Do I lose quality if I export to H264 multiple times?

Participant ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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I'm working for a theater company that is editing several one act plays for a festival. The source footage is .h264 (1080p, 4 Mbps). We have multiple editors who are each cutting a play. When they're done, they're exporting their final cut to .h264 (8 Mbps). Then, the plan was for me to put their .h264 final cuts into a sequence and export again to .h264 (8 Mbps).

Are we losing quality each time we export to .h264?

Since the final output will likely be viewed on computers and consumer TVs, the quality loss may be insignificant (even at these medium-low bit rates)?

If not, I could put the editors' actual edited sequences into a single sequence and export that (so that the export is referencing the source footage).

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Community Beginner , Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021
Technically yes. Its usually best to only keep h264 as the final output to reduce losslessness. Its sort of like saving a jpg over and over. Your compressing an already compressed file. However, it really depends on how the inital quality is as well. You might be fine with the final output. I have definitely composited multiple h264 videos in to one and the final output was h264 and everyone was happy with the results. Its definitely a try and see how it looks scenario.  Short answer. Technicall...

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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Technically yes. Its usually best to only keep h264 as the final output to reduce losslessness. Its sort of like saving a jpg over and over. Your compressing an already compressed file. However, it really depends on how the inital quality is as well. You might be fine with the final output. I have definitely composited multiple h264 videos in to one and the final output was h264 and everyone was happy with the results. Its definitely a try and see how it looks scenario. 

 

Short answer. Technically yes but it might be fine as well. 

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Participant ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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That's exactly what I was thinking. Thank you for your help!

I'm going to use the new Production workflow to put the sequences together so that the final output is referencing the source footage. Like you said, it may not be necessary (the client may not be able to tell the difference); but it's a chance for me to learn the new Production workflow.

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