Export choices in shotcut - help!

I have copied old videos onto my computer and now have about 15 quite large .avi files, about 45 minutes each. I need to cut some small messy bits out of these (and later create a new video of an hour or so with some “best parts”). I just want to have these videos on my computer and be able to occasionally show to family - no youtube upload or whatever. I ran into problems with videodub, VCL and Avidemux (including the edited file repeatedly disappearing part way through final saving) and am now trying Shotcut which looks like it will work. I don’t want to lose quality if I can help it as the quality is already not that great, and I still need to do a final edit of selected bits. I am having trouble sorting out export settings. When I hit “properties” it says my input file is 720 x 576, codec raw video, frame rate 25 and format yuyv422. From a lot of googling and looking at forums it looks like h.264 main would be an ok choice? Can I then leave the other settings under video and codec tabs as they are? That is, do they set themselves to something sensible, based on the initial choice of h.264? For example I see that under “codec” it gives “quality 60%” - does that mean the quality will be worse and I should increase this value? My files are between 40 and 100GB each at the moment and it would be better if they ended up smaller after I have cut some bits out, certainly not larger. I hope this is clear and not too “stupid” :slight_smile:

The method you are describing is compressing the files with a codec not designed for editing. I would suggest converting your AVI files from RAW to FFV1 and FLAC. They will remain AVI files if you choose but FFV1 (or HUFFYUV) is designed to be a lossless archive format.

Hopefully you are familiar with FFmpeg…

ffmpeg -i OLDVIDEO.avi -c:v FFV1 -c:a FLAC NEWVIDEO.avi

I am positive that if you lookup the options for FFV1 and FLAC, your files will be much more manageable in size without losing any quality.

Thank you very much for your helpful reply. All of this is new to me. I have looked up all the terms you mention, including FFmpeg. Is the ffmpeg line you include above a command line for changing the format within FFmpeg software? And can you please clarify - are you suggesting I would be better converting my avi files to FFV1 and FLAC before I start to cut bits out in Shotcut? I had hoped to use Shotcut to snip out some bits and then effectively “save as” using the export settings in shotcut. Could I simply use “lossless/FFV1” to export after trimming? [If so the format comes up as matroska (??) and the resolution is different from my files so I would need to change that to match? Would the other default settings then be ok including quality 60% on the codec tab.] If I converted the files first would the process be easier? (I am a bit afraid of trying to convert them using FFmpeg in case it all goes horribly wrong, even with your helpful command line.) If I do convert them before I start cutting in Shotcut I still have the same problem of what are the appropriate export settings in Shotcut once I have trimmed bits out… Hoping you have time to have another look :slight_smile:

Or anyone else who knows the answer?

i did same job last week (old analog material of about 1 h each) -

  • I drew one avi into shotcut,
  • drew the sliders on the source-window to the appropriate positions (start/end) (s. pic.)
  • and than drew the clip from source-window to timeline.
  • Added some filters like “normalize” to increase audiolevel, copied filter and adjustment for later use (paste to next clip)
  • and finaly rendered with h.264 (default settings, no change) since my analog material is not so brillant and standard settings for h.264 are a good balance between filesize and quality. (Result is playable by each internetbrowser - suitable f.e.for cloud storage )
    Shotcut uses same size and resolution as source

When rendering was ready, I deleted clip from timeline, switched to source-window an drew the sliders for in and out to next wanted part and so on…
…btw ffmpeg is included in shotcut so why worry about commandline switches

Clarify… Yes, I was suggesting that you store the large AVI files in a lossless archive format and retain the ability to edit without quality loss.
Export… You could do that as well, however playback on most devices wont work using FFV1/FLAC
Further Export… Editing and exporting to a lossy format is what the objective of Shotcut will do for you. Since quality is subjective you will have to play with the exported video and determine for yourself what is acceptable. Try the YouTube preset to start with and tweak it from there until you find a balance of size and quality that is alright to you. Reading about CRF and ABR will give you the knowledge of what settings to use. Here is an example https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en of suggested settings.
Export Container… MKV and MP4 are containers that hold video and audio ( AVI as well ). Each of them have advantages and disadvantages, and that is why they both still exist. If your objective is the ability to play the exported video on a wide range of devices use H264(x264) Video Encoders / AAC Audio Encoder (similiar to the YouTube export preset) with a MP4 file type (container).

Thanks very much - I’ll have another go!

Thanks very much - I’ll do a bit more reading too!

Maybe y’all can help this newbie also. I have a 4Gb MKV file. I’m editing by creating a playlist of 6 clips from this one video and then exporting to MKV (preset lossless setting) and getting a 36Gb file out. Why? Thanks for your help.

Because you chose “MKV (preset lossless setting)” which has much, much less compression than your original file. It goes: compressed video -> uncompressed video -> compressed video (but with a different compression and possibly very little such as in the case of “lossless”.

Thank you for your replay. That makes sense. Could you kindly suggest a good beginner’s guide to compression terminology and formats?