QuickTime 7.0.4 and H.264

Buried in the fine print of the latest QuickTime update (7.0.4) is a mention of improved H.264 performance. Having heard some talk on the professional video mailing lists that the latest update can be problematic for Final Cut Pro and Avid users, I opted to use my PowerBook as a testing platform. My test file was a 10 second, 720×486 uncompressed 10-bit QuickTime file. Using QT Pro’s “Export to iPod” option in 7.0.3 , the file took an insanely long 2 minutes 12 seconds to encode to an iPod-friendly .m4v file. After upgrading to QT 7.0.4, the file encoded in 38 seconds, almost 3.5x faster. Not bad. (PowerBook is a 1 GHz G4 with 1 gigabyte of RAM.)

Is it worth upgrading? I’m still hesitant to put QuickTime 7.0.4 on production machines. I’m waiting to hear from trusted sources on Avid-L2 and FCP-L before making the leap.

2 Thoughts on “QuickTime 7.0.4 and H.264

  1. Jimmy asks Frank…

    Pre and Post QT 7.04 update, did you also check the dimensions of your “Movie to iPod” output file? Unless something was fixed, I’m guessing your dimensions were 320w X 216h – which would mimic the dimensions of your 720 x 486 source.

    I’ve been opening my source in QT Pro, setting the W/H to 720 x 540, exporting the “iPod” file (which does result in a 320 x 240 output), then closing the source with a “DON’T SAVE”.

    I’ve been working on Cleaner and ProCoder presets for iPod to avoid the QTPro crap, but haven’t zoned in on any good all around faves as yet. Once I do, I’ll send them along.

    -jimmy (hope to see you at NAB?)

  2. Jimmy,

    You’re right. This is interesting. What I’m also seeing is that cut off is excessive. Many titles that fall within title safe are cut off when viewed on the iPod or through its NTSC output. Perhaps these issues are related.

    Yes, I will be at NAB. (I might be announcing a new venture there. Nothing official yet. Just a rumor.)

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