For those of you AVCHD users trying to get the best quality encode from AVCHD to ProRes, I did the following test between the FCP 7's Log & Transfer using ProRes 422 and Adobe CS5's Media Encoder (also using ProRes 422).
Visual examples are posted below…
Results: The FCP version of the Pro Res encode was overall a sharper image and the Adobe Media Encoder version was slightly softer…as if the entire image was being filtered through a very slight Gaussian blur. I first noticed this when toggling between still frames on my HD display monitor.
And there is something else going on…when I blew up those same still frames in Photoshop, the Adobe Media Encoder stills all contained a CHROMA BLEED… a tearing effect which almost had an interlace look to it at times.
I checked all my settings and this was 1080 29.97p AVCHD footage as camera source and being converted to the same ProRes equivalent. I tried modifying the encodes on Adobe by going from 8 bit rendering to 24 bit rendering…but in each case the chroma tearing effect was the same. This effect has been observed by other users in previous posts, but I wanted to confirm it here as it seems it has still not been addressed.
It could actually be that overall softening effect in Media Encodia may be caused by this chroma bleed.
As much as I want to use Media Encoder, because it preserves original source camera timecode, I also want to get the sharpest picture possible. And until there is an upgrade to fix this issue with Adobe Media Encoder, I plan on using either FCP 7's Log and Transfer, or Clipwrap…which in my tests had exactly the same sharp image as the FCP encode did.
I will also submit a bug report to Adobe but I'm not sure they allow you to upload photos as examples. It would be helpful if this could be addressed in a future Adobe software update for Media Encoder….John
The clips below are still frames transferred from FCP to a TIFF, then blown up in Photoshop, and then I excerpted a relevant portion.
Observe the brown wood border against the white cloth. In the Adobe Media version, you will observe a chroma tearing effect.
In the jester's face. observe the blue border edge beed in the top Adobe image versus the white. Also the red mouth shows some bleed in the Media Encoder version.
In the closeup of the eye, look at the facial detail on the cheek. The lower FCP version is sharper. You may have to expand the photo to see it.
Red versus black…you'll note the horizontal red line has a wider bleed on the top Adobe version.
For amateur work on the Windows side, do you know what output method will be best?
Depending on what it is that you are transcoding on the Windows side, you might visit CIneform's website to see what they have to offer. I'm still waiting for Adobe to acknowledge this ProRes encoding issue with Adobe CS5 Media Encoder...but still have not received any acknowledgements as of yet...John