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AVI video picture quality

Last response: in Windows 7
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February 21, 2012 11:08:24 AM

Hello,

I'm new to this forum and don't have a great deal of technical knowledge, so I'd be very grateful for any advice!

I work as a pianist and have recorded a few videos of me playing the piano using my mini-DV camcorder (a Panasonic NV-GS230). I transferred the videos from camcorder to PC using Panasonic's MotionDV Studio software which has created very good quality .AVI files. When I watch the AVI files on my 4 year old laptop (Acer Aspire 5920 running Vista) the video quality looks superb - the video looks very clear and runs very smoothly. However, when I watch the video on my new custom PC (spec included below) for some reason the video looks a little more grainy/blurry and not quite so fluid/smooth. If I say the video quality on the laptop is 100%, then I'd have to say the quality on the PC is about 75-80%. Here is my PC spec:

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 (not GZ68XP-UD3)
Processor: Intel i5 2500K 3.30 GHz
Graphics Card: Geforce GTX 560TI
Sound Card: NVIDIA High Definition Audio
Hard Drive: Seagate Sata 3 2TB Samsung HD204UI
Sold State Drive: OCZ Vertex 2 Sata II 2.5” 60GB
DVD Drive: ATAPI iHAS 104 B
PSU: Gigabyte Superb 550P550W
Case: Ezcool 550
Memory: Kingston 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

I have ensured my graphics card drivers are up to date, so it seems weird why the video files look better on the inferior laptop. As already mentioned, I know for a fact there is definitely nothing wrong with the AVI files themselves as they play back in excellent quality on the laptop.

I'm confused how an old Acer Aspire 5920 can beat a superior custom made PC in this particular regard? Thank you in advance.
February 21, 2012 11:26:06 AM

I'd guess that your desktop screen has a higher resolution screen and when your playing the videos on it they are being stretched or scaled to fit the screen.
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February 21, 2012 11:36:44 AM

As joedastudd says, if you look at the difference in resolution between you laptop screen and your desktop, you will be able to see why the desktop display does not look as good with a given video. Lower resolution video scaled to fit a higher resolution screen causes a bad case of the blurries.
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February 21, 2012 12:47:02 PM

Hi there, thanks very much for the replies. I have just tested the laptop and PC side by side again, this time re-sizing the video on the desktop PC so it's the same size as the one on the laptop screen. Unfortunately, the laptop still looks quite a lot less "grainy" and what I find most weird is that the general flow of the video is also smoother (even though the graphics card and processor are far less powerful than the PC's).

I should mention that I am watching the videos using Windows Media Player on both computers. I noticed that my PC has version 12 of Windows Media Player whereas my laptop has version 11. Could it perhaps be that the older version 11 of Windows Media Player is simply better at handling .avi files?
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February 21, 2012 12:59:52 PM

I'd try it in (Videolan) VLC Media Player. The problem ould be caused by a codec issue. The laptop has the proper codecs because they came with your camcorder software, I'm guessing.
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February 21, 2012 1:32:48 PM

Phantomwheelspinner said:
Hi there, thanks very much for the replies. I have just tested the laptop and PC side by side again, this time re-sizing the video on the desktop PC so it's the same size as the one on the laptop screen. Unfortunately, the laptop still looks quite a lot less "grainy" and what I find most weird is that the general flow of the video is also smoother (even though the graphics card and processor are far less powerful than the PC's).

I should mention that I am watching the videos using Windows Media Player on both computers. I noticed that my PC has version 12 of Windows Media Player whereas my laptop has version 11. Could it perhaps be that the older version 11 of Windows Media Player is simply better at handling .avi files?

What monitor are you using on your desktop machine? If it is a flat panel(LCD, LED) then it has a native resolution that will look the clearest. Whenever you change that resolution, the monitor has to scale the new resolution to the native, and that can cause fuzziness, as a lower resolution(non-native) pixel would then take more than one native pixel to display. So even if you set the resolution on your desktop monitor to the same resolution as your laptop screen, it might not improve the display of your AVI file. :cry: 
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February 21, 2012 1:38:28 PM

Alright what exact LCD display do you have for your computer?

The laptops screen will look "richer" due to it's small size compared to a bigger LCD.

So the quality i'm guessing of your videos must not be that high if they don't look good on your desktop computer screen vs your laptop.

Why don't you try someone elses computer screen? That will confirm whether or not your videos are of low quality.

Here is your laptops screen specs:

15.4" WXGA high-brightness (220-nit) Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, 8 ms response time

Of course anything on there will look good with such a low resolution.
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February 21, 2012 1:48:09 PM


There may be codecs installed on your laptop with MotionDV Studio that are not installed on the big rig . . . .

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February 21, 2012 2:14:35 PM

Thanks. I've just tried viewing the video in VLC and the general flow of the video looks smoother than WMP, so that's better for viewing. The most important thing for me is to create a good quality DVD from the AVI files. I have Windows Live Movie Maker on both my PC and laptop. But again, when I use the AVI files to create a DVD on my PC, that DVD looks more grainy/less smooth that the same DVD created on the laptop.

So.....whilst VLC is better for viewing, it seems it's not helping me produce good quality DVDs. As I said, I can can just stick with the old laptop instead, but it seems a shame to let this great new PC go to waste. It seems my PC is somehow not managing to process video footage very well generally. I'm not sure why that is but I've not heard of "codecs" before. Is this something I could download and install on my PC which might fix the grainyness/smoothness issue?

My PC monitor is a DELL U2312HM 1920x1080 Pixel Resolution 23" LCD Display. Thanks for advice about difference in screens between laptop and desktop, I hadn't thought of that. However, I guess the fact the poorer quality of the DVD created on the desktop in comparison with the better quality of the DVD from the laptop (tested on a separate TV in my house) suggests this is more than merely a display issue?
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February 21, 2012 2:34:16 PM

Wisecracker said:
There may be codecs installed on your laptop with MotionDV Studio that are not installed on the big rig . . . .


Thanks, I can confirm that both my laptop and PC have MotionDV Studio version 6 installed
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February 21, 2012 2:52:49 PM

I doubt there is that much of a difference between the two DVDs.

I assume the standard recording resolution of your video camera is rather low. This is most likely at the root of your issues. Trying to 'upscale' a low-resolution recording to a higher-resolution screen can get really ugly. I suspect you are also dealing with a 4:3 aspect ratio as opposed to 16:9 or 16:10

Do you know what the recording resolution of your video camera is?

And there are free codecs available for most every format and player, but that really won't help you until we dig deeper into the aspect ratio and actual resolutions
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February 21, 2012 4:38:24 PM

Wisecracker said:
I doubt there is that much of a difference between the two DVDs.

I assume the standard recording resolution of your video camera is rather low. This is most likely at the root of your issues. Trying to 'upscale' a low-resolution recording to a higher-resolution screen can get really ugly. I suspect you are also dealing with a 4:3 aspect ratio as opposed to 16:9 or 16:10

Do you know what the recording resolution of your video camera is?

And there are free codecs available for most every format and player, but that really won't help you until we dig deeper into the aspect ratio and actual resolutions


Thanks, I believe the camera's resolution is 1760 x 1320 pixels. In case this also helps, the Properties for my videos reveal these attributes:

Frame width: 720
Frame height: 576
Data rate: 28800 kbps
Total bitrate: 30336 kbps
Frame rate: 25 fps

Going back to Windows Media Player, I've just realised that ALL my videos don't run smooth (it almost seems like WMP is only working at about 6 fps). They certainly used to, so I obviously have developed a general problem with the player.
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February 21, 2012 4:53:51 PM

Phantomwheelspinner said:
Thanks, I believe the camera's resolution is 1760 x 1320 pixels. In case this also helps, the Properties for my videos reveal these attributes:

Frame width: 720
Frame height: 576
Data rate: 28800 kbps
Total bitrate: 30336 kbps
Frame rate: 25 fps

Going back to Windows Media Player, I've just realised that ALL my videos don't run smooth (it almost seems like WMP is only working at about 6 fps). They certainly used to, so I obviously have developed a general problem with the player.


Your recording at 720x576 which is very low resolution. No wonder things don't look so good!

Your 1760 x 1320 is for still pictures, not video recording.

Try updating your drivers to the latest ones on your desktop/ and or windows updates and do all the downloads.
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February 21, 2012 5:36:01 PM


Do you live outside of the US? NTSC ('TV') resolution is 4:3 aspect ratio at 720x480 and 29.97fps. Are those PAL specs? (sorry ... I'm too lazy to look them up!)

So, you may see the crux of your issue . . . your recordings are at 720x576 with a 4:3 aspect ratio with playback on a 1920x1080 monitor and 16:9 aspect ratio (I'm not going to bother with the 25fps versus 29.97fps)

If it is possible, my first advice to you would be 'cropping' the original video to 720x405 (CROP, not 'resize'). This will establish a 16:9 aspect ratio for you.

Can your software do this?

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February 21, 2012 6:24:57 PM

I agree with Chainzsaw. Poor rec. quality is set in the camera, small screen vs large 23' LCD.

BTW, what resolution is the 23'in LCD set to?
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February 21, 2012 6:27:19 PM

Phantomwheelspinner said:
Thanks, I believe the camera's resolution is 1760 x 1320 pixels. In case this also helps, the Properties for my videos reveal these attributes:

Frame width: 720
Frame height: 576
Data rate: 28800 kbps
Total bitrate: 30336 kbps
Frame rate: 25 fps

Going back to Windows Media Player, I've just realised that ALL my videos don't run smooth (it almost seems like WMP is only working at about 6 fps). They certainly used to, so I obviously have developed a general problem with the player.

Hi there, is your camera able to record in the .mp4 format? Use that, it is far superior to avi. Main gain over avi format is sharpness, detail, smaller file size for the same size, rich colors...
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February 21, 2012 7:23:53 PM

Thanks everyone, although my camera cannot record in mp4 I will try and crop the video as suggested. Yes, I live in the UK, hence PAL. My Dell monitor is running at resolution 1920 x 1080. Next time I buy a camera I will make sure it is HD!
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February 21, 2012 9:08:45 PM


If you can download the Vegas Platinum Studio trial I can walk you through the 'crop' and the encoding to 1080p. It's also got a slick export function to its companion DVD Architect (should be including in the trial).

I've never tried to 'upscale' 300% but it can certainly be done. Your desktop should make quick work of it.

The question is 'what filters/plugins are best' (or available) for you to smooth, sharpen, dehalo, etc., up-scaling the video.


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February 26, 2012 6:07:10 PM

Wisecracker said:
If you can download the Vegas Platinum Studio trial I can walk you through the 'crop' and the encoding to 1080p. It's also got a slick export function to its companion DVD Architect (should be including in the trial).

I've never tried to 'upscale' 300% but it can certainly be done. Your desktop should make quick work of it.

The question is 'what filters/plugins are best' (or available) for you to smooth, sharpen, dehalo, etc., up-scaling the video.


Thank you wisecracker, I am now happy with the videos and really appreciated your advice and everyone else's too. My camcorder is a good 7 years old so it's probably time to soon invest in a more up-to-date one. Thanks again.
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February 29, 2012 6:28:50 PM

Best answer selected by Phantomwheelspinner.
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February 29, 2012 7:08:01 PM

[:thegreatgrapeape:7]
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