Not sure this is a bug, please move it to discussion if it is not.

I was just wondering. For my submission contest for VUO + COGE I made my first Image Filter Protocol. Had to turn it to an Image Generator to export an offline movie (I'm doing an offline export instead of a record composition method because my Intel HD 3000 is not able to render the composition smoothly (see the already uploaded bug report concerning the Intel HD) and renders at 30 fps only.

But anyway, so far ok. Color depth is set to 16 bit inside the composition.

I think the result looks pretty good even if I don't have Vuo Pro yet.

I set the export resolution to 1280*720 and to 60 fps.

But when I upload it to Youtube or Vimeo, there is an incredible drop of quality.

So I was having some questions.

  • Am I doing something wrong ?

  • Youtube says videos should be uploaded to mp4. Does Vuo only exports to .mov or can we manually change the export extension for another protocol ?

  • The strange thing is that when I convert the .mov on the computer before even uploading it, with some Video conversion software, the quality drops too, what makes me believe it is not related to Youtube or Vimeo. Could this be related with the conversion methods from mov to mp4 ?

  • When I tried to upload the video to Vimeo I was getting a warning message smtg like "there is a color error inside this video".

  • So I thought perhaps that was because I would not set a blank background on the composition and there would be a problem with the alpha channel, but happens even if I put a blank "Make Color Image" behind it all.

Joining the composition and some image quality comparison.

Moderator note: 

Converted from bug report to discussion

Comments

@Bodysoulspirit 3 things:

alexmitchellmus's picture
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Bodysoulspirit 3 things:

  • Great filter
  • Has lots of detail and lines so is going to stress out any compressed codec
  • Export out of Vuo as prores 422 and then use Handbreak for encoding (do a 2 pass x264 encode- will be lovely!)

This isn't to say that Vuo has a bad or substandard h264 encoder. Far from it. I just find it looks better to play more with encode settings in Handbreak. It's free- reads prores, does multipass encoding? Who could want more!?

Other than that YouTube also accepts raw prores- so if you have a fast internet connection then go for it! ;-)

@alexmitchellmus 3 answers

Bodysoulspirit's picture
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alexmitchellmus 3 answers

  • Thanks ;)
  • Mmm ok ... too technical for my understanding ;)
  • Tried your method.

Both the raw 422 and handbrake encoded .mp4 look great on the computer (and so did the Vuo exported .mov), but look awful on youtube.

I get errors on both Vimeo and Youtube. Youtube says some errors have been detected, like some shakings stuff and asks if it should repair it, tried that but it doesn't change a thing, Vimeo reported some color error.

Does Vuo only exports to .mov

jstrecker's picture
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Does Vuo only exports to .mov or can we manually change the export extension for another protocol ?

Currently Vuo only exports to .mov (since that's the only container that the underlying library, AVFoundation, supports).

When I tried to upload the video to Vimeo I was getting a warning message smtg like "there is a color error inside this video".

What exactly is the message? Maybe it gives more information about the problem. If you ignore it and upload anyway, how is the video quality?

What exactly is the message?

Bodysoulspirit's picture
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What exactly is the message? Maybe it gives more information about the problem. If you ignore it and upload anyway, how is the video quality?

Youtube only says there is a stability issue, guess it thinks the video is shaky and tries to make it stable.

Vimeo says 3 things, it doesn't prevent from uploading but submit these ideas as it detects there is a problem with the video :

Warning: this video could be even more awesome. Help this video look its best by following these video file recommendations.

Which are :

Does your video look/sound strange?

Here are some recommendations:

  • This video uses a variable frame rate (VFR), and may not convert correctly. Try exporting your videos with a “constant” frame rate when uploading to Vimeo. Check out our Compression Guidelines for more information.

  • This video contains unknown color properties, and may look incorrect on Vimeo as a result. If it looks weird, try re-encoding your video with explicit color properties.

  • This video is missing an audio track or contains invalid audio. Please make sure you have the correct video file.

Hey @Bodysoulspirit

alexmitchellmus's picture
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Hey Bodysoulspirit

Tried a few times on youtube myself. The composition is placing a very large demand on the codec. Which means that when Youtube makes the file smaller for online viewing- it does this by working out what it can throw away. Unfortunately not much is staying still in your video- or even moving in the same direction. So when it tries to do this it has to make choices, and then you get macro-blocking. Compression Artifacts

This is my test, private link: https://youtu.be/WIi4-7qBRWs

The best quality you are ever going to see without changing what is going on in the video is to do a ProRes422 upload to YouTube (which you did). That way youtube has the most amount of data to work with.

I doubt that its any color space issue going on, you would know about that just by looking at it.

You see this issue on some cameras in video mode, point them at shrubs or trees with lots of details and you can even sometimes get the camera to crash!

@jersmi for H264 there is no

alexmitchellmus's picture
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jersmi for H264 there is no difference between Handbreak & AdobeMediaConverter.

There is a difference for MPEG2 ( Handbreak does not have a good MPEG2 encoder- best encoder is RealConcept Mpeg2-the only one I know of that does interlacing correctly).

The reason I mentioned exporting out at ProRes422 is that Apples H264 isn't the best- so if Vuo uses H264 from Apple (which I don't know why they wouldn't) then there could have been issues with it. I have used FCPX for H264 outputs- and sometimes there is a large difference with color- and macro blocking between FCPX & HandBreak.

If one looks online and tests the codecs you can clearly see that x264 is AMAZING. However- would I use Apple's H264? Sure! Its fast, easy, and no stress. But as we are trying to work out the best way to encode video files I think its best to deal with known variables.

Handbreak uses x264 which is pretty much the best H264 encoder on the planet right now. So personally I don't know why anyone would pay Adobe for something that is free? Although it is given away now as part of CC? I am not interested in the Adobe business model, so I can't comment on that.

Here is a discussion which points out pro's and con's of uploading ProRes422 to YouTube: https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/11437

jersmi, it is my understanding that YouTube & Vimeo re-encodes EVERYTHING you upload to it. Regardless of upload format. It says so in the YouTube help:

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/4603579?hl=en

So its a matter of uploading something that is easy for the YouTube compressor to work with. I know that I have been part of online discussions in which 4k footage looked AMAZING when uploaded, and then converted by YouTube to HD. So that is also a consideration.

One major issue is that neither Me- You- or anyone using a computer owns a license to distribute H264. So this is why YouTube by law has to re-encode every video, because they own their own license to H264 boardcasting. If you check out the Apple documentation in the license agreement we all click "yes" to it clearly states that you can save-edit-create, but not broadcast H264 material generated with their codec. x264 falls under the same issue- as its not about the encoder- but the 'way' the encoder works which is the patent.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/04/know-your-rights-h-264-patent-licensi...

@alexmitchellmus and @jersmi

Bodysoulspirit's picture
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alexmitchellmus and jersmi thanks, appreciate the help. Never thought a simple video could be so complex ;) Don't know much about codecs and containers.

Will have to try all different stuff and run some tests. Funny that Vimeo says something about variable bit rate, will have to check that.

So I must check :

  • The codec, h.264 seems the best for youtube.
  • The container, they seem to like mp4.
  • The VBR.
  • The passes.
  • The resolution and the pixel size format.

Just a dumb question here, but so actually what the Vuo export dialogue means with "image format" is the codec right ? And then exports in .mov container. So when I use Handbrake to convert that mov to a mp4, what does it do ? It reencodes the video with the same coded in another container ? It decodes and recodes it again or what ? Won't there always be a quality drop then ? Wouldn't the original Vuo export with Apple's H264 be better ?

The funny thing is that all the exported .mov from Vuo look great on the computer, both in 422 and H.264. They still look good if I reencode them in MP4 H264 with Handbrake, but look crappy on Youtube and Vimeo whatever of those I upload and in all qualities, even HD.

But if the amount of stuff in the video was the problem, shouldn't it already look crap when exported from Vuo ? As it is already encoded ?

I guess this have to do something with the parameters above, they reencode the video and then it goes wrong. The funny thing is the quality drops even when I upload a handbrake converted MP4 coded in H.264 that looks good on the computer and somehow matches their upload recommendations.

-

alexmitchellmus thanks for the links. There is another page from youtube that seem slightly different and which is Recommended upload encoding settings (Advanced)

The guys at video maker seem to make a good job too when it comes to explaining stuff VIDEOMAKER - ENCODING YOUTUBE VIDEOS AT THE HIGHEST QUALITY

Will see if I can run some more tests.

Btw here is the composition used for the contest entry, but in Image Generator format to export movie. I exported in 1280*720, rendering from 5 seconds until 30.

PS : alexmitchellmus your video is private and I can't therefore view it ;) Could check the third option, nor public nor private, forgot the name.

Moderator note: 

Fixed broken link

Color depth is set to 16 bit

jersmi's picture
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Color depth is set to 16 bit inside the composition.

Did your video export with 16-bit color? If so, try 8-bit. This might cause the color error?

The biggest cause of your loss in quality likely comes down to bitrate. Your B_0 image is a good example of a video frame image degraded by a compression algo trying to guess the best way to make the file have less data (reduce bitrate). 16-bit color depth, as the name implies, is a cause for higher bitrate. As alexmitchellmus suggested, having a lot going on frame by frame is another cause.

(Edit: ignore this, it turns out to be wrong, listen to alexmitchellmus!) Youtube and Vimeo will use their algorithms to strip as much bitrate as possible out of your video. If you want your video to look as good as possible, then take measures to reduce bitrate prior to uploading. Lowering fps might help, if compression is temporal like H.264, because with less frames, there is less to compress over time.

If your video codec doesn't accept alpha channel, there is probably still no harm in having a transparent comp bkgd. It should simply fill in a black background.

.mov is on the list for accepted file formats for Youtube. You should not need to convert to mp4. (Although Google recommends it.)

Btw, .mov is just a container, could be any supported codec. If not limited by AVFoundation, .mov could be one of a zillion codecs.

.mp4 is a container for H.264. Just about all the video we consume these days is some form of H.264, from online/streaming to high-end cameras (though this is changing).

The best quality you are ever

jersmi's picture
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The best quality you are ever going to see without changing what is going on in the video is to do a ProRes422 upload to YouTube (which you did). That way youtube has the most amount of data to work with.

Edit: like in the post above, changed to hopefully not steer someone in the wrong direction. Pretty sure this is wrong and alexmitchellmus is right:

Hmm, with all due respect, this is not how I understand things, and not what I just reported as a best practice. Why would I want to make Youtube/Vimeo decide what data to dump out of my high quality video? Correct me if I'm wrong -- IIUC, I want to make my video as small and light as possible before uploading, so Youtube/Vimeo will have to touch it as little as possible. I'm saying H.264 is the way to go.

For export, I recommend Adobe Media Encoder -- not free, of course, but for me Adobe's codecs are tried and true, and MC has a bitrate slider so you can test results. (I'm a fan of Handbrake, too -- very well-designed with deep tools, especially for H.264 encoding and repair of old video, and a good support community. Since DVD's have gone by the wayside, thankfully, I have not touched it in a while....)

I edited above posts because

jersmi's picture
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The main thing I am learning here is that methods I thought were sound were not. I edited above posts for clarity and to try and not spread wrong info. I think alexmitchellmus was on the right track!

(Even though I have had pretty good luck with my approach, I haven't pushed it in a while.... I'll have to try some tests and see exactly what shakes for me at this point in time.)

Yes, @Bodysouldspirit, the body of knowledge surrounding digital video gets complicated pretty fast.... personally, I like how Apple has limited the scope with AVFoundation.

To clear the path, here's Google's recommendation for encoding, hopefully it's up to date: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en-GB

And... that page somewhat contradicts what a Google representative says at the bottom of this page (even though it is from 2012, maybe their methods changed?): http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Encod...

That article with the Google rep pretty much backs up alexmitchellmus

So I must check :

The codec, h.264 seems the best for youtube.

If you go by Google's posted recommendation I included for consumers, yes.(Edit: But alexmitchellmus's Google link trumps this.) Our info now suggests that it's the fastest encode, but not necessarily the best. The Google rep post from 2012 suggests that you could upload the highest quality available to you, and Youtube will reference this "golden master" for years to come as streaming technology gets better. (This is the new idea most interesting to me, btw.)

The container, they seem to like mp4. The VBR. The passes. The resolution and the pixel size format.

More than anything, the container suggests what software was used to export the file. So Adobe Media Encoder exports mp4, and has Adobe's proprietary method. (Compressor sends .mov, using Apple's method). It's all H.264 (as alexmitchellmus also says). High res = more compression. VBR, passes, apparently all can be handled by Youtube, so in general use highest quality settings. (Pixel size? You mean pixel AR? If so, square pixels, but doesn't sound like this even comes up for you).

Just a dumb question here, but so actually what the Vuo export dialogue means with "image format" is the codec right ? And then exports in .mov container. So when I use Handbrake to convert that mov to a mp4, what does it do ? It reencodes the video with the same coded in another container ? It decodes and recodes it again or what ? Won't there always be a quality drop then ? Wouldn't the original Vuo export with Apple's H264 be better ?

Yes, "image format" = codec. Yes, .mov is the container. Handbrake will transcode your file to mp4 (container for H.264). I'd have to check back with Handbrake -- it could compress it a lot or a little, depending on its settings. (Here bitrate comes in). I trust Handbrake.

The funny thing is that all the exported .mov from Vuo look great on the computer, both in 422 and H.264. They still look good if I reencode them in MP4 H264 with Handbrake, but look crappy on Youtube and Vimeo whatever of those I upload and in all qualities, even HD.

Some comments in the linked post suggested a couple things that haven't been mentioned here:

  • Wait a day for Youtube to process your clips, they may improve.
  • Your footage will better the more traffic you get. (Not sure I believe this, but it's an interesting thought....)

But if the amount of stuff in the video was the problem, shouldn't it already look crap when exported from Vuo ? As it is already encoded ?

No -- AVFoundation/Apple encoding is keeping it high-ish quality on your computer, even with H.264.

Ah, didn't see @alexmitchellmus's

jersmi's picture
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Ah, didn't see your post, alexmitchellmus.

Appreciate the info re x264. I really need to get back up to speed with this stuff, thought i was, clearly I have some loose ends.

I appreciate also the Google page you posted, I only saw the basic one, targeted for most consumers, I guess. From that page, here's another learning moment for me re bitrate:

Videos should be optimized for frame rate, aspect ratio and resolution rather than bitrate.

I always thought that even if Youtube reencodes, getting as high of quality possible as close to their spec as possible would give their algos less data to dump. Either this changed or I was always wrong. :-/

Glad to keep Adobe out of the discussion, I just know their tools and I have CC where I work. Notably the last guy in the CreativeCOW thread you posted used Abode tools to export.

This video is missing an

jstrecker's picture
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This video is missing an audio track or contains invalid audio. Please make sure you have the correct video file.

This Vimeo warning is safe to ignore. Movies with audio are currently only supported with the Save to Movie node, and not yet with File > Export > Movie.

This video uses a variable frame rate (VFR), and may not convert correctly.

You shouldn't be getting this warning with File > Export > Movie. Tested exporting your composition, didn't get that warning. Maybe you exported it some other way?

This video contains unknown color properties, and may look incorrect on Vimeo as a result.

According to Vimeo support, this warning comes up spuriously and can usually be ignored.

Great to see such a lively

alexmitchellmus's picture
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Great to see such a lively convo!

YouTube and Vimeo have always been a source of confusion. Also because best practices change all the time. Let's not forget when everything was 4:3 and we had "letterboxed" videos!!! Then native widescreen came out and there was double letter boxing!

I know that YouTube these days is more proactive than ever before. With the ability to injest almost any codec- and 4k material- that alone is remarkable.

Personally my h264 encoding philosophy is:

  • Constant frame rate
  • constantVariable bit rate. (Typo)
  • excessive bits per second (+8000)
  • tune: high
  • profile: 5.1 (newest h264)
  • two pass encoding

Also haven't been thrilled with Adobe CC "ransome ware" so forgive my insistence away from Adobe. I have been a huge user of adobe products in the past- and absolutely love AE! However currently I can't invest in something which has an unknown future. This is what attracts me to Vuo. It's an open platform with a remarkable team. Things that need to be proprietary are (editor) and everything else is open.

There are features that need to be completed - but this is true for all software- let alone new software.

Every time I open Vuo I learn more about video- code- color- geometry- sound than I ever did using other software for years!

It truly is a remarkable tool.