14 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2009 4:54 AM by Abraham_G

    Encodes always look soft - why?

    Level 1

      I'm using Windows XP and video from the canon 5d mark 2, and it looks perfectly sharp going in, but when I encode to websized flash, or even a half-size wmv with high bitrate, the sharpness just isn't there anymore.  It doesn't seem to matter what settings I use.  Is this due to my sizing down when encoding?  I can't edit in web size, because I need a 1080 HD version as well, and it doesn't make sense to need to do it twice.  So am I missing something, a sharpness setting somewhere or some other setting that needs to be clicked that I overlooked?  Or can the encoder just not size down nicely?  I'm a bit stumped.  Any help would be great.

        • 1. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
          Curt Wrigley Level 4

          Pr's downscaling ability is not very good;  sadly.

           

          But in CS4 they did add an option that imporves it.   You can set it in the seq settings or the in AME settings.  A check box called Max render quality.  It will significantly add time to the encoding process, but does help the downscaling quality a bit.

          • 2. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
            Level 1

            >Pr's downscaling ability is not very good;  sadly.

             

            Any suggestions for other solutions then?  Do I encode large and scale down with a different program (if so, which one)? 
            Thanks.

            • 3. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
              Curt Wrigley Level 4

              Did you try enabling the Max render quality?

              • 4. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                Level 1

                The max render quality option is not always there, and I did have it checked when I had the option.  It still seemed too soft.

                • 5. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                  Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Dan Isaacs has a good solution for this and it works perfectly.

                  Maybe if we ask him nicely he will explain how it is done, he can do that far better than i can.

                  • 6. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                    Level 1

                    >Dan Isaacs has a good solution for this and it works perfectly.

                     

                    Who is Dan Isaacs, and is his solution posted somewhere (if so, can I get a link for it, please)?  How do I contact him to ask that he pretty please explain his method?  I'm sure a lot of people would want to know a sharpness solution.

                    • 7. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                      Curt Wrigley Level 4

                      He has mentioned it several times in these fora and i thnk a lot of folks are using the method.  It requires from 3rd party tools, but does indeed work quite nicely.

                       

                      Ill see if i can find the threads for you and post them here.   Then with Dan's permission (say his name 3 times and he might appear) I'll add it to the FAQ we're building.  Its probably already in the WIKI also.  Be back...

                      • 8. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                        Dan Isaacs Level 2

                        I am Dan Isaacs -- and I have posted on this subject many, many times. As Curt said, Premiere's default scaling is not very good -- and the "high quality" scaling is only marginally sharper, but incredibly slower.

                         

                        The solution is a freeware. There are 2 programs; called AviSynth and VirtualDub you can use to achieve far superior results when downscaling your material.

                         

                        I wrote a good workflow for Premiere -> AviSynth -> VirtualDub using a free Premiere plugin called DebugMode FrameServer. But, unfortunately, Adobe changed their output plugin architecture in CS4 -- so the workflow needs to be adjusted somewhat.

                         

                        Please tell me exactly what your source your Premiere sequence is (dimensions, framerate, field order) and what size(s) / format(s) you'd like to output to and I'll hammer together a revised workflow for you.

                         

                        In the meantime, see this page: It deals with 1080i HD -> SD conversions in CS3. If you are using CS4, you need to ignore references to DebugMode FrameServer and instead output your sequence as an HD AVI file (either using Cineform, Lagarith or another lossless codec).

                        • 9. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                          Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Its in a very very long thread, but i lost my bookmarks.

                          We just have to have a little patience but I have a feeling he will be along soon.

                           

                          Edit: you all so swift. 

                          • 10. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                            Level 1

                            Thanks, Dan.  I'm just using the project settings that somebody else said work best for the 5D mark 2 files.

                             

                            editing mode: Sony XDCAM EX 1080P (HQ) - so dimensions are 1920x1080

                            timebase: 29.97

                            pixel aspect ratio: square pixels

                            fields: no fields (progressive scan)

                             

                             

                            I mainly want to output as flv for web (about 420 height), and something like a half or third size wmv file.

                            • 11. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                              Level 1

                              >output your sequence as an HD AVI file (either using Cineform, Lagarith or another lossless codec)

                               

                              Forgot to ask, how do I do this?  I'm not sure what settings to use.  Sorry, I'm a newbie to all this.

                              • 12. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                                Eddie Lotter Level 4

                                Forgot to ask, how do I do this?

                                 

                                Choose "Microsoft AVI" in the Video export settings then choose your codec in the Export Settings Format options.

                                You will also find links to many free tutorials in the PremiereProPedia that will quickly show you how things are done in Premiere Pro.

                                Cheers
                                Eddie

                                • 13. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                                  Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                  I mainly want to output as flv for web (about 420 height), and something like a half or third size wmv file.

                                   

                                  OK... if your sequence is square pixels / progressive then this is fairly easy:

                                   

                                  Download and install AviSynth

                                  Download and install VirtualDub

                                  Download and install the Lagarith lossless codec

                                   

                                  In this example, I'll resize to 640x360. It's easy to change this to whatever size you want, but note that some formats require the dimension to be evenly divisible by 4, 8 or 16.

                                   

                                  1. Export you sequence to an AVI file (1920x1080 / 29.97 fps / progressive) using the Lagarith codec. Note: make sure you have lots of free disk space. The file will be HUGE.
                                  2. Open notepad (or another text editor of your choice). Create a file called example.avs and enter the following…

                                    AviSource("D:/path_to/my_1080p_video.avi")
                                    isRGB() ? last : ConvertToRGB32(matrix="rec709")
                                    Spline36Resize(640, 360)


                                  3. Open the example.avs file in VirtualDub. Go to the Video > Compression menu and select the Lagarith codec
                                  4. Save the file from VirtualDub as an .AVI file, call it example_output.avi
                                  5. Open the example_output.avi file in the video converter of your choise (Adobe Media Encoder, for example), set your options (but do not resize it there!!) and output to whatever file format you want
                                  • 14. Re: Encodes always look soft - why?
                                    Abraham_G

                                    Dan,

                                     

                                    I'm tyring to understand what's going on in your hd2sd AviSynth script, the part I'm struggling with is to get why the HDV 16:9 source with 1440 x 1080 and a PAR of 1.33 cannot be scaled to a fullscreen 16:9 picture for PAL widescreen SD. The WideScreenType switches only leaves options for either stretching, cropping or adding pillar bars.

                                     

                                    In my simple thinking the following resizing workflow should be the target:

                                     

                                    1440 x 1080 (PAR 1.333) > 720 x 576 (PAR 1.422) resulting in 1024 x 576 which is perfect 16:9

                                     

                                    So I was puzzled to see the hd2sd script uses a PAR of 1.45 instead of the expected 1.422 for the SD target resolution.

                                     

                                    You mentioned somewhere that SD widescreen differs (stretched) from true 16:9 by 3%, but why is that ? It occurs to me that the 3% almost equals the difference between 720 and 702, but I don't know if that's a coincidence ..

                                     

                                    I googled the world, to understand what's going on, but couldn't discover more clues, so could you shed more light on this subject ? In the earlier basic script I noticed you demoed a resize to 704 x 576, has that anything to do with the elusive SD widescreen aspect ratio ?

                                     

                                    Kind regards,

                                    Abraham.