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Compressions, Hosting, Codecs Oh My (Need Help)


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#1 Rod Blackhurst

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:11 PM

For the past few months I've been working with a great web designer to get a site up and running to feature a pile of music videos, shorts, commercials and photography. We've been investigating all sorts of different compressions, codecs, different hostings, etc and we still can't seem to get a file size down to around 10mb, but still keep it around 720x346 with any sort of quality.

Here's what I do know.

Those good looking Apple Trailers on Apple.com....

"There?s something important to know here - your website, housed on a single computer farm at one ISP, will have nowhere near the performance of Apple?s download center, which is outsourced to Akamai. Once again, there is a big difference again between a $20 / mo basic hosting plan and a $2000/mo basic Akamai plan - Akamai sends your video files to hundreds (thousands?) of servers all over the world. A visitor in NY will pull down the video from Akamai in NY; London pulls from London, etc. If a visitor from London pulls down your file from Los Angeles, they will wait longer."

Full article here:
http://www.wiredrive...ailers-so-well/

H.264 works okay but in addition to the color and saturation loss that comes from using Quicktime you can't get anything below about 15fps without losing any quality, and even then only simple edits can run below 15fps keyframes.

I've been using some specs lately to get some H.264 compressed files ready for Flash (using compressor). Here are the settings I've used but am not happy with.

Name: h264 (432x207, 15fps, 44.1, 96kps, 1500stream)
Audio Encoder
AAC, Stereo (L R), 44.100 kHz
Video Encoder
Format: QT
Width: 432
Height: 207
Pixel aspect ratio: Square
Crop: (L: 0, T: 67, R: 0, B: 67)
Padding: None
Frame rate: 15
Frame Controls: Automatically selected: Off
Codec Type: H.264
Multi-pass: On, frame reorder: On
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 75
Min. Spatial quality: 25
Temporal quality: 50
Min. temporal quality: 25
Average data rate: 1.536 (Mbps)
Maximum data rate: 1.536 (Mbps)
Fast Start: on

This 9 min file was around 90mb, too large to use on a simple flash site.

Sorenson Squeeze - Everyone knows this is a great codec but once the plug-in was removed from recent versions of Final Cut Pro (remember back in the day when it was there...oh those were the days) its now a $500 application. Is there anything similar to this out there?

What about using Vimeo or Virb? I just test uploaded a video to Vimeo (was made using the specs from H.264 above). Newton Faulkner EPK Test

I would love to hear from anyone regarding what sort of compressions and codecs they use, or what types of different hosting specs.

How does Danny Clinch make this look so good still:

http://www.threeonth...esEPK_final.mov

What about Christophe Collette's demo reel:

http://www.christophecollette.com/
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#2 Jamie Warden

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 09:29 PM

Ok, as I know this can certainly be daunting for anyone venturing in to web space, here is what I have found to be the best method of compression and subsequent launching to web:

- Do NOT encode to H.264 before going to FLV. Pick one or the other, because there is no need to encode to H.264 before going to FLV. What you are concerned with are bitrate and frame size, and both of these codecs handle compression and resizing in a specific way. So take your source .mov, which I imagine is uncompressed, then:

- If you decide to go with Quicktime/H.264, here are your settings (bearing in mind that your desired output is 432x207):

Name: h264 (432x207, 24fps, 44.1, 96kps, 1500stream)
Audio Encoder
AAC, Stereo (L R), 44.100 kHz, VARIABLE BIT RATE @ 128 kb OR LOWER

Format: QT
Width: 432
Height: 207

Pixel aspect ratio: Square
Crop: (L: 0, T: 67, R: 0, B: 67)
Padding: None
Frame rate: 24 <---- YOU DON'T HAVE TO REDUCE THE FRAME RATE (AND SHOULDN'T, IMO, THE TRADE OFF BETWEEN JITTERS AND FILE SIZE IS NOT EQUAL)
Frame Controls: Automatically selected: ON
Codec Type: H.264
Multi-pass: On, frame reorder: On
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 75
Min. Spatial quality: 25
Temporal quality: 50
Min. temporal quality: 25

Average data rate: 1.536 (Mbps) <----- HERE IS YOUR PROBLEM. FOR THE FRAME SIZE YOU ARE GOING FOR, YOU DON'T NEED NEARLY THIS MUCH DATA. I WOULD REDUCE TO SOMETHING LIKE 400 kbps. THAT WILL BE MORE THAN ENOUGH. ALTERNATIVELY, YOU CAN JUST SET THE CODEC TO ENCODE AT "MEDIUM" QUALITY, IF YOU ARE DOWNCONVERTING YOUR SOURCE MOV TO A SMALLER FRAME SIZE.

Fast Start: on <---- COMPRESSED HEADER. FASTEST WAY TO GET A VIEWER TO YOUR VIDEO.

Now, if you decide to go with FLV, just set your encoding to 400 - 500 kbps (video), and 96 - 128 kbps audio. This is more than enough for your frame size. You can check out my website for an example of the former (Quicktime) encoding scheme: www.evanjwarden.com

One last thing. You mention how you lose saturation/gamma when converting to H.264. While this may appear to be the case, it is not. For some strange reason, H.264 degrades when played back in Quicktime. I don't know why, it just does. Try your H.264 in VLC...notice a difference?

There is a way to combat this though. In Compressor, under "Filters" you can modify the Gamma output. I wouldn't suggest going over 1.10. I usually go to this as a default. There is also a tab that says "Color". You want to change that to "Preserve Source". Those two tricks combined should help you greatly with color representation.

It's really a matter of taste. Once you see the results, you can tweak the settings 100kbps or more in either direction to achieve what you are going for. This method seems to strike a good balance between quality and file size.

Edited by Jamie Warden, 10 September 2008 - 09:31 PM.

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#3 Rod Blackhurst

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 11:21 AM

Jamie,

Thank you so much for what you've written. I'm going to employ your suggestions in a little bit here and will let you know how it works!

Cheers,

Rod
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#4 Jamie Warden

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:14 PM

You are quite welcome. Good luck!
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