I know others have asked these questions online and I've read a lot of replies over a span of a few months but my issue has never been adequately resolved.
My company hosts webinars and we provide the recordings to guests. A 1.5 hour webinar, recorded by Zoom, produces a good quality mp4 file with clear visuals that is less than 200 megs at 1920 x 1080 with a 254 kbps total bitrate.
Often, I have to do a few edits and I use Premier Pro. I cannot get decent output from this program no matter what I try. If I output the file to try to match the original specs I get a 2 gb file, which is far too large to distribute to viewers. Also, it looks no better than the original which was 1/10th the size.
Any options I try to get the file size down at best get the file size below 1 gb, but the text on the presentation slides is no longer clearly readable and the aspect ratio is much smaller (e.g., 640 x 360). The bitrate is actually far higher despite the much lower quality.
Clearly I'm doing something wrong becauase it seems impossible that Zoom Webinar is far superior at creating smaller, clear video files than Premiere Pro. I've gone through all kinds of online tutorials on this with zero success. Also, if all I'm doing is clipping out a short portion (which is sometimes the case) why on earth must it re-encode the whole file to save it? Once, I just added a title slide and my video came out 10 times the size! Today's file just has some small sound edits and I removed a 3 second section. I cannot get a usable output file to save my life.
Help! What am I messing up here?
For starters, don't use that webinar recording for editing. Pick up something like the HyperDeck Studio from Blackmagic Design to record the video signal before streaming it. Use that recording for editing.
Ok, good tip, but we are volunteer run and I'm not always the person who hosts and records. I am not able to control the software our various hosts will use, hence our usage of the built in tools for the webinar system.
I am not able to control the software our various hosts will use
Which is why you need to bring your own hardware recorder. Feed them the looped output from that.
Sorry, misunderstanding. No one is physically present. We are not recording live sessions, they are webinars. The presenter, hosts, guests, everyone is in different locations. There is nowhere to bring said recorder.
everyone is in different locations.
That throws a major kink into your work flow.
Bottom line, you need to record the video before it's streamed. If you can't make that happen, then you may have to live with the quality compromises.
This type of response is not very useful, and it's gives the community its reputation for condescension. It also doesn't address the core software query. If the only response to solving a software problem is "Change your entire organizational structure," it's not a good response.
Jim's responses were always tending to the short, pungent, and cryptic. Pithy, perhaps. But also directly aimed at the 'core' issue of the question. When I first started out 'here', he and "shooternz" Craig tended to give short, blunt, and rather hard responses. They spent little time writing, but actually within their posts were the answers. They didn't worry about emotional niceties, expected working adults could deal with short direct comments.
These days so many do find that offensive. I miss them both, as they gave help from a depth of experience to so many. And the "curmudgeonly" responses were something I was used to from growing up.
Jim's answers in this case were exactly as described ... short, direct, aimed at the problem. No attempt to be condesceding or curt, just no attempt at being emotionally supportive either. "You got X problem, do Y." Becuase in his experience, doing Y would simply fix the problem now and everyone could move on.
His last comment that you objected to is still in that vein ... because if you can't control the recording process, bluntly, you do have to then deal with all the crap later. Which will necessarily involve compromises. I can't see anything he said that was in any way rude or not to the point about the issue.
It wasn't emotionally supportive and empathetic, because to Jim that was a waste of time typing. It was brief but both accurate and comprehensive.
Quite a few posts on this and other forums are from people who don't want to do the "long way" to do something, but want the same results via some shortcut of some kind. Occasionally you can cut some major corners and still have the apparent quality or usefulness of the end product. Quite frequently, if you cut the corners, you have to choose between which lowered quality items you will deem acceptable.
And there are times when peole get very angry when told they can't get "there" the way they want to do it. Should we lie to them? No ... they're adults. We all need to deal with limitations.
Including Premiere's. It's been built for a primarily broadcast workflow. It's not a re-muxer ... and if you don't know what that is, look it up. Which is why Premiere re-encodes long-GOP H.264 media. Premiere can use intraframe previews in the "smart previews" process for the final encode if the previews and final export are to the same format/codec. But again, Premiere will have re-encoded every frame.
Workflow needs vary. For those who need to just cut & re-connect sections of an H.264 file, a re-muxing app is what you probably want to work with.
Can you post a screen shot of the Export Settings Summary, like this example below:
Sure, this is the best setting I have found so far and it's actually usable, but still larger than I'd like and somewhat grainier (for context, my specific skillset is in computer programming and graphic design. I'm learning video and sound editing but clearly need to understand exporting a bit better!).
I'm not sure I can help you with this as I don't work at such low bitrates. Maybe someone else can help.
Couple of things, though - in your first post you said the source file is 1920x1080, but you are editing on a 1280x720 timeline, is that your intent? This is forcing Premiere to resize each frame.
Also, have you tried using a Constant Bit Rate?
Oh, good question! I did not ask PP to change the aspect ratio and hadn't noticed that. I will try to adjust. I will try the constant bitrate, thanks!
One thing ... it sounds like you're editing a highly compressed original? Trying to edit and re-compress already highly compressed media is problematic on a quality level, as compression throws away data.
First generation, it's not terribly noticeable. Second generation ... can get ugly fast. Which is what it sounds like is happening here.
1) use 2 pass VBR, not 1 pass.
2) Check "Use Maximum Render Quality"
3) your bit rates are way to low for any decent 720p or 1080p footage. Find out the bit rate of the source footage and mimic that.
3) you're upscaling your audio. That's pointless as you can not get better quality from a lower quality source by using a higher export setting. This doesn't hurt your visual footage but it's increasing your output size unnecessarily
4) your target drive is also your OS drive (C:) . That's bad. You absolutely need to export to a different drive. Even attaching a cheap USB 3.0 external drive and export to that will yield better performance and minimize encoding errors.
Did you ever find a response to this. You would think that zoom would release a preset for export. I have tried everything. Clicking sofware rendering does help but file sizes are still bigg even with cuttin several minutes off the front and back end of the zoom recordings and quality goes down:(
I know it is years later, but I had this problem and came across this search today. Turns out there is an excellent video on how to do this, which I tried and adding titles to a 45 min Zoom recording in Premiere. I got a nice 250 MB file exported, after 1.5 GB on previous attempts. Here is the URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHF6GHq8y5k
Well it's 5 years later, and I thought I would pop in with something that helped me.
I am very novice with Premiere Pro - I was checking "Scale to Frame Size" for my Zoom video and I think this was doing terrible things to the quality.
I followed these instructions to make the Sequence automatically fit the specs of my Zoom video:
(and now the quality is much better). I don't mind if the file size is large, I was just getting so frustrated as to why the quality was so bad and I couldn't figure it out! But this seems to have sorted it for me.