NAB 2013 Day 5 Practical Video Compression and FCPX tips

Last Day of NAB!

Practical Compression in a Post Youtube World session notes here.

Wait, where are the FCPX tips? It's always unique - Abba and I go in with no plan (beyond there being 4-5 tips we each want to do.) So, sadly, there isn't a way to give you the tips we covered. 

But you have my email from this site; you can reach abba by going to NAB at ShapiroVideo dot com.


Watermark everything (Compression)

All to frequently, I see QuickTime Files called "Sequence 01.mov" or "Untitled Sequences.mov"

You know why this is bad right? Because you have no idea what that file is.

In the same way you should stay organized in your edit, you should name your sequences and watermark your work

Being organized means no bins named "Stuff", "Misc.", "Other", or my favorite "Other Misc Stuff."

Naming your sequences means you can look at the file name and know what the sequence is meant for (Approval? Mastering? Client h.264 delivery?)

Watermarking your video helps your client understand what you're giving them. Every version except the final should have a watermark. It protects your work and helps your client know what it's meant for.

Compression Tips like this can be found by attending sessions at Post Production World at NAB (this link includes links to non-PPW sessions)

Compression's Biggest enemy: Noise

Noise is your enemy.

The simplest concept in compression is the idea that you average four nearby pixels together - if they're really similar? You can replace them with one piece of data (rather than the original four.)

Noisy footage happens at the source for two reasons: poorly lit and a very compressed starting point (I'm looking at you DSLR h.264 files!). The worse the starting point, the more important it is to shoot right - else you have to deal with noise, meaning it'll be harder to compress your footage.

Make sure to view this in full. the noise on the left hand side makes this file far harder to compress.

Compression Tips like this can be found by attending sessions at Post Production World at NAB (this link includes links to non-PPW sessions)

Most compression tools have the ability to set I/O points

When you're testing and tweaking your compression tool of choice, you'll probably should test what you're doing rather than just running the settings on your entire file.

Did you know that most compression tools permit the setting of In/Out points (as a test for your video?)

Compression Tips like this can be found by attending sessions at Post Production World at NAB (this link includes links to non-PPW sessions)

Golden Rule of Compression

The Golden rule of Compression (above all others) is this:

Try to compress your video only once. Each time you compress your product, you're taking a chance and lowering it's final quality.

I keep seeing people use tools like Handbrake to rip a DVD into MPG4 and then use another tool, like Apple Compressor to make ProRes. That's taking a distribution quality codec (MPEG2) taking it to another distribution quality (h.264) and then to an editorial codec.

Try, when possible to only transform your video once - at the end of your editorial process.

Compression Tips like this can be found by attending sessions at Post Production World at NAB (this link includes links to non-PPW sessions)