Exported quality is always blurrier than the original footage

I am trying to make simple videos in HD using Shotcut, but the exported quality is always blurrier than the original footage. I am using these export settings:

I have used H264 High, the quality of the video is 85% with a resolution of 1920 x1080 and aspect ratio of 16:9, and frame/sec is 29.97
contrast- 50.5%
Saturation- 100%

Hope anyone can help me on this.

With my last video we noticed the blurriness was because the video frame rate in Shotcut was not set to match the video resolution of our original footage. We thought we fixed it, but today I am exporting a new video and the blurriness is back even though the video frame rates are the same.

What can be causing this loss of quality? Looking forward to your suggestions.

Hi Ellen,

Welcome. I’m a relative newbie when it comes to videography and offering advice on matters such as yours, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt, but I will try.

First, a few questions:
What is your Operating System and Shotcut version?
What are the settings of the original footage (frame rate, resolution, encoding, bitrate)?
How many videos are there that you are importing, and are they all taken on the same device with the same settings?
When exporting, are you using a hardware encoder?

I’m not sure I completely understand the above, but I might be wrong on what I’m about to say (and I am sure someone will correct me if that’s the case and we will both learn something).

Some good information here:

Do you mean the frame rate of your original footage didn’t match the frame rate you set in Shotcut when exporting, or that the resolution of your original footage didn’t match the resolution you exported to? Both would be a little odd since, by default, Shotcut will set these based on the FIRST video you import into the timeline, even though it is preferable to set it at the beginning.

In my experience, the frame rate of your original video shouldn’t have a major impact on any blurriness after encoding with Shotcut, assuming you aren’t upscaling resolution because of the above Shotcut behaviour. It sounds like that’s what was happening in your last video, but I’m just guessing there based on the below.

You mentioned HD (which I always associate with 720p) but you are exporting at 1080p, which is Full HD, and that would result in some blur, however you are probably referring to the HD in the video mode menu, so that makes sense. I’m guessing you have actually recorded in 1080p at 29.97fps and are exporting at 1080p and 29.97fps and this isn’t the issue, but I have to ask just in case (sorry!).

When you say 85% quality, I assume you are using quality based VBR (the default). That’s actually really high, and once you work out what is causing the blur I think you will find you can experiment with this setting and lower it significantly with very little quality loss. However, I’ve also read on this forum that some members prefer constant bitrate or average bitrate instead of quality based VBR, since that has given them odd results (I’ve never personally had that issue and use the default 55% but I also use “preset=slow” in the “other” tab to get slightly better quality). So you could try constant bitrate just to see what happens. Perhaps if you attached a screenshot of the following , that might be easier:


Others will be along shortly with more suggestions and/or questions, so do not fear.

In the meantime, if there are no confidentiality issues and you are willing and know how to use Avidemux (it’s free and really easy) you could trim a segment from your original video (just a minute of footage will suffice for testing), upload to google drive or something similar, make it accessible by a link, and I would happily download and run an export from my end to see what happens. Avidemux will allow you to set A and B markers and delete footage, so you could remove everything except the first or last minute and there is no need to re-encode (just make sure that you use the “move to next keyframe marker” before setting your A and B points otherwise you will get a popup warning and it will mess things up). Here is a simple tutorial:
Pay attention to 2:16; that’s where he moves to the next keyframe before trimming. That way, you get a snippet of your original in the exact same format so we are effectively working on the same file. That might be a last resort but if all else fails my offer still stands.

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