I have a set of videos created in Premiere Pro C6 and currently I am encoding them in h264 for YT upload. The raws were taken using a Canon 700D @ 720p60.

I was wondering what is the best encoding settings that is available in Premiere Pro that I can use to encode them that is suitable for archive. I would like them to be somewhere along the same size as if it was taken by the 700D. I tried doing a lossless format and my 5min video balloon to 70GB. That's way over the size of the raw file.

I appreciate the help so that I can just store the archive copy in my glacier and delete the rest of the footage in my hard drive rather than uploading every footage I have in the cloud.

Here is what VLC sees on my RAW file if it helps. http://prntscr.com/72kvgb

  • Your footage is encoded as MPEG4 / AVC, that's no RAW format ... So your camera already compressed the recordings. Why do you want to reencode it anyway? If you need to reduce the size, you will by design lose quality ... espacially if you plan on using that footage in other videos in the future, I would strongly advise against reencoding it for archiving purposes, since every reencoding results in a quality drop. – MoritzLost May 7 '15 at 16:33
  • @Gin-San I'm sorry for not being clear. I have some edited videos using these videos I shoot with my camera. I would like those video (edited) to be of the exact same quality as the one I took so that I can store them somewhere and re-use them if needed and only store videos that are relevant. – Mr A May 8 '15 at 2:15

The thing is, whatever you do you will still have to re-render your files, they have to be re-encoded. Some small amount of quality degradation/compression, however miniscule, is inevitable. My best advice would simply be to try and match you sequence and render settings as close to the original files as possible, find a file size–quality ratio you feel comfortable with and just go with that.

To give a more practical answer for you specifically: I'd choose "Quicktime" under "Format", "MPEG-4 Video" under "Video" > "Video Codec", click "Match Source" and also drag the "Quality" slider to a 100%. Don't forget to uncheck "Limit data rate..." under "Bitrate settings". Audio settings should be pretty straight-forward.

Remember, these settings are mostly a guess based on the information you've given and some tests I ran on my Mac using Premiere Pro CC 2014 with the codecs I have installed on it. Hopefully someone with more knowledge of codecs/video encoding will pop in and give a more fleshed out answer eventually; but for now I think this is your best bet.

  • You don't necessarily have to re-encode - see my answer. – stib May 13 '15 at 7:31

If you are archiving the video you're not going to get better quality than the original files. So why not just save those and a copy of the project?

To make it easier you can use the project manager File>Project Manager> to save just the media you use in your project (or you can transcode and trim the clips if you wish). Saving the original clips means you can just re-create the project without any generation loss at all, and without the overhead of transcoding.

I'd also save an uncompressed or high quality compressed copy (h.264 at a high data rate or one of the production codecs like ProRes or DNxHD) of the final master for convenience.

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If you are talking about long-term archival, as in decades or hundreds of years, then there's a different set of questions to ask regarding the readability of the codec/container in the future, as well as the ability to protect against bitrot and transcription errors, but that's another can of worms.

  • Good answer, but doesn't Premiere technically re-encode the footage if you elect to trim it? – gburning May 13 '15 at 21:28
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    Yes, if you trim it it re-encodes. If you don't re-encode then you can choose to keep just the clips you use. If your footage is just one long take then this method won't save much space—In that case you might be better re-encoding in one of the codecs mentioned. – stib May 15 '15 at 6:12
  • Very well. In any case, this is obviously the most convenient method as long as you're looking to archive unaltered (effects and whatnot) but used clips. – gburning May 15 '15 at 12:21

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