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Thread: advices to record and compress sport / fast motion videos

  1. #1

    Default advices to record and compress sport / fast motion videos

    Hi there
    I am a newbie to this forum and have not much experience in videos (recording, editing and compressing)
    My interesting in videoing is really to capture instants in two of the outdoor activities that I am involved in: dog agility and sheepherding - It is a natural additional activities to my partner's who is a keen photographer.

    you will find below some example (note that they were my very first tries and I did not understand anything at the time of compression & video set up, but they at least gives an insight of the type of recording I am working with & therefore of the type of challenge that I am faced for setting up the recording & compressing parameters (after editing))

    agility (you need to have a FB account) :
    Agnes Campan's videos | Facebook
    Agnes Campan's videos | Facebook
    herding (you need to use exporer - if you right click on the clip you can zoom to full screen)
    Flo/Flo Netherdale 2010 username Flo; Passworf sheep4me
    Ben/Ben Vimeo SD

    My last struggle was aa 1h20 minutes video montage of the scottish agilty team and have been so disappointed by the quality of the video after compression that I am determined to understand what is going on....and I am struggling...there are no poin tin trying to improve my editing skills if I can not get a good outputs and I have been fighting my videos manual as well as Premier Pro cs5 online help, classroom in a book book etc for quite a few months now with very little improvement (without out saying that all these maunals are as useless as each other when it comes to explain the parameters..)

    So I went back to all the basic: my video (canon legria HF S21) & did test on most of the parameters to figure out the best recording parameters.

    I therefore have now realised that the auto mode is not best
    and i have opted for filming parameters of FXp, 50i, sport mode (it seems that each individual frame is in better focus with sport mode than AE)

    Now encoding the videos is a torture, I thought I would use a standard preset (ie: YouTube HD) but I have everytime extremely disappointed by the output the image after compressing are being very jerky (ie you can see certain elements double like the weave poles in agility) and after days of tests the best output that I have currently found is (in adobe encoder):
    H264 custom
    Widescreen mode
    50 frame per second
    res: 1440x810
    Profil High
    Level 4 (my dvd player does not seem to be able to read above level 4 which limits the resolution to 1440 max forif I want to be in 50 frames per seconds)
    for the bit rate I use a 2 pass BV rate, then I think the default are set between 6&9Mb rate (I have not changed them I am unsure of what they do)

    it seems that the quality is better but still not perfect (still a little bit of jerkyness, saying that my other half being a photographer he is very aware of these details: you can still distinguish a lack of "smoothness between the frames) - I therfore tried 60 fps but it seems that start to actually degrade the quality

    I was wondering if anybody would be able to provide me with some advices on the subject? (ie: commenting on the setting I have now defined as the best I have been able to define; and/or if there are better options?)

    thank you for your help
    Last edited by les3m; 10-09-2011 at 08:59 PM.

  2. #2


    I have never used your particular camera and I don't use Premier for editing so I was reluctant to offer advice BUT as no one else has offed any, I thought I would throw in some general tips which may help.

    Firstly, well done for recognising you need to use the camera in manual mode. This is often the best way to get a better image. Your camera, I believe, gives you good manual options. So get use to the different settings available to you and try them in different conditions. eg indoors and outdoors etc. The next advice is to get some sort of support to keep the camera steady. A tripod would be best for this with a smooth fluid head or at least a mono-pod. If using a tripod switch off image stabilisation on the camera.

    When it comes to image quality apart from keeping things in focus the bit-rate is important. ie the higher the bit rate the more image information the camera is recording. Shooting with the highest resolution ie 1920 x 1080 with a frame rate of 50fps for fast moving dogs, for the UK (PAL) format and then setting your editing software to match these same property settings and matching them again with the final rendering will give you the best results.

    This is not always possible for your final render, for example, if you are making a Standard definition DVD but I would keep the highest quality settings until it comes to the final render. When you make the DVD set your bit rate to around 9Mb as this will give you the best image possible but remember you are lowering the quality from HD to SD so there will be some image quality loss.

    Hope these general points help in some way.

  3. #3


    HI there thank you very much for your advices.

    I am getting really confused, I don't seem to understand the concept of "bitrate" -
    I can see how the quality of the video can be dependant on the number of frame per second as well as the number of pixel - but I really struggle with understanding the concept of bit rate (and the relationship between fps, resolution and bi - rate) . would you be willing to en-light me on this? it would be really appreciated-

    in abode encoder I have set up the bitrate encoder to VBR, 2 Pass
    but kept the default parameters of target Bitrate of 6Mbps and maximum bitrate of 9 Mbps -
    so does it means that if I increase these values I will increase the overall quality / resolution of the video?

    thanks again for your help -

    PS: by the way, would you have a good book to advise me to purchase to understand better the theory behind the videos? I must admit I am not being that successful on the internet, there is a lot of information but I find it difficult to link all the information together

  4. #4


    just to mention i have ran some test with a set up for encoding of 25 Mps for both average and max bitrate and effectively the motion is smoother for the same otehr parameters, but I still can't grasp the concept behind this...

  5. #5


    I think the best place to start is by clearing up some definitions of the terms. What I'm about to say may not be 100% technically correct but for the purposes of trying to help you, think if a bit, as in bit rate, as a piece of information about an image, such as the colour, brightness and position of a pixel. If you have more information about an image, it should be better quality. In video we are talking about moving objects so the pixels that make up an image are changing. Now look at the standard DVD bit rate of around 9Mbs, this means you are getting 9 million useful pieces of information about the image every second. This sounds quite good until you look at the bit rate of high definition video which starts at around 25Mbs for domestic cameras.

    The reason this is important to the image quality is because most video images have been compressed by the software this is done by the software missing out pieces of information. For example, if a pixel is does not seem to change for a few frames the software might think to it's self pixel number 300 hasn't changed since the last frame so instead of writing all the information about it's colour, brightness etc, it might just say for pixel number 300 on frame 250 ditto frame 249. If that makes any sense BUT, I say again BUT, often that pixel may have actually very slightly changed brightness but the software thought to it's self, well that's close enough. This is how we start to get image degradation from the software. If we have more information or higher bit rate we have less mistakes from the software that make the video compression calculations.

    In the UK the standard frame rate is 25 frames per second, so every UK TV will flash an image on the screen 25 times every second. When your camera records a fast moving image, like a running dog, it can take one image every 25th of a second BUT your camera can shoot at 50fps. This is an advantage because it is taking twice the amount of images every second. In theory this should give you less blurring of the motion in your video, when it is played back at the standard 25fps, as you have more images to get the information from. So frame rate determines the sharpness of the motion but not the quality of the image like the bit rate does, obviously they are both related to the final video quality but in different ways.

    The other thing is the resolution, this is the over all size of the image. Standard definition video in the UK is 720 x 576. High definition is 1920 x 1080. The 1080 refers to the number of rows of pixels in the image and the 1920 is the number of columns of pixels. So in a SD video image the are 720x576=414,720 pixels that make up the image. in HD video there are 2073600 pixels that make up the image. The more pixels means the more information needs to be read every second to give the better quality image so the higher the bit rate has to be to express this quality.

    To summarise the image quality of a video is made by the resolution and the bit rate and with fast moving objects the frame rate will also have a bearing.

    I hope this makes some sense.

  6. #6


    Hi Midnight Blue,
    I just would like to thank you for your help, you have really helped me understand the parametrisation for getting a better resolution ...
    and my first attempt is (just to thank you for your help!):
    Agility 2011: Mr Perfect and Associates - YouTube

  7. #7


    I'm glad you feel you are progressing with this subject. To be honest, it can take years to get to grips with and just when you think you are getting somewhere somebody shows you how it could be done better or brings out a new technology so you have to start from scratch again.

    I really like your video. I'm a big doggy fan. I love the way the dog is totally loving what they are doing. May be you can help me to train my dog. She is an English setter and only ever does things when she wants to. Example below of what she's like.

  8. #8


    You can still on the video that she is still very young! but i agree it's so nuce to watch them enjoying life! Although it would not be with the speed and agility of a collie, English setters do like agility too and it is a good way to teach them to focus a bit more on their owner. The relationship you build when you work with your dog is magic, it is difficult to explain to people who have not experienced it...but if you have questions you can always send some mps!

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