video compression software
Can one of you good people give me some advice on video compression+enhancement software. I use Stoik video enhancer but am not overly happy with it. Free would be nice or for a price if it is good stuff.
Exactly what are you trying to do? What was the nature and spec of the source video? What Stoik tool did you use, and what did it fail to achieve?
No video enhancer can make clips shot in a dark room look great. Nor can any product make old VHS video look HD. At best, you can alter the brightness or WB a bit. A stabilizer might smooth a scene a bit, but at the expense of loss in IQ. High end tools, in addition to costing money, take time to learn, and work best only when the source video is already pretty good. If the light was bad, or there was lots of shake, bad focus, and back-lighting, don't expect miracles.
A couple of years ago I used Pinnacle for a few months, didn't like it at all - tried Windows Movie Maker (now Windows Live Movie Maker) and it was almost worse than Pinnacle. For the past few months I've been using Cyberlink Power Director 10, and I like it a lot. It's not difficult to learn, it has every feature that I could want, it will render/burn in a wide variety of formats and file sizes, and it has an excellent online user support forum. I highly recommend it. There's a free trial version available, and the users forum will answer questions from people who are using the trial.
I'm mostly doing HD videos but I do make some DVD quality discs, so friends can play them on older, lower powered computers and TVs. There's a real learning curve to getting the DVD quality ones to look nice, but it can be done. The true HD videos look gorgeous, but file sizes are large so upload times to You Tube (I haven't used Vimeo but I think I'm going to try it) are long - 4-5 hours is normal for a 10 minute video. I would love to find a video compression program which doesn't seriously compromise quality, but my luck with that has been very poor. One program, Adobe Media Encoder, won't install no matter what I try. The other one I've tried, Handbrake, is highly recommended but so far my own results with it have been very poor both in terms of compression and in terms of final quality.
Ithaca NY, USA
Larry - Cy will probably have a better answer - but meanwhile, I don't think PD can covert from MOV to AVI directly. However, Handbrake can do that. To get the best quality from Handbrake, I've noticed that file sizes always increase, so be aware of that. There are lots of tutorials which claim to show how to get smaller file sizes with "no loss of quality" when using Handbrake, but my own experience has been that either (1) there's a terrible loss of quality or (2) the resulting files are gorgeous, but much larger than the original.
Ithaca NY, USA