Television Compression

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    • #48084

      I’ve recently been asked to begin compressing some video for SD television. The engineer with the Television station would like an mpeg-2 format but when compressing out of Compressor the video looks terrible. Worse than compressing for a DVD. Anyone have any suggestions on mpeg-2 compression settings that will increase my quality of picture. I use FCP with the Apple Intermediate Codec in my timeline. Another question, is there another compression program that would be better for television compression.

    • #197700

      Since you’re going to broadcast TV, don’t forget about staying within legal color levels: 16 – 235. Sony Vegas has tools to help with this, I am unaware of FCP’s toolset so someone who does this with FCP should chime in here,

    • #197701


      What kind of footage are you working with, and why are you working in Apple Intermediate Codec. That’s a pretty crappy codec.

      Which MPEG2 preset are you using in Compressor and what are your settings?

    • #197702

      The same settings, bitrate, and codec should all work.

      There’s noreproduction losswith MPEG-2, unless youuse lower resolution, bitrate, fps, etc.

    • #197703

      Shoot in HD and to be honest, I think I have this project with the wrong sequence settings. Usually, I’m in ProRes 422. Oops. I used Program Stream MPEG-2 setting in Compressor and at first used the default settings. Junkie. Then I increased the Rate Conversion from fast to better and the Deinterlace from fast to better as well. This produced a better picture for sure but certainly not beautiful. The station approved of the test vids I sent so maybe I’m just being overly critical.

      Would increasing my bitrate range give me a quantitative improvement of picture quality. Obviously, I’d like to see a noticed improvement compared to the amount of time it would take to compress.

      Thanks for all your help as well. I just became a member of the community recently and this is a great resource to have.

    • #197704

      Yea, change your sequence settings back to ProRes. Then export a self-contained Quicktime of your timeline. (File > Export > Quicktime Movie. Make sure the drop-down menu is set to Current Settings)

      Bring that exported file into Compressor and apply the TRANSPORT Stream MPEG-2.

      Changing the Rate Conversion to Better or Best will not do anything unless you’re actually doing a frame rate conversion.

      Not sure why you want to de-interlace either. De-interlacing doesn’t increase quality. The reason why it may have looked better is interlaced material doesn’t look too great on a computer monitor, so de-interlacing may have led you to believe you did something good when you viewed your MPEG file on your computer. Is there a reason you’re trying to de-interlace?

      Also, keep in mind that the station is looking at your file on broadcast monitors, which is what you should be looking at as well. It’s not doing you any good judging your image quality while looking at a computer screen.

      Increasing the bit rate should result in better quality, but check with the station you are delivering to and make sure they don’t have a limit. They really should have provided you with specifications. Also, do not change the GOP. It should be left at IBBP, Closed.

      Also, since you’re converting HD to SD, go into the Frame Controls pane, turn on Frame Controls, and change the Resize filter to Best.

    • #197705

      Thank you very much for your help. I’m compressing a video right now and we’ll see how it turns out. Appreciate all your help.

    • #197706

      I don’t think AVCHD has a “recompression” factor either, unless you use a lower bitrate, fps, size, etc.

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