Soft, compressed footage of people. Interpret, output settings?

Contributor ,
Feb 01, 2021

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My 4K iPhone footage of people recorded on my phone and imported to PC looks pretty sharp and clear.

 

Once in Premiere during editing and output to YouTube the footage of people is soft and compressed while still images look crystal clear.

 

I tired Handbrake to interpret the iPhone footage as CBR, but it didn't help. Maybe there is some magic setting in Adobe Media Encoder to make the iPhone clips look better in Premiere and beyond?

 

At first I thought it was something with VBR / CBR in output settings, but I think the loss is happening on import into Premiere. Thanks for any solutions.

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Editing, Export, Import

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2021

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Before uploading to youtube does it look sharp?

Beware Youtube re-encodes everything.

I find people with dark skin much more challenging.

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SDAgency AUTHOR
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Feb 01, 2021

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Thanks for chiming in.

 

As mentioned, it looks sharp on phone and when playing on Windows Media players BEFORE being imported into Premiere.

 

Editing in Premiere in the preview and exporting from it ad playing on PC it looks soft and compressed.

 

It looks slightly more compressres on YouTube after that, but that's expected.

 

The thing is the stills I import into Premiere look sharp during editing, playback on PC and also on YouTube. So it's got to be related to Premiere's interpretation of the footage.Just wondering if there is a way through Handbrake or Adobe Media encoder to change it in a way that Premiere doesn't compress it so much.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2021

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Post screenshot export setting with left tab to output with image.

If the footage is variable framerate convert to constant framerate with Handbrake before bringing into Premiere.

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SDAgency AUTHOR
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Feb 01, 2021

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Thanks Ann.

 

Thought I had mentioned that I did in fact try bringing in through Handbrake first to make it CBR. It made no difference.

 

Posting two different export settings I've tried. Basical difference is the VBR target and max bitrates. But keep in mind, I see the degradation when I import it into Premiere, even while I'm editing. Could be the Premiere preview, but I don't think so because the exported MP4s look the same in terms of softness for iPhone footage.

 

Export Options 1Export Options 1Export Options 2Export Options 2

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2021

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Preview might be set to 1/2 instead of full.

If you have MPE hardware turn off max render.

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SDAgency AUTHOR
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Feb 02, 2021

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Thanks Ann. It's not a preview issue since the rendered video playing on the PC also looks soft / compressed even using something like the YouTube Ultra HD output.

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SDAgency AUTHOR
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Feb 09, 2021

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Wondering if it is my workflow.

 

When I record sometimes the host isn't as zoomed in as I would like, but I figure I'm working in 4K and that gives me wiggle room. (Maybe not)

 

I assumed reducing the 4k dimensions to 1920x1080 wouldn't lose any clarity. In Photoshop when you shrink down a big image it often looks better.

 

Once I'm at 1920x1080 I have to reduce the zoom to fit the 4K footage. If I reduce by 50% I can see the whole capture in the preview window. But remember, the host was a bit small int he frame so I often bump this up to 65 or 70%. I figure that's still less than 100% so I shouldn't lose clarity. But I think that is EXACTLY where a lot of the problem is.

 

Is there a way in the workflow to pull in 4k footage into a 1920x1080 and reduce it where it does not lose clarity, like my Photoshop situation?

 

Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2021

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When working with say 4k media on a 1080 sequence, and "zooming" resizing, make sure you are set in Preferences to "set to frame-size" ... do NOT use "scale to frame-size".

 

With set to, all computations will be from the original 4k pixels.

 

With scale to, all computations after initial scaling to the sequence will be made from the rescaled clip. In other words, in your case, the small-ified version. Yea, you lose resolution that way.

 

Neil

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SDAgency AUTHOR
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Feb 09, 2021

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R Neil.

Fascinating. I saw that in the right click options for th clips. Wonder if by default Premiere picks "set frame to size." I put the same clip back to back with one "set to frame-size" at 65% and the other "scale to frame-size" at 130% and the render looks identical.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2021

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It depends on what you have set in the Preferences/Media tab for scaling. The options are nothing, Set to and Scale to. Whaddya got there?

 

As to your test, of course it didn't show any difference.

 

I'll give you something that will.

 

Create a 720x480 sequence. Drop a 4k file on it twice, one using Set to, and one at Scale to.

 

Now take the Motion options of the ECP, and set both for scaling at 400%.

 

The "set to" clip will be shown computing from the original 4k data ... the "scale to" clip will scale up from 720x480, and look like crud.

 

Neil

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