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MP4 Conversion

Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 11:03am

Post 1 of 15

Brobin

Force: 410 | Joined: 26th Aug 2009 | Posts: 18

CompositeLab Pro User

Gold Member

Hi,

I am currently using a camera that shoots in mp4 format and I need to convert it to .mov to work in Composite Lab.

So far I have tried Quicktime Pro and Sony Vegas - Both convert, trouble is I lose quality and any movement brings an attach of the "Jaggies"

What is the best way of converting to maintain quality (if there is one!)
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 2:14pm

Post 2 of 15

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

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SuperUser

Jaggies on movement are not a quality issue, they are supposed to be there on video. That's interlacing. When the footage is displayed on a television, they will do their thing properly and won't be visible; the edges will be smooth.

You just need to de-interlace a final version of the project for viewing on computers/internet. www.100fps.com

Losing quality during conversion is strictly a matter of the codec you use, and isn't affected by what software you use for the conversion. The best way to maintain quality is to convert/export to Uncompressed.
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 2:31pm

Post 3 of 15

Brobin

Force: 410 | Joined: 26th Aug 2009 | Posts: 18

CompositeLab Pro User

Gold Member

Hi Axeman,

Wow this is well over my head!

I think you are absolutley correct as the jaggies only appear with movement. The thing I don't understand is that they only appear after conversion from mp4 to mov.

So is the mp4 non interlaced and the mov interlaced?

I only get this problem from mp4 files from this particular camera, I have tried converting mp4 from a different camera and that was fine.

Could I possibly send you a before and after example so that you can see what I mean?

All the best

Bill
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 3:23pm

Post 4 of 15

Axeman

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SuperUser

Interlacing is indeed a rather confusing area. Both the .mp4 and the .mov footage are probably interlaced, the difference is in how the computer is displaying them. If you have Quicktime Pro, for example, you can reset the .mov file to display without showing the interlacing through the Video Attributes (found in the Movie Properties window).

As far as an example,I'm fairly sure I know exactly what you mean; does it look like the examples in the link I provided? That link really explains the whole situation a lot better than I can.
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 3:28pm

Post 5 of 15

pdrg

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Rating: +1

Ahhh interlacing issues - an absolute classic!

There are a lot of stages interlacing artefacts can be introduced - they may exist in your original source, you may introduce them when converting to MOV, importing into CLab, you may see them exaggerated when you scale an interlaced image. It is a VERY common problem, and frankly many people just ignore it and live with the mice teeth!

It's entirely possible your original footage *is* interlaced, but the player you're viewing it with deinterlaces it for you as you view it...it's a 'mare.

If you're not scaling at any stage, you may as well stay interlaced (make sure you use 'interlaced' settings in every app where you convert format or import/export) as you can play out at a higher resolution. If you're changing the scale by even 1%, or even possibly changing it, then you should use an all-progressive workflow, as any scaling will effectively 'bake in' any mice-teeth, just like you see in a zillion youtube videos.
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 3:57pm

Post 6 of 15

Brobin

Force: 410 | Joined: 26th Aug 2009 | Posts: 18

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Hi Pdrg,

Thanks for the reply.

I need to get rid of the mice teeth if at all possible as the finished video is going onto a website and needs to look as good as possible.

In terms of scaling my source file Vegas gives the following properties:

25.000 fps progressive, 720x576x32, AVC

My output file is:

25.000 fps, 720x576x24, Sorenson Video 3

Obviously not quite the same - Any idea what I need to change?

All the best

Bill
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 4:57pm

Post 7 of 15

Brobin

Force: 410 | Joined: 26th Aug 2009 | Posts: 18

CompositeLab Pro User

Gold Member

is it possible that a particular setting on the camera could cause this to happen?

If so I will work through the settings to see if I can find one where it does not produce the mice teeth.

Unfortunatley changing the camera is probably not an option as this is my 3rd one and I think the shop is getting fed up!
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 5:30pm

Post 8 of 15

Axeman

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SuperUser

Did you read the article explaining de-interlacing which I linked to? www.100fps.com

As I said before, if you want to distribute via internet or view the final product on a computer, the video will need to be de-interlaced. That article explains it quite thoroughly.

When he mentions scaling, I believe pdrg is referring to altering the size of any video elements during the editing process. The final video resolution will be the same, but if enlarge or shrink any clips during editing, the interlacing issues will become more pronounced. pdrg certainly has a deeper understanding of this stuff that I do.

If your source file is in fact Progressive, as Vegas is claiming, then interlacing shouldn't be an issue at all. You should just be able to keep it progressive all the way through the process. Are you using a Progressive project in CompositeLab?
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 6:06pm

Post 9 of 15

Brobin

Force: 410 | Joined: 26th Aug 2009 | Posts: 18

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Hi Axeman, and sorry to be a pain.

Yes I read the article, but I am not sure I understood it all!

To be honest I am not getting as far as Composite lab as the problem is occuring when I convert from MP4 to mov (or avi)so that I can put the file into Composite Lab.
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 9:25pm

Post 10 of 15

pdrg

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Rating: +3

Just to summarise some off-thread action here for other members...

Turns out the source video file is interlaced inside an MPEG4 stream (yuk!). This is where the problem stemmed from, so any conversion to .MOV or anything was near-enough locking the interlacing in. Sorenson Squeeze kicked it into touch in seconds, although we're working on a workflow for Brobin that uses freeware (specifically SUPER and ffdshow).

Everyone - if you're ever puzzled why I keep telling you all to use a DV tape based workflow, this is an example of it - DV just works, you firewire it into your computer, and your NLE ingests it and handles all the funky stuff for you. All the card-based formats lead down rabbit-holes of never-ending confusion (I had one the other day that was MJPEG in an AVI wrapper, for crying out loud! What idiot thought that would be a good solution?).

Remember kids - USE DV or HDV. Yes, tape is old-fashioned, but by gosh it'll make your life massively easier!!! The only exception I will make is for P2/SxS cards in semi-pro cameras. Avoid consumer memory/disc-based/file-based camcorders until they sort themselves out.
Posted: Wed, 30th Sep 2009, 10:48pm

Post 11 of 15

Axeman

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SuperUser

Hehe, time to make another t-shirt bearing the wisdom of pdrg.
Posted: Thu, 1st Oct 2009, 8:18am

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Simon K Jones

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FXhome Team Member

Really gotta get those t-shirts printed.
Posted: Thu, 1st Oct 2009, 8:27am

Post 13 of 15

Brobin

Force: 410 | Joined: 26th Aug 2009 | Posts: 18

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Rating: +1

Hi All,

Just to say that I can not thank pdrg enough!

He showed great patience in helping me late into last night, and we have finally come up with a solution. I can only second his wise words about DV tape as I am now on my 3rd card based camcorder and I have had major problems with all 3!

I do have a Panasonic DV camera, only no way of capturing it into my lap top and so I am now going to work on getting my desktop pc up and running again so I can put a firewire card in it to avoid all these problems!

Once again many, many thanks to pdrg
Posted: Thu, 1st Oct 2009, 9:19am

Post 14 of 15

pdrg

Force: 5405 | Joined: 4th Dec 2006 | Posts: 4143

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Rating: +1

/blushes and bows/

Brobin, I hope we're getting closer to that you need mate, there may be some fiddling around left to do, but we'll get there - maybe Friday or more likely Saturday smile

Axeman and Tarn, bless you fellers smile Remember... "Friends don't let friends use flash card cameras", there's a reason they're cheap...

Edit: I sound like such a luddite and so many people post on these forums asking for camera advice, and when I can be bothered I try to steer them away from the hard-drive or flash card cameras they've set their hearts upon because they're cheap and packed with toys and gismos to distract you from their weak spots. Let me expand here and probably end up just copy/pasting into future threads as I know it won't get red in this forum backwater thread...

DV has 2 subformats, but otherwise is the same across all cameras and computers/NLE's. Camera companies want to sell more cameras, so they invent perverse things like 24f mode, which sortakinda looks more progressive, but isn't, and may limit your compatibility with your NLE - remember the camera companies don't care about your NLE - that's another company's problem, they just want to sell cameras by promising the moon on a stick and piling on the toys.

Memory-card and hard drive formats have a lot of advantages, and absolutely are the future, but they are not ready yet. DV has 2 substandards, but there are hundreds of permutations of standards of the file-based camera files. They use all sorts of containers - TOD, MOV, AVI, MP4, MPG, etc etc, so different programmes can open them (and your NLE may or may not be among them). That's the first problem. To make it worse, each container may contain one of many codec-encoded video (and audio) streams, including H.263, H.264, MJPEG, DIVX, RAW, SV3, Cinepac, WMV, MPEG2, Thedora, VP6, all sorts. Audio can be wav 16 or 32-bit, little or big-endian, mp3, Vorbis, some other mpeg stream, etc. The video and sound may be synced (like most DV) or can easily be independent streams whose running length happily usually turns out to be about the same, but will sometimes drift over the course of an hour until all sync is gone. And that's just the containers and encoding! Now consider the bitrates they encode to (universally low) and the quality impact of that (ewwww!)

Now figure the different screen ratios and whether they use square or nonsquare pixels to achieve them. And resolution, are they running at a standard resolution. Interlacing can cause mountains of problems, does the cheap camera interlace its image? Probably, but try finding that on the box and getting any deeper and they simply don't say. So you buy a cheap camera, find the bundled software a disaster (always is - camera companies don't write programmes, Vegas excepted, and even that's a totally separate division), and try to use your favourite software with dodgy results. Your poor regular software is trying to work out all of the crazy combinations that cheapo manufacturers like to use, and sometimes they just give up, and now you can see why. Remember, they want to sell you hardware, they don't care if you have to jump through hoops to edit it. Most people will only ever play back through the tv anyway, and after all it's a cheap crappy camera, why care?

I make an exception here - the P2 ans SxS formats of memory-based recording are excellent and robust and supported natively by Avid and some other NLE's. They're expensive because they're not toys, they have to work for a living, so must interoperate perfectly. They are closed standards, but standards nontheless, so work. But this is why I always steer people away from memory-card cameras - we're left trying to pick up the pieces of the mess they got into by buying cheap and saving a few quid here and there - not realising they'll make up for it with time and frustration!

Lecture/rant over (for now), I hope that clarified why I sound like a luddite and recommend poor old-fashioned and slow DV...

Last edited Thu, 1st Oct 2009, 9:55am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 1st Oct 2009, 9:24am

Post 15 of 15

Simon K Jones

Force: 27955 | Joined: 1st Jan 2002 | Posts: 11683

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FXhome Team Member

Indeed. Unfortunately shops that sell camcorders never tell the truth about them, so consumers assume that 'a video camera is a video camera' - which is a reasonable assumption to make! Unfortunately isn't the case, though...