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Any tips on minimizing compression when editing video?

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I've recently come across some oldish (late 90s, early 00s) home movies I had converted to DVD from VHS. Quality, of course, is only as good as the source, but I would like to preserve as much of it as possible. My goal is to get these videos into iTunes to watch on the Apple TV, and possibly put up on youtube as well. But some simple editing, like splitting at combining, is necessary. I've got several apps that can accomplish this, but the various workflows have shown mixed results, including compressing the already so-so quality further. If anybody has any input as to minimizing the amount of compression, I would appreciate it.


The first step is, of course, to rip the DVDs. For that I use Handbrake and the preset for Apple TV 3 (though I only have a 2, future planning) and allow for a large file size. For the splitting/joining I need to do, I have use iMovie, Quicktime X, or Visual Hub. I also see different options for export formats, like Quicktime or MP4. Which would be recommended? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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all the of these formats: VHS, DVD, MP4, H.264, MPEG2 are DELIVERY formats. they are not intended to be edited again.


VHS is a terrible which has a kind of built in compression inherent to the format. 640x480 (aka 720x486) is actually 640x240 (aka 720x240) with two alternating fields called ODD and EVEN that are drawn at 60 times a second. it's why VHS looks so horrible when it plays on a computer screen. any moving object has a ghost affect.


DVD (aka MPEG 2) is a terrible format that is locked to a specific data rate while maintaining NTSC compatibility meaning fields and that 60 frames a second are still there.


on top of that the pixels aren't square. they are these tall rectangles. so converting the rects to squares might give you distortion if you don't account for it during conversion. it basically means your circle comes out oval if you make a mistake.


converting DVD to computer editable usually means combining the fields so it plays at 30 FPS instead of 29.97 FPS. this means if you do the conversion wrong the sound will get out of sync around 9 minutes into the program.


if you really want to edit bump them to one of the ProRes formats. especially if you plan to edit in Final Cut. however, if you edit in Premiere Pro you can don't have to do the bump. just edit the plan old files.


yes, yes, you will another hit when you output the edits. that's the nature of video. this is the way it's been for 20 years of editing on a computer.

Edited by johnfoster

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