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Old June 7th, 2006, 10:03 PM   #1
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Best Quality Quicktime Delivery

I have put together a 90 second piece in Final Cut Pro 5.1.1.

The footage is from a Sony Z1P (downconverted).

I need to delivery this project in the form of a Quicktime file.

I'm just wondering what is the best way to do this?

My logic tells me that I should use "Quicktime Conversion" and just export as "DV - PAL" file; seeing as all the footage is DV anyway. But, after trying this, the text overlays look really bad.

I then went to the other extreme and exported as an "Uncompressed" Quicktime, again using Quicktime conversion. The file size is huge! It looks good, but doesn't play smoothly on my poor old eMac.

I then tried exporting as a "JPEG 2000". Looks good, file size is OK, but on my eMac doesn't play smoothly. I'm hoping it will play OK on a dual G5.

What's the best codec? Should I use Compressor instead of QT Conversion?

I would love to be able to press a button and it will just export the best quality it can do. I gather that's what exporting as a self contained QT movie does? I'd do that, except then you can't view it on a PC.

Your thoughts?
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Old June 8th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #2
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Quicktime file with Animation codec. It will be huge but it should look good.
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Old June 9th, 2006, 05:02 AM   #3
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Thanks Chris!
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Old June 9th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #4
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from my experience, whenever I export with "compressor" it gives me the best results; although, it's time consuming always...
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Old June 15th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #5
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DV-PAL should be fine. Sounds like you are not playing it in High Quality mode. THe default is not High Quality. Since you have QT pro, you:
Open the DV file
hit command-J
in the list of tracks, select the video track to show you the properties
click the visual properties button
There are 3 check boxes in the lower right corner labelled Quality
For playback on a Mac, select the first and last
for a PC select all 3
Close the video and save changes. The settings are saved in the file

If you want a smaller file than DV, use COmpressor to create on using a Preset with a data rate of around 1000kbits (DV 3.5Mbits). I find H.264 compressor does well but your customer will need QT 7.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 12:03 AM   #6
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Thanks for your replies!

Ernest, thanks for pointing out the Quicktime Quality setting. I wonder why Apple has set the default to a lower quality? Seems a little strange.

As many hours of "playing around" I have decided:

- If you only need to export DV footage (ie. no filters/generators), DV-PAL will give you the best possible quality. Everything along the pipeline (ie. capture - edit - output) will be the exact same quality.
- However! If you add filters/generators (such as text overlays), the added content, such as titles and colour corrected footage will look better if you export using something of higher quality than DV-PAL. In the end I used "JPEG 2000". As Chris suggested, the "Animation Codec" would also work. Uncompressed is probably going a little bit too far. H.264 also gives some great results (if the data rate is high enough), although on my slow Mac, it struggles to play smoothly.

Regardless of the video settings, I also always set the audio settings to be of the highest possible quality.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #7
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It's a real shame that H.264 is not as universal as it should be - it's output is fantastic and at a much smaller file size. However, as you've said Chris, older computers tend to struggle a bit and PC users may have problems viewing the format. With the introduction of HD-DVD/BluRay, I hope to see it more widely adopted.
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