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MPEG-4 - Is this the way to go?

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Richard17
MPEG-4 - Is this the way to go?
on Apr 5, 2006 at 12:31:16 pm

I have a series of 2 minute Final Cut Pro (3.0) projects that I want to put on the www. I have QTPro (6.5.2). Assuming the viewers will have a resonable fast connection to the internet (eg. Comcast Cable)what are your suggestions for export/compression.

I'm inclined to go with MPEG-4.

-How will this affect viewer base (potential numbers of PC/Mac user that will be able to view the files)?

-Can better quality/lower data rates be achieved using non-Apple proprietary softeware?

Thanks!







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Ed
Re: MPEG-4 - Is this the way to go?
by
on Apr 5, 2006 at 8:06:42 pm

Various numbers get bandied about as to how many computers have Windows Media, QT, Flash, Real, etc.
But it's a fact that far more people have WM than QT, and Flash is embedded in browsers. Another issue is
what versions of those players do users have (the new H264 codec requires QT7, for example, and WM9 requires
WMPlayer 9, or the user can download small updates to play WM9 on older WM players. We're getting closer to
doing everything in Flash8 (but it's not as ubiquitous as we'd like yet), but in the meantime we mostly do a WM9
*and* MPEG4 .mov version. We're using Compression Master. Those 2 cover virtually everybody, and sometimes
we add a Flash version. If you need everyone to view your video, some PC users won't be able to play it if it's an
MPEG4 because WMP doesn't support them. Flip4Mac is a plugin that enables any QT encoder, including QT Pro to
export WMV files. Generally, encoders like Compression Master (or ProCoder on PC) enable a lot more tweaking than
QTPro.
Ed



[Richard17] "I have a series of 2 minute Final Cut Pro (3.0) projects that I want to put on the www. I have QTPro (6.5.2). Assuming the viewers will have a resonable fast connection to the internet (eg. Comcast Cable)what are your suggestions for export/compression.

I'm inclined to go with MPEG-4.

-How will this affect viewer base (potential numbers of PC/Mac user that will be able to view the files)?

-Can better quality/lower data rates be achieved using non-Apple proprietary softeware?"




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Craig Seeman
Re: MPEG-4 - Is this the way to go?
on Apr 9, 2006 at 2:29:50 pm

If your target is in the corporate/business market WM9 dominates. Many company IT departments won't allow Quicktime Player on their systems. WMP 7.1 and up can get a free component update to play WM9. I have bumped into a client or two who still only have WMP6.4 on their systems. That's a bad business decision on their part IMHO. Windows NT has hung on for a long time and some of those systems may be using WMP7.1 though.

In the entertainment market (movie trailers, music videos, etc) you'll find much deeper Quicktime penetration. You can use either or both WM and Quicktime compatible formats. Good encoding front ends like Squeeze and Compression Master can make good MPEG-4. I don't like Apple's Compressor or QTPro's MPEG-4 at all. Squeeze can also do very good Sorenson Pro files as can Cleaner if you BUY the Sorenson Pro codec. What I like about Quicktime compatible codecs such as MPEG-4 and Sorenson Pro mov files is that you can jog them one frame at a time in Quicktime Player. WM can't be jogged like that in WMP on either platform ALTHOUGH a Mac with Flip4Mac, which can play WMV in Quicktime, takes advantage of the Quicktime jog feature (but Windows users will still be "stuck" with their WMP). If your target is entertainment I'd use a GOOD MPEG-4 encode or Sorenson Pro.

H.264. I love the quality and file size efficiency. It can't be beat at the moment (IMHO). The problem is some Mac users and many PC users haven't updated to it though. If quality is critical I'd do H.264 and provide a link to QT7 free download with an explanation. Motivated viewers will make the download. You have to know/expect that your viewer is motivated and demanding high quality though.

Flash. In my very subjective opinion I'm not crazy about Flash for video on Player 7 and earlier. On2 is very good but requires people to have updated to Player 8. Given the ubiquitous nature of Flash (many Windows users who don't have Quicktime DO have Flash) some feel Player 8 penetration will happen quickly.

The above is just the opinion of this compressionst (and shared by some and other may disagree) but I'd thought I'd give you my reasoning.
In most cases I'd go with WMV9 and a good MPEG4 or Sorenson Pro encode.


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cowcowcowcow
Dorian Gray
Re: MPEG-4 - Is this the way to go?
on Apr 13, 2006 at 11:39:20 pm

The previous posters have basically summed it up, but I thought I'd emphasise that QuickTime's MPEG-4 export quality is truly woeful compared to Sorenson Squeeze or Popwire's Compression Master (which both do excellent MPEG-4 SP/ASP and very good H.264). QuickTime 7 exports lovely H.264, roughly comparable to other good H.264 codecs, but QuickTime 6 doesn't do H.264 of course. There really isn't a world-class delivery codec option in QuickTime 6, unfortunately.

If your content is compelling, I feel many people would download QuickTime 7 if you give them a link and a brief explanatory note (it seems likely that most Mac users and many Windows users have moved to QuickTime 7 by now anyway). You could then offer a delicious H.264 MOV as well as a WMV (check out Popwire's WMV-9 Component: it's been recently upgraded but it's still cheaper than Flip4Mac's option). These options (QuickTIme H.264 and Flip4Mac/Popwire WMV) would cost a lot less than a dedicated professional encoder such as Squeeze or CM, and may well give perfectly acceptable quality. The Popwire and Flip4Mac QuickTime components are available for trial, and you can take it from me that QuickTime 7's H.264 is excellent.


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