Good video gone bad in cheesy tool chain?
March 15, 2009 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Knowing when to stop (fiddling with video) - MPEG-1 to (Mac) desktop

I have four short clips taken with my Sony DSC-T77. The clips are fine for my intended use. Streamclip says these are MPEG-1 clips. It will convert them to .mov and to .avi. These converted clips have quality similar to the originals.

iMovie will accept the .mov clips but not the originals, and the editing I want to do on the clips - concatenating, adding slugs and the like - is pretty easy for a n00b. The issue is that the "share" output to a .dv or Quicktime file looks dreadful - fuzzy, blocky. Even the CG-type stuff looks jaggy and that's created right in iMovie. I have twiddled the output settings from iMovie and haven't gotten anywhere near the right look - the .avi files converted look way better and are much more compact to boot.

Should I quit fooling with these tools? "What you're trying to do won't work and cannot be made to work" would be unfortunate-but-a-relief. I am OK with giving up on this editing project and sending the .avi files separately. If there's a way to do this work that costs <USD100 then that would be bonus information.
posted by jet_silver to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
You will always lose some quality in recompression with lossy codecs, but H.264 (even Main Profile, as used in modern Quicktime movies) is so much more efficient than MPEG-1 that I doubt you're at a dead end quality-wise. If you can upload a sample of the source files maybe someone here can catch a filtering or similar problem.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:22 AM on March 15, 2009

Best answer: Make sure that the .mov you're outputting to is uncompressed. iMovie will make anything slightly compressed look like diseased shit (including h.264 and even photo-jpeg codecs). If you can't output the clip with no compression from streamclip, you might invest in Quicktime Pro, which is 20 bucks or something and will open and output an mpeg-1 to any QT parameter you can think of.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:35 AM on March 15, 2009

Did you try installing Perian for QuickTime - I'm not sure if it the movies also show up fine in iMovie, but it's awesome for QT. I like to use QuickTime Pro's export feature in the file menu (With perian installed).

Or try out HandBrake
posted by glenno86 at 8:38 AM on March 15, 2009

Response by poster: Uncompressed output yielded results good enough for me to use. I will be trying some of the other suggestions here now that the pressure's off.

Thanks much!
posted by jet_silver at 10:50 AM on March 15, 2009

« Older Hypothesis: X[giving] is directly correlated to...   |   Temporary residence in Kitchener/Waterloo Ontario? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.