4 Replies Latest reply: May 17, 2013 7:25 AM by David Harbsmeier
Sergeant Karma Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

This is something I just can't figure out.

 

I have a series of .mov clips. They were created with an animation app, and when exporting them I used the Animation codec. 1920x1080. Maximum quality.

 

In FCE, they still look good. However, when I export them, no matter which codec I choose, the quality takes a hit: the output looks fuzzier, gradients will show vague banding. I've used every possible codec in FCE to test this: Animation, Apple Intermediate Codec, H.264, Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2, et cetera. The quality will always be subpar. I've also tried exporting from the animation app with every possible codec (Animation, AIC, H.264, PNG): unacceptable quality.

 

The strangest thing is that when, in FCE, I choose File>Export>QuickTime Movie..., the results look better (though far from perfect) than when I choose File>Export>Using QuickTime Conversion...>Apple Intermediate Codec even though both procedures use the exact same codec (the Apple Intermediate Codec).

 

What am I doing wrong?

 

Setup I use in FCE is: AVCHD-Apple Intermediate Codec 1920x1080i50.

 

I hope someone will be able to help, as it's very frustrating when all your energy is spent on this while you should be working on the actual animation.


iMac (20-inch Early 2009), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • 1. Re: Quality loss when exporting.
    MartinR Level 6 Level 6 (14,610 points)

    The fundamental challenge/problem is using Animation codec video clips in FCE in the first place.  FCE is only designed to work with QuickTime/DV and QuickTime/Apple Intermediate Codec, interlaced all, with the exception of 720p video clips.

     

    Can you export from your animation app directly to QT/AIC 1920x1080i50?

     

    The second question, about exporting.  When you export to QuickTime Conversion,  FCE has to re-encode all the video during output.  That's why it's called QuickTime Conversion. It doesn't matter if the codec is the same (you mentioned AIC) - all the video gets re-encoded regardless.  On the other hand, when you export to QuickTime Movie, FCE uses your source media clips and/or render files without further encoding during output.  That is the reason you see a difference between the two kinds of exports even with the same codec.

     

    Another potential issue is whether or not your Animation clips are interlaced or not.  If they are not interlaced (and they probably aren't) then FCE necessarily converts to interlaced output because you are using a 1080i easy setup.  The interlacing can also produce softness in the final image.

     

    Final comment, FCE was discontinued well before Lion was released.  It is not supported on Lion or Mountain Lion.  Your profile says you are using Mountain Lion.  This could be a contributing factor to the problems you are having.

  • 2. Re: Quality loss when exporting.
    Sergeant Karma Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    "Can you export from your animation app directly to QT/AIC 1920x1080i50?"

     

    I can export to AIC, 1920x1080--but can't specify "i50". When I export any clips from the animation app using AIC, the clips look too dark, and a bit too saturated; however, when I load them into FCE and then export them, they haven't suffered any more quality loss. They come out exactly the way they came in.


    Thank you for clarifying what "Quicktime Conversion" means--I have the manual by Weynand, but never really understood the difference, or why there would be a difference.

     

    I suspected as much about the interlacing. Yet any easy setup I choose in FCE (except for HDV-Apple Intermediate Codec 720p25) seems to result in this conversion happening. Indeed this could contribute to the loss in quality; basically, it's then a case of a mismatch between my clips and FCE's make-up.

     

    I suppose I could try Final Cut X to see if the process is any different. Would you recommend any editing apps besides Final Cut?

  • 3. Re: Quality loss when exporting.
    dinky2 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    MartinR wrote:

     

    The fundamental challenge/problem is using Animation codec video clips in FCE in the first place.  FCE is only designed to work with QuickTime/DV and QuickTime/Apple Intermediate Codec, interlaced all, with the exception of 720p video clips.

     

    Can you export from your animation app directly to QT/AIC 1920x1080i50?

     

    The second question, about exporting.  When you export to QuickTime Conversion,  FCE has to re-encode all the video during output.  That's why it's called QuickTime Conversion. It doesn't matter if the codec is the same (you mentioned AIC) - all the video gets re-encoded regardless.  On the other hand, when you export to QuickTime Movie, FCE uses your source media clips and/or render files without further encoding during output.  That is the reason you see a difference between the two kinds of exports even with the same codec.

     

    Another potential issue is whether or not your Animation clips are interlaced or not.  If they are not interlaced (and they probably aren't) then FCE necessarily converts to interlaced output because you are using a 1080i easy setup.  The interlacing can also produce softness in the final image.

     

    Final comment, FCE was discontinued well before Lion was released.  It is not supported on Lion or Mountain Lion.  Your profile says you are using Mountain Lion.  This could be a contributing factor to the problems you are having.

     

    What do you mean by FCE not being supported in ML ? It's running just fine. The only thing is there will be no more updates. If that's what you mean you are right, but that has nothing to do with Lion or Mountain Lion

  • 4. Re: Quality loss when exporting.
    David Harbsmeier Level 7 Level 7 (29,650 points)

    >>What do you mean by FCE not being supported in ML ? It's running just fine.<<

     

    He means that the last version of FCE was written long before Mountain Lion, so running FCE on that OS is not supported by Apple or anyone else.  It may run perfectly fine ... but there's no guarantee that you won't encounter a few issues.  Several of them have been documented in this forum.

     

    -DH