Adobe Premiere and Encoding
May 7, 2006 3:12 PM   Subscribe

Adobe Premiere Pro question...

I am just starting to dabble Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0
I mainly want to create a nice animation clips with my TIF picture files created with 3D CAD programs.

I usually render TIFs with 720x486 pixels (or they call it NTSC standard size) + square pixels

Usually I can encode them with QuickTime MOV file via Radus codec?? anyways.. the quality seems acceptable.

The animations are usually 1 min. to 3 min. long....

However I really need to encode the file to something that is more general like AVI or such so that other people can play the file without hassle.

I just can't seems to be able to encode them in Premiere Pro... First of all .. there are too many settings and pre-setting for me to figure out... When I do use some of the presets.. I usually get horrible quality AVIs or sometimes the system crashes during encoding...

What settings do you use... ? Is 720x486 pixel too small?

I want both high quality and small file size file....

I searched couple of books and even googling around.. but I guess my problem is so basic to most of pros that I can't find any solid answers...

Can anyone suggest good detailed book about this? or website...? I need down to earth answers. like

1. pick "Windows Media AVI" 2. Set xx setting to "xxx number" 3. Click off "optimize" 4.......etc.. etc.. to create nice portfolio quality AVI that can play on most machines... etcc.. etc...

thanks for any help
posted by curiousleo to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Are you going to post them on the web? If so, I'd export them as Flash Videos. Or are planning to put them on a DVD? Premiere Pro can author DVDs for you.

By the way, 720 by 486 SQUARE pixels is wrong -- it's NOT the NTSC standard. The NTSC standard (actually the NTSC D1 standard) is 720 by 486 NON-square pixel. Your 3D app probably can't create non-square pixels, so if you want to output standard video, you should output 720 by 540. That's the square pixel equivalent to 720 by 486 NON-square. Non-square pixels generally come from a camcorder, not a computer generated file (though Photoshop CS & CS2 can generate them -- sort of).
posted by grumblebee at 4:07 PM on May 7, 2006

Response by poster: I am not particularly interested in posting them in the web...

I am most concerned about quality and playability on normal speed windows computers.

i think you are right about the square pixel thing... it took me few days to figure out that I am indeed able to use 720x486 square pix tifs to creat normal looking video through premiere pro (there was an option to convert that to display right on output... so that isn't much problem now...

However, i just can't figure out what i need to do to get great quality AVIs out of premierer pro.... those preset settings are either for DVD or web download/streaming... and it kills quality... Even the out put to DVD doesn't look right..... i am failry sure that i need to get a right settings....

any book or website that explains this to plain language...?

At the end i want to give a cd full of these AVI or mpeg to some one for a review..
posted by curiousleo at 4:26 PM on May 7, 2006

Best answer: First of all, AVI is a *container* file format. It is not a codec in of itself. You can create an AVI file using a number of various codecs, and the quality will be all over the map. "AVI file" is not a very descriptive term. When talking about multimedia you need to be precise: there is the container format (examples: AVI, MOV, MP4, MKV, OGM), the video codec (examples: XviD, DIVX, Sorensen, mpeg-2, h.264), and the audio codec (examples: mp3, ogg vorbis, mpeg-2.) In some cases both the container and the codec share the same name, such as WMV.

Second, your requirements are at odds with each other. There are many high quality codecs out there that will give you a small filesize with high quality. However, this is directly at odds with your requirement that any PC be able to play it back. Most *stock* PCs are woefully unequipped to play much of anything. Out of the box Windows XP can do mpeg-1 and possibly WMV (but possibly not later versions of it if Windows Media Player 9/10 has yet to be installed.) But of course if you choose WMV then you piss off most people using *nix or OS X, because it is much more difficult to play those formats on non-Windows machines.

So I think you're going to have to live with the fact that to choose a decent codec you are going to require the user to have some kind of software installed to play back your file. Most people that deal in video clips are used to this fact, and there are a handful of codecs that will almost definitely be installed on any well-used PC: Divx/Xvid, Quicktime (MOV/Sorensen), Flash (FLV/VP-1).

If you want the best quality at the lowest filesize, I recommend one of the following: (in terms of container/codec) AVI/Xvid, MP4/h.264, MOV/Sorensen.

AVI/Xvid - the Xvid codec is open source with easily available binaries for Windows, *nix, and OS X. It is relatively well known and most people that are familiar with watching video clips will already have the codec installed.

MP4/h.264 - This will arguably give you the highest quality. It will be available if the user has installed a recent version of Quicktime, which should be a given for most OS X users and probably a given for most Windows users. *nix users will be able to play it back too fairly easily since these are standard formats.

MOV/Sorensen - This is very common on the web, especially for movie trailers. It is also satisfied by having Quicktime installed. It's a little more difficult for *nix users to play back but most OS X and Windows users should have no problem with this, especially since even an ancient version of Quicktime will support this (whereas a newish version will be required for h.264.)

I recommend you avoid mpeg-2. Generally on Windows you will require a DVD player of some kind installed to play these back, though I guess at this point most users will already have that. (And yes, I know that VLC, MPC, and ffdshow all include mpeg-2 decoders.)

There's also FLV, the format used by Flash. Most users have Macromedia Flash installed, so this works well for web-based video, and is used by sites like youtube and google video. The problem here is that it really only is convenient as an embedded thing. If you hand someone a FLV file they most likely will have no idea how to play it. Now you could wrap the FLV file with a player applet and distribute it as a SWF file, but still most people would not know what to do with this.

And, as mentioned, there's always WMV which works great for most windows users but will reall piss off everyone else. And to get good quality here you need to use WMV9 or later, but then you lose the ability for people to play it back that haven't installed Windows Media 9 or later, so there goes the compatibility factor again.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2006

Response by poster: rhomboid
Thanks for your insite on formats... it does answer some of my questions...
Quicktime does seems to meet my requirements.. but most people i deal with has windows system and rarely have quicktime installed in their office systems....
I am thinking to put two formats for each files...
such as Apple folders for MOV formats and Windows folders for WMV formats...

However, even at WMV formats.. premiere gives way too much options to figure out how to output in highest setting...

any preset-for web download seems to be too coarse for my needs.. .. i would be happy to see quality similar to some of movie files i download from web for trailers or clips.... I just don't know how to output it from premiere pro 2...... the manuals doesn't explain them in details..
posted by curiousleo at 5:22 PM on May 7, 2006

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