24 Replies Latest reply on Jun 17, 2009 8:33 PM by Jose7822

    "Crisp" Video question


      Hi - I notice that my videos that I prepare for online viewing don't look as crisp as say the videos you see on cnn.com (advertisements) or other sites.  How sdo they achieve such crisp quality with no fuzziness?





        • 1. Re: "Crisp" Video question
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Likely they use different encoding settings and use different source material.

          • 2. Re: "Crisp" Video question
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            And one of the big differences in that "source material" is likely the lenses used on their equipment.


            What camera and format/CODEC are you using? Do your Project Presets match for that material? What Export settings are you using?


            You still might be able to get "better," but not likely to the levels that you see in full-pro productions.


            Good luck,



            • 3. Re: "Crisp" Video question
              italtazman Level 1

              Right now I'm using a consumer grade SONY camcorder about 5 years old.  It's MiniDV.  I import it as AVI through firewire and export it to H.264.  I'm still trying to figure out the best settings for H.264.  I have done lots of searches on line and on the forums.  I primarely export to Youtube right now (but will to my own player eventually).  But I also see other youtube.com videos that are VERY crisp (mine are not even when using the HQ button in Youtube).

              • 4. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                What do you expect, that your DV source looks as crisp as HDV?

                • 5. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                  italtazman Level 1

                  No!  But I see plenty of DV that looks nicve and crispy







                  • 6. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    Do you expect a $ 30K camera with a $ 15K lens, even in SD to look like a consumer camera? Here the chip size and the lens quality come into play, even if we forget about aspects as lighting, composition, etc.

                    • 7. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                      italtazman Level 1

                      Obvioulsy I know that I won't achieve that level, but I have seen video taken with cosumer level cameras that are nice and crisp.  I am trying to understand what I can do in Premiere to improve the quality other than spending $15k.

                      • 8. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                        Colin Brougham Level 6

                        Are you selecting the "Use Maximum Quality" setting in AME when you export? It's in the flyout menu down where you set up your encoding settings. This does help quite a bit with the quality of compressed output, at the expense of rendering time on the order of several levels of magnitude.

                        • 9. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                          italtazman Level 1

                          I'll have to check.  I don't think I have seen that checkbox.

                          • 10. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                            Colin Brougham Level 6

                            Give it a shot. It's not a silver bullet, but it can help especially in regard to PPro's poor deinterlacing scheme. This seems, to me anyway, to be the major cause of not-quite-sharp exports.



                            • 11. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                              italtazman Level 1

                              Awesome, thanks.  I'll definately check that.  Any other suggestions as for settings for the export for Youtube?

                              • 12. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                Eddie Lotter Level 4
                                Any other suggestions as for settings for the export for Youtube?


                                Have a look at several suggestions here: FAQ:What are the best settings for YouTube?


                                • 13. Re: "Crisp" Video question

                                  Hey Italtazman!



                                  I think the question here is, are you not getting similar or slightly better quality than the source video on your export files?  If you are than there's nothing else you can do to about it short from getting a better video camera.  If your source video doesn't look crisp, then don't expect it to look crips like those other videos.  Adobe (or any other video editing software) can only do so much but it will not improve the quality of your video.  Like we say in the audio world, "garbage in, garbage out".



                                  On the other hand, if your export files don't look as crisp as the orginal THEN you do have a problem.  Anyways, take my words with a grain of salt since I'm a video editing noob :-P  But I'm no noob to computers nor audio editing and I'm sure the same principles apply (which is why I'm agreeing with the guys here).



                                  Good Luck!

                                  • 14. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                    the_wine_snob Level 9

                                    Adobe (or any other video editing software) can only do so much but it will not improve the quality of your video.  Like we say in the audio world, "garbage in, garbage out".

                                    Yes! The phrase, "don't worry, we'll just fix it in post... " should be removed from the video lexicon.


                                    I do agree that much can be improved with the correct Project Presets, and also the correct Export format and Presets. One can get pretty close to the original.


                                    Good luck,



                                    • 15. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                      Jose7822 Level 1



                                      Ours is: "don't worry, we'll fix it in the mix/mastering."  Goes to show that we do have things in common :-)



                                      Take care!

                                      • 16. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                        Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                        Well, if the "Use Maximum Render Quality" still fails to give decent output it will, at very least, exponentially increase the rendering time. It seems to use some kind ELA interpolation for deinterlacing and Bicubic Scaling which, especially for small reductions (like 720x480 widescreen -> 640x360), will probably not help significantly.


                                        Download and install (all free):




                                        Lagarith lossless codec


                                        Next, download and install my hd2sd_sd2hd package for AviSynth (instructions for installation are in the .zip file)


                                        • Export your final timeline (as normal) as a DV .avi file from Premiere (assuming NTSC widescreen 720x480, widescreen PAR, 29.97 fps, Lower Field First, 48kHz stereo, etc.) We'll call this dv_output.avi in this example.
                                        • Open Windows Notepad and create a new text file. Enter the following into the blank text document and save the text file as cs4resize.avs – in the same folder as your DV .avi file:



                                        # EDIT THESE

                                        filename = "dv_output.avi"

                                        widescreen = true

                                        blend = true


                                        # DO NOT EDIT

                                        Try {

                                        FFMpegSource(filename, atrack=-1)

                                        } Catch(err) {



                                        Crop(8, 0, -8, 0)

                                        ConditionalSmoothBob(DeintMethod=1, OutputColorSpace="YUY2")

                                        (blend) ? Merge(SelectEven(), SelectOdd())  : SelectEven()


                                        Spline36Resize(((widescreen) ? 640 : 480), 360)


                                        • Edit the parameters to indicate the name of your .avi file, whether the source is 16.9 or 4:3 and whether you would like "blended" deinterlacing or normal interpolaton. (there are benefits to both; it is a matter of taste.)
                                        • After saving your modified cs4resize.avs file from Notepad, open VirtualDub
                                        • Open cs4resize.avs (this is your "script") in via VirtualDub via File > Open…
                                        • Go to the Video > Compression menu and select the Lagarith lossless codec (in VirualDub's codec options (Configure), it is probably best to make sure that Mode is set to RGB (default) and that the Enable Null Frames option is off).
                                        • Save your output from VirtualDub by selecting File > Save as AVI
                                        • When VirtualDub has finished, open your resulting Lagarith AVI file in the program of your choice (AME CS4, Squeeze, etc) for conversion to whatever format you want to upload to YouYube
                                        • 17. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                          italtazman Level 1

                                          I agree 100%, I do music productions and don't believe in the "fix it at mix time" (unless I am gettin gpaid for it, then sure, I'll fix it by the hour :-) ).  But the image does look sharper on the camera, so I'm wondering if there is something I am doing wrong in Premiere or is it just the LCD on the camera being smaller gives the impression of a "crisper" picture.  I will purchase a better camcorder, but before then I want to make sure that even with a better camcorder I won't get the same issues.

                                          • 18. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                            Harm Millaard Level 7

                                            That is perfectely understandable, but you mentioned it yourself, a 3" screen on a camera has a crispier look  than the same image on a 50" screen. I don't think anybody but you can judge whether a better camera and better lens will solve your problem at the cost it entails.

                                            • 19. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                              Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                              But the fact of the matter is that Premiere does not do very "crisp" resizing – especially of interlaced material. There is no way out of this, irrepsective of camera quality. When performing reductions on such material… If your footage is sharp, Premiere will soften it. If your footage is blurry, Premiere will make it a little bit blurrier.


                                              So, there is likely nothing that the OP is doing "wrong"… It's just that handling of such conversions has never been Premiere's strong suit; and Adobe's latest effort to improve it (HQ Rendering option) does not really go far enough in most cases.


                                              You forums-regulars are more than familiar with my rants about this, of course.

                                              • 20. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                                Jose7822 Level 1

                                                Hmm, that sucks.


                                                So Dan, does this only apply to SD material or to both SD and HD material?  Also does Premier distort the image (in the sense of altering it like adding blur would) ONLY when resizing?  IOW, is it OK if the video remains the same size from input to output?  Thanks!

                                                • 21. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                                  Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                  Well, the simple answer is yes. It applies to every situation when video needs to be resized and/or converted from interlaced to progressive.


                                                  The long answer it that it is a "double-edged sword" with interlaced material:


                                                  • If you a scaling things down by a large degree, many of the artefacts resulting from deinterlacing are hidden, but the same softness that hides the artefacts is inherent to the scaling algorithms that Premiere uses – and will give the downsized video a softer appearance, interlaced or not.
                                                  • If you are scaling by a small degree things can be even worse, as you are still softening the image – but not blending enough pixels to effectively hide the artefacts
                                                  • Furthermore, if you output progressive video from an interlaced source (without changing the size) there is no softness imposed by any scaling, but the artefacts left behind by Premiere's terrible (default) or mediocre ("Best" quality rendering) deinterlacing will be naked and undisguised.


                                                  (OK, I guess that would be a triple-edged sword)


                                                  AviSynth and the various wonderful, free plugins that users have developed for it is the best solution I've found for deinterlacing and resizing – both in terms of absolute quality and quality vs. performance.


                                                  In the case of the example I posted earlier, it is using very advanced (EEDI) interpolation for the deinterlacing. The scaling method is AviSynth's internal method called Spline36Resize, which provides significant sharpness with fewer ringing artefacts compared to, say, Photoshop's "Bicubic (sharper)" setting. There are "better" options than these, there are "faster" options than these – but the ones I've used here are fairly good tradeoffs between those points – and should invariably provide better output than CS3 or CS4 on its own.


                                                  It was worse with CS3 and, granted, I have not done extensive testing in CS4, but I have seen enough to know that the problems have not been entirely solved. I defer to Jeff Bellune (who has actually done some well thought-out experiments) on the specifics of when, how much, and how much more quickly my workflows can produce better output as compared to CS4's "native" processing.


                                                  Obviously, the workflow and script contents are different for different purposes (such as HD -> SD, 60i -> 24p, PAL <-> NTSC) but the principles are the same. Dealing as I do with a great deal of video format conversions, I pretty much have workfflows for pretty much every kind of conversion using some variation of the aforementioned process.

                                                  • 22. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                                    Jose7822 Level 1



                                                    Thanks a bunch for the info, but I don't think you've answered my question =) (and I DON'T mean this in a rude way of course).  I'm working with HD720p material, which is coming In and Out of Adobe as is (except with edits, transitions and maybe a change of frame rate from 60 to 30 using the H.264 codec).  Going from what you're saying, I'm not deinterlacing nor scaling things (unless changing frame rates is considered scaling) so it must not apply to my case.  However, this is just what I'm interpreting from your post and not necesarily the case.  So again I ask, given the material I work with and my workflow, will my videos suffer from bluriness after being exported from Adobe?  And say, if the change from 60 to 30 fps does affect the video negatively, than I can just keep it at the same frame rate on export and everything will be fine, correct?


                                                    Thanks so much for your input!

                                                    • 23. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                                      Dan Isaacs Level 2

                                                      Oh, I'm sorry Jose… I was mainly answering the question with regard to DV sources, and then assuming that we were talking about 1080i HD sources.


                                                      If you are simply exporting 720p/60 -> 720p/30, then this issues do not really apply to you. However, doesn't Premiere blend the frame-pairs together to create the 30p output in case, unless you've unchecked "Frame Blending" on the source clip? That's not really relevant to my "quality point" either: some people like the blended look, others hate it.


                                                      So, no, exporting progressive video from progressive sources at the same size (such as 720p/60 to 720p/30) will not introduce the "quality" problems or spatial blurriness. However, the default "Frame Blending" behavior may add more motion blur than is desired.

                                                      • 24. Re: "Crisp" Video question
                                                        Jose7822 Level 1

                                                        I see.  Well thanks for answering my questions and letting me know about the "Frame Blending" feature.  I've never used it actually.  Also thanks for all the info Dan, it's always appreciated. 


                                                        Take care =)