I used to do a lot of video editing around 15 years ago, but since then, technology and video formats have changed much and I'm getting back into it now.
I will be doing an editing project where my source videos are all extracted MPEG-2 clips from DVDs. The intended output format at the end will likely be H264 (though I haven't fully decided on that yet). I will probably be using Premiere Pro. Back in the day, I remember editing in compressed formats such as MPEG-2 wasn't very good. I used to first convert them into uncompressed AVI (or DV-AVI) format, use that for editing, and then export to final output format. I'm wondering if people still do something like that these days? Or should there be no problem directly importing and editing my DVD rips?
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Last edited by gs684; 26th Apr 2021 at 07:47.
Mpeg2 was and is neither bad nor good. All depends on the GOP type and the bitrate. For example, in the late 90s/early 2000s if you had SD rez mpeg2s at 15+ Mbps all Iframe, it would look quite good if not great and be a breeze to edit (assuming a beefy computer or one with hardware decoding). I did just that for many many many corporate titles.
With advances in horsepower, it is actually that much easier now. In fact, under the hood, when Vegas and Premiere do temp/preview renders to improve edit & playback, that is often the very format that they use.
However, since you are starting with more highly compressed and longer GOP titles taken from DVDs, and you are going to end up with AVC mp4s, it make more sense to use a losslessly compressed (or nearly) digital intermediate format. Totally uncompressed is almost always wasted overkill. Yes, this is still the preferred workflow: upconvert to LL, edit render and master to that same format, then create a converted distribution copy as needed for your target.
Scott, why change the source MPEGs to Lossless just for editing? As you say, editing MPEG on today's systems is a doddle, and making it lossless won't improve the quality. Are you suggesting the MP4 output from Premiere or Vegas is better if the source is Lossless as opposed to the original MPEG?
^^ My take.
Mpeg2 is already compressed. While converting to lossless will not get back any quality lost by the compression, you do not lose any more by editing and, even if you do not require an archive copy, will not lose even more by re-encoding that lossless to another delivery format.
I think I mentioned it - DVD mpeg2 is longer GOP, and while it "shouldn't" be a burden, it could slow down the responsiveness of the editing app in use. Also, if one also needs to do layering, there is that need to render. So, depending on HOW one edits, it might alleviate much of those issues by going with a LL DI format. Might not. One should always do tests on their own system to see what works best.
So what would be the optimal intermediary lossless format to covert to these days?
As Scott suggests, I'd try editing the MPEGs first. I guarantee that any main-stream paid-for video editor will cream it. If it doesn't, it probably won't be any good for Lossless editing eg Lagarith either.
My i5 was ripping through DVD/MPEG 2 like there was no tomorrow in 2011.
If you're using a recent version of Premiere, import your original files and then create proxies, which will be i-frame versions of your files that are easy to edit. At this stage it doesn't matter that the proxies are less than pristine quality. Make your edits. When you export, Premiere will reference the original files for your final render for best quality.
That said, if your system is of recent vintage it is likely to be able to handle your MPEG files without conversion.
Note that the situation could have been better using other formats even 20 years ago if some company would have invested the needed millions to do what e.g. adobe premiere does today. If the format does not have any known index contained, rebuild the index "in the background, when the source is seen first in the bin" or just work with the existing index of the source file. Anyway, the editing performance is mostly about indexes.
Times did not chante too much, at least in broadcast environment, we never use any lossless formats at all (maybe the cinema guys do). The Bitrates for lossless edit in UHD formats just exceed the current networking and storage specs by far. In fact we are kind of happy to edit on the lossy "XAVC Class 480" (e.g. 800MBit/s) format, which is like 800Mbit at 50p but still kind of far away from being lossless.
My final conclusion on that all is for a single editor (not a whole company), you should currently use Adobe Premiere because they really really pushed on this sector in the latest time and they have by far the biggest budget compared with all other NLE system vendors. The format you use does not matter too much using Premiere anymore. BUT of course, in large scale, you want to pre-code your source files to some editing format like XAVC in mov or mxf container.
Honestly, these days, Premiere has become that good that some smaller broadcasters just drop in "any" format to the timeline and they happily broadcast the output.
Of course this has some drawbacks like extremely bad framerate conversion and such but still it will most likely render what you saw in your timeline.
This said, even if i hate to admit but apple's prores format is these days also very common and good to cut. So from my perspective to your question, it is either XAVC or Prores you want to work with. Profiles and therfore bitrates depending on output timeline resolution.
Anyway, former days or today "losslees" is more or less reserved for the kind of experimental or better "above edge" cinema usecase, where budget is indefinete.
After all, in my opinion from a normal consumer perspective, you just use some current professional editor like premiere and cut directly on you source format and you will be fine. It will only get problematic when your input is mixed formats/framerates or other basic video properties.
Last edited by emcodem; 26th Apr 2021 at 17:22.