Just wondering if I could have some help with this:
Im in a new company and the workflow needs maximum compatibility for external reviewers who dont care about downloading new software and just want to click a button and watch. Because most people still have PCs, our current workflow seems to be using QT7 and flip4mac pro to export to WMV for initial review, then export to FLV for final uploading the site and for better quality. I would like to make a case for using the H264 codec within a wrapper which maximizes quality but more importantly compatibility on PCs for viewing and streaming, as well as exporting from FCP.
With this in mind, can anyone tell me issues or implications with using H264 for internet streaming and for PC viewing?
What's the best (most compatible) wrapper to use? (eg should I work under the assumption most people have quicktime and therefore .mov files are fine?)
Re: Case for H264 by Jason Brown on Jan 6, 2011 at 3:35:56 pm
A couple thoughts from me on this. I have the luxury of working with most people who are on macs, so h264 plays natively for most everyone I deal with. The others in our company who are on PC, I suggest VLC as a playback software. It's free, and fast. Quicktime on a PC takes longer to open than VLC and I like the VLC interface better.
If you end up doing mostly h264, you should look at Matrox compressHD card...its truly a game changer in terms of spitting out files.
Thanks Jeremy, I have used this option for previous clients, but the situation is different here, so youtube is not an option unfortunately. I guess my biggest concern is that I want it to be a smooth transition for any reviewers, who don't want to be downloading additional software to make things work. Also options like VLC aren't internet browser plugins, Im interested mainly in their ability to stream it from a site on a PC without having to do anything extra. Do you think H264 will be problematical here?
H264 in a QuickTime or MP4 wrapper, played on a flash player is what I would recommend. That's what we used when we developed our video review and approval application called ScreenLight. In fact, sounds like ScreenLight is something that may be ideal for your work-flow. Unlike YouTube, its brand-able (you can style screening rooms with your company logo and colors) and it's dead simple to accommodate end clients who don't want to spend time on anything with a steep learning curve. Like you said, they just want to click a button and watch. Anyway, it's free to try, and completely web based - so nothing to download. Check it out at http://www.screenlight.tv
When Flash was king everyone went in that direction because Adobe was clearly able to prove that it was deployed on vastly more computers than any other web delivery video type. But, those days are over now, and h.264 plays on all of those same players today.
Also, what type of industry is your client in anyway? That's very important to know when advising on these types of matters.
I've had major problems delivering h264 to some people. If you are talking about delivering to places where computers are handed to people and the have no control over what software goes on them, h264 .movs aren't a good idea, in my experience for whatever it's worth. wmv has been the only way for some.
Re: Case for H264 by Mark Suszko on Jan 6, 2011 at 5:42:53 pm
We have had good luck using h.264 for similar work, but instead of streaming, we use FTP with a service that's very much like yousendit. To make the vids fit our FTP service's limits I usually shrink 'em to 350 CIF size, which is good enough for approvals, especially for short things like spots. For the PC folks, we give them a link to VLC player or bundle it on a disk for them to install. I *think* the latest version of iTunes will also play it.
I have had massive success by creating a h264 at 500k with fast start and acc 80khz audio then all I do is change from a .mov the .flv - create a web page with flow player as a container and everyone can view it ... No need for dup formats and looks awesome ( sorry starting to sound like mr jobs )
Re: Case for H264 by Jason Brown on Jan 7, 2011 at 10:03:11 am
There was a discussion going on over in the Adobe After Effects forum regarding this exact conversation (h264 in a Flash playback container). Todd Kopriva had some good links...having trouble finding it this morning... :)