Pre-rendering export en vice versa

Hello everybody,

This is probably a silly question but I have to ask anyway.

Here is what I'm doing in Hitfilm 4 Pro.

Before I edit my DSLR footage I use MPEG Streamclip to convert it into an editable format. Then I edit it and export it to MP4.

As I work on a feature film it would be a huge resource problem to put all the converted clips with all the layers etc on one gigantic timeline.

There is my idea to work scene for scene, convert to MP4 and once I have everything edited I want to convert all the scene with MPEG Streamclip back to an editable format. Then I want to put all this in the final movie project and then render it to the finished product.

The question is: will I have any loss in quality in the final movie when I work this way?

Thanks for all your input already!


  • Andy001zAndy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,877 Ambassador

    Not an expert like some here on Codecs but I would have thought the simple answer is yes, becuase each time you compress you loose some bits of information. I am sure someone will correct or better explain.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    There will be loss every time you encode to any lossy codec even good intermediate ones like DNxHD or Cineform. Instead of exporting to MP4 - intermediate - back to HitFilm, render to image sequences. PNG is lossless and while it still takes a lot of room it's a lot less than an uncompressed AVI takes. A downside is you'll have to render your audio as an audio only AVI in a second pass but that goes pretty quick. When you're ready import the sequences and audio AVI's and link them in HitFilm.  

  • MarioKluserMarioKluser Website User Posts: 126
    edited February 2016

    Thank you very much. I will experiment with the PNG export. I was already wondering what would happen to the audio. So this will be a lot trial and error.

  • MarioKluserMarioKluser Website User Posts: 126

    But when I think about it, will I have loss when I decide to export them with the AVI option in Hitfilm? 

    I have a 1TB disc dedicated for the film. Storage is not really an issue.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    The AVI option in HitFilm is uncompressed so it's lossless but the output will take roughly twice the storage space of a PNG sequence. Depending on the resolution and length a terabyte can disappear in a hurry. This thread covers the steps to take a PNG sequence and an audio only AVI and wrap everything to an MOV using FFMpeg. Since there's no encoding it goes pretty quick and you end up with a single file.

    Another benefit of going with an image sequence is if you render quits for any reason you can pick back up at the last rendered frame so you don't have to do the entire thing over again

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    I was going to suggest you proxy each 'scene' once it's done, then just join  the proxied composite files together in the Editor - as they'll then be single layers - but just tested that to be sure it would work OK and hit a snag...:(

    You can do that  HF4P, but not HF3P or HF3E. I'll be uploading a video to a new thread about that a bit later.

    But, as you've got HF4P,  you could do that if you wanted. Once you've got it all in Hitfilm the first time, you'd only need to export it at the end from the Editor.

    The advantage would be that you could make changes to your 'scenes', reproxy the relevant composites they were in and it'll update in the Editor; and Editing with Proxies is pretty quick. ;)

  • MarioKluserMarioKluser Website User Posts: 126

    @Alladin4d @Palanco,

    Thank you so much for your input. I see that I really have dive deeper into this. In the past I worked with Vegas Pro 12 and only rendered for Youtube, what is a different 'sport'.

    If I understand it well, I can export to PNG's with audio separated and then merge it all together again with FFMpeg. Never heard of that program before.

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