28 Replies Latest reply: Apr 27, 2013 7:23 AM by whsprague RSS

    Export Files - which is highest quality?

    csvideo

      I am using PRE 11

      I normally start a new project for each event that I shoot.  Like a birthday party, or soccer game, etc.  I do the editing, adding some stills, transitions and titles, etc.  Then I export the video to a file which I will later use in a "master" project.  I always create AVCHD disk for myself and some DVD's for family and friends that cannot play AVCHD.  So I accumulate my  exported files until I have close to the 4.7 GB of video that will fill a AVCHD disk.  I put these files into a master project, add a disk menu and burn.

       

      I notice that pre11 has many options for exporting.  I choose "computer" then choose AVCHD.  the available outputs include several m2ts chioces and several MP4 choices.  I notice that with m2ts, there is a 1920 X 1080i 30 fps, and a 1920 X 1080P 24 fps.  I would think that p is better than i, but I would think that I should use 30 fps.  Also available is MP4 1920 X 1080p 30 fps.  Maybe that one is the best.

       

      Please advise me on this.  For what I am doing, which is the best type of file.  I want the best quality I  can get.

        • 1. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
          the_wine_snob CommunityMVP

          For outputting a file, that I will later re-edit, or otherwise use in another program, I really like one of the Lossless CODEC's, like Lagarith, or UT. This article goes into more detail: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4556586#4556586

           

          The downside is that those files, while compressed, are still fairly large, but with no visual loss in quality, and that if THOSE files are delivered to another person, they would need the correct Lossless CODEC on their machine, to work with them. As both Lagarith and UT are free, that is less of a problem.

           

          Good luck,

           

          Hunt

          • 2. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
            csvideo Community Member

            Well, OK.  Should I choose the m2ts at 24 FPS or the Mp4 at 1980 X 1080p at 30 fps

             

            Please tell me one or another.

            • 3. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
              Steve Grisetti CommunityMVP

              As Bill says, it depends on how and where you're going to use the file.

               

              Are you going to use it another high-def or standard definition video project? Are you going to use it to create a DVD or BluRay? Are you going to post it to YouTube or Vimeo -- or use it on your own web site? Are you going to play it on a computer or an iPad?

               

              Each  medium has an optimized format. And, if you use the wrong output in the wrong place, it may look great but be totally unplayable.

              • 4. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                csvideo Community Member

                Thanks Steve.  If you read my first post I explained exactly what I use this file for.  My finat objective is to end up with an AVCHD disk that I play on my blu-ray player for my hi def TV.  This is about 4.7 GB and 20 minutes of video.  So I create a pre11 project for each event like a party, etc.  Then when I have enough events to fill a AVCHD disk, I make a video file (share) for each event and then put these files into another "master" pre11 project.  Then I make a disk menu and burn.

                 

                I want to choose the file that will have the least loss of quality.  The highest resolution seems to be 1920 X 1080.  The mp4 format offers a 1920 x 1080p with 30 fps.  That seems to me to be the best if I am correct in assuming that p is better than i and 30 fps is better than 24 or 25.  the m2ts format doesn't offer these options.

                • 5. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                  csvideo Community Member

                  Bill,

                   

                  When I originally got your message I didn't, for some reason, read all segments of your article.  I now see that you are recommending using AVI files with lossless compression.  I might try that on a small project just to see if I can tell any difference between that and the h264 formats.  I have noticed some of that jerky effect when there is high motion of camera or subject with my hi def stuff.  That could be the reason.

                   

                  If using one of the h264 formats looks OK to me, I might stick with that instead of going the AVI route.  To repeat, I am going from my camera m2ts file, to a pre 11 project, to a intermediate file which will be then used in a master pre 11 project and then burned to a AVCHD disk.  In your opinion, is that too many steps to maintain high quality?

                   

                  Also, in your article, you mentioned Adobe Dynamic Link.  Would that be something I could use to eliminate the need for the intermediate files?

                   

                  Cliff

                  • 6. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                    Steve Grisetti CommunityMVP

                    It would be better to choose a file format that's optimized for BluRay playback.

                     

                    And, of course, ensure that your disc player is capable of playing a raw AVCHD file in addition to a standard BluRay file. In other words, a standard DVD player won't do it and neither will a number of BluRay disc players.

                     

                    That said -- and since it appears you're going to burn your AVCHD files onto a 4.7 gig DVD rather than a BluRay disc -- just use Share/Disc/AVCHD. There's no reason to make it any more complicated than that.

                    • 7. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                      whsprague Community Member

                      csvideo wrote:

                       

                      My finat objective is to end up with an AVCHD disk that I play on my blu-ray player for my hi def TV.  This is about 4.7 GB and 20 minutes of video.  So I create a pre11 project for each event like a party, etc.  Then when I have enough events to fill a AVCHD disk, I make a video file (share) for each event and then put these files into another "master" pre11 project.  Then I make a disk menu and burn.

                       

                      I want to choose the file that will have the least loss of quality.  The highest resolution seems to be 1920 X 1080.  The mp4 format offers a 1920 x 1080p with 30 fps.  That seems to me to be the best if I am correct in assuming that p is better than i and 30 fps is better than 24 or 25.  the m2ts format doesn't offer these options.

                      I was working a similar approach a month or so ago.  Bill Hunt wrote about a lossless codec called Lagarith.  I found it, downloaded it and tried it.  It works perfectly except that the file size is enormous.  

                       

                      The rest of the answer to you question seems to be on the screen.   Notice that Adobe labels "AVI"  as "For Use in Editing in Premier Elements".  Pressing the Advanced button provides several codecs.  The default NTSC is 720 by 480, which is unchangeable and  I don't think would work well if you are working with AVCHD.  (I don't think you said where the source files came from.)  The "Uncompressed UYVY" would interest me because is  uncompressed and you can change to 1080.   I think you will have to do some testing and see what ends up looking good on your viewing system.

                       

                      An entirely different approach is to use cuts and pastes from one project to another.  In another thread the subject came up and the poster found a solution in software called "Spartan Lite".  I found it on CNET for free download.  The poster in that thread said he was successful pasting clips from the timeline in one project to the timeline in another.  I have not tried it yet, but it might be what you are looking for.

                      • 8. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                        the_wine_snob CommunityMVP

                        Cliff,

                         

                        You are faced with the same dilemma, that all editors face, from time to time.

                         

                        Here is how I would handle it (and have for many Projects):

                         

                        1. From your completed Project(s), author the AVCHD DVD disc, for delivery.
                        2. Author a DVD-Video disc, if necessary, for those clients/recipients, who cannot handle the AVCHD material, which requires a BD player.
                        3. Then, output that/those Timeline(s) to either Lagarith, or UT Lossless (in an AVI wrapper), to be used in later Projects. As you will need to download, and install the Lagarith, or UT Lossless onto your computer, that/those output file(s), will play, Import and edit perfectly. Those files will be used by you, for later editing/re-editing, but will not be useful to others, unless they also download and install the necessary CODEC, but they will have received the AVCHD DVD disc, or the DVD-Video disc, so should not have a need for those output files.

                         

                        It does mean several output sessions, but covers almost all bases, and IMHO is worth the effort. The reason for the output to a visually lossless CODEC is to keep additional compression steps out of the workflow. You are starting with fairly heavily-compressed MTS files, to begin with, and for output to AVCHD DVD discs, or to DVD-Video, will need to recompress again. Working with the Lagarith, or UT Lossless files, keeps you from doing yet another compression step.

                         

                        Good luck,

                         

                        Hunt

                        • 9. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                          Steve Grisetti CommunityMVP

                          Seriously, CS. Just try my way. This tool is designed to create the very file you're trying to create!

                          • 10. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                            the_wine_snob CommunityMVP

                            Bill,

                             

                            You are correct - either Lagarith, or UT Lossless DO result in large files, but they are smaller than Uncompressed, and like Uncompressed, are visually lossless. Because they do employ compression, they yield smaller files - though not THAT much smaller.

                             

                            For SD material, the DV-AVI files are usually just fine, until one has several generations. The DV/DVC CODEC employs ~ 5% compression, and while "good," is not visually lossless - still good.

                             

                            With most other CODEC's, there will be compression, and visual loss, with each generation. Some, like H.264, are very, very good, but start falling apart, with multi-generational compression. Use them once, or maybe twice, and things still look pretty good - use them 3 - 4x, and I feel that they begin to loose quality, and especially where there is any rapid movement, with either the subject, or the camera.

                             

                            I like those two Lossless CODEC's, because I feel that they split quality vs compression, i.e. file size. Going way back, I realized that video files ARE large, so have always invested heavily in HDD real estate, and just live with large files. When it comes to editing, or re-editing, file size is not necessarily indicative of editing time. If one has ever Imported and edited a large DV-AVI file, in any flavor of Premiere, and then tried that with a much smaller WMV file, they would know that file size does not always, and directly relate to editing time - that large DV-AVI will be smooth, easy and efficient, while the smaller WMV will take more time, and many more resources, even if their Duration is the exact same. The only downside to the DV-AVI is that it does take more HDD real estate.

                             

                            Just my personal observations,

                             

                            Hunt

                            • 11. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                              csvideo Community Member

                              Yes,

                               

                              When I am ready to make my final disk, I do what you suggested.  I burn to folder a DVD and a AVCHD.  That way I can make disks for my family and friends, whichever type they can handle.  But my questions here are about what kind of intermediate file to make.  I would make an intermediate file for each sub project and then use those as the source video for the final project which will then be burned.  In other words, the use for these files is to use as source video for another "master" pre 11 project.

                               

                              Actually, I would avoid the whole issue of intermediate files if I just put all clips of all events in one big pre11 file, and then make the final disk from that file.  I was talked out of this practice by you guys and other members of this forum about 6 years ago.  The advice at that time was "do these projects little pieces at a time".  I think it is the best approach, but it does require intermediate files.

                              • 12. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                csvideo Community Member

                                Bill, how many generations do I have with my scenario?  I take m2ts files from my camera and put them into a pre 11 project.  I do this for several projects.  Then I export each project to a intermediate file.  Then I take the several intermediate files and put them in a master pre11 project and then burn to both DVD and AVCHD.

                                 

                                How many generations is that?

                                • 13. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                  the_wine_snob CommunityMVP

                                  In that workflow, you have two: the initial compression in camera, then the final compression for final delivery. There is no way around those compression generations, unless one used a CODEC for the final, that did not compress, and with DVD-Video, BD, and most other output options, one cannot get around some level of compression.

                                   

                                  The intermediate files, if one uses either a Lossless CODEC, or Uncompressed, will not reduce the visual quality, in any way, thus saving one compression generation.

                                   

                                  Good luck,

                                   

                                  Hunt

                                  • 14. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                    csvideo Community Member

                                    If I use a h264 (compressed) file for the intermediate, does that make a total of 2 or 3?

                                    • 15. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                      the_wine_snob CommunityMVP

                                      If you start with compressed material (first generation of compression), then output to a compressed format (second generation of compression), and finally re-edit that, outputting to any compressed format, such as H.264 or MPEG-2 HD, or MPEG-2 DVD, that material has been compressed through three generations. Each compression reduces quality, though depending on the footage, that might, or might not be that obvious.

                                       

                                      Good luck,

                                       

                                      Hunt

                                      • 16. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                        csvideo Community Member

                                        OK, Thank you

                                         

                                        I think I should be prepared to avoid that third generation, so I want to be ready.  Please follow this discussion for at least a week or two.  I will download the required codecs.  I guess I would just google the formats and see where it says I can download them.  After I download them, is there an install program that will put them where they belong?  Then I see someone in this thread said that after kaking a choice, the screen limited the resolution to something less than 1920 x 1080.  I don't want that.  Can you tell me how to avoid that?

                                         

                                        I will try that on one of my larger sub-projects and see how it works.  Then I will run a test to see if I can tell the difference.  I will need a segment which has a lot of motion.

                                        • 17. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                          whsprague Community Member

                                          I'm working on a test of the various ways to do this.  I hope to get the result posted to Vimeo by tommorrow.  I'm using a short AVCHD 1080p60 clip.  So far, the "Uncompressed UYVY" didn't work very well.  The Lagarith worked very well. 

                                           

                                          Bill

                                          • 18. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                            csvideo Community Member

                                            Sorry, what is Vimeo?  and when you say 1080p60, is that 60 fps?

                                            • 19. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                              the_wine_snob CommunityMVP

                                              Vimeo is an AV file display service, sort of like YouTube, but many feel that the re-encoding for display, is better in Vimeo, than YouTube.

                                               

                                              Good luck, and I will follow, until this coming Monday, when I leave town for two weeks. I will pick it back up, when I return.

                                               

                                              Hunt

                                              • 20. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                csvideo Community Member

                                                I just tried the lagareth codec with very dissapointing results.  Just to review what I did:

                                                went to share, computer, microsoft AVI

                                                press "advanced" button

                                                press "video codec"

                                                choose "lagareth"

                                                The output defaults to 720 X 480 and I was unable to change the numbers to 1920 x 1080.  I could make them higher but the aspect ratio is not the same so I cannot get 1920 x 1080.

                                                 

                                                I left it at 720 x 480.  It made a file that is 1.2 GB.  I had previousely made a 1920 x 1080 Mp4 which is 440 MB.

                                                 

                                                Playing the avi from the windows media player the quality is terrible.  It almost lookes like that the camera was horribly out of focus.  Playing the mp4 it looks really great.  I have a 1920 x 1080 screen on my laptop and when I have a good quality source video it really stands out.

                                                 

                                                Am I doing something wrong?

                                                • 21. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                  whsprague Community Member

                                                  The point of the test was to determine a method and the feasibility of combining smaller projects into a larger project using various file formats used for output by Premier Elements 11.

                                                   

                                                  Premier Elements suggests through the menu structure that Publish&Share > Computer > AVI is to be used for “Editing in Premier Elements”. The defaults appear to be intended for Standard Definition (SD).  I suspect everything would work well for an SD DVD.

                                                   

                                                  However, with High Definition (HD) original footage and wanting to preserve the HD quality for AVCHD Disks, Blu-Ray disks or direct playback there may be other choices.  I started with an AVCHD 1080p60 clip taken in Canyonlands NP.  There is a fine textured bush blowing in the wind, tilting (vertical panning) and some serious scenery.  1080p60 is the highest quality setting available in the current, common cameras.

                                                   

                                                  My method was to Publish&Share the original clip three ways and then combine all four in a single video.  Watching that video should show quality differences.  The first two are “lossless” or “uncompressed” meaning the original should be duplicated in the highest quality.  The third is done using an H.264 codec that has compression and theoretical loss.  In other words, there is “triple” processing.  First the camera itself saves the file, then Premier Elements processes for output to the “intermediate file” and finally that file is processed again for the final file. 

                                                   

                                                  The first process was an AVI Uncompressed codec built into PrE.  The second was a shareware AVI codec called Lagarith and the third was with a AVCHD codec included in PrE 11.  Each clip in the video is labeled. The biggest file was the Uncompressed UYVY, second was the Lagarity and the most efficient file is the AVCHD H.264, which is abou the same file size as the original.

                                                   

                                                  In each intermediate file I kept the 1920x1080 and 59.94fps settings to match the original.  The project settings were crated by adding the original clip and I confirmed they matched.

                                                   

                                                  You can view or download the original clip taken directly from the camera here:  https://vimeo.com/64887382

                                                   

                                                  You can view the 4 clip product here:  https://vimeo.com/64898520

                                                   

                                                  What differences do you see?  Are they significant?

                                                   

                                                  Bill S

                                                  • 22. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                    Ann Bens CommunityMVP

                                                    Uncheck the chain icon.

                                                    Then you can change it to 1920x1080.

                                                    Square pixel and upper field as the original is upper also.

                                                    • 23. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                      whsprague Community Member

                                                      csvideo wrote:

                                                       

                                                      Am I doing something wrong?

                                                      The numbers can be set to 1920x1080 if you press the unlock button to the right.

                                                       

                                                      I'm not sure the output of a Lagarith file is intended for direct viewing.  Whatever playback software you use may struggle with it.  It's purpose (I think) is to be an "ingrediant" in another project.

                                                       

                                                      If you watch what I did for the test, it seems to confirm what you find.  The third clip is AVCHD MP4 and seems to have equal visual quality on my computer.  Vimeo specs and processing compress the structure.  For my own purposes I created an additional file at the highest settings I could to view on my computer.  The results appear to be about what you can see on Vimeo.

                                                       

                                                      Bill

                                                      • 24. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                        csvideo Community Member

                                                        Thank You Ann - for both tips.  I would not have noticed the lower field.

                                                        • 25. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                          csvideo Community Member

                                                          Yes, I watched your uploaded video and couldn't really see a difference in clarity among the variations you tried.  I even downloaded the files and watched them diretly on my computer and could see no big difference.  And, I have a 1080 res monitor.

                                                           

                                                          I ran a similar test and concluded that the lossless AVI is inferior to the h264 avchd file.  I uploaded my stuff to google docs and you can see the difference.  I took part of a project that I have been working on.  I exported it to both AVCHD and to the lossless lagareth AVI.  Then I imported both of those into a new pre 11 project.  Then I exported that to another avche file for uploading.  You can watch the video and see that the avi method (second method) is not quite as good.  Then I went in and exported a single frame from each segment.  I used a frame where there was a lot of movement.  If you look at those stills, the AVI is clearly inferior than the AVCHD.  I can't see any advantage in using the AVI at this point even if I didn't mind the fact that the files are 20 times as large as the AVCHD.

                                                           

                                                          The link is:

                                                           

                                                          https://drive.google.com/#folders/0B7mqkiWV2BIRZVV5Z3VOUWJCYmM

                                                           

                                                          Am i missing something?

                                                          • 27. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                            whsprague Community Member

                                                            I'll watch your clips as soon as my computer gets done with a big upload task.

                                                             

                                                            You would think we would not be testing this stuff.  But, oddly, full AVCHD functionality on the consumer level is new.  This is true for both hardware and software.  An AVCHD 1080p60 camera in the hands of a consumer was pioneer territory only two years ago.  Full support for AVCHD that included the 1080p60 format was not included in consumer software from Adobe or Sony until less than a year ago. 

                                                             

                                                            Blu-Ray players and HD TVs have become common.  But, homemade material to play on them requires a unique collection of relatively new tools and techniques. 

                                                             

                                                            Based on advice from people that have been doing this for years, I fully expected a strong visually detectable difference between the "lossless" and the "lossy" methods.  Results did not match expectations.  Based on the "eyeball" experience, the AVCHD method is as good or better than the lossless Lagarith method.  And, as a bonus, the file sizes are far more manageable. 

                                                             

                                                            I was surprised and learned a lot by trying this.  Thanks for the excuse to do it!

                                                             

                                                            Bill

                                                            • 28. Re: Export Files - which is highest quality?
                                                              whsprague Community Member

                                                              csvideo wrote:

                                                               

                                                              I ran a similar test and concluded that the lossless AVI is inferior to the h264 avchd file.  I uploaded my stuff to google docs and you can see the difference.  I took part of a project that I have been working on.  I exported it to both AVCHD and to the lossless lagareth AVI.  Then I imported both of those into a new pre 11 project.  Then I exported that to another avche file for uploading.  You can watch the video and see that the avi method (second method) is not quite as good.  Then I went in and exported a single frame from each segment.  I used a frame where there was a lot of movement.  If you look at those stills, the AVI is clearly inferior than the AVCHD.  I can't see any advantage in using the AVI at this point even if I didn't mind the fact that the files are 20 times as large as the AVCHD.

                                                               

                                                              The link is:

                                                               

                                                              https://drive.google.com/#folders/0B7mqkiWV2BIRZVV5Z3VOUWJCYmM

                                                               

                                                              Am i missing something?

                                                              I don't think you are missing anything.  We tried doing the same thing two different ways and agree.  Using AVCHD H.264 is efficient and works as an "intermediate" file format.  Theoretically, there is an additional compression cycle but it is not visible in the resulting project.

                                                               

                                                              According to Vimeo, the number of views on my test is so small, you and I may be the only ones that want to know how to do "intermediate" files!

                                                               

                                                              Bill S