Smoothing Things Over
Sometimes, a softening effect is what you need to reduce the jaggedness of the pixels once you start compressing your image. I like to apply a small amount of "blur" to my clips if they will have a good deal of compression applied to them. If I'm making a clip that is intended to be streamed over the Internet at 384kbps (kilobytes per second) with the end user receiving this stream via a high bandwidth connection, there's really no reason to apply any blur effect. The image should look pretty clean (provided that all other factors are set correctly as well). But if I have to repurpose that same video clip for a 56kbps connection, my image will require a great deal more of compression. I would typically apply a small amount of the blur feature to this clip to soften the edges of the pixels, to try and give the illusion that the image appears "smoother" and not so jagged. Be careful how much blur you apply because you do not want your image to appear as if it is out of focus.