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Most of the presets have the rest of the export dialog filled out appropriately, so pretty much ... unless you know you need something AND know what it actually does (not what it seems like it should ... ) ... leave 'em alone.
Especially the "Max" options, Render/Max Depth, Max Render Quality ... they don't really do what you think, they can help in certain circumstances, and BOTH can cause issues at times. If you have a GPU, Max Depth is already taken care of, that only can help IF you have no GPU and want a slightly higher precision in some calculations. I always leave that off. Max Render Q ... only if you have significant jaggies on diagonal lines, really.
But Steves question is still valid and i think we all want to know, iow how do we know which export boxes to check when? There are many misunderstandings out there regarding those boxes and much guesswork. When do the end user know that they need something to check?
I have personally never seen any precise explanation on how and when to use those checkboxes and in exakt what situation i need or not need to use them. I know most of them, but some are still guesswork for me and others.
Such as if i export ProRes, what do Render at Maximum Bit Depth actually do, or not do? I posted a thread about that and did ask why there are 8-bit and 16-bit checkboxes for ProRes though the codec according to Apples Whitepaper is 10-bit. When to use those, or not to use? Do they even matter? Dead quiet from Adobe.
I would love to see a tutorial from Adobe that describes what eack check box do and show when to use them and when to avoid them. It would be great to have an official tutorial to link to.
You understand what they do, and then decide based on the needs of the export.
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I've asked for that specific a tutorial also ... you'd think it would be an obvious one to do, right?
Here's one bit of explanation from Digital Rebellion ...
Render at Maximum Depth
This renders content at 32-bit color depth. Very few output formats actually support 32-bit color but processing at this depth can produce better quality for compositing and effects operations before being scaled back to the output format's bit depth. It can reduce or eliminate artifacts and banding in your video but that benefit comes at the cost of an increase in processing time, so only use it when completely necessary.
You may benefit from this option in the following situations:
- Your source media has a higher bit depth than the format you are outputting to
- Your sequence contains heavy compositing or lots of layered effects (particularly 32-bit color effects)
- Your sequence contains very high contrast or very low contrast images (for example subtle gradients)
You can read more about Premiere's color processing here.
Maximum Render Quality
This is a high-quality resize operation that should be used when outputting to a different frame size from your sequence. It can reduce aliasing (jagged edges) when resizing images but is of no use when outputting to the same frame size. This operation significantly increases render times so only use it when resizing.
This option smooths out juddery motion when exporting to a different frame rate than your sequence. While it may improve motion quality compared to not having it switched on, it's not considered a high quality option. You will probably get better results from exporting with the sequence frame rate and then converting in Adobe Media Encoder, Apple Compressor, a standards-conversion tool like JES Deinterlacer or a hardware conversion device like Teranex.
This results in reduced export times because your sequence render files are used instead of having to re-render the sequence. This is of course assuming that you have a significant amount of your timeline already rendered, which may not be the case if you have a fast computer or your sequence is simple enough to be played back without rendering.
Generally you should not use this option because it is likely to result in reduced image quality, particularly when outputting to a different format from your sequence and also because it will bypass the quality options detailed above. It should only be used where processing time is more important than image quality, such as previews or rough cuts for example, although these are likely to be simple enough that this option doesn't significantly affect processing times.
There are things like for Max Depth, if you have a GPU it's already doing that ... and when invoked, has been known to introduce artifacts & general weirdness. And at times, actually help. Avoid if possible.
Max Render Q is another one I've known experienced users advise avoiding especially again if you have a GPU in the operation. BUT ... if an export you are resizing comes out with notable jaggies on diagonal lines, check it and see if it improves things, which ... it might.
Frame Blending and Use Previews ... the same. Use Previews is only a help if your previews are set to the exact Format/Codec/Codec-settings of your export. In other words, if you're exporting in ProRes 422LT, and your previews are already ProRes422LT, then it makes sense to use them. If you're doing any H.264/long-GOP work, well ... it is doubtful the i-frames of the previews will line up with what Pr is going to need to do on export, so ... it will probably completely re-compute them.
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I frame only mpeg is a lesser codec and only useful when you want a quick output and dont need full quality.