My footage is HD, but video shows as pixelated once exported

Hi ! 


I streamed and saved footage of a game in HD using a Logitech Brio camera, edited the footage, and then exported as an Mp4 with the following settings: 

Width: 1280

Height: 720

Frame rate: 40 

Aspect Ratio: Square pixels

Profile: Main

Level: 4.0 (not sure what this is?)

Encoding: Variable bitrate, 1 pass

Target: 10.00 Mbps

Max Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps


The video came out looking watchable, but with clear pixelation in the background.


Please let me know if there is anything I can do in order to up the quality, or whether it's only do-able in Hitfilm Pro. If that's the case I'd love to know what settings I need in order to have crystal clear footage. Thanks a lot! 


  • Also please use simple language (clear instructions), I'm totally new to this. Thank you : ) 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Raise Profile to High. 

    Raise Level to 5.1

    Raise target bitrate to 20.

    Raise max bitrate to 30.

    This will improve output quality but double the file size. 

  • Thank you! And just to save space on the forum, I also wanted to ask an unrelated question: 


    How do I adjust the text layers in a composite shot without needing to go back and forth between the composite shot (and its black background) and the frame in my editor on which the text appears?  Like when I have text appear on screen in sequence I need to go back and forth adjusting the timing windows so it lines up, which feels tedious. Is there a work around or is that normal? 

  • edited April 2017

    Also, I just tried output quality improvement you suggested and there is no distinguishable difference. :/ Really looking to get the crystal clear footage I have in my raw recording somehow. 


    After reviewing my original footage, this is actually exactly the same. So you advice was correct. My raw footage is simply not clear enough for some reason. 


    Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to get clearer raw footage? I use a Logitech Brio which supposedly records at 4k, and get footage off the console using an El Gato HD60 device. I have no idea what else I could possibly do to capture video clearer. 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    To be quite blunt, there is probably nothing you can do to get clearer source footage.

    Digital video is a massive amount of data that capture device makers play all kinds of tricks with to cram into a small size. This degrades your footage.

    Here's some numbers:

    A 1920x1080 frame contains 2,073,600 pixels. If each pixel could only be pure black or pure white, that would be the number of bits needed per frame. However, the device is capturing in "24-bit" color (or 8-bit per channel for red, green and blue)

    2,073,600x24(bits)=49,766,400 bits per frame.

    49,766,400x60(frames per second)= 2,985,984,000 bits per second.

    2,985,984,000/1024=2,916,000 kilobits per second.

    2,916,000/1024=2,847.65625 megabits per second

    The device you are using to capture your console footage has a maximum recording bitrate of 40 megabits per second.

    So--your footage is being recorded at a compression ratio of over 70:1. This is a massive reduction and there is absolutely no way to improve this unless you go buy a very expensive external recorder setup that records to a much higher bitrate.

    The Elgato HD60 also records using an h.264 codec, which is "lossy." Lossy codecs degrade footage--it's throwing away information, and, once it's gone, there is no way to get it back.

    To make matters worse, I suggested you export from Hitfilm at 20mbps. You may notice that's half of the maximum bitrate of your original footage. Your original footage was already degraded by being compressed at 71:1, and has just been output at half to data rate. Your compression ratio is now 142:1.

    Finally, you've uploaded to Youtube, which will automatically compress your footage to 12mbps. Well, first, that's yet another pass of your twice-degraded footage through another lossy compression, and your compression ratio is now  over 237:1.

    Now, I haven't been able to find the codec specs for the webcam, but, if you're shooting 4K on the webcam then you can quadruple to raw data values given above. Assuming the webcam encodes as 40mbps (which would be high for a webcam), then you can still quadruple the compression ratios given above... Which means your raw footage was compressed at 280:1.

    What I HAVE been able to find is that the webcam you're using has a 1/6" sensor. This is tiny, piddly, and utter crap. The size of a sensor has a direct bearing to how much light sensitivity it has, and that webcam has 1/64th of the light sensitivity of a Micro Four-Thirds sensor. It doesn't matter that the webcam is "4k," it's terrible 4K and the simple physics of light having to enter a lens and hit a sensor makes it 100% true that you'd get a better image for a sensor of the same size shooting 1080p. You'd have 400% of the light-per-pixel hitting that 1080p sensor.

    So after all that doom and gloom, here's more doom and gloom.

    Don't worry about it--everyone's footage on Youtube looks like crap. You just only tend to notice it when it's your own footage.

    Here's the example that's going to make you feel better. Below are a couple of screenshots I ripped directly from the Youtube trailer to "Rogue One," and saved as a PNG file (PNG is a "lossless" compression and does not degrade your image).

    The top half is two frames of Kemmler's shuttle landing. Please notice on the right side that the digital compression from Youtube has actually caused the tail of the shuttle to disappear for a frame--yes, if you watch the trailer on Youtube you can see the tail flick out of existence a couple of times....

    The bottom half is the Death Star. Take a close look at that sky and notice how it's full of banding and artifacts. Look at the Death Star itself and you'll see how the subtle details fall away into large, single colored blocks.

    So--LUCASFILM and DISNEY can't make a Youtube video look good! The original video you posted looks absolutely fine, and is comparable to everyone else's footage. The additional cost in purchasing the type of hardware you'd need to capture perfect footage (and the insane cost of the additional storage you'd need to hold it, and the rather high probability of needing to upgrade your computer to be dealing with the very very large files you'll be dealing with if you're using something like 4:4:4 10-Bit ProRes 180) would easily bee over a thousand dollars, if not over two thousand, and we've not even gotten into hundreds-or-thousands more for a camera upgrade yet... It's not worth it.

    Your output quality is fine. Watch other people's game vids and you'll see all kinds of pixelization and banding.

    Only thing you could do cheaply to improve footage quality is to light yourself on the couch and not shoot in the dark.

  • edited April 2017

    webcams are not really 4k-ultra-hd-cameras. i think your footage have low bitrate to make possible for 4K video. Or, your set is to dark (not enough fotolamps) for this to small camera-lenses. test it... turn all lights on, and use a handlamp and compare with normal lightning.

    for ingame-footage with elgatohd60device: push the bitrate higher than 40mb-cbr(constantbitrate), highter is better an test again, or use lossless codecs

  • Very helpful answers... thanks so much for the thoughtful response. That explains a lot. 


    I'll move past this now as it seems clear that I am actually in the normal on this bell curve. I think I mistakenly thought ChristopherOdd's footage here:


    Was streamed or screen captured somehow using similar software. Whatever he's using would have to be either the 4:4:4 10-bit ProRes you mentioned, or screen recorded, not streamed, footage. 


    Thanks so much! 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Well, that video also suffers intense compression artifacts. Look at the window over the lady's shoulder on the right side of the screen. It's actually very pixelated and banded! 

    However, she's well lit, so she comes out more detailed. Best thing to improve your webcam footage is still more light on yourself. :-) 

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