JPEGs vs. TIFFs

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the March, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

 

Daniel writes:

I want to make a movie of my daughter’s wedding to give her as a memory/present. All I have are JPG pictures (2304 x 1536).

 

When you mention the benefits to work with uncompressed format (TIFF), does this mean to convert JPG to TIFF before going to FCP? Will I benefit (within FCP) in some form or shape with the conversion?

Larry replies: Thanks for writing, Daniel. I’m of two minds about this.

JPEGs are highly compressed, which means they often show blockiness or other image artifacts. However, they tend to have smaller file sizes. TIFFs are uncompressed with great image quality. However, their file sizes tend to be lots bigger. All things being equal, I’d use TIFFs.

So, for me, this question is part image quality and part problem prevention.

Though your images are JPEGs, they are also large, which mitigates the artifacts in the JPEG compression as they get reduced for video. You can probably get away with using these JPEGs in Final Cut – it fully supports them. However, you may want to consider resizing them. I ALWAYS size my images properly, then convert them to TIFF before editing in Final Cut and have never had any problems.

Here’s an article that explains more about this: Improving the Look of Your Graphics and Text

UPDATE – April 4, 2009

Eric Mittan adds:

Always keep in mind that while working with uncompressed picture files can make a better quality movie, it only makes a difference if you can have the original file BEFORE being compressed to JPEG. If you have a JPEG file that shows the compression artifacts Larry mentions, simply converting THAT file to a TIFF will not get ride of those artifacts.

 

Unless you are using a specific piece of software designed to, in some way, “up rez” your compressed still photos, moving to an uncompressed TIFF simply makes an almost exact copy of your compressed image and stores it in a much larger filesize.

Larry replies: Eric, a good point. Just as with video, once the image quality has been removed, changing the format won’t make any difference. Thanks.

 


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