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encoding for web streaming


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#1 Dan Goulder

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 02:50 PM

I need to encode a steaming trailer for the web, and was wondering which codec, compression, and data rate I should shoot for. I'm currently using a Mac, which I haven't used before for this purpose. Will Quicktime files play on most computers, or should I also encode a separate Windows file? I know there are different data rates, frame sizes, and levels of quality. I'm aiming for the highest quality that is still playable on most typical computers and monitors. The source material is super 35. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 03:45 PM

so long as the computer has quicktime it'll play quicktime. Most pcs have quicktime these days (if they have itunes, they certainly do).
I'd work with the h.264 codec, it works pretty well-- they use it for the apple.com/trailers trailers.
There's a preset in Compressor for H.264 called h.264 for apple tv which i think is 720p; looks nice. I also use the preset, h.264 for ipod and iphone for a smaller file size for the downloads of my reel (example : http://adriansierkow...com/demo4_1.mov )
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 06:47 PM

This is a huge topic and you could write a book about it.

All Macs have quicktime, but that's a tiny amount of the internet; other computers are generally somewhat more likely to have Flash than Quicktime. I find that the Quicktime has somewhat clunkier performance in general and Flash tends to handle video more easily - there's less browser lockup before things start playing, and the experience is generally more fluid. Also, although Quicktime has improved massively of late, Flash does support a wider variety of h.264's optional extensions which can improve bitrate-to-quality ratio.

There's probably no reason to consider anything other than h.264. It's possible to create files that are playable with both quicktime and flash, which would maximise the playability of the thing, although it's just as easy to create two files and avoid the messing about. It's somewhat less easy to create a web page which will automatically evaluate the availability of either plugin and serve the appropriate content, but you can always have a "try the other option" button.

Even though a lot of internet connections claim lots and lots of megabits, it's often not a good idea to go above about 750kpbs or 1Mbps without having the user specifically hit a "high bitrate please" button. It's possible to make most SD or sub-SD video look somewhat acceptable at these rates, with careful encoding. HD needs, well, several megabits.

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#4 Matt Irwin

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 02:09 PM

D.Goulder- If you're going for Flash or even H.264, I've had amazing results using Sorenson Squeeze instead of Compressor or Final Cut. I am Mac / FCP based too and it seems that no matter what I did, compressor just f*cked up the gamma, color, or compression in general. For my reel, I ended up using Flash's ON2VP6 codec out of Squeeze with sources ranging from TK'd film to DV to HD, and it beat what the Apple software was giving me by leaps and bounds.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:40 PM

I use the free tool ffmpeg.

ffmpeg -deinterlace -i inputfile.mov -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -vcodec libx264 -s 640x480 -aspect 4:3 -vpre libx264-hq.ffpreset -crf 20 -threads 0 outputfile.mp4

Adjust resolution, deinterlacing and aspect ratio to suit; decrease CRF factor to increase bitrate.

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