The answer is very source-dependent. GoPro and cell phone footage would probably not have a noticeable quality loss. Cinema-grade footage from high-end cameras with ideal lighting conditions would probably have a noticeable quality loss.
But it’s further compounded by the purpose of the video being edited. If it’s a casual edit for personal viewing, then the source even after quality loss might still be in an acceptable range. But if the goal is to create a video that will be critiqued by professionals, then the only answer is to buy a bigger hard drive.
Try out the lower quality setting and see what you think of it. Your quality standards may be different than ours, so only you can decide.
Thank you. I understand that the quality is a relative thing. I’m mainly wondering what shotcut is doing that is increasing the file size 25 times. Is that normal? Or did my footage happened to that way?
Also to my other question, what do you do with the converted files? If I remove them, I will not be able to use the project unless I manually point them to different files, right? Or is there a better way to just swap them directly?
Lossless encodes will always be big but the size will increase even more if the frames per second are a lot. How many fps is your footage?
Also, the better and best options for converted formats are uncompressed files which means that they will be big in size but it means less work for your computer to read them which makes them a lot easier to edit as they play much smoother and faster. So there is an advantage in the file sizes being so big in this case.
You use them in place of your original footage for editing. Wait till the converted files are made then start your editing. Once your done with your project you can delete the converted versions if you wish to save space.
Adding to what @DRM said, the size increases because the source file uses IPB compression. That means one frame is fully described, and then the next 120 or so frames are described as differences from the base rather than being independently described. Since differences are usually minor, this saves a lot of space. So, to view frame 40, the base frame would have to be read and then the 39 differences after it applied to reconstruct frame 40. That’s why editing IPB video is slow. The conversion process makes huge files because every frame is independently described which undoes all the space savings of IPB video, but makes it much faster to seek and edit because no reconstruction is necessary. So, the size explosion is very normal and expected.
This also explains why 60fps video will be twice the size of 30fps video after conversion.
IPB is also called Long GOP video if you look it up elsewhere.
There’s no linking to the original files happening with Convert To Edit Friendly. Shotcut just renders out video files that are in a much better condition to use for editing. That’s why I suggested that when you use Convert To Edit Friendly you wait till the converted files are finished then you can start your editing.