10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2013 3:09 PM by Jon Walker
Hipeakman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I'm having difficulties getting mpeg2 files (created with Adobe Premier) to open/play with Quicktime 10.0 on a MacBook Pro.  The player errors out with "wrong format" messge and sends me to the apple support page listing the "compatible formats for Quictime", which includes MP2. 

 

The files I'm now generating are full HD (1080p) with 384kbps, 48KHz, 16-bit stereo audio.  Adobe gives me tons of options for creating mpeg outputs, but trial and error to find one that Quicktime understands is prohibitive!   Does anyone have a suggestion, or perhaps pointers to a QT codec that can handle one of the Adobe output options?

 

Thanks in advance.

Roger


MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8), Quicktime Player 10.0
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,885 points)

    The files I'm now generating are full HD (1080p) with 384kbps, 48KHz, 16-bit stereo audio.  Adobe gives me tons of options for creating mpeg outputs, but trial and error to find one that Quicktime understands is prohibitive!   Does anyone have a suggestion, or perhaps pointers to a QT codec that can handle one of the Adobe output options?

    It would probably be even more "prohibitive" to try and list all possible permutations of audio settings, video settings, and container combinations that are compatible with QT X v10.0 under Snow Leopard and likely be easier to find and analyze a file that does play and then target your Adobe output settings to match the playing file.

     

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  • Hipeakman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry - the "finding a file that works" is also a prohibitive chase in my book - -

     

    For follow-up trial and error,  I was able to create both an mp4 file in full HD 1080p, and a Quicktime mov file that was only doable in 720p resolution.  My Mac's Quicktime 10.0 was able to "play" both files, however the apparent video resolution of the mp4 was worse than that of the mov file?? 

     

    I assume that since my display is running high res at 1920x1200, that this is some processing bug by Quicktime.  It sure would be nice if there was some Quicktime documentation available from Apple on what it can do - - by version.

     

    Roger

  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,885 points)

    Sorry - the "finding a file that works" is also a prohibitive chase in my book - -

    You should really try using a different book...

     

    If it's too much trouble to find an MPEG-2 sample file on your own, here is one I uploaded to my "Temporary" server area.  (File will be deleted in 30 days.) You can use the context menu to download it at this URL:

     

    http://downloads.walker4.me/downloads/Temporary_files/00000.mpeg

     

    The file plays in both the QT X Player and the QT 7 (wih the QT MPEG-2 Playback Component installed). Be advised that the QT X Player will not play "muxed" MPEG-2 content in MOV or VOB file containers. You probably want to use a non-anamorphic encoding strategy since the players tend to set the width to the anamorphic width—e,g,, a 1440x1080 (1920x1080 file may play back as a non-anamorphic 1440x841 file. (Problem only seems to be associated with "muxed" MPEG-2 encodes). Also, stick with 4-2-0 color encoding. Neither QT X nor QT 7 will recognize/play 4-2-2 (but VLC will). Other settings I've varied don't seem to have a problem.

     

    For follow-up trial and error,  I was able to create both an mp4 file in full HD 1080p, and a Quicktime mov file that was only doable in 720p resolution.  My Mac's Quicktime 10.0 was able to "play" both files, however the apparent video resolution of the mp4 was worse than that of the mov file??

    Compare the video data rates for the MP4 and MOV files. Settings were probably different. The same encode settings for H.264/AAC content should play the same whether in MOV, MP4, or M4V file containers. If compression format does not have to be MPEG-2, I would normally recommend using H.264/AAC files in MOV, MP4, or M4V files containers as they represent the default Apple distribution compression format and are natively supported by all Apple players, video editors, and/or Apple devices as long as they are encoded properly.

     

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  • Hipeakman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for the details (and the clip)!  Very helpful.

     

    The mp4 file I had created was 1920x1080 @ 29.97fps.  The mov file I created was 720x480 @ 29.97fps (I think, due to standard presets provided by Adobe).  Still not sure why the QT playback is visibly worse for the higher-res mp4 file.  

     

    Beginning to think I need to break down and upgrade my Mac to Mountain Lion and try again.  Then buy myself an encyclopedia of video formats to help decode all the nuances of Apple/Adobe/Microsoft "standards" .

     

    Thanks again for your help!

     

    Roger

  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,885 points)

    The mp4 file I had created was 1920x1080 @ 29.97fps.  The mov file I created was 720x480 @ 29.97fps (I think, due to standard presets provided by Adobe).  Still not sure why the QT playback is visibly worse for the higher-res mp4 file.

    The MP4 file container is normally limited to the use of MPEG-4 or MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) video with AAC audio. The MOV file container is generic and may contain any form of compressed data compatible with the system codec component configuration on which the file was created. So, as mentioned earlier, you should, at the very least, open both file in a QT player and check the "Inspector" window to compare the file statistics. Better yet, you can capture an image of these windows and post them here for us to examine and possibly explain why the output quality differs.

     

     

    Beginning to think I need to break down and upgrade my Mac to Mountain Lion and try again.  Then buy myself an encyclopedia of video formats to help decode all the nuances of Apple/Adobe/Microsoft "standards" .

    You may also wish to reevaluate your work flow. Since you have not mentioned you specific goals for these files, it is difficult to make any recommendations. For most methods of final distribution, H.264/AAC compression represents the best combination of quality and file size. Further, it can be encoded for optical media playback, RTSP streaming or "fast start" progressive loading. You can encode anamorphically or non-anamorphically. In short, these codecs have a very wide range of use.

     

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  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,885 points)

    The mp4 file I had created was 1920x1080 @ 29.97fps.  The mov file I created was 720x480 @ 29.97fps (I think, due to standard presets provided by Adobe).  Still not sure why the QT playback is visibly worse for the higher-res mp4 file.

    What audio codec was used in the MOV file? What video codec was used in the MOV file? What was the combinded total audio + video data rate for each file? Were the files encoded anamorphically or non-anamorphically? All of this information is available in the "Inspector" window if you know how to read it. If you don't know how to read it, then post images of the "Inspector" window.

     

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  • Hipeakman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you Jon for the follow-up.  I've been distracted the past few days with other non-related PC problems - -

     

    FYI - the mp2 sample clip you provided will not play either on my MacBook.  Apparently the QT 10 player does not have the mp2 codec included (under Snow Leopard) although the Apple support site hints that is should .

     

    On the encoding of the files that do play (per Inspector):

     

    The mp4 shows as H264, 1920x1080, millions, AAC, 2-ch, 48KHz, 29.97fps

     

    The mov shows as DV 720x480 (853x480) millions, 16-bit (little endian), stereo, 48KHz, 29.97fps

     

    QT player opens the mp4 in a full-screen window (on my HD display), whereas it initially opens the mov in a much smaller 853x480 window.  When enlarging it to comparable full-screen size, the resolution looks similarly bad to the mp4 (as far as I can discern).  Again, both files were rendered by Adobe from a 1080i (1440x1080) clip that was extracted from my Sony camcorder (which is another issue altogether).

     

    Thanks again for your help!

    Roger

  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,885 points)

    FYI - the mp2 sample clip you provided will not play either on my MacBook.  Apparently the QT 10 player does not have the mp2 codec included (under Snow Leopard) although the Apple support site hints that is should .

    Then the problem is with your computer. Snow Leopard Install includes support for muxed MPEG-2/MP2 files as specified above. The file I posted is natively compatible with QT X v10.0. Further it is also compatible with the QT 7 Player is you have the QT 7 Playback component installed. If the QT X component is missing from your system then it must have been removed. If still present, then you likely have some sort of a software conflict. The OS installed component only supports the QT X player and the add-on Apple component only supports the QT 7 "classic" apps. Here is a screen capture of the posted file playing on my MacBook Pro under Snow Leopard. Excuse the artifacts, low frame rate, and broken audio but remember this old platform was both playing the full DH recording and simultaneously capturing the entire 1920x1200 display screen.

     

    ScreenFlov.mov

     

     

    The mp4 shows as H264, 1920x1080, millions, AAC, 2-ch, 48KHz, 29.97fps

    QT X v10.0 should play all "standard" H.264/AAC supported Profile and Level combinations. It does not support proprietary and/or hybrid codecs which exceed these specifications. At this point I must ask, are you really specifically interested in MPEG-2 files or simply want to create files compatible with the QT X v10.0 player?

     

     

    The mov shows as DV 720x480 (853x480) millions, 16-bit (little endian), stereo, 48KHz, 29.97fps

    This is a standard format. It's main advantage is it is easily edited. Its main disadvantage is that it is a relatively low compression format making for somwhat large files (e.g., on the order of 13 GB per hour for DV25 SD content whether in 4:3 or 16:9 aspect).

     

     

    QT player opens the mp4 in a full-screen window (on my HD display), whereas it initially opens the mov in a much smaller 853x480 window.

    Not shure what point you are trying to make here. Are you referring to an "HD display" connected to tour computer as opposed to the built in display or an extenal device which automatically applies scaling to the content? Files can contain embedded settings to open at "full screen" just as some players can be set to open content as a "full screen" display or be manually sized to "full", "normal" or "fit" screen modes.

     

     

    When enlarging it to comparable full-screen size, the resolution looks similarly bad to the mp4 (as far as I can discern).

    Your comparison work flow is reversed. If you wish to compare the video quality, shrink the larger file down to the size of the DV file and then make your evaluation. Doubling the size of your DV file merely means it takes four pixels on the display device to represent each pixel at the original resolution—i.e., introducing a pixelation effect. Basically, you are trying to compare apples and oranges here. To make some sort of a valid comparison here, we need to know things like the data rate, profile, level, entropy coding mode, etc. to compare the H.264 coded file against the DV format which has a more or less fixed or standardized encoding format. For instance, the DV NTSC codec only encodes to a 720x480 encode matrix which can play as either a widescreen (853x480) or fullscreen (640x480) file. If you want to export DV to HD dimensions, you would need to export using the HDV or one of the DVCPRO HD codecs. As to the H.264 codec, it is the best codec for you to use here but you must use the proper settings. At this point it does not sound like you know how to select these settings if, in fact, they are available. I am not an Adobe Premier user, so I don't know if you are using a predefined setting or manually entering your settings. For instance, H.264 is very scaleable—suitible for data rates compatible with older 3G cell phones up to and including BD content. I can, for instance encode a 1080p H.264 at 2.5 Mbps, 12.0 Mbps, or anything in between. If two files are encoded from the same source file and one is encoded at 2.5 Mbps and the other at 12.0 Mbps, then the file with the higher video data rate would obviously have the potential for better quality.

     

     

    Again, both files were rendered by Adobe from a 1080i (1440x1080) clip that was extracted from my Sony camcorder (which is another issue altogether).

    Are your camcorder files and/or the Premier exported files really MPEG-2 or HDV? If HDV, that would explain their incompatibility with the QT X Player. HDV is a "Pro" codec installed by iMovie HD, Final Cut Express, or Final Cut Pro installations but not supported natively by the basic OS codec installation. Current versions of iMovie automatically convert HDV to AIC/PCM MOV files for video editing.

     

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  • Hipeakman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you again!   To answer some of the questions you posed - -

     

    I'm simply suffering from being an "early adopter".  My camera was one of the earliest digital HD models available (Sony HDR3).  It has a native sensor resolution of 1920x1080 and records the video in Sony proprietary HDV format onto mini-DV tape cassettes.  Other than playing back onto its 2" LCD or connecting it to TV through a component AV interface, the only way of getting files onto a computer is via a firewire playback output.  When doing that, I have two options.  The camera converts the video to SD DV format, which pretty much defeats the purpose of having an HD camera.  Alternatively, it converts the video to an mpeg-2 4:3 aspect format, thus the 1440x1080i clips I now have on my computer.

     

    At the time, Adobe Premier was the only app I could find that could understand the camera's iLink output, and more recently in HD.  iMovie on my Macbook could not.  My only original workflow goal was to be able to get my videos transcribed/edited and put onto DVDs and/or Blueray disks.  Adobe can do this, so all was good until I wanted to create a short clip to send to a friend (without knowing what their computer was), thus starting the mpeg2 file scenario.  After learning that my friend had a Mac (unknown version) and could not play the mpeg2 file I had provided, I discovered that I couldn't play it either on my Macbook.  Thus started my quest to create something that was playable on Mac.

     

    I have for now solved the file-sharing with my friend, as they were able to use the mp4 file that I created.  Now, I'm only faced with debugging my "old" Macbook/Quicktime quirks and trying to understand why the mp4 and mov files that I created display worse than expected.  I only mentioned the display (internal) to note that it is native 1920x1080 resolution, so that does not explain the crappy resolution of the Quicktime playback.

     

    Expanding the viewer to fullscreen size on the mov (853x480) file was attempting to compare apples to apples on the player.  I expected the SD mov file to look bad and pixelated as you noted.  What I did not expect was the mp4 file which is 1920x1080 resolution suposedly to look the same when displayed at similar fullscreen size on the Mac.  As you said, I must have a "computer problem" of some sort.

     

    The Macbook is a "vintage 2009" model that came with and earlier version of Snow Leopard, which I have over time upgraded to the latest 10.6.8 SL version along with the Qtime player to 10.0.  Again all native installs/downloads from Apple for what its worth.  Other software loaded is iPhoto, iMovie versions of the time, plus MS Office, Adobe reader and such since I use it for other things than "pics".

     

    Sounding like I should probably upgrade it to Mountain Lion, provided that's possible on its hardware and I don't have to upgrade too many of the other apps to go along with it.   All you have to do - - - computers!

     

    Thanks again!

  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,885 points)

    I'm simply suffering from being an "early adopter".  My camera was one of the earliest digital HD models available (Sony HDR3).  It has a native sensor resolution of 1920x1080 and records the video in Sony proprietary HDV format onto mini-DV tape cassettes.  Other than playing back onto its 2" LCD or connecting it to TV through a component AV interface, the only way of getting files onto a computer is via a firewire playback output.  When doing that, I have two options.  The camera converts the video to SD DV format, which pretty much defeats the purpose of having an HD camera.  Alternatively, it converts the video to an mpeg-2 4:3 aspect format, thus the 1440x1080i clips I now have on my computer.

    Still somewhat confused regarding specifics. Not sure if you are referring to some exotic Sony model working as you describe or a more common camcorder like my Sony HDR-HC3 and are confused by the fact that the HDV content is compressed by Sony's long-GOP "Real Time MPEG Encoding Engine" and wrapped in a transport stream file to lower the bandwidth enough to be stored on standard MiniDV tapes. (Many media applications recognize these digial files as "MPEG-2" content.) Also be aware that like NTSC MPEG-2 and DV files, HDV data is ecoded anamorphically to a 1440x1080 data matrix but displays as 1088x1062 to 1920x1080 content depending on the player scaling. So you see, I still do not know if we are talking about HDV or MPEG-2 content here.

     

     

    At the time, Adobe Premier was the only app I could find that could understand the camera's iLink output, and more recently in HD.  iMovie on my Macbook could not.  My only original workflow goal was to be able to get my videos transcribed/edited and put onto DVDs and/or Blueray disks.  Adobe can do this, so all was good until I wanted to create a short clip to send to a friend (without knowing what their computer was), thus starting the mpeg2 file scenario.  After learning that my friend had a Mac (unknown version) and could not play the mpeg2 file I had provided, I discovered that I couldn't play it either on my Macbook.  Thus started my quest to create something that was playable on Mac.

    Any current version of iMovie should be able to capture HDV content directly from the camcorder via the firewire interface provided you can make a proper connection. My camcorder, for instance must be fired up with a specific connection/power-on sequece or it won't be recognized. Further it will not automatically switch between DV and HDV captures if tape content is mixed. As to the creation of short clips for sending to a friend, you should have plenty of options. Have you tried, for instance, opening your "MPEG-2" exports in the free HandBrake app. If it can open it, then you should be able to convert it to an Apple compatible H.264/AAC using your choice of preset employing either an anamorphic or non-anamorphic strategy. (Try the TV3 preset.)

     

     

    I have for now solved the file-sharing with my friend, as they were able to use the mp4 file that I created.  Now, I'm only faced with debugging my "old" Macbook/Quicktime quirks and trying to understand why the mp4 and mov files that I created display worse than expected.  I only mentioned the display (internal) to note that it is native 1920x1080 resolution, so that does not explain the crappy resolution of the Quicktime playback.

    As I keep repeating, the first thing to check is the video data rate when there is a question of quality. If you don't have a utility that will tall you the video data rate and/or Premier does not tell you the target video data rate for the MP4 file you made, then post file size and duration for the MP4 file and I can approximate the maximum possible data rate available manually. Another problem that comes up when discussing "quality" issues is the fact that quality evaluations can be very subjective and some people have unreasonable expectations for the source content and/or settings used. In light of this, I have posted two more files if you want to look them over. As with previous files, these samples will be delete in 30 days.

     

    1080p non-anamorphic test

     

    720p anamorphic test

     

    I do not normally encode either full 1080p or using a non-anamorphic strategy for widescreen content. What I normally try to do is export using a "constent quality" strategy and allow the codec to vary the data rate to maintain a consistent level of quality for changes in the encoding matrix dimensions. The H.264 codec is very good at this. As you can see in these examples, although the larger file covers nearly 3.5 times the encoded surface area of the smaller file, it required less than 2,5 times the data rate to maintain equivalent quality. In any case, I posted the files to see how you would rate the level of quality so I can get some idea as to what you consider good or bad quality.

     

     

    Expanding the viewer to fullscreen size on the mov (853x480) file was attempting to compare apples to apples on the player.  I expected the SD mov file to look bad and pixelated as you noted.  What I did not expect was the mp4 file which is 1920x1080 resolution suposedly to look the same when displayed at similar fullscreen size on the Mac.  As you said, I must have a "computer problem" of some sort.

    Once again, it is not possible to make a valid assessment without knowing the data rate. The H.264 codec running with an unlimited data rate may allow data rates as high as 16 to 18 MBps. Apple, and I presume Premier, presets normally set a target data rate limit which depends on the use of a file. A 1080p file encoded for a progressive playback on an iPhone 4 may look fine, but playing it back in the full screen mode on a 27" iMac would probably look terrible. The files I posted should both play back well on a monitor in the full screen mode but you may notice some visual loss of detail in the texture of surfaces like skin, fabrics, and the like. Whether or not this difference is significant will depend on the individual. I personally would normally use the 720p format for distribution directly to friends via FTP or HTTP download and normally limit my files to 480p for posting to personal web sites fpr fast start progressive playback.

     

     

    The Macbook is a "vintage 2009" model that came with and earlier version of Snow Leopard, which I have over time upgraded to the latest 10.6.8 SL version along with the Qtime player to 10.0.  Again all native installs/downloads from Apple for what its worth.  Other software loaded is iPhoto, iMovie versions of the time, plus MS Office, Adobe reader and such since I use it for other things than "pics".

    These activities and apps should not have inroduced playback problems as far as MPEG-4/AAC files are concerned. Still not sure what your "MPEG-2" problem might be.

     

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