I exported a music video using H.264 for the first time (I would normally just use a simple Apple intermediate codec) and as the 1st shot fades up, for the duration of the fade up, there are ever so slightly visible 'lines' across the white background. It is literally just for the 1st second of the clip, but being the opening shot it's rather important. check it out, it's more obvious at 1080p

By the way, yes it is meant to be out of focus and grainy.

I set the quality to 10,000KB/s which as far as I'm aware is pretty good for online streaming?? I use Final cut express 4.1

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have no H.264 knowledge at all

  • Are you able to post it encoded in a way that looks correct to you as a basis of comparison? Hard to tell exactly what you are seeing as an artifact.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Ok, now that I'm home I think I see what you are noticing. That is just an error with the block transitioning from black to white. You can either slow down the fade or increase the keyframe frequency. H.264 works by storing only certain frames and then storing the change in-between. It breaks the image in to sections to analyse and so you can see if you go frame by frame that it is having a hard time figuring out what the change is around the edge between black and white.

Either decreasing the rate of change or increasing the frequency of keyframes should give it a better idea of what is happening. You might also try 2 pass VBR if you were only doing one pass or CBR prior as the analysis pass should help clean up artifacts like that by directing more bitrate to harder areas to compress.

  • Thanks, I tried these but unfortunately it stayed the same. I'm wondering now if, for lack of technological terms, the lines are actually 'in' my video. As I adjust the size of quicktime player, the lines get worse or better depending on the different view type. Does this mean anything?
    – Luke
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 11:49
  • @Luke - no, but it makes me wonder if you are seeing the same thing I am. Have you tried playing it on another computer by any chance?
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 17:42
  • I haven't, but the guy building my website has looked at it on his and says it's there. I might just experiment with the brightness/contrast a bit and see what I can come up with. It's not the end of the world if the lines are there, but obviously I would rather lose them if I could
    – Luke
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 18:09

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