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Old August 14th, 2009, 03:21 AM   #1
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Quicktime export

Hi,

I use Sony Vegas pro 8. I have to submit a short film for a competition in Quicktime. The rules specify that this should be uncompressed, 8 bit or H.264 codec. Would someone be able to tell me which setting to use in Vegas for these outputs.

The Quicktime (.mov) has a render template of default (uncompressed) which has no video format in the custom settings. Is this uncompressed? There is H.261 and H.263 but no H.264. I have always taken the H.264 in Sony Vegas as meaning the AVC template (either Sony or Mainconcept). Is this correct? As for the 8 bit !!!???

Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Old August 14th, 2009, 07:56 AM   #2
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If you really need Quicktime, I would consider rendering out to uncompressed AVI (or, even better, use the Frame Server plugin) and run it through Quicktime Pro to convert it to the format you need.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Edward.

I take it then that it is not possible to achieve straight out of Vegas. What is the frame server plugin?
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Old August 14th, 2009, 08:56 AM   #4
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I've never had good luck going to Quicktime. I know some others use it but I've never had much luck with it.

Information on the Frame Server:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/what-happ...9-support.html

This will let you "render" the entire file to the Quicktime convertor without needing a ton of disk space.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 09:46 AM   #5
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Unlike Edward, I use Quicktime nearly exclusively in Vegas and have not had any issues with it at all.

Vegas offers both Uncompressed and H.264 exports. In Vegas 8.1 under the .mov container you should be able to go into the "Custom" tab and select <none>. This is the uncompressed option.

To create the h.264 options you can select either the Mainconcept AVC/AAC template or the Sony AVC template. Both will create Quicktime files with H.264 compression with a .mp4 extension.

Post back if you have questions.
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Last edited by Perrone Ford; August 14th, 2009 at 11:09 AM.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input Perrone. I don't do much with Quicktime now - haven't for a few years.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #7
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Edward,

Because I master to Quicktime (DNxHD or JP2K), I use Quicktime in Vegas most of the time once I am done cutting. I find the more modern codecs and the availability of solid 10-bit codecs worth the speed sacrifice.

Honestly, DNxHD and JP2K have transformed my video work more than anything else I've done in the past 5 years. Well, save for my transition to HD end to end. I use Lagarith AVI for my proxy cutting and for prepping my work. But once editorial is done, and I am ready to start up the heavy work, everything goes to 10-bit Quicktime files.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. That's really helpful.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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Just curious Perrone but how does the Quicktime (DNxHD or JP2K) fit into your typical workflow, especially when you have found it so important? And why so important? Apologies if you explained it in the preceding post. I couldn't quite grasp what you meant.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Howells View Post
Just curious Perrone but how does the Quicktime (DNxHD or JP2K) fit into your typical workflow, especially when you have found it so important? And why so important? Apologies if you explained it in the preceding post. I couldn't quite grasp what you meant.
It's a good question Mark and one that probably bears some explanation.

Typically, I have several different workflows depending on how I get my source, and what my destination is. The most common is when I shoot something in HD, and deliver it in SD on DVD.

So the workflow is:

Shoot 1080p > Ingest to NLE at 1080p > create original master in DNxHD > create SD sized proxy file for editing with Lagarith AVI codec > finish cuts and edits > media replace to DNxHD Master > color correct > color grade > title > sweeten audio > create finished master in DNxHD or JP2K > open up finished master on timeline > render Lagarith AVI HD file > Lanczos downscale to SD in VirtualDub > open SD file in NLE > create mpeg2/AAC files > cut DVD

Not all of my projects need all of these steps, but the longer ones do. If I am not so concerned about the final product quality going to DVD (like conferences) then I don't do any of the work to go out to virtual dub and come back, and I may not even cut SD proxies, choosing instead to edit the native HD files and create a finished master from those.

So what role does DNxHD play?

First it is available as a 10-bit or 8-bit codec. If I have to do a lot of color grading, the 10-bit codec is very important. Secondly, DNxHD allows transfer to and from PC <-> Mac with no gamma shifting or other problems. So I am able to share my work easily with anyone else who may be on a Mac, and it's transparent. Third, because DNxHD is a SMPTE standard, I am fairly comfortable mastering to it, and feeling like it will be able to be used 20 years down the road.

JP2K is 8-bit only in Vegas. But it allows a nice mastering format for projects that are simply going onto our webserver or don't need the super high quality of DNxHD mastering. I get DNxHD like visual performance in the space of an Mpeg4 compressed file. It's also a SMPTE standard and under review with the Library of Congress as a long term archive format so I feel confident it will be able to be read for a long time into the future.

So these two formats get used as intermediate codecs for color work, mastering codecs, and codecs that can transfer from PC to Mac and back seamlessly. This avoids a lot of the pitfalls I see others having. The DNxHD codec is free to download and use for both PC and Mac users. And once installed, Quicktime becomes aware and will play the files.

The downside to any Quicktime file on the Vegas timeline is that it uses Quicktime as the decoder, thus it moves very slow on the timeline and you simply cannot get real-time playback. The best you get (without a RAM render) is about 10fps.

Is this helpful?
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Old August 14th, 2009, 01:23 PM   #11
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Thank you so much Perrone for the detailed answer. That helped enormously in my understanding and I'm sure is a very useful guide for others.

Wow I've got so much more to learn.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 01:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mark Howells View Post
Thank you so much Perrone for the detailed answer. That helped enormously in my understanding and I'm sure is a very useful guide for others.

Wow I've got so much more to learn.
Mark, the steps I outlined above is what I would do to get a broadcast worthy SD file from HD. The workflow for most home editors looks like this:

Shoot HD > Ingest into NLE > edit/color correct/color grade > render to SD

Then we see the dozens of questions here about why the results don't look "professional" and what settings need to be selected in the NLE to get results like the pros.

It takes 2-6 months after filming is finished in Hollywood to get a movie cut and prepped for release. That is for a 2 hour film. Home shooters want to finish in 2 days and then wonder why they don't get professional looking results. You simply cannot shortcut some things and expect good results. Again, if youtube is your finishing medium, that's one thing. But if you are trying to prepare for a film festival, or for broadcast, then you need to look at your work flow and increase quality at every step.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 05:40 AM   #13
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Thanks again Perrone.

I must admit I've been using the basic approach you outlined, with I felt, decent results. But I haven't compared it to other methods. How would you quantify the improvement in quality of output using your workflow?
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Old August 15th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #14
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Thanks again Perrone.

I must admit I've been using the basic approach you outlined, with I felt, decent results. But I haven't compared it to other methods. How would you quantify the improvement in quality of output using your workflow?
If you are happy with the results you've gotten, then stick with what you're doing. How would I quantify the differences with my more involved workflow? 8-bit codecs simply cannot smoothly handle color degradations and subtle changes in tonality. If you've got a scene that has strong colors or deep shadows with things you want SEEN in those shadows, then 8-bit codecs just won't get you there very well.

I would suggest you trying it both ways. Take a 2 minute project and put it through both workflows. Maybe go out and shoot something with the wrong white balance, just to simulate a scenario where you've really got to move the colors around. Or shoot some nature with lots of sky in the photo, then go home and try to get a rich blue out of the sky or simulate a sunset. See what happens.
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