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

Profile picture of the author magentawave by
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.
Steve
#web 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 BruceWood
    The problem may be with the quicktime player. They often make my vids look like mush- or else jagged. Take your file and view it on another player, or upload it to youtube, then see what it looks like.

    If QT is the culprit, try upgrading your version, or just stick with whatever player makes things look better.
  • Profile picture of the author magentawave
    I tried Screenflow for editing only because I know the program and didn't want to learn another program. I still haven't heard back from the Screenflow people yet but they told me once that Screenflow should work for editing .mov files.

    Steve


    Originally Posted by Steve Peters Benn View Post

    Why are you using screenflow? Use iMovie.
  • Profile picture of the author magentawave
    They look as bad on VLC as they did on Quicktime. All my desktop created videos looked great after rendering and I'm using the same settings with these .mov files. Since doing what you suggested, I'm now thinking the problem is that Screenflow just can't handle editing my video camera created videos.

    Thanks

    Steve



    Originally Posted by BruceWood View Post

    The problem may be with the quicktime player. They often make my vids look like mush- or else jagged. Take your file and view it on another player, or upload it to youtube, then see what it looks like.

    If QT is the culprit, try upgrading your version, or just stick with whatever player makes things look better.
  • 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 (https://console.aws.amazon.com/s3/home -> 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 :-)

    Best,
    Scott
  • Profile picture of the author magentawave
    This worked! The video looks great and thanks! I'm now going to read through everything in Scotts post right above this to see what I can do to bypass having to use Youtube. Its nice to know, if needed, that uploading and then downloading to Youtube does the job though.

    Thanks
    Steve


    Originally Posted by Aj Wilson View Post

    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 magentawave
    Hi Scott,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to unload a lot of really great information!

    I never had this problem with my screen capture recordings. Its only with the videos I shot with the Z18 that the exported video looks funky.

    The finished product AJ mentioned previously (export from Screenflow in super high quality - upload to Youtube - then download from Youtube) looked great but exporting took hours and it would be nice to not have to add all the extra steps.

    Considering all of this stuff...
    1) I'm hosting with Amazon S3 so cost matters.
    2) I'm using Easy Video Player 2.
    3) I want the videos to load as quickly as possible. (Not everyone has a super fast internet connection and Josh Anderson said the difference between the load speeds for S3 compared to CloudFront is so negligible that its not worth using CloudFront.)
    4) I also want my videos to be able to be viewed before they are totally loaded. (Should I choose "Fast Start" in the "Prepare For Internet Streaming" box?)
    5) I'm going to allow members to download them, so obviously the files shouldn't be so large that it takes them forever to download. (Again, not everyone has fast internet speeds.)
    6) This is not really fancy video content I've created (they are tutorials) but I would like them to look as nice as possible.
    Bottom line...

    What would be your recommended settings for video created with a Z18 camera...AND...screen recording videos being edited in Screenflow? I guess a lot of these settings depend on if you are familiar with Screenflow too, right?

    Thanks
    Steve



    Originally Posted by Scott Lundergan View Post

    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 use rtmp streaming w/ Amazon Cloudfront + Easy Video Player (https://console.aws.amazon.com/s3/home -> 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 :-)

    Best,
    Scott
  • Profile picture of the author Scott Lundergan
    Originally Posted by magentawave View Post

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to unload a lot of really great information!

    I never had this problem with my screen capture recordings. Its only with the videos I shot with the Z18 that the exported video looks funky.

    The finished product AJ mentioned previously (export from Screenflow in super high quality - upload to Youtube - then download from Youtube) looked great but exporting took hours and it would be nice to not have to add all the extra steps.

    Considering all of this stuff...
    1) I'm hosting with Amazon S3 so cost matters.
    2) I'm using Easy Video Player 2.
    3) I want the videos to load as quickly as possible. (Not everyone has a super fast internet connection and Josh Anderson said the difference between the load speeds for S3 compared to CloudFront is so negligible that its not worth using CloudFront.)
    4) I also want my videos to be able to be viewed before they are totally loaded. (Should I choose "Fast Start" in the "Prepare For Internet Streaming" box?)
    5) I'm going to allow members to download them, so obviously the files shouldn't be so large that it takes them forever to download. (Again, not everyone has fast internet speeds.)
    6) This is not really fancy video content I've created (they are tutorials) but I would like them to look as nice as possible.
    Bottom line...

    What would be your recommended settings for video created with a Z18 camera...AND...screen recording videos being edited in Screenflow? I guess a lot of these settings depend on if you are familiar with Screenflow too, right?

    Thanks
    Steve
    Hey Steve,

    Being on a Mac, you can select that, but macs and their software programs tend to do okay when it comes to making sure the metadata for playing back. Having said that, it still happens to me randomly using certain encoding software.

    From my experience, that issue when the video metadata ends up at the end of the video causing the whole video to load tends to happen more on PC encoding software.

    Here are a few ways around that to shift the metadata to the front so the video doesn't have to load to the end to play.

    rndware - MetaData Mover

    Data Go Round Lab


    Just as a side note, my personal preference is to enable and use Cloudfront for progressive and streaming videos, especially when using Easy Video Player.

    I can run a few more settings and variable tests on the Screenflow + Kodak zi8 workflow in my studio soon (I'll be out until next week) and can post some results, as I usually do this workflow in Final Cut Pro with good quality results on the final exported video.

    By the way, I just realized I didn't mention exporting a High Quality H.264 MP4 (usually between 3000-3250 kbps video and 128kbps audio) that I use to deliver high enough quality export settings (that I use) to toss something up to YouTube quick... and that I had just mentioned the super high pro exports.

    Best,
    Scott

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