In Compressor (3.5?) there are many ways to get an h,264 transcode and I'm not sure from your description what presets you started with. It is quite possible to produce h.264 files that are quite a bit larger than your MPEG files. (BTW, HDV uses a type of MPEG2 compression scheme, with is why it is reported that way.)
Just speaking to the question of frame size: If your quality settings are comparable, the 1080 frame size (with square pixels) will take up moderately more space on your archive drive than the 1440 frame size (with non-square pixels). I doubt very much that any quality difference will be perceptible.
The broader question is what you hope to achieve in this archiving process. If you simply want a copy that you may want to revisit some day to display on a computer, you can test various settings on short segments to see what quality-size tradeoff is acceptable.
However, if you think there is a possibility that there is a possibility that you would want to re-purpose any of the movie for say, DVD, Blu Ray, the Web, etc, I would consider using the HDV files as your archive.
. Edited in original format (FCP 7) with HDV codec and stored as MPEG-2 very large files. Chapters included.
HDV is a highly compressed format. It was developed to provide a cost-efficient way of shooting HD and, comparatively speaking it actually produces small files. The HDV files you have now are as high a quality as they can ever be; recompressing – to a different size – to a different data rate – to a different codec – will produce some degree of a quality hit.
H.264 is also a highly compressed format (codec) and produces high quality images at small file sizes. But if you rely on its efficiency to reduce the file size of the MPEG files, you discard digital information that you may need if you ever need to re-purpose them.
BTW, just for kicks I took an excerpt of an HDV 1080i60 (1440X1080) movie and recompressed it to a Quick Time H.264 100% of source and let the bit rate setting stay at Automatic. The good news is that I was unable to see any degradation in quality; the bad news is my h.264 file was triple the size of my MPEG.
So. again, I suggest you experiment with settings and evaluate the output to see whether it's satisfactory for your present and future needs.
Thanks.. Another question please..
Those same films, with embedded FCP-7 produced Chapters.. Having an issue with Compressor:
When I import a movie, say, HDV.. and use Compressor to export using the H264 preset, the result is a file 1/3 the size, but the chapters are gone! Compressor is eliminating them when encoding/exporting.. Etc.
However: if I use QT to export as 1080P, those files are still H264/AAC/Text (under get info), but ALSO KEEP THE CHAPTERS.
Compressor has so many export choices (Presets), including H264... an several in a batch makes keystrokes easier, but ****!, why are the chapters not retained as with QT//Export/H264????
>> How can Compressor be made to export a .mov with H264 AND not drop the chapters. The files WERE IMPORTED with perfectly good chapters!
Will also submit under a new topic.
Thanks in advance..Bob
I don't know how I did it.. But I fooled around with Compressor and got the chapters to work.
Just wanted to give you feedback since you took out time to try to help.
If you want to tackle another issue.. Lol, I just posted under FCP7 with respect to my new Sony HD camera I purchased.