Maximum Export Bitrate?

I just bought the license for Utimate 2 for Windows today after trying out the demo for a week or so. With the demo, I couldn't export to my PC, so I did not discover until today that in the export settings, the maximum bitrate available for .mp4/h.264 output is 20 Mbps.  My camcorder shoots AVCHD at 28 Mbps which is 40% higher. (I'm aware of the issues regarding using AVCHD as an editing format, but I think that is a separate issue.)  
My concern is that there could be a quality loss in the exported video simply because of the lower bitrate (20 vs. 28), especially if there is fast motion in the scene. I plan to use the exported file in Sony Vegas Pro 12 and would end up rendering again when the Vegas project is completed. So that would present a 2nd potential for quality loss on top of any that may have occurred during the Hitfilm render.
I tried exporting to AVI and the bitrate of the output is much higher (70-80 Mbps according to the software player I'm using), but exporting a 6-second clip resulted in an AVI file over 2 GB in length, so that isn't practical when there are long or multiple clips in the timeline instead of just one 6 second clip.
I'll do some testing on my own to compare quality before and after the render using a variety of clips, but wondered if users here think my concern about the maximum available bitrate in Hitfilm exports is valid.


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User
    I think higher bitrate options would be nice, but I am not worried about it too much.
    Blu-ray output is a max 25mbps output, about 20 for video, 5 for audio, so Hitfilm is capable of delivering a master-quality output. Youtube and Vimeo both want files around 12mbps,so,again, Hitfilm is more than capable of acceptable output.
    Yes, many cameras are putting out a 28 or 35 mbps stream, but manufacturers know most videos will end up compressed to a lower bitrate--think of your camera's higher bitrate as giving some headroom for vfx work...
    Hitfilm outputs uncompressed AVI, which should be about 180 MB per second (mb=megabits, MB=megabytes.), assuming 1080p @30fps (1920x1080x3 [24bit color=3bytes] x30=186624000 bytes per second), or about 5.5 seconds per gigabyte.
    Two other output options for Vegas Pro: first, output a png image sequence. This will still take up a lot of disc space, but not as much as the avi, and Vegas will import image sequences.
    Second option. Move your completed shots to Hitfilm's editor window, then drop the Hitfilm project on your Vegas timeline. Vegas will treat the project file as media, so you can render directly from Vegas! This only works with Vegas 12.
  • rgbii
    rgbii Posts: 960 Just Starting Out
    I prefer PNG images for best quality, but if you want a higher bitrate for H.264, increase the Profile and/or Level and the Bitrate sliders max value increases. Seem to max out at 300 Mbps.  I'm not familiar with H.264 to know exactly what the different profiles and levels mean, but I'm assuming higher quality to go along with the higher bitrate :)
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User
    Oooh, I never tried mucking with mp4 settings like that. Good to know.
  • rgbii,
    thanks for pointing out that using a higher profile allows setting higher bit rates.  I bumped the profile from 4 to to 4.1 and was able to go higher than 20 Mbps.  
    I wasn't sure what compatibility implications there may be by using a higher profile, but the rendered output plays fine in Vegas and in software players so I am no longer concerned about the bitrate limit (which turns out not to be a HitFilm limit at all, but rather a limit of h.264 profile level 4, per a wikipedia article I just read.)  
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User
    Yeah, I just looked up that article. I learned a few things.
  • >>Second option. Move your completed shots to Hitfilm's editor window, then drop the Hitfilm project on your Vegas timeline. Vegas will treat the project file as media, so you can render directly from Vegas! This only works with Vegas 12.<<
    I tried that second option from your first reply, and it works well. The short tutorial video on Vegas integration doesn't show that option, so I was not aware of it.  Thanks for the tip.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User
    Just remember that Vegas only grabs the Editor timeline from the Hitfilm project, not composite shots. Now, loading a Hitfilm project into Vegas will cause slowdown, since Vegas has to talk to Hitfilm. But it does work.
  • dalemccl
    dalemccl Posts: 18
    edited January 2014
    >>Just remember that Vegas only grabs the Editor timeline from the Hitfilm project, not composite shots<<
    While reading the forum I saw that you had mentioned that a while back in a reply to someone else in another thread.  Until I saw that I couldn't get it to work because I didn't drag the composite to the Editor tab before saving the hfp file.
    Now I am finding that Vegas has problems when I add a Hitfilm project file to the timeline. Are you, or any other Vegas Pro 12 users reading this, having problems like these with the integration? 
    I can add an HF file and all is fine for a short while.  But if I delete it from the timeline, and then later in the same Vegas session, add it back to the timeline, things start to go astray.  For example one HF project file used a witness protection blur FX using tracking.  The first time on the Vegas timeline the blur followed the tracking properly.  When I deleted the event from the timeline and later added it back, the blur stayed stationary in the preview window and did not follow the tracking.
    In other cases, deleting a Hitfilm project from the timeline makes other HF projects unplayable in Vegas. Eventually Vegas pops up the message that the media is missing and asks if I want to locate it, even though I only deleted it from the timeline -- I didn't delete the file itself.  I have gotten this and other weirdnesses in my short time of experimenting.
    Exiting Vegas and re-starting it clears up the problem .... until I delete a Hitfilm project from the timeline again. Normally I wouldn't delete an event from the timeline, although that is sometimes necessary. I was just doing it to experiment with the integration by adding a Hitfilm file to the timeline, deleting it and adding another one, etc..   I'll keep experimenting with the integration.  If the only problem I find is related to deleting a Hitfilm file from the timeline, I just won't do that -- or if I need to, I will re-start Vegas after deleting it.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User
    edited January 2014
    Interesting. I haven't run into those issues myself, but I am mostly an event Videographer, and if bringing a Hitfilm project into Vegas, it's usually the titles and I am dropping those in as the last thing before rendering. Or doing the audio edit of an animation, so I have never actually deleted an active Hitfilm project from a timeline.
  • Thanks for the reply.  I also mostly shoot events (family and vacation - nothing professional) and will mostly use HitFilm for titles, so the things I am experiencing while experimenting and learning may not be much of a problem in actual on-going use.  
    I would prefer, of course, for the integration to work without problems.  I'm just not sure whether these problems are unique to my system or if there are software bugs in the Vegas integration with HitFilm that others have experienced too.  A forum search didn't find any reports of these problems, so it may be something in my system causing them.
    I'll watch the thread to see if anyone else replies about their experience with the integration.