Recording in H.264 or H.265?

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Koensol

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Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostWed Sep 20, 2023 8:12 pm

Hello,

So I'm in doubt about which of the two options I should use for recording with my DJI Osmo Action 3 camera. I have been reading about the difference between H.264 and H.265. I know H.264 is the 'tried and true' old standard which is compatible with most media and devices, and that H.265 is the newer version which has more efficiënt compression but is more taxing on your PC and editing software. And I have been reading a lot of conflicting information. Some sources say H.265 retains more detail, resulting in a higher quality video, while others say that the quality should be the same, and that it's more a question of storage/file size and being able to export at a lower bitrate.

So my questions are:
1. Is there an actual quality difference between the two when the video is uploaded to youtube? If so, how big of a difference?
2. If the answer is H.265 is the better quality option, will my PC be able to handle playing it/editing with it? I will give some information below about my PC specs, what I intend to shoot in and what I intend to use my footage for.
- I intend to record in 4k with mainly 30 fps. There will be some higher fps clips for slow motion, but my edit timeline will be 30 fps.
- I will be recording a travel video during my 1 year travel adventure, and plan to upload to Youtube.
- At the moment, I own two 256gb micro sd cards for storage, which I will be taking with me on the journey.
- I use the free version of Davince Resolve for editing
My relevant pc specs are as follows:
- Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
- Intel Core i7-4790 CPU
- 16GB RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
- 4GB VRAM

3. Can I record in H.264, edit in that, and then export at H.265? Would that even make a difference?
4. Does it make a difference whether I export in mp4, or in quicktime (mov)?

And before anyone asks, yes I have been testing around myself. So far I haven't seen any drastic differences, but to be honest, I'm not sure if that is because there is no difference, or because I have done something wrong in editing/settings in davinci, etc. I'm really new to this and it's still very confusing to me because I don't actually understand half of what I read if I'm perfectly honest. So I am looking for up-to-date informed opinions of other people who could maybe confirm some stuff, so I can stop overanalysing this.

I am just looking to get the most out of my footage that I can, given my hardware. And I don't feel experienced enough yet to make an accurate judgement on this particular subject.

Thanks in advance for any input!
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Dave1943

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostWed Sep 20, 2023 9:01 pm

Both give the same results if running them at their optimum point. At this point, h264 will be about 50-75% smaller, but the same quality. Uploading either to a steam service will get very visual results. Both will have been transcoded again into the format the streaming service uses. It will never be streamed in exactly the format you uploaded.

The result any viewer of that streaming service experiences will be different depending on their download streaming speed, as the streaming service serves a video with the download transcoded to the speed the user actually has.

In addition, the colors and gamma will depend on the user’s monitor calibration.

Good luck.
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Alex Silva

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostWed Sep 20, 2023 10:21 pm

To compare quality you need to take note of what your camera can do in both. For example can both do 10bit? what about Chroma Subsampling 4:4:4 is the best quality but will be a much bigger file. You say you have been testing but the lack of detail on your post makes it appear to me not a systematic approach to it with notes about what codecs and variations are you testing. Resolution 4K, FHD ?

Do to your very aged hardware go for H.264. But you can't do miracles with that system even in FHD.
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Koensol

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 6:40 am

Alex Silva wrote:To compare quality you need to take note of what your camera can do in both. For example can both do 10bit? what about Chroma Subsampling 4:4:4 is the best quality but will be a much bigger file. You say you have been testing but the lack of detail on your post makes it appear to me not a systematic approach to it with notes about what codecs and variations are you testing. Resolution 4K, FHD ?

Do to your very aged hardware go for H.264. But you can't do miracles with that system even in FHD.
Only H.265 can do 10 bit, and you are forced to film in D-cinelike colorprofile, which is a flatter color profile suited for color grading. Or film in HDR. But I decided I will film in 8 bit colors with normal color profile.

From what I can find H.265 offers 4:2:0 and 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, although at this time idk what it means.

And I understand the importance of systematic testing, but isn't there a known 'common knowledge' on this?

I know my pc is on the dated side. But what do you mean with it can't do miracles even with FHD? With my current uploads it already comes out as quite good in UHD 4k video on youtube, when I watch it on my 4k TV.

For some additional info about the camera, here's the specs: https://www.dji.com/nl/mobile/osmo-action-3/specs
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carlomacchiavello

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 7:49 am

Invest on a bigger mechanical hard disk, convert your h265 in cineform or ProRes and you can edit videos without problems.


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Peter Cave

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 12:25 pm

The camera spec you posted only shows H264 recording format. Is this correct?
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leonbarnard

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 12:35 pm

Hello!

Depending on the encoding settings, h.265 can yield higher image quality than h.264. For example while h.264 is typically limited to 8-bit 420, h.265 can record upto 10-bit 422. If your camera is utilising these higher bit depths and lower chroma subsampling, then it will definitely be better quality.

As regards whether or not your computer is capable of playing it back smoothly, the best was to find out is to try! If playback is an issue, using proxies (perhaps generated with the Blackmagic proxy Generator) is a great solution.

Even if your final output is YouTube, editing with the highest possible quality image is always a good thing. I hope the above info helped and was not too technical.

Leon
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Alex Silva

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 1:53 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling

4:4:4 means there is no chroma subsampling this is the highest quality, biggest size file.
4:2:2 it is an intermediate quality, for 10 Bit 4:2:2 HEVC you need a 11-13 Intel CPU generation to play it with hardware acceleration. Nvidia, AMD CPU and GPU have no acceleration for this so it will probably have struggling playing real time in a video editor. Maybe even in media player.
4:2:0 is an inferior quality.
Please refer to this chart for Da Vinci Resolve hardware acceleration vs CPU's GPU's concerning this subject.
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/artic ... udio-2122/

I know my pc is on the dated side. But what do you mean with it can't do miracles even with FHD? With my current uploads it already comes out as quite good in UHD 4k video on youtube, when I watch it on my 4k TV.


Did you already edited in Da Vinci Resolve with that hardware? If so what kind of files and effects?
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Koensol

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 4:06 pm

Peter Cave wrote:The camera spec you posted only shows H264 recording format. Is this correct?
No it has both H.264 and HEVC(H.265)
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Koensol

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 4:08 pm

leonbarnard wrote:Hello!

Depending on the encoding settings, h.265 can yield higher image quality than h.264. For example while h.264 is typically limited to 8-bit 420, h.265 can record upto 10-bit 422. If your camera is utilising these higher bit depths and lower chroma subsampling, then it will definitely be better quality.

As regards whether or not your computer is capable of playing it back smoothly, the best was to find out is to try! If playback is an issue, using proxies (perhaps generated with the Blackmagic proxy Generator) is a great solution.

Even if your final output is YouTube, editing with the highest possible quality image is always a good thing. I hope the above info helped and was not too technical.

Leon
Thanks, that was perfect! Guess I will have to settle with H.264 + 8-bit for now, with my current hardware. I'm also not even sure if the Osmo Action 3 can take that much advantage of the 10-bit color option. The sensor isn't that big and codec options seem limited.
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Koensol

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Re: Recording in H.264 or H.265?

PostThu Sep 21, 2023 4:13 pm

Alex Silva wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling

4:4:4 means there is no chroma subsampling this is the highest quality, biggest size file.
4:2:2 it is an intermediate quality, for 10 Bit 4:2:2 HEVC you need a 11-13 Intel CPU generation to play it with hardware acceleration. Nvidia, AMD CPU and GPU have no acceleration for this so it will probably have struggling playing real time in a video editor. Maybe even in media player.
4:2:0 is an inferior quality.
Please refer to this chart for Da Vinci Resolve hardware acceleration vs CPU's GPU's concerning this subject.
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/artic ... udio-2122/

I know my pc is on the dated side. But what do you mean with it can't do miracles even with FHD? With my current uploads it already comes out as quite good in UHD 4k video on youtube, when I watch it on my 4k TV.


Did you already edited in Da Vinci Resolve with that hardware? If so what kind of files and effects?
Thank you for the explanation. I will take a look at those links you provided.

So far I have edited a couple short videos (around 1 minute mark) in 4k on a 30 fps timeline, without too much problems. Didn't use that many effects, other than transitions and slowmotion. I did have some trouble playing back 120 fps clips that I added for slowmotion, but using render cache I was able to play them back fine without any stutters. I put render cache format to DNxHR LB, with render cache on 'user' under the playback dropdown menu. I tried exporting in both mp4 and quicktime (MOV). MOV I had trouble playing in VLC afterward, but was fine to upload to YT (although I didn't notice any difference in quality between the two).

I'll take your advice and stick with H.264 for now, untill I have the time and and money to setup a new pc. That will be my next priority after I come back from traveling.

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