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fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc

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carlos cidre
fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:31:16 pm

hey everyone, so here's my situation...
i'm handing out these little flash drives with my reel on them...
i finished editing it and i'm exporting to h.264...
it looks just the way i want on my mac in QT... small enough but sharp enough...
when i test on my pc... the compression looks all bad.. like slicing of the frame almost... out of sync with audio in some portions.. etc.

i figyre its the h.264 thing so i do mpeg-4
same thing works fine on the mac but not on the pc...

any suggestions with this? should i include 2 versions? one h.264 and one wmv?
or any compression suggestion so that they are fully compatible on both platforms?

thanks in advance
carlos
ps. i would also like to add, that the players used on the pc where, real, wmv, and quicktime and the all looked funky




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Daniel Low
Re: fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 19, 2009 at 4:25:58 pm

Quicktime player is not as good on Windows as it is on Mac, that said it shouldn't be THAT much worse than on the Mac.

Personally I use VLC on both Mac and Windows, it's better than any of the players you mention.

It might be wise of you to encode to WMV/VC-1 as well as H.264.

__________________________________________________________________
Fonts are like cologne:

A bad choice speaks louder than a good one.


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Chris Blair
Re: fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 20, 2009 at 2:29:40 am

Another thing that contributes to a perceived difference in quality is that Windows and Macs treat gamma differently.

The difference between the default gamma on a Mac (1.8 I think) and PC (2.5) is huge. Some compression software has options to adjust the gamma or set in the middle of the two defaults for the platforms (2.1 typically) so you get decent looking output on both platforms.

In fact, different media players will display the exact same video much differently. We usually play file in a bunch of players (if it's a really important client) to just check the quality. Some players include VLC, KMPlayer (Free and a GREAT player), BSPlayer (sucks), Zoom Player, Wimpy for FLV's (also free), as well as Quicktime and Windows Media Player. Most all of those listed are free or only cost $29...so if you do a lot of encoding, it's worth it to test playback.


Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Daniel Low
Re: fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 20, 2009 at 12:58:58 pm

Not quite:

Traditionally Mac defaulted to 1.8 (the ideal Gamma setting) and Windows it's undefined but anything between 2.2 to 2.5 - assume 2.2. The ideal Gamma is at 1.8 as it has near perfect uniformity but most of the worlds computers are running windows so...go figure!

So, two sides to the above;

Pro photographers and those working in print have known for a while now to calibrate Macs to 2.2/D65. In fact Apple cinema displays have been set to 2.2 for a while.

Regarding video, you'll find that modern codecs auto correct for Gamma across platforms and devices.

There is however a bug with Quicktime H.264 that exhibits an annoying gamma shift.

As for players, there simply no need for anything other than Quicktime with Perian alongside VLC, between the two you have everything covered. I don't recommend players to clients that aren't cross platform. When I'm on a PC I use VLC 99% of the time.




__________________________________________________________________
Fonts are like cologne:

A bad choice speaks louder than a good one.


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Chris Blair
Re: fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 21, 2009 at 1:00:02 am

Several of those I listed are cross-platform and will also play Flash. KM_Player and Zoom will play just about anything and both have some incredibly deep and useful feature sets. I actually prefer both of those to VLC. BSPlayer is similar and will play just about anything as well. We've found it to be buggy compared to Zoom and KM player so we don't use it on a daily basis, but there are millions of end-users that prefer BSPlayer.

On the gamma thing. Carbon Coder has options for selecting gamma correction on probably half it's HUGE list of export options. It literally has hundreds of presets for various format, codec, wrapper combinations.

And not that many end-users are going to have Cinema displays, or even know anything about setting up their consumer level display or their software playback device. So we've found it's better to output stuff right in the middle of the two values (1.8 and 2.5). It will sometimes look a little washed out on certain PC setups, but it's better than it being muddy and dark on the systems expecting 2.5 and getting a video with 1.8.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Daniel Low
Re: fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 21, 2009 at 2:17:31 pm

Chris, are you just teasing me?

"Several of those I listed are cross-platform and will also play Flash"

You listed 7 players in total, 3 are cross platform.

"On the gamma thing. Carbon Coder has options for selecting gamma correction on probably half it's HUGE list of export options".

Gamma is a preprocessing filter and as such can be applied to any target (or indeed source), not half of them. In reality however you'd only want to apply it to web targets or specific devices.

That said, you are missing my point.

If you are delivering to a typical audience on the web, then 90% of them will be using windows and 8% Mac, on average. If you author on PC, it does not make sense to Gamma adjust for that 8%.

Everything these days should be done, and in my experience is being done and delivered at a Gamma of 2.2

I deal with encoding farms processing well over 1000 hours of content a day, which is then delivered to a variety of platforms and devices internationally. Gamma is 2.2 for everything.

Your mileage may vary.

P.S. - I notice the videos on your website have a frame size of 320x235, I'm curious as to how you came by such an odd frame size?

You may find this useful for finding a correct size:

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/apps/flv_bitrate_calculator/video_sizes.h...






__________________________________________________________________
Fonts are like cologne:

A bad choice speaks louder than a good one.


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Chris Blair
Re: fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 22, 2009 at 4:18:06 am

I'm not trying to get into a peeing contest here..just trying to help the original poster. The gamma issue could've have contributed to what he was seeing in the difference in quality in playing his video on a PC, then a MAC.

And I pointed out that we output virtually everything "in the middle" of the 1.8 and 2.5 extremes, (at 2.1), so not sure how I am missing the point.

4 of the players I listed are cross-platform, not 3.

What I meant about Carbon Coder was that it has options listed on all those presets for gamma correction, with drop-downs for various settings. I was just pointing out that one of the leading encoding programs out there recognizes that adjusting the gamma of files is something that might need to be done.

The .flv videos on our site are 320x240. There's an error in the way the .swf player skin instructions interacts with the video. We noticed it when we first put the videos up over a year and a half ago, but like a lot of people, have just never gotten around to fixing it. It doesn't significantly affect how they look. YouTube does the same thing...it's player window almost always incorrectly sizes your video no matter how much you jack around with trying to get it to display exactly the right size. As soon as you figure out what they're doing, they change their settings.

Our newer videos size correctly in the player skin they're in. And thanks but I know the various recognized sizes for outputting videos for the web.

I don't post suggestions or answers without first making sure they're valid. And what I posted was a valid possibility concerning the thread. And the information about all the other available players is also valid considering how each processes a digital file differently and each affects the perceived quality and color values of the exact same video. I've seen videos that are beautifully encoded look like dog crap when played on certain PC systems using various players.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Chris Blair
Re: fcp export looks fine on quicktime on a mac but bad on a pc
on Feb 22, 2009 at 5:45:10 pm

When I was referring to the media players as being "cross-platform," I probably used the wrong terminology. I wasn't referring to them working on both a MAC and a PC, I was talking about their ability to playback virtually any format and codec.

We constantly have clients (ad agencies, marketing deptartments at corporations, non-profits etc.) who receive a video file (from us or someone else), and they can't play it. So we always recommend players other than their OS default, typically KMPlayer first (for Windows) because it's free, doesn't require an installation, and will play almost anything. Then BSPlayer, because it also has a free version, then VLC.

For clients using MACs we work with them to setup Flip4Mac with Quicktime, VLC or Mplayer (one I didn't mention originally that'll work on just about any OS).

Anyway...for those out there that are just trying to get their files to play and look correct, or for people that only occasionally do compression, it can get incredibly confusing, frustrating and time-consuming when dealing with all the variants.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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