HELP: Videos look blurry and awful after rendering! Here is what I did...

by 9 comments
I shot some videos with my Kodak Z18 digital video camera. These are .mov files. I imported and edited them in Screenflow and they look great when I piece them together and play them in Screenflow before rendering. After rendering to .mov files they look awful - all blurry hazy and unwatchable when I play them with Quicktime Player.

These are my settings...

-Rendered as .mov files.
-Preset: Web - High [Customized]
-H.264 multi-pass video encoding at 300 kbits/sec. (I also tried 350 kbits/sec.)
-AAC mono audio at 64 kbits/sec.
-Dimensions: Scale by 50% to 840 x 526
-Prepare for Internet Streaming: I tried 'Fast Start' & 'Fast Start-Compressed Header' and tried not checking this box.

These videos are for a paid-for membership site so they need to look decent for streaming but also be slim enough to be downloaded.

Is the problem that Screenflow can't handle editing .mov files?

Any ideas that could make these videos look great will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
#website design #awful #blurry #rendering #videos
  • Profile picture of the author Steve Peters Benn
    Why are you using screenflow? Use iMovie.
  • Profile picture of the author Aj Wilson
    Step 1) Export your video using the highest resoution possible (within reason).
    (I dont know screenflow settings but it doesn't matter).

    Step 2) Upload your video to youtube (they'll optimize it for you).

    Step 3) Download the MP4, ready to go @ great res, small file size.
  • Profile picture of the author Scott Lundergan
    AJ is correct in exporting with the highest res possible. In your case, it would be using Lossless Quality, Apple Intermediate Codec, or Apple Pro Res 422. If you are able to get it on YouTube with good optimization and then download it with something like FF Video Downloader or make it a private YT listing, even better :-)

    Just a quick question though. Are you just editing a single video file and want to cut out parts of it? If that is the case, you can always use Quicktime 7 Pro and use the Edit function by going to and selecting the In Point (quick key=I) and Out Point (quick key=O) of the parts you want to cut, then go to "Edit" drop down and select "Cut" from this drop down menu. Once you have cut out different parts of your videos, you can export it with optimized video settings you mention and they should hopefully look decent. This way, you bypass Screenflow completely.

    I do quite a few "off the cuff" videos using Kodak Zi8 for our membership customers, and this is actually what I do to cut out any filler or bad takes, using similar encoding settings you mention, but just with smaller screen dimensions.

    As a side note, I have actually tested your exact workflow all the way down to the same dimensions and encoding specs at different times and came out with similar results.

    Now, I may be totally "off" on this with using Kodak zi8 and Screenflow combo, but here is my conclusion for the variables that effect why the videos can come out looking blurry with this workflow. I have been exporting from iMovie/Final Cut Express/Pro for many years now and been using mp4 optimization since early 2007 putting thousands of videos on the web for clients, so please take this as you will as my general conclusion with this particular workflow.

    1. Screenflow defaults at full screen size and the camera from Kodak Zi8 settings can be at different widescreen sizes (depending on the settings) that don't extend to the full screen of Screenflow, so the video may have to be enlarged.

    2. This would not be so much of an issue when exporting back down to 854X480, 720X405, or 640X360 (standard web widescreen sizes) except for the fact that the Kodak zi8 records in H.264 at a lower bit rate that is compressed to allow for more storage. If the video being added to Screenflow is from an HD source with a larger bit rate such as AVHCD, the results would be much better. I have actually seen better results as well when I take the Zodak Zi8 master file and make a master high quality file (using Apple Intermediate Codec, Animation, or Apple Pro Res 422) and then taking that file into the editing system.

    3. With the Kodak zi8 for any live or motion video, it does tend to get super sensitive with pixelation or blurriness through more movement with a lower bit rate. I only mention this from my own tests, but also because exporting from ScreenFlow with screenshot video comes out pretty clear with the same settings. I am sure you're probably aware of this one, just perhaps can be helpful to others reading this.

    The alternative may be just take down the dimensions to 512X288 (and perhaps even then bumping up the video bit rate to 450 if needed!) as to cover up the pixelation and to get rid of as much blurriness as possible. I assume you are not using screen capture video in the same video?

    What video player are you using? Perhaps you can do streaming video w/ Amazon Cloudfront + Easy Video Player ( -> login -> Cloudfront Tab -> Create distribution -> Delivery Method=Streaming) so it can at least stream on any standard cable connection or above, and then enable the download video link function on EVP.

    Hope there is a gold nugget in there somewhere for you :-)


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