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Compressing 43 min HD vid for web

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chris Cummings
Compressing 43 min HD vid for web
on May 4, 2008 at 2:31:08 pm

Hi All,

We've got a 43 min piece in Final Cut ProRes HQ 1280 x 720 that we'd like to offer to clients via the web. Any recs on the best QT codec as most people will be viewing this on PCs? We'd also like to do a Flash version.

In the past I'd been pleasantly surprised how well HD compresses in Compressor (latest version), including the small file size, but I've run a number of tests and our 63GB file is still coming out hundreds of megabytes, even at low quality.

Any suggestions? Also, any recommendations on hiring someone, or a company to help with this?

Thanks so much,
~Chris


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing 43 min HD vid for web
on May 4, 2008 at 3:20:42 pm

[chris Cummings] "I've run a number of tests and our 63GB file is still coming out hundreds of megabytes, even at low quality. "

Do you have limited server space? Data rate should be more important than file size.

If you're targeting Windows users you can choose WMV. Flash will work but there may well be some corporate environments that block the install of Flash player as well as Quicktime (although I think blocking players is less and less frequent given the dominance of Flash).

You need to know your audience's potential data rate (Internet connection speed). If you need a free screening place you might consider Vimeo which can display 720p30 and allows the viewer to select Standard Def viewing if they don't have the internet connection speed. They use Flash 8 (On2VP6).

Of course you can do this on your own server. In any case you really need to have an idea of the connection speed/quality you're targeting to know what you want to compress it to.




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chris Cummings
Re: Compressing 43 min HD vid for web
on May 4, 2008 at 3:32:03 pm

Hi Craig,

Thanks for the reply. This would be for the modern corporate PC crowd, so I'm not sure what a safe data rate would be, but would assume our audience would have fairly decent computers/connection speeds.

I just saw a piece on Vimeo the other day, but this would be something we sell. I'm halving the image size to 640 x 360. Luckily, it's mostly talking heads (a training video), so not a lot of motion, etc. to contend with.

I don't have Flip4Mac yet, but tried the demo on a quick client piece and even with the highest settings it was pretty ugly. I know you have to expect that, but I was hoping with full HD that this would improve compression.

I'm wondering if we should just try to hire this out and leave it to the experts who can also do multiple formats. Do you (or anyone else) have any recommendations in the LA area?

Cheers,
~Chris



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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing 43 min HD vid for web
on May 4, 2008 at 3:44:20 pm

[chris Cummings] "I don't have Flip4Mac yet, but tried the demo on a quick client piece and even with the highest settings it was pretty ugly."

I have no problem doing WMV HD with Flip4Mac. I'm not sure what you mean by "highest" settings. Start with a preset and tailor.

[chris Cummings] "I just saw a piece on Vimeo the other day, but this would be something we sell. I'm halving the image size to 640 x 360."

Vimeo has private screening/by invitation only. Quality not good enough? On a modern PC I actually have no problem playing full screen 720p. Easily from the desktop and manageable for web playback. Target a data rate of 3000kbps and a cable modem from 5000kbps-15000kbps should handle this without a hitch.

More and more of my clients are asking for full HD size files given that most business have the bandwidth. Targeting consumers would bring things down a bit but in my area even typical DSL speeds are 1500kbps and faster DSL packages are 3000kbps. There are people with 768kbps DSL service but often that's not the target and certainly wouldn't be for business to business in my area. That's why knowing your target is critical.





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chris Cummings
Re: Compressing 43 min HD vid for web
on May 4, 2008 at 4:07:38 pm

Thanks again for the info Craig - we'll do some research on data rates for our clients, and I'll look into the Vimeo and WMV HD options.

Cheers,
~Chris



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Ben Waggoner
Re: Compressing 43 min HD vid for web
on May 5, 2008 at 3:37:31 am

As for data rate, with progressive download you can do WMV 720p @ 3-4 Mbps quite nicely, particularly if you use VBR for progressive download.

The new Expression Encoder 2 has the much improved VC-1 Encoder SDK incorporated, so for $199 you can get quite a bit smaller file sizes than in most other products (the Inlet and Rhozet encoders are excellent, and shipping with the SDK, but are $5000+).

Ben Waggoner
Principal Video Strategist, Silverlight
Microsoft Corporation

Compression Blog: on10.net/blogs/benwagg/
Compression Classes at Stanford and PSU: on10.net/blogs/benwagg/21622/


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chris Cummings
Re: Compressing 43 min HD vid for web
on May 5, 2008 at 6:08:48 am

Great info - many thanks Ben



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