Posted by: quienessupa | December 12, 2008

HD Video trials, lessons learned, and rewards

First off, the rewards, here’s 2 video’s I’ve made in HD.  B/C of lessons learned, they are as good of HD as what I get to watch in my living room.  I used to be limited in what I could put online b/c of youtube and vimeo file size limits, but youtubes limits have changed!  The previous video’s were also limited b/c PE4 was parsing down the pixels and changing formats and reshaping the pixels.  Read on for the nitty gritty.  The lookout video is all HD, the totinos one starts with some footage from a non-HD camera, but quickly goes into some HD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvcCSQuXDAQ <–This is Lookout

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyq8PhvQOzY <–This is Totinos Xgames video contest

Below: Snow Closing in on me during the flight with a Totinos box.  What’s wrong with the below picture…(something very embarrassing)

Snow closin in

OK, I’ve been thru some serious trials and tribulations to get these movies made, but there are some lessons learned that could be very handy for anyone making movies out there, especially in HD.  Simple stuff first….

1.  Music:  Screw I-tunes…  All music bought there is encoded and protected behind M4P and generally speaking, no movie editing software is going to allow you to enter them into your project.  That includes Adobe PE4, PE7, Vegas products, and all others I checked.  Also, I tried a free software, http://audacity.sourceforge.net/, to change my .m4p songs into something else, but I think Vista gets in the way.  SO, SOLUTION = buy songs from www.amazon.com where they cost a buck/song just like I-tunes, but they are .mp3’s which work everywhere and hence can be part of a movie project.  I-tunes can pound sand.

2.  Quicktime Pro – I’m sure it’s great on Apple computers, but it won’t play my raw HD .mov files that come from my Aiptek HD video camera.  At least not smoothly.  I paid 30 bucks to upgrade from quicktime b/c the pro version was supposedly able to convert my .mov files into .avi’s which are universally more digestible for movie editing software.. especially Adobe Premiere Elements.  In spite of not playing smoothly, Quicktime Pro would export the .mov files into AVI’s after a good wait… however, they would always be terribly pixelated, discolored and sticky framed.  Very unusable.  Quicktime can pound sand.

3.  http://www.movavi.com/videoconverter Jim Y. has had success using this software to convert his Aiptek HD movie files into .avi’s but things weren’t working for me on my Vista machine.  Thinking that I had a computer issue, I had Dell Support help, and probably because of reinstalling video drivers, the movavi software said my 30 day trial period was up and I couldn’t play with it anymore.  (just downloaded it that day?)  So, I reckoned Movavi can pound sand too.  Since, strangely, PE4 started accepting .mov files again!

5.  http://www.codecguide.com/download_mega.htm The dell guy downloaded this for me.  All I know is that Adobe is working better than ever with the feared .mov files and this could have a hand in it. It has all the codec’s you could ever need and somehow oversee’s video decoding and encoding and gives some choices of what types of codec’s to use.

6.  H.264 codec.  Now that I know that my Aiptek HD camera encapsulates the .mov files using the H.264 codec, I can make sure that I try to export movies using the same thing..  So, now I tell Adobe to export “Quicktime” (which means .mov) and then in advanced properties, I can insist that it decode and encode the export in H.264.  I also tell it to use square pixels, therefore it’s not trying to make changes between it’s natural 16:9 size and 4:3 or any of the other type outputs it tries to conform to(by default).  Since youtube now shows 16:9, there’s no need to change it.  I believe that doing this helped reduce the computing burden on Adobe PE4 and no more crashes, so far.  This was big…  NOTE:  h.264 is apparently a complex encoding method and requires fairly powerful equipment to run smoothly.  My laptop won’t play my h.264 files smoothly.  At least the 60fps one.  My Laptop can pound sand.

7.  www.youtube.com BIG NEWS, Youtube now will accept up to 1g files as opposed to the 300meg rule.  They also are outputting 16:9, AND have a new option for viewers to “watch in HD” instead of just “watch in high quality”.  So, I don’t have to go to Vimeo and be limited by their 500meg upload limit to get HD video out there.  And Vimeo charges money to upload files as big as 1g.  Youtube ROCKS and is free.

8.  I uploaded a 964meg video to youtube here:  Click the “watch in HD” at the bottom right of the video player and pause it for a minute to load.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvcCSQuXDAQ <–This is Lookout (from top of page)

This video was shot in 1280x720p and recorded at 60 (59.94) frames per second by my Aiptek HD camera.  I “exported” from Adobe PE4 as an .mov file with those same stipulations so as not to loose quality.  Also, it seems to be common knowledge that whenever you change from one format to another that you loose quality.  Makes sense I guess, so I’m keeping mine in .mov and the resulted “export” really does have a lot better quality than my other exports I used to do.  Mostly because I think that PE4 used to default to lower “HD” pixel counts AND change files to different codec’s(I admit I’m talking over my head here).

9.  Adobe Premier Elements 4:  It had quit allowing me to import .mov files altogether, which is why I went down this road to find conversion software to change files to avi’s…  BUT, after the dell support work, for no reason, it starts working with .mov files again.  In desperation and against better judgment, I started a movie using raw .mov files in PE4 again and mixed in some .avi’s for fun.  It was just a 1 minute movie with probably 20 different spliced in segments and everything worked without a single crash…  Here’s the result.. you can tell what’s shot with HD and what’s old footage if you watch it in HD… :)  Trying to enter this www.totinos.com contest and join in the fun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyq8PhvQOzY <–This is Totinos Xgames video contest

In conclusion, I’m taking back my griping about PE4 for now in hopes that my new method to keep .mov files .mov and to only export (encapsulate) using the same h.264 codec that the native file used will help me continue to use it without the crashing issues.  I’d like to know if someone with a vista machine can make the movavi program, or Quicktime Pro program’s convert HD .mov files into .avi?… Please write a comment to me if you’ve had success…  HD only though as I’m fairly sure it would work with non-HD for me.

My Computer details (b/c problems usually relate):

  • Model:  Dell XPS 420 running Vista Ultimate
  • Processor:  Intel Core2 Q6600 (2.4GHZ, 1066FSB)
  • W/Quadcore technology and 8MB Cache
  • Memory:  4GB 800MHZ DDR2 4DIMM
  • Video card:  Nvidia 8800 GT
  • Hard Drive:  1TB 7200 RPM Serial Raid0

I hope this helps somebody… I’ve spend to nights up till 3am on this stuff.

BJ

ps… Next couple blogs, how to take care of red tape before attempting a world record, and Totinos X Games contest, and maybe a write up about flying in the snow last week!


Responses

  1. Hey m8 I hope this fixes my problem. I’ve been going through pretty much the same thing with HD Footage from my Canon 5D Mark II that captures 1920 x 1280 HD in a .MOV file. This RAW footage is jerky and acts like you described in any editing program. I’m running Vista, with pretty much the same specs on my machine other than I just updated my Video Card to a 285 Series trying to fix the problem…and it didn’t…I can play Call of Duty 5 now though while rendering video.


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