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Joe Murray
best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 19, 2006 at 5:27:25 pm

I'm encoding mpeg-2 files with Cleaner and need to view them on the Mac when they're done. For some reason Quicktime shows them with huge blocky artifacts and field problems (yes I have the mpeg-2 component installed), but when I upload the files for digital delivery, the delivery company says they look great when output through their hardware (a Stradis card). Is their another software utility or player that will work on Mac for viewing mpeg-2?



Joe Murray


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Rich Rubasch
Re: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 20, 2006 at 12:19:48 am

I'm surprised...cleaner is notorious for making the most lousy MPEG-2 files on the planet. Do you trus the other end that the files actually look good? I'll bet dollars to donuts they don't.

Try compressor, BitVice or Main Concept on the Mac and see if your results aren't WAY better.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media


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Joe Murray
Re: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 20, 2006 at 3:13:32 am

Actually, the other end is FastChannel digital delivery service, and they said the file I encoded with Cleaner looked every bit as good as one I did with MainConcept. I encoded the same spot with both apps, with color bars on the front for calibration, and they said they were almost identical in quality. I did use a really high bit rate with Cleaner - 18 mbps constant - but when I played the Cleaner-encoded mpeg in Quicktime, it looked really bad. I like MainConcept OK, but since I already own Cleaner it would be better for me if it works as well as they say.

So back to my question. Is there another way to view mpeg-2 files on Mac? Anyone?

Joe Murray


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Joe Murray
Re: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 20, 2006 at 4:16:59 pm

OK, I figured out a way to view the files. Not on Mac, but on PC, the Cleaner mpeg-2 encodes look beautiful when played in Windows Media Player. In Quicktime they look like cr*p, but at least I can use WMP to verify quality and motion from the encode. I'm not sure why people don't like Cleaner for mpeg-2...these look really good.

Joe Murray


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Rich Rubasch
Re: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 21, 2006 at 3:45:16 am

Did you say 18 mbps? Isn't that way too high? Are you planning to make a DVd with that MPEG2 file? Conventional wisdom is not to exceed 6.2 mbps.

Also, in QT you might want to check the High quality setting under the movie properties menu. MPEG2 files look fine on all my Macs.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media


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Joe Murray
Re: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 21, 2006 at 12:55:21 pm

This is not for a DVD, it goes directly to a broadcast server and then to air (or cable), thus the high bit rate. I did check the settings as you suggest, and Quicktime's already set to high quality. Something about the Cleaner-encoded files doesn't work with Quicktime but works with Windows Media Player. I should see some of these encoded spots on TV this week and will try to report back to this thread on the quality once they've gone through this process.

Thanks for the input.

Joe Murray


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Joe Murray
Follow-up: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 25, 2006 at 2:26:57 am

Ok, I've seen two of my Cleaner-encoded spots playing back on air. They look great. At least as good as my DBeta to BetaSP dubs we used to ship out to all the stations. One other note, since MainConcept was one of the recommended options...I've received two confirmations from their support group that the Mac version produces darker mpeg-2 files than the original Quicktime in some cases. They're working on a fix, but for now I'm sticking with Cleaner.

Joe Murray


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Borjis
Re: Follow-up: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 29, 2006 at 4:20:16 pm


Joe I'm curious, could you list the exact specs your employing for spot delivery?

I keep telling the people in my town that would be the way to go as all the stations in town are digital and that betasp dubs are a waist of time and effort.

Have you delivered any HD transport streams yet?




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Joe Murray
Re: Follow-up: best mpeg-2 viewer for Mac
on Apr 29, 2006 at 4:51:39 pm

If you're using Cleaner, I can send you a Cleaner settings file that was sent to me; it works great. I did make some adjustments for gamma and contrast, and FastChannel techs tell me that my spots are dead on and need no adjustments. It depends what delivery service you're using; this method may not work with DG Systems, but it works with FastChannel. DG is buying/merging with FastChannel though, and I can only hope that this workflow will continue to be viable after the merger.

Send me an email through my website (editatjoes dot com) and I'll be glad to pass on the settings file for Cleaner. It will be Monday before I get back to that computer.

Also, I haven't delivered any HD streams yet.

Joe


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