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Old August 5th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #1
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Jagged diagonal lines, quality loss when exporting from FCP

I've been working on this problem for several days and I'm going insane! Every time I export my movie from Final Cut, there is a significant quality loss. It is most noticeable in two ways: diagonal lines become very jagged (looking somewhat like diagonal lines in an older video game -- more a diagonal sequence of blocks); also, in some areas such as faces, the colors get a little blurry and there seems to some "pooling" of colors around the edges of the face.

I'm pretty sure the problem's not in capture: the Quicktime clips that I captured from the camera are all pristine. When I play them in Quicktime, I can blow them up several times their original size, and they maintain their sharp lines. (I also Reverse Telecined them all with Cinema Tools, if that's relevant -- followed Steve Mullen's method to a T.) I also know the problem's not just my computer monitor; when I play these movies on my external monitor and TV, they look bad too. The clips look bad after I bring them into Final Cut, and while I'm editing, but at first I figured that was because Final Cut sometimes doesn't show full resolution in the timeline. Still, when I export, the quality of the original captures just isn't there.

Some details:

Captured from 24A progressive, Sony HVR V1U HDV.
Using Final Cut 6.0.1, Compressor 3.0.1, Quicktime 7.2.0, OS 10.4.10 (all the most recent versions I believe).
I've exported in many different ways: using Compressor with a number of different settings: the DVD Best Quality 90 Minutes default Setting, as well as using a variety of bit rates from 3.0-8.0, One pass CBR, Two pass CBR, Two pass VBR, Two pass VBR best; Video Formats NTSC, HD 1440x1080...I have tried many combinations. Regardless of the size of the m2v created, the files seem to have the same problem over and over. I've also tried exporting from Final Cut as a Quicktime Movie and with Quicktime Conversion. Same result. I also tried using different compressors with my Final Cut sequence: Apple Intermediate Codec (which I used when capturing -- you have to with the Sony HVR), HDV 1080p24, HDV 1080i60, Apple Pro Res 422, H.264...

What's happening? Why is Final Cut turning my nice pristine captures into jagged foulness? What can I try that I haven't yet?
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Old August 6th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #2
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On some computers I've seen horrible exports from final cut, what fixed it was H264 with deinterlacing checked. If that doesn't do anything, I bring it into after effects and control click to "interpret footage" Because it's usually just the interlacing. Also try to make a DVD and watch it on TV, I know you said you've seen it on TV, but I'd make a DVD and watch it on the tube, not an LCD or anything progressive. -just suggesting this stuff since computers and quicktime often play stuff back extra crappy. If your quality settings are low in final cut it seems like you'd be getting artifacts and chunky colors more than blocky lines. But you should definately check all settings in final cut, the export should look as good as final cut shows them to you. If it looks bad in final cut then it's not the exporting that's the problem. You've done the obvious stuff like dynamic settings in your timeline right?
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Old August 6th, 2007, 12:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestions. H264 isn't helping, and I've got everything as dynamic settings in Final Cut. I burned a few DVDs using different settings, and everything looks bad on the TV.

I'm really at a loss -- I don't know why a Quicktime clip that looks very good suddenly gets bad in Final Cut. It's like bringing the clips into Final Cut immediately lowers their quality, and then it's never regained. I've been using FCP for several years and have never had this problem...this is the first time I've used HDV. Still, I don't know why things would look good in the original Quicktime clips and then look so bad in and after Final Cut.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #4
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Unfortunately I have no experience with your camera, my HDV is all interlaced. But if I were you I'd make new fcp projects with all the setting you can think of, control click the sequence etc... maybe it's just something in the settings.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 05:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for your ideas. Yeah, I'll probably have to go through dozens of projects to find out it's one setting...I could swear I've tried them all. But there's always one...

Anyway, if anyone else has any ideas (even wild ones!) feel free to throw them at me!
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