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Compression for the web

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george dv
Compression for the web
on Nov 2, 2006 at 9:06:46 pm

Hello,
I'm building my editing website, and am trying to display a couple of videos as embedded clips on the page. It's entertainment-based work, so I am using Quicktime as my primary format. I'm working on a MAC G5 with FCP 5.1.2, Compressor, Quicktime Pro, and After Effects 6.5. I have two clips that I'd like to put on my site. The first one is just over 2 minutes, and is flashy and graphics-heavy. I imagine it will require a better quality in order to really be seen well. The second one is about 6 minutes, and is more of a storytelling reel. It should look decent, but I don't think it needs to be as pristine as the first reel. I have been trying various settings from After Effects (its all 16x9, so I am using a 320x180 export frame size, and cropped it in After Effects via comp size).

Here are the big questions: Is 6 minutes just too long to look ok and not take forever to download? I don't want people to sit there and wait for 15 minutes just to see my 6 minute clip. I imagine they'll give up after 3-4 minutes of waiting. The current version I have of this clip is 60MB or so, and it looks ok, but not great. I really like how the H264 codec looks, but am concerned that it just makes the files too big. Is there a particular setting (or group of settings) to be aware of for progressive download? One of my pet peeves is watching a progressive download where the playback keeps catching up to the download, and keeps stopping. Would love to avoid that.

I REALLY appreciate any help. I've been through some of the postings here, and am still looking for some additional info.

Thanks,
George


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Ed
Re: Compression for the web
by
on Nov 2, 2006 at 9:46:40 pm

Your 6 minute long video is playing back at almost T1 speed, so, yes, people are going to have to wait awhile if they have a slow DSL
connection. I'm really surprised that you're saying a small size of 320x180 at such a high data rate doesn't look great. It should look very
good with that size at that rate. Are you scaling it to size in AE first, then compressing it in Compressor? AE does a great job scaling, but
you might try exporting it at full size and scaling it as you compress it. Compressor 2's scaling is pretty good. I would actually suggest
*lowering* the data rate. You might want to provide 2 versions, a high bandwidth (1Mbs) and a lower version (500kbs). Only folks with the fastest connections will get a streaming experience with the size files you have now. The H.264 codec creates smaller file sizes at the same data rate as older QT codecs, so it's not making file sizes too big (as you think). I think 6 minutes might be too long for a reel, so you might think about shortening that long one.
HTH,
Ed

[george dv] "Hello,
I'm building my editing website, and am trying to display a couple of videos as embedded clips on the page. It's entertainment-based work, so I am using Quicktime as my primary format. I'm working on a MAC G5 with FCP 5.1.2, Compressor, Quicktime Pro, and After Effects 6.5. I have two clips that I'd like to put on my site. The first one is just over 2 minutes, and is flashy and graphics-heavy. I imagine it will require a better quality in order to really be seen well. The second one is about 6 minutes, and is more of a storytelling reel. It should look decent, but I don't think it needs to be as pristine as the first reel. I have been trying various settings from After Effects (its all 16x9, so I am using a 320x180 export frame size, and cropped it in After Effects via comp size).

Here are the big questions: Is 6 minutes just too long to look ok and not take forever to download? I don't want people to sit there and wait for 15 minutes just to see my 6 minute clip. I imagine they'll give up after 3-4 minutes of waiting. The current version I have of this clip is 60MB or so, and it looks ok, but not great. I really like how the H264 codec looks, but am concerned that it just makes the files too big. Is there a particular setting (or group of settings) to be aware of for progressive download? One of my pet peeves is watching a progressive download where the playback keeps catching up to the download, and keeps stopping. Would love to avoid that.

I REALLY appreciate any help. I've been through some of the postings here, and am still looking for some additional info."




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george dv
Re: Compression for the web
on Nov 4, 2006 at 7:28:09 pm

Thanks so much to both of you. I think my main issues were too high of a bitrate, not using progressive download, and possibly too long of a reel (both technically, and professionally).

So I did the following: exported from AE to a 640x360 animation codec QT file (which essentially was the same as dropping my letterboxed 4x3 footage into a square pixel frame and losing the top and bottom crops, resulting in a 16x9 frame). Once I had the animation codec file, I encoded to 300kbps H264 in Compressor, did the scaling in Compressor, and used progressive download. The resulting file size of the 5 minute reel was 13.6mb, and of the 2 minute reel - 5mb. These now load very quickly, and playback is nice (no stopping to catch the stream). The only issue now is that PC users who don't have Quicktime 7 are prompted to adjust MIME settings. The general result has been audio playback, but no video.

Does anyone encode for IPOD settings and just embed that onto a page? I'm guessing that would eliminate some compatibility issues, since IPODs are so popular.

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR ADVICE. Here are the links if you want to check out the playback.

http://www.georgemandl.com/reels/promo300.mov

http://www.georgemandl.com/reels/real%20doc300.mov


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Charles Simonson
Re: Compression for the web
on Nov 5, 2006 at 8:02:14 am

When I encode for iPod, I encode to two sizes: MPEG-4 Part 2 Main Profile at sizes up to 368x208 and 800kbps; MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC, H264) Baseline Profile at up to 640x360 and 1400kbps. MPEG-4 Part 2 only requires QT6, while QT7 is required for H264. Now, it is possible for someone to have iTunes installed on their PC and not have QT7 as well, although they would have had to not updated their iTunes in quite a while. iTunes 7 requires QT7 and most later versions of 6 required QT7. But it sounds like the machine you were trying to view the encodes on was a QT6-only machine, as it could decode the audio (likely AAC which was compatible with QT6 as well). If you installed QT7 or if your client has updated their iTunes, then they should be able to view your encodes as is.



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george dv
Re: Compression for the web
on Nov 7, 2006 at 7:33:20 pm

Thanks! This really clears things up for me. There are so many options and variables out there that things can get overwhelming. Those are good specs and I am going to use them myself. Thank you.

George


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Charles Simonson
Re: Compression for the web
on Nov 3, 2006 at 8:36:07 pm

As long as you enable progressive downloading with QT and have a fast enough server to feed the video, then you should be good. After a few seconds of waiting (~10 - 15), the clip should start playing and with any luck the user will never recognize that the video is really that big of a download. For reference, take a look at Apple's trailers site, the 480p trailers average about 40MB for a 2 min 30 sec clip. But then again I wouldn't recommend you encode to a frame size larger 480x270 for most web video, especially demo reels for the web.



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