Notes on correct usage of ffmpeg to maintain video quality

Notes on using Adobe Premiere vs open-source ffmpeg
If you do video editing and post production work, we will run into the ubiquitous Adobe Premiere one way or another. In a Linux-based client server environment, using Premiere exclusively from your desktop may acquire one or more of the following difficulties:

1. Older versions of Premiere do not handle mp4 videos gracefully. The real-time monitoring is lagging behind on slow clients (Core 2 Duo or i3 cpus). This issue defeats the purpose of using Premiere to pinpoint precisely the editing of in- and outpoints in the first place.

2. If you plan to use Premiere as a format conversion tool, you life will be spared from unnecessary miseries if you can simply forget it. The GUI may look nice and friendly. Whether the ease to navigate available options can quickly become a heated and debatable issue, the actual parameters needed to control the final quality of the video, shall I say, is nothing but pathetic. A lot of times you just want to keep the original video quality without having to mess with the bit rate, whether one-pass or two-pass encoding, constant or variable bit rate. Audio format unexpectedly requires appropriate license for ac3 and dts before exporting video. Even if you are lucky to bypass all that problems, the conversion may hog your cpu in such away that simply doing typing in Microsoft Word becomes ridiculous.

3. Occasional subtitle editing on Premiere is nice, but doing more than several dozens with the same text formatting and styling quickly becomes a nightmare. As soon as the real-time monitoring is lagging, there is no reason to look at the time codes at the slicing point. The audio waveform display on the timeline may help still, but you would probably be better off using any video player, Windows Media Player, anyone ?

4. If you do video editing for the web, high-quality video for YouTube, the flv format may show up unexpectedly. Premiere has very limited options dealing with flv video clips. Worse yet, when subtitles are involved, Premiere cannot handle popular format such as .srt and force you to deal with this on Premiere timeline which is a complete waste of time and computing resources.

5. Screen resolution and aspect ratio.
6. Frame export. It is very clumsy to export a series of frames from a video clip.

The following video clip demonstrates one of the many capabilities of ffmpeg without using Premiere.