[ This article was first published in the October, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]
Cliff Galbraith writes:
I created some animation in Flash, composited it in After Effects as an NTSC D1 Square Pixel 720 x 540 composition and exported it as a QuickTime, high quality, 720 x 486 — which, when viewed as a QuickTime file, looks pristine.
Then, when I output the video to QuickTime, it looks poor — isn’t that an indicator that something’s wrong?
Larry replies: No.
DV video requires a hardware chip to decode IN REAL TIME. When you compress this file for posting to the web, your video is properly decoded — but it takes longer than real-time to do so.
Since both FCP and QuickTime are designed for real-time playback, the quality of the video is somewhat lessened. When it is compressed, monitored via a DV device, or recorded to tape, the resulting quality is excellent.
In short, this decrease in quality is an artifact of wanting to play the SOURCE file in real time, and does not show up when compressed for the web.