Software that renders high resolution JPGs to same resolution AVI?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by HS Crow, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. HS Crow

    HS Crow Guest

    I've been looking at a number of still animation packages and I've
    been disappointed by their output options. I've demoed Imaginate,
    ProShow Gold and JASC Animation Shop 3. The fist two are limited to a
    maximum resolution suitable for DVD output. I will be displaying the
    output files on-screen and via a high resolution projector, so I want
    to be able to output to a higher resolution, usually 1280x960 or
    1280x720 depending on the aspect ratio of the source material.

    Animation Shop 3 does allow me to output to a very high resolution AVI
    file, and the codecs it offers on my system are:

    Cinepak by Radius
    Microsoft Video 1
    Indeo Video 5.1
    DivX 6.0

    The uncompressed option obviously creates excessively large files and
    I'm not sure that the other codecs are suitable for my purposes? I
    want to be able to import the avi files into a video editing package
    at a later stage, to mix with DV/HDV footage.

    I'm wondering if there is a better package than Animation Shop 3 that
    suits my needs, or could I use a different codec with the software? If
    the later, I was wondering if MJPEG would be suitable, although I
    don't know how to get hold of an MJPEG encoder.
    Since I will be using the animations with DV footage later on, would I
    be better off using a dedicated video editing package to create the
    animations in the first place? Are there any packages that are
    particularly suitable for this purpose? I think of video editing as
    being limited in the range of resolutions that it handles, as it is
    usually focussed on specific TV standard resolutions. Is this the
    case or can I create custom resolutions?

    I'm finding there's an awful lot to learn as a graphics newbie.
    HS Crow, Sep 19, 2005
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  2. HS Crow

    Jukka Aho Guest

    You didn't tell much about the type of images you're willing to animate.
    If you want to make an informed choice of a video codec, the general
    characteristics of your images/animations need to be taken into account.
    Are they continuous-tone photographs or cartoonish animation (large flat
    areas of discrete colors) or what? High-motion or low-motion? Do you
    have storage space concerns? etc.

    I'm going to give you some pointers, anyway.

    You can buy an M-JPEG codec here: <> or
    here: <>. (There are
    downloadable demo versions which you can try before you buy.)

    If the nature of your animation is cartoonish, you might want to try a
    lossless codec such as HuffYUV (free,
    <>) or
    Alparysoft Lossless Video Codec (also free,
    Then what's the use of creating them in higher resolution first?
    Not necessarily. The thing you need to take into account, though, is
    that normal (standard definition) video is usually interlaced. If you
    want to make the motion quality of your animations absolutely
    silk-smooth, the only way to achieve this is making your animations
    interlaced as well (see
    <> for a good

    Generic animation packages usually cannot produce interlaced animations,
    but you can overcome this problem by rendering your animations in a
    progressiva fashion at 50 fps ("PAL") or 59.97 fps ("NTSC"), using the
    full video resolution. Once you have your animation in this kind of
    format, you can use video tools like Avisynth <>
    for discarding the odd and even lines from adjacent frames, and weaving
    the remaining parts together into interlaced video frames.
    Some codecs - such as DV - are very much tied into the video world and
    do not let you to use any non-standard resolutions. Many others will let
    you choose a resolution to your liking, but if you render your
    animations into a non-standard format, you can generally only display
    them on a computer. (Unless, of course, you're willing to convert them
    to video resolution later, but what's the use of an intermediate higher
    resolution non-standard file, then?)
    You might want to take a look at <That's the
    group where these kind of things are usually discussed.
    Jukka Aho, Sep 19, 2005
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  3. HS Crow

    HS Crow Guest

    Thanks very much for the extremely detailed reply. To answer your

    Most of the material I'm shooting is of nature: streams, rivers,
    ponds, waterfalls, waves, clouds, sky, trees etc. A lot of it is
    fairly static or slow moving, except for the faster moving water
    features. I'm creating a sort of ambient multimedia nature piece to
    ultimately be projected digitally. Initially all viewing will be on a
    PC display only.

    I don't have storage space concerns; I'm just looking for the right
    codec for the task in hand. Obviously, an uncompressed AVI of high
    resolution is not practical unless the clip is very short.
    I simply failed to repeat what I'd stated earlier, which is that I
    will be using DV & HDV footage, so there is a point to having high
    resolution. I haven't shot any film footage yet and if the right HDV
    camcorder is released when I'm ready, I'll go straight to HDV. I
    might still need to shoot some water shots in DV, as I don't know how
    long it will take before a consumer HDV camcorder that takes a
    waterproof housing hits the market?

    I figure that since my end product will probably be 720p resolution, I
    should aim to produce as much footage as I can in that resolution or
    higher. I'm not against 1080i, it just seems too expensive and
    unmanageable compared to 720p, at the moment.
    Not sure how to mix DV 50i with HDV 25p though?

    << The thing you need to take into account, though, is that normal
    (standard definition) video is usually interlaced. If you want to make
    the motion quality of your animations absolutely silk-smooth, the only
    way to achieve this is making your animations interlaced as well>>

    Well, that would certainly make sense if I am to mix the animations
    with DV. But if I am mixing animation with HDV only, would I be
    better off animating at 25 fps (non-interlaced)?

    I looked at the demo version of After Effects last night and that can
    handle custom resolutions and is DV & HDV compatible. I'll need to
    spend some time with it to see what it can do. It looks like a steep
    learning curve and I can see that it's going to take quite a while to
    get to grips with this new field. I'm fairly informed in the digital
    audio field, but this new area seems a whole lot bigger from a
    beginner's perspective.
    HS Crow, Sep 20, 2005
  4. HS Crow

    Jukka Aho Guest

    Since these are natural images (as opposed to computer-generated or
    hand-drawn images) I'd presume one of the M-JPEG codecs (to which I gave
    some links in my previous message) would serve you well, then. Or if you
    aim for the highest possible quality and multi-generation editability,
    you could consider the lossless ones (HuffYUV and the Alparysoft
    lossless codec) as well. Since the lossless ones are free and there are
    demo versions available of the M-JPEG codecs, you might simply want to
    try both and then decide which one you would like to use.

    HDV uses MPEG-2, so that will be your final target format. But since
    MPEG-2 is often a bit of a pain to edit (common, full-fledged NLE apps
    are only beginning to have some native HDV-MPEG-2 support), a
    high-bitrate M-JPEG stream at a HD resolution will probably serve you
    better for your animations, for the time being.

    If you're more adventurous, you might also want to check out this:
    <>. (I'm not
    sure if there are any great benefits with I-frame-only MPEG-2 as opposed
    to M-JPEG, though.)
    If going from DV 50i to HDV 25p, by deinterlacing. Make sure to use an
    intelligent deinterlacing algorithm that preserves as much vertical
    detail as possible. Google for "Avisynth" and "KernelDeInt". Or see
    <> and
    <>, for starters.

    If going the opposite direction (HDV 25p -> DV 50i) there isn't much
    else to do than to resize. Theoretically you _could_ create the missing
    fields by means of motion interpolation / phase-correlated
    motion-compensation (Google for the term), but I've yet to see a
    hobbyist/prosumer level solution that would employ this technique. There
    are professional standards converters that do this (to a point), such as
    "Alchemist Ph.C" by Snell & Wilcox, but they're quite expensive. You
    might want to see
    If you are going to base your work on 720p, I see no reason to make the
    animations in a different format.
    I can only repeat my earlier recommendation about
    (And other* newsgroups as well, especially You'll find other AE users there.
    Jukka Aho, Sep 20, 2005
  5. HS Crow

    HS Crow Guest

    Thanks again,

    I'm started evaluating the MJPEG codecs, but yet to look at the
    lossless ones.
    That makes sense, although I didn't think of that, as I relate MPEG-2
    with lower resolution distribution formats (DVD), but I was aware of
    its use in HDV.
    Assuming that I'm mixing HDV with other formats & codecs, is MPEG-2
    necessarily the best choice here? Since the MPEG-2 footage will need
    to be uncompressed, does it still make sense to render to MPEG-2 as a
    final cut? I was wondering whether QT or WMV could be equally good
    choices, as they support HD codecs!

    Since HDV seems to be widescreen only, I figure it makes sense to
    shoot any DV footage in widescreen also. I also need to choose video
    editing software that is HDV ready. Plenty of research ahead.
    I shall continue my research at as you suggest.
    HS Crow, Sep 21, 2005
  6. HS Crow

    Jukka Aho Guest

    MPEG-2 is also used in DVB and ATSC broadcasts (for both SD and HD
    content), although it is possible that a more modern codec
    (H.264/MPEG-4/AVC?) will be chosen for European HDTV when the time
    According to the announcements made by various companies, I think we
    will soon be seeing native HDV/MPEG-2 "smart rendering" support in many
    common NLE apps. (That is, the NLE app will handle the MPEG-2 stream at
    the GOP level, only recompressing those GOPs whose content has been
    altered in the editing process. Pretty much the same thing as with
    "smart rendering" DV video, but the granularity is on the GOP level and
    not on the frame level.)
    QT is not a video format per se, but a container format - a "wrapper",
    if you will). What goes inside a QT file is determined by the video and
    audio codecs you choose to use. As for WMV, I don't see it as an editing

    Some companies, however, argue in favor of specialized intermediate
    editing formats:
    That would probably be a good idea; it should make the content more
    future-proof. Just make sure that you get full 16:9 resolution out of
    the camera. Some cameras fake it by masking the 4:3 picture with black
    bars, whereas others may do basically the same, but by stretching the
    lower-resolution cropped image to full-screen anamorphic 16:9, even
    though the CCD chip does not have enough resolution to fully take
    advantage of the format.
    Yep, that's at least a good group to check out.
    Jukka Aho, Sep 21, 2005
  7. HS Crow

    HS Crow Guest

    Is this going to be a software only solution do you think, or will it
    require add-in hardware support (PCI etc)? I was looking at a Canopus
    solution which required a 64 bit PCI slot; very restricting.
    Interesting, but it only supports resolutions up to 768x576.
    Is AVI similar to QT in that respect? What HD codecs does QT support
    As for WMV, when I said to use it as a final cut, what I meant was as
    a final playback only format for distribution, not for editing.

    As for MPEG-2 as a final destination, I think I've been confused by
    limitations placed by certain applications which were to do with the
    output format chosen, rather than the codec. Will commonly used NLE
    apps support output to HD video using MPEG-2 at high bit rates? I
    suppose the bit rate chosen should be related to whether there is any
    HDV footage in the project!
    I'm thinking of the low to mid-level price range NLE apps that support
    HDV: $150 - $750.
    I'm with you; sometimes it is not easy to determine exactly what a
    camcorder does with 16:9 without a fair amount of delving. There's a
    hell of a lot of research to undertake when choosing all this hardware
    and software. I enjoy it sometimes, but I feel a bit stressed by it
    all at other times. I hope that the weather is interesting tomorrow
    so I can go out and shoot some frames :)
    HS Crow, Sep 21, 2005
  8. A good clue is that the horizontal angle of view increases when you
    switch into 16:9 mode. That indicates the camera is using more of the
    CCD width, rather than using *less* height, to get the wider aspect

    But even that's not foolproof. What you really want to know is whether
    the camera is using at least 480 rows of pixels on the CCD to produce
    480-line video in 16:9 NTSC mode (substitute 576 lines for PAL, 720 for
    720p HDTV, etc). For example, it's possible to build a video camera
    with a 1280x960 pixel 4:3 aspect ratio CCD, downsampling the whole area
    to 704x480 for standard output. When you put it into 16:9 mode, the
    camera would switch to using only the central 1280x720 region,
    downsampling that to 704x480. It's using fewer pixels in the vertical
    direction for 16:9, but CCD pixels still exceeds output line count, so
    there should be little or no degradation of the image.

    Dave Martindale, Sep 22, 2005
  9. HS Crow

    Jukka Aho Guest

    I can't see any reason why there couldn't be both hardware-assisted and
    software-only solutions. MainConcept already has a plugin for Premiere
    Pro that allows "native" MPEG-2 editing - in "smart render" fashion -
    but according to their website, it does not (yet?) support HDV properly.
    My bad, I didn't notice that restriction.
    Yes, it is. You might want to see
    <> for an overview of the
    topic. There are others as well (ogg, matroshka). Even WMV/ASF and
    RealMedia can be counted in.
    Hard to say, I'm not a Mac person. :)
    Yes, it will probably do as a distribution format. I think Microsoft has
    already been demoing some HD content on the WMV "platform":

    I have no idea about the current level of HD(V) MPEG-2 support. I have
    not had to deal with that in practice.
    The bit rate chosen for what? If I've not totally mistaken, HDV uses a
    fixed (CBR) bitrate - the same as DV. I'm not sure about the typical
    MPEG-2 HDTV (ATSC & DVB) broadcast bitrates - would be interesting to
    Jukka Aho, Sep 22, 2005
  10. HS Crow

    HS Crow Guest

    Thanks Dave, I get what you're saying; it's just a matter a reading
    reviews and spec sheets, although some manufacturers are more
    forthcoming with information than others.

    Yes, they have a dedicated website for HD content at
    I've been looking at various WMV and QT HD clips and I've been stunned
    by the quality. I'm starting to wonder how close you can get to that
    quality using a sub $2000 consumer HDV camcorder. As far as I know
    none of those clips were even shot in HDV. Still, if I compare the
    clips to commercial studio quality DVDs, it blows them away.

    Well the weather was good today, so I went and shot some video footage
    with my stills camera for the first time. I was very impressed with
    the quality, although the resolution is limited to 640x480 @ 30fps. It
    uses M-JPEG I'm almost sure and if I tried playing it at full-screen
    it became very jerky. That's with an Athlon 64 3.0 with 1GB
    dual-channel memory and a FX5200. I didn't expect it to look very
    good blown up to 1280x960 but I determined that playback was system
    constrained. So I converted it to WMV with a bitrate of ~3500 KBps
    and it played back full screen easily. I was amazed how well it
    looked blown up, it wasn't grainy at all (to my eyes); it bodes well
    for DV & HDV.
    I'm particularly pleased because I have a water-proof housing for my
    Canon and I figure I can get away with mixing a bit of water bound
    M-JPEG footage shot with the Canon with DV footage shot with a
    camcorder. As Sony are the only company that seem to make water-proof
    housings for their camcorders, I was thinking I would be tied to them
    if I wanted such features. With the Sony range that fit the
    water-proof housing not having a decent manual mode, I wasn't exactly
    enticed by them in the first place. It was a productive first day of
    shooting and encoding. This could get addictive :)
    HS Crow, Sep 22, 2005
  11. HS Crow

    Jukka Aho Guest

    That's easy to check out with tools like GSpot:


    Or just drop the AVI in VirtualDub ( and
    check what it says in the "File information" window.

    If it's a Canon, there's probably a fairly good chance that it really is
    M-JPEG. I have a Canon Digital Ixus 700 (aka PowerShot SD500) myself,
    and at least that model records the video clips specifically in the
    M-JPEG AVI format. Although I have not really used the feature a lot, I
    seem to have similar observations about the quality.
    You might want to try the Morgan M-JPEG codec for playback. (Note that
    if there are several codecs installed for a single format, it's not
    always clear which one of them takes precedence. Sometimes you may have
    to manually edit the FOURCC -> codec associations in the registry to get
    it right.)
    Yes, that could be interesting. I've been wondering about the same
    (mixing some of my Canon clips with real DV camcorder shots.) As it is
    640×480 @ 30 fps, it can be thought of being ready-to-use progressive
    source material for an "NTSC" DVD. (The only problem is that I live in a
    PAL country which somewhat diminishes the potential usefulness of it.
    Those numbers nicely match up with 525/59.97 systems, but not with
    625/50 systems.)

    Anyway, make sure to get the pixel aspect ratio conversions right for
    your target format: <>.

    * * *

    Oh, almost forgot. Did some checking around:


    Everyone and their dog actually seems to be providing HDV support now,
    in one form or the other. (Hadn't noticed that; it's a relatively recent
    phenomenom - although quite predictable, of course. Still, not a long
    while ago everyone only had press releases and no real products.) Now,
    if I only knew which one of those to recommend to you...
    Jukka Aho, Sep 22, 2005
  12. HS Crow

    HS Crow Guest

    Thanks again for all the info.
    It confirmed that it is M-JPEG.
    That made a huge difference; I now have smooth playback at full-screen
    with the CPU load under 40%.
    I'd overlooked that as I'm in the same boat as you. Mixing 30p with
    50i doesn't sound like fun. Since my target destination is not TV, I
    hope I have a few other options available. I might just stick with my
    camera for now for both stills and short video clips. I already have
    a lot of things to learn so maybe I should curtail myself a bit. I'm
    new to photography also, so I'm getting to know my camera, Photoshop,
    then there's the animation that I want to do, video editing,

    So I can render the animations @ 30fps so they'll sit easily with the
    AVI's that my camera shoots. By the time I'm ready to go deeper into
    the video side of things, hopefully there will be a consumer 720p PAL
    camcorder available. Can I then just simply re-render the animations
    at 25fps so they'll match the HDV footage?

    I'll still have the issue of mixing 4:3 and 16:9 footage, but I've
    accepted that, as there isn't currently a camera that takes widescreen
    format stills that appeals to me. I imagine that more cameras will
    add widescreen format capture in the near future! The Panasonic Z20 &
    Z30 currently offer that in the ultra-zoom sector, which is what
    interests me; I have a Powershot S1 IS.

    I'm wondering if I'll be able to digitally project my 30 fps footage
    using a PAL projector. I imagine that since I will output it directly
    from the PC using a DVI connection, that the only issue will be
    whether the projector can handle the resolution and refresh rate of
    the PC output.
    That seems to open a whole can of worms : )
    What surprised me was that even the sub £100 NLEs now support HDV or
    in some cases there are imminent releases pending.
    I'm going to start a new thread on one of the video newsgroups to try
    and determine which applications suit my needs. It's the animation
    and compositing side of things that has me in the dark. After Effects
    sounds like it might be the daddy, but, it is horribly expensive and
    there is no consumer edition (Elements). Hmm.
    HS Crow, Sep 23, 2005
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