off.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 02:35 PM   #7
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Re: What's the best consumer encoding format?

Thanks for the reminder to mind my B's and b's -- add to that I got the data rate wrong either way!

As you say, there would be a compromise on material generated using CineForm, but not on that acquired under another -- there is, as always, a trade-off ...

Cheers,
GB
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