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Author Topic: H264, again...  (Read 16135 times)

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« on: December 01, 2015, 09:29 »
0
Ok guys, need some fresh feedback on this.

Is H264 really still treated as a red-headed step child in this business, I mean really?

I'm in stock video for 3 years already and I've been uploading all my footage as H264 broadcast intermediate; and yes even the animations - especially the animations.

I mean, the H264 BI is so superior to PJPEG, particularly in terms of quality that it is not even funny. I've recently joined VideoBlocks and they clearly state that PJPEG is the most desireable codec for them while H264 is the least desireable one. And yet, I cannot bring myself to butcher, yes BUTCHER my files by re-rendering them to a clearly inferior format. Color banding is a particularly glaring problem - even at 92% (yes 92%) the banding in my subtle color shifting backgrounds is painful to watch while the H264 BI versions of the same there is no banding at all - frankly it looks like it wasn't compressed at all.

To clarify - so far I've been uploading all my stuff at H264 broadcast intermediate, that's 100% quality with 1 frame keyframes. Even the stuff I live shoot at lower bitrates get a CC treatment and are exported at BI standard which tremendously increases their quality. PJPEG even at maximum rates simply cannot compare, neither in detail, nor in artifacts and particularly not in terms of color definition (see banding).

So I'm asking you guys, what's the deal here? Should I degrade my existing footage just to serve some ancient ridiculous prejudice or stick to my guns? I know I shouldn't really care because I'm in it for the money and buyer beware and all that, but I mean, it's so * obvious the difference in quality! Even when I'm occasionally buying stock for my video projects I prefer the H264 because I've really explored the 2 formats and I know which one is clearly superior and ultimately less work in editing. So what should I do? Am I missing something?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 09:49 by scrub »


« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 09:58 »
+1
"Is H264 really still treated as a red-headed step child..."wearing a soiled dress.

This is one of those debates that goes on and on. In the end I just decided to trust what I saw and that is that h-264 is visibly better and renders to a smaller file than conventional "preferred" codecs. Sure there are better ones but the bandwidth of those is just too cumbersome to use them. If there is someone out there using a NLE that can't import and drop an h.264 onto any timeline they are long overdue for an upgrade and shouldn't be pampered to.

ACS

« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 10:04 »
0
In the below discussion there is a technical explanation about the issue;

http://videohive.net/forums/thread/h264-or-photo-jpeg-for-stock-footage/81971?page=3

They say PJPEG is superior to h.264.

Unfortunately.. :(

« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 10:18 »
+2
In the below discussion there is a technical explanation about the issue;

http://videohive.net/forums/thread/h264-or-photo-jpeg-for-stock-footage/81971?page=3 [nofollow]

They say PJPEG is superior to h.264.

Unfortunately.. :(


I still don't get it. With PJPEG I get banding and artifacts and increased file size. With H264 I get smooth color gradients and no artifacts. Conclusion: PJPEG is better. HOW?!? What is it that I can't see??? The "conclusions" in the quoted thread make no sense to me because when I place the same clip at two different codecs side by side on my monitors I can very clearly see the difference, and it's totally opposite to what they state. ("If you try to compress clean video into H.264 youll get too much banding..." Like, what?! Yes, you will get banding if you compress it at youtube preset lol. Try compressing PJPEG to that datarate and see what you'll get).

I believe the problem may be that when H264 is mentioned, people automatically associate this with low data-rate DSLR footage. It's like saying PJPEG is totally useless crap because it's all compressed at 60%. H264 broadcast intermediate and H264 youtube preset are two quite different beasts. In this case it is a problem of branding and nothing else - quite simply, H264 seems to be too flexible a format. Maybe Broadcast Intermediate standard should be given a separate name to differentiate it from what comes out of your smartphone.

But anyways, what should I do? Any buyers/editors out there to give me feedback? Is H264 codec an issue when purchasing clips? Frankly, when I buy an animation i prefer H264 to PJPEG, particularly when there's lots of color gradients but maybe that's just me.

« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 10:28 by scrub »

« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 11:00 »
0
"However, I will stress once again, that PJPEG compressed at full resolution will be indistinguishable to the original with the untrained eye. If it isnt, youre doing something wrong."

The size of those files is too large for the benefit.

« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2015, 12:08 »
+1
Ok guys, need some fresh feedback on this.

Is H264 really still treated as a red-headed step child in this business, I mean really?

I'm in stock video for 3 years already and I've been uploading all my footage as H264 broadcast intermediate; and yes even the animations - especially the animations.

I mean, the H264 BI is so superior to PJPEG, particularly in terms of quality that it is not even funny. I've recently joined VideoBlocks and they clearly state that PJPEG is the most desireable codec for them while H264 is the least desireable one. And yet, I cannot bring myself to butcher, yes BUTCHER my files by re-rendering them to a clearly inferior format. Color banding is a particularly glaring problem - even at 92% (yes 92%) the banding in my subtle color shifting backgrounds is painful to watch while the H264 BI versions of the same there is no banding at all - frankly it looks like it wasn't compressed at all.

To clarify - so far I've been uploading all my stuff at H264 broadcast intermediate, that's 100% quality with 1 frame keyframes. Even the stuff I live shoot at lower bitrates get a CC treatment and are exported at BI standard which tremendously increases their quality. PJPEG even at maximum rates simply cannot compare, neither in detail, nor in artifacts and particularly not in terms of color definition (see banding).

So I'm asking you guys, what's the deal here? Should I degrade my existing footage just to serve some ancient ridiculous prejudice or stick to my guns? I know I shouldn't really care because I'm in it for the money and buyer beware and all that, but I mean, it's so * obvious the difference in quality! Even when I'm occasionally buying stock for my video projects I prefer the H264 because I've really explored the 2 formats and I know which one is clearly superior and ultimately less work in editing. So what should I do? Am I missing something?

I hate PJPEG. Months ago I took the decision to render all my new files into H264 because of the huge banding of clips with low lighting, both SS and P5 accepts H264. After few days VideoBlocks came to the game which refused my new H264 rendered files, so I went back to PJPEG.

I hate PJPEG, it's huge in file size, bad in quality with low lighting clips. But I will stick currently to PJPEG because those strange people at VideoBlocks want it.

op

« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2015, 13:39 »
+1
It's very different. PJPEG is intra-frame and H.264 is inter-frame. intra-frame codecs are editable, inter-frame's should only be used for delivery, projection.

« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 13:55 »
+1
It's very different. PJPEG is intra-frame and H.264 is inter-frame. intra-frame codecs are editable, inter-frame's should only be used for delivery, projection.
Do you honestly have a problem with editing in h.264?

« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2015, 14:57 »
+1
It's very different. PJPEG is intra-frame and H.264 is inter-frame. intra-frame codecs are editable, inter-frame's should only be used for delivery, projection.

Wrong. This just shows the depth and ubiquitousness of the prejudice.

H264 can be EITHER intra-frame or inter-frame.

It depends on the frequency of keyframes. If it is set to "each frame" then it is intra-frame, just like PJPEG or any other editing standard. Broadcast Intermediate H264 uses the same codec but with 1 frame keyframes and maximum possible quality/frame. It is basically the same as PJPEG but with much more advanced picture compression, not to mention that the algorithms it uses are based on the needs of a moving image rather than photography. PJPEG is actually a hybrid creature, a photography codec shoehorned into video use, while H264 is designed to work optimally with video from ground up.

A lot of weird compression effects and artifacts I get from PJPEG are due to this simple fact - it is designed for photographs, discrete pictures which are not meant to be sequentially viewed. H264, even when exported as intra-frame codec does take neighboring frames into account at compression time to get the smoothest and most natural feel. PJPEG doesn't; at compression time it treats your video just like a batch of unrelated bitmaps, a bunch of photos stitched together.

Ok, here's a constructive suggestion - I know that due to its flexibility there can be really bad H264 (and so can PJPEG, but let stick to the subject). Why don't the agencies simply check keyframe frequency for each submitted clip? If it's set to 1 then it's ok to go - a good basic metric on whether its truly fit for editing.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 15:07 by scrub »

op

« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2015, 16:35 »
0
I didn't say that PJPEG is good, but by its nature, it is a proper workable, editable codec. I don't like it too and I don't know why you consider it the only alternative here. I use exclusively Pro-res 422 HQ or 4444 and working with GI, it is the only format they currently accept for 4k footage. I guess every agency should accept Pro-res right?

As for h.264, I agree that if you set "each frame" in the settings it becomes intra-frame but by doing that you loose so much of the h.264 capabilities and you are still sticked with the heavy decoding process of the codec. h.264 excels at low bitrate, inter-frame compression. Put the settings at his max and you end up with a file which needs heavy decoding process and that is not what an workable, editable codec should be. I actually don't think my computer can play a maxed-out each frame keyframe 4k h.264 video properly.
Also, h.264 is not even a codec but a format of video coding so depending on the codec you use, you will end up with different videos in terms of qualilty, colors, etc. Even on this list dated from 2007 : http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=95939 , there were already 68 differents codecs that can compress video file in h.264 format but each of them will produce different result. A reviewer cannot check for each file the keyframe frequency (btw I don't even think it is possible) and with which codec the video has been encoded, etc...

« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2015, 04:10 »
+1
@ scrub:

Please, post your export settings. Hopefully you are working with Adobe products, then I would greatly benefit from that information because I have had only bad experiences with h.264 rendering of my animations. A screen shot of your export settings would be awesome (possibly in 4K?).

I really don't care about the file size but no matter what profile, bitrate or 2-pass render process I use, I ALWAYS get nasty artifacts in h.264

In my case I use TIFF image sequences to be rendered as the final video, usually 4K. So the source content is flawless in terms of detail, focus or noise. But I simply couldn't find the ideal h.264 export settings to get non-artifact results.

On the other hand in Photo-JPG .mov I get crisp individual frames. I admit that I haven't run into footage that showed banding problems. Would you be so kind to post still examples of a clip that shows the difference? It would be great to have this info in this thread altogether.

Thanks.

Benozaur

« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2015, 04:31 »
+1
I didn't say that PJPEG is good, but by its nature, it is a proper workable, editable codec. I don't like it too and I don't know why you consider it the only alternative here. I use exclusively Pro-res 422 HQ or 4444 and working with GI, it is the only format they currently accept for 4k footage. I guess every agency should accept Pro-res right?

As for h.264, I agree that if you set "each frame" in the settings it becomes intra-frame but by doing that you loose so much of the h.264 capabilities and you are still sticked with the heavy decoding process of the codec. h.264 excels at low bitrate, inter-frame compression. Put the settings at his max and you end up with a file which needs heavy decoding process and that is not what an workable, editable codec should be. I actually don't think my computer can play a maxed-out each frame keyframe 4k h.264 video properly.
Also, h.264 is not even a codec but a format of video coding so depending on the codec you use, you will end up with different videos in terms of qualilty, colors, etc. Even on this list dated from 2007 : http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=95939 , there were already 68 differents codecs that can compress video file in h.264 format but each of them will produce different result. A reviewer cannot check for each file the keyframe frequency (btw I don't even think it is possible) and with which codec the video has been encoded, etc...


I must say that I agree with what op is saying. Lets look at the bigger picture here, though PJPEG may be visually inferior to some flavours of .h264, it is generally easier to work with on a non linear timeline. The fact that your editing program of choice must first decode then apply an edit then re-encode .h264 is undesirable especially for a format that comes with so many variables (long GOP, short GOP, different profiles, different levels, variable bit rates when not encoded every keyframe, etc...).

I'm not advocating one format over the other, but .h264 is a delivery codec, not designed to be edited - PJPEG has history on its side in that it is generally easier to work with - again uncontrollable variables. PJPEG is really hard to color correct due to banding, .h264 is hard to color correct due to blocking, try pulling a clean matte for green screen footage off .h264 footage, I don't think so. I'd much prefer 10 bit dpx sequence, Pro-res 422, 32 bit exr, Cineon, RAW, etc..., etc..., etc...

However PJPEG is the lesser evil for a great many (controllable) reasons as far as stock agencies are concerned.

« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2015, 11:02 »
0
Ok guys, need some fresh feedback on this.

Is H264 really still treated as a red-headed step child in this business, I mean really?
(...)


it should be -- because it's a "child" going to slay its parents by way of its patent-trolling characteristics. This has got nothing to do with whether it's good quality or not. Use it if you want to, but then don't come back here whining about patent-and-licensing-issues if you happen to end up with them... (Yes, I know very well you're not likely to when stying with strictly microstock video, but there are other situations where this will be of consequence.)

H.264 may be good quality, but there are other codecs out there that are as well (or better). Take a better look around, JPEG is not the only other choice out there. You actually sound like you are trolling this forum here in order to "stir up some opinion" in favor of H.264. You are not going to convince me though, and I wouldn't use GIF either ;) . Go figure.

« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 11:07 by stuttershock »


 

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