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First, make sure the AVI file you're creating from Quicktime Pro is a DV-AVI. Not just any AVI will work.
Second, if these videos are coming from a still camera, they may not be the full 640x480 video resolution -- which could also account for some pixelation.
But going from MOV to AVI to MPEG4 will certainly not restore the quality. Converting and then converting again will give you a LOWER quality file, since every conversion loses some quality.
Is it possible to go directly to MPEG4 in Quicktime Pro? That would be your best solution.
Even though MPEG-4 files are heavily compressed. However, I have never had any problems transferring files from my point and shoot camera that does video. I always shoot the video in 640x480 high quality or one of the high-def modes. This is the normal NTSC resolution. I convert using Windows movie maker. I import into Movie Maker and then export it as an AVI.
I would almost bet that your main problem is that you are converting from a format that is smaller that 640x480, check and see what your camera is set for.
You will loose some resolution any time you go from an uncompressed format such as AVI to a compressed format such as H.264. If you go back to AVI you will notice the resolution loss. There is no way around that. You should always keep the original video somehow so you have the original resolution.
I have MOV files that come from a Kodak digital camera. They are MPEG-4 video and ulaw audio. They don't play back very well in Premiere Elements. I used to convert them to DV raw files with Quicktime Pro, but that reduces the quality since my 320x240 MOVs are upscaled to 720x480, and the chorma is degraded.
I spent $25 on an MPEG-4 decoder from LeadCodecs and installed that. http://leadcodecs.com Then I renamed my .MOV files to .AVI files. Instead of Quicktime handling them inside Premiere Elements, the Lead MPEG-4 codec under DirectShow is used by Premiere Elements.
That MPEG-4 codec is the only one I could find that works correctly. The free ones don't render correctly. I still have to render previews otherwise playback in the monitor is jerky, but it does export correctly. For ulaw audio I have to use FFDShow and enable the A-law/uLaw 2:1 audio codec.
Now the Lead MPEG-4 codec does not handle h.264, but they do have an h.264 decoder for $25 US. Alternatively, you could purchase the AVC/h.264 decoder from CoreCodecs for $14.95. They do have a trial. http://www.coreavc.com/
thanks Rob - that is helpful. I'll check on the size issue.
Thanks Robert. That is helpful. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to get a Mac. Until then, I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have. (Aren't we all?)
Thanks, Steve. Yes, there is a .mov to MPEG4 export option. There is also a .mov to DV stream option, but no .mov to DV-AVI. I didn't realize there was a difference. So you're saying that I will be able to edit the clips in Premiere 2 once they're in MPEG4? I will try that. Thanks. Judy
No. I thought you wanted an MPEG4 as your final output? Converting the MOV to MPEG4 in Quicktime saves you going by way of DV-AVI and it leaves Premiere Elements out of the equation completely.
Isn't that a much more efficient way to do it?
Yes, but QuickTime Pro has extremely limited editing options. That's why I wanted to be able to work with the clips in Premiere. While the manual says that Premiere will work with .mov files, they don't play well at all in my system. Not only is there more pixelation, but the movement is choppy, not streamed. I checked the size of the still camera .mov clips and they are optimized at 640 X 480. So that's not the problem. It really makes me want a Mac. While we're on this subject, I'm wondering if you can answer another question for me. If and when I switch to a Mac, I'm dreading the transition. The Apple iMovie and iPhoto integrated cataloging system is chronological, not topical like the Elements tags. But I'm told that Microsoft Office for Mac recognizes Microsoft Office documents created in Windows with no problem. I'm wondering if the same thing holds true with Adobe products. If I get Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere (or upgrade to Pro) for Mac, will it recognize and assimilate the tagged clips in my current Windows catalog? My clips are organized by topic, i.e. animal species, not event or by time. It will be one big headache if I have to reorganize and retag them. Do you know if this is the case? Thanks so much for your time and advice. Judy
What is the frame rate of your MOV files? Some still cameras record at 25 fps and not 29.97 fps. Also, if DVD output is your goal (and Project setting), you are scaling up to 720x480 in PE.
Personally, I think it would be far cheaper to purchase a tape-based video camera, than to switch over to Mac.
As for your specific questions, I do not know the answer.
To date, I have not had a MOV file that would not play well in P-Pro, but then these are not from still cameras.
If the MOV files are MPEG-4 and have frame rates such as 11 and 20 fps, they will be jerky in PE after rendering. However if you have an MPEG-4 decoder, -- such as from Lead Technologies -- and change the .mov to .avi, they will import and playback properly after rendering. For the ones that are 320x240, I uncheck "Scale to Frame Size."
You need GSpot or MediaInfo to find out what the FourCCs are so you can tell what you are dealing with, as there are many codecs that can be used in a MOV file, which is just a container.
Thanks Bill. The camera records at 30 frames/second. DVD output is not my goal -- online broadcast only. I do have a tape-based camera (Canon ZR850) and use that for most of my serious videotaping. But believe it or not, the color quality of this still camera is just so much better because of the h.264 technology I believe. I got the still camera (Casio Exilim EXZ100) because I needed a new still camera (and it is 10.1 megapixels)and thought I'd use the movie making capacity for backup when my Canon is in the shop, which it has been more than twice. I do wildlife videography so I'm pretty rough on it. When I discovered that the color quality of the Casio was better though I decided I would use it for scenic clips of sunsets, etc. I'd like to be able to edit those in Premiere, that's all.
Thanks Robert. The MOV files are MPEG4 at a 29+ frame rate. I'll look into that decoder and the other resources you mentioned. I'm a little slow to understanding digital technology and just wish it were all easier, that's all. Everyone says it would be if I got a Mac!
Hi again Steve. I'm so embarrassed. After my initial reply to your message I went to the Adobe site to see if they even made Premiere for Mac and learned they don't. I also read a review in Wired that says Premiere 6 is just as good if not better than iMovie which they say has actually been downgraded. I'm using Premiere 2, so I thought I might consider upgrading. Then I watched "Steve's Story" and realized it was you. (Your daughter is a cutie! Adobe must love you.) So my question is this: Would my problem be solved by simply upgrading to Premiere 4? If I do that, would it be compatible with regard to catalog integration with Photoshop Elements 4 or would I have to upgrade to Elements 6? If I upgraded the whole package would my current Photoshop Elements 4 catalog transfer with all tags intact? This is vital for me to know because I rely on them heavily. I realize that I would be skipping a version in the upgrade. Is that possible? Does that matter? Please read my reply to Bill because it explains why I want to use those particular .mov files. Another question for you. I use your excellent book a lot. If I upgrade will it become useless? Finally, since you're the expert, let me tell you what I'm really aiming for and get your advice. I need to start composing my own musical soundtracks to my videos. I want to do it as I'm viewing the timeline. Therefore, I know I need to invest in a midi-capable keyboard or controller and software. The problem is that there are few controllers compatible with Windows XP Media Center Edition. I am told I would need to disable the XP Media Center registry keys for anything to work which wouldn't matter because I don't use Media Center features anyway (like TV hookup, media player, etc.). But messing with the registry sounds a little complex and dangerous to me. There's got to be an easier way. Do you have any advice or recommendations? Can you point me to any helpful resources? Now you see why I want a Mac? Everyone says all this kind of stuff would be so much easier with a Mac. Problem is I have a limited budget and would like to make the most with what I have. I hope I haven't overtaxed you with my questions. Thanks for your patience! Judy
Thanks for your kind words about my Adobe testimonial, Judy.
Unfortunately, I have no more advice to offer you than I did before.
If you're going from MOVs to MPEG4s, Premiere Elements is not the program to use. Even if you do convert the files to loop Premiere Elements in, you'll be going from MOV to DV-AVI using Quicktime Pro, then editing in Premiere Elements, which will output MPEG4s -- but that's such a long, long way to go.
And even an upgrade to version 4 won't make it any easier.
Maybe a MacIntosh workflow would fit you better, Judy. And, if not, Quicktime Pro is about as close as you'll get to fit that workflow.
After another day of research, I'd already come to that conclusion. The Mac is perfect for what I want to do -- especially with music. The good thing is that I'm keeping my other computer so I can just transfer files as I need them and hopefully won't suffer too many transition headaches. I just wanted to say thank you for your time and honesty, especially regarding the upgrade question. Here's wishing you continued success in your creative efforts.
Likewise, Judy. Happy moviemaking!