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Thread: Preserve Video Quality for simple movies

  1. Default Preserve Video Quality for simple movies

    I've done some editing but don't pretend to know all the technical details. I just want to stitch some files together without losing quality.

    My Gear: Flip HD Camcorder
    Sofware: Pinnacle Studio 14 HD
    Computer: Win7 32-bit, 4gb RAM, Core2 duo processor. Dell Inspiron 1420.

    I shoot a number of MP4s on the Flip and they look good. I create a movie in Pinnacle, add all the clips to make a movie.

    Then: No matter what output format I choose, the video quality is poorer and the files are larger!

    I know this is the holy grail of video editing, but what settings should I use to preserve video quality and file size? I need a good codec, and I have a bunch installed. I also have Handbrake, if anyone here thinks that might help.

    Suggestions? Advice?



  2. Default

    There is no single output format or settings that will always give you the best quality. Having said that, some codecs can give good results over a wide range of videos.

    In your case you are joining multiple files and MPEG-4 does not allow simple concatenation. That means they will have to be decoded, joined and re-encoded resulting in some loss.

    I don't know about Pinnacle but if you can output to any installed codec then try a lossless codec (e.g. Lagarith) in order to verify that the path from input to output is not affecting quality.Then go back and try to find suitable settings for the codec and video you want to output.

  3. #3


    You can try tiliam's suggestion of using lossless CODECs. The down size of this is larger file sizes. I have found the best way to keep the quality you have is to match the project and render settings, with the original video, such as resolution (size), bit rate etc. AND don't try and do to much in the way of colour correction with a format like AVCHD (.mp4). I haven't used Pinnacle for a number of years but found it very limited in this side of things.

  4. Default

    @Midnight Blue

    My suggestion to try using a lossless codec is only to trace whether the problem lies in the coding of the output video or somewhere in the processing path. I would not expect to use a lossless codec for distribution of the final video.

  5. #5


    I understand where you are coming from. I found that with Pinnacle, it is very limited in the settings you can use, this makes it hard to achieve good results.

  6. Default

    Thanks, everyone for all the input. It all makes sense. I am going to try to export to AVI, then join them. After that I'll try to re-encode to a smaller format. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the impression I get is that to compress a video file and still have it look good will take a *lot* of CPU time. What frustrates me is that the damn Flip camera can capture *reality* in good fidelity in real time - yet my computer has to take a lot of time to process these images.

    Funny side note - the utterly awful software that comes with the Flip is pretty good at stitching these files together with no loss of quality - but it takes for frickin' ever. I think it does its work right on the Flip, not on my hard drive. Oh well.

    I have a similar issue with my old Sony digital tape camcorder - extracting those to AVI via a FireWire cable yields video that looks just as good, but it's hard to compress to a decent file size without quality loss - and the quality is not that great to begin with. If any one has any recommendations on good codecs to compress AVI I'd be grateful. I have abound 40 tapes - I don't want to have to store 'em on a terabyte drive!

  7. #7


    When I use Mini DV I would either render as a DV .avi if it was just for computer viewing or mpeg2 for DVD and they usually came out fine, even with Pinnacle.

  8. Default

    Just for everyone's information, I tried using VirtualDub with the above recommended Lagarith Lossless Codec and my files were LARGER. A 26 GB file had made it to 78GB about a third of the way through before I shut it down.

  9. Default

    One more general question.....

    I have seen AVI or MP4 files of television programs that are of much higher video quality than my home camcorder files -- yet they're reasonably small - 1.5gb! How do they get this level of compression? Is it done by a super fast computer? As mentioned before, I've exported DV tapes - 1 hour - 13 gb - but have been unable to compress them without significant quality loss. Perhaps I just have to find the right codec and suck it up, waiting the hours and hours needed to convert / compress the file?

    Thoughts welcome.

  10. #10


    Sadly, not all mp4 codecs are equally good; and I have found some which are very poor. The better implemented ones can offer more control over the quality/speed/filesize issues.
    For example, the ones from DivX, whilst not free, offer alot of flexibility, in their converter app. In fact, that app also has a function to 'combine all videos into one file'.

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