5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 3, 2009 7:20 AM by Colin Brougham

    Blurry footage when using Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC

    Webshark2000 Level 1
      I'm working on a 30 second spot that I need to upload to the cable company and they only accept .mov files. It's SD footage. It was shot and is being output as 720x480i. I tried sending them an uncompressed .mov file but they said they couldn't use it (wouldn't open with their conversion system). The guy at the cable company is telling me to use the Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC codec to compress it, but when I use that the footage looks pretty blurry compared to the uncompressed version.

      I even took it home and checked on my Mac, which looked a little better, but still blurry. I tried exporting it using the h.264 codec and it looked better (still not quite as good as the uncompressed, but pretty close). The strange thing is the the h.264 compressed file was only around 50MB while the DV/DVCPRO - NTSC file was around 100MB.

      Is the h.264 codec just that much better that a file can be half the size, but still look better? Or am I just seeing the blurriness because I'm watching them play back on a computer monitor and if I were to send him the DV/DVCPRO - NTSC compressed file it would look fine on TV?
        • 1. Re: Blurry footage when using Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC
          Colin Brougham Level 6
          You need QuickTime Pro to fix this--it's a legacy thing that Apple put into QuickTime DV a long time ago and have never removed/reset as computers got faster. Basically, you need to enable the "high quality" setting for QT DV. Silly, huh?

          With the clip/movie loaded in QT Player Pro, open up "Show Movie Properties" (under the Window menu in Windows, not sure on Mac). Select the video track in the list of tracks displayed, and then find the tab that lets you enable the HQ flag. Once you check it, all of sudden the video will look clear and sharp. Unfortunately, you need to do this for EVERY. SINGLE. CLIP. Genius.

          Hope that helps...
          • 2. Re: Blurry footage when using Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC
            shooternz Level 6
            Command-J on a MAC

            BTW - follow Colins instruction but dont forget to "SAVE"
            • 3. Re: Blurry footage when using Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC
              Colin Brougham Level 6
              Thanks for that reminder, Craig--I forgot about that part. It's been awhile since I've had to do that, since PPro and Squeeze (on Windows) don't seem to care if the flag is set or not; they default to high quality, regardless.
              • 4. Re: Blurry footage when using Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC
                Webshark2000 Level 1
                Thank you both for the help. I tried what you suggested and it did, indeed, make the clip look much better. But even with that it still didn't look as good as the same clip compressed using the h.264 codec or using mpeg4 compression. Is that only because I'm looking at it on a computer?

                Would there be no difference (or even possibly lower quality) once it shows up on the cable channels using either of those over the DV/DVCPRO - NTSC compression?

                Thanks.
                • 5. Re: Blurry footage when using Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC
                  Colin Brougham Level 6
                  Well, my guess would be that you're witnessing the artifacts of displaying interlaced video on a progressive display. The DV codec is interlaced by its nature, and your computer screen is progressive by its nature. Typically, interlaced video will not look its best on a computer screen, and that's why you'll always hear recommendations of previewing your interlaced material on a properly calibrated NTSC/PAL display. It's just too difficult to judge problems with interlaced footage on a computer screen.

                  I imagine that the difference you're seeing between the DV export and the H.264 export is that the latter was deinterlaced, and therefore looks "better" on a computer screen. That said, it's not going to look good on a television, which is the intended output. And, I'd bet dimes to donuts that your cable company would scream bloody murder if you sent them an H.264 encoded video in an MP4 container--they just won't know what to do with it. Believe me--I've tried. Send them that DV MOV, and your life will be much better :)