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Compressing for SpotExpress delivery

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Bryce Leverich
Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 2:37:46 pm

Hello,
I was wondering if anyone out there delivers content via SpotExpress? My production department was recently tasked with going from tape delivery to electronic delivery via SpotExpress. I am having some problems getting a good image while maintaining their 300mb limit. Our uncompressed spots are :30 in length and roughly 420mb. I have tried the .H26 codec but the gamma loss is pretty noticeable to me. Does anyone have any suggestions on which codec to use? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Bryce Leverich


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 3:02:12 pm

I use DGFastchannel for spot delivery. Can you link to SpotExpress web page and/or PDF with their specs?

You haven't given a clue about their specs or your workflow so barring psychic powers it's hard to venture much more than wild guesses.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 2:58:17 pm

It looks like they don't provide any info either!
http://spotxpress.coxmedia.com/




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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 3:10:40 pm

Found it. It would be most helpful if you would have provided this along with the proper name of the service.

It's SpotXPress, not SpotExpress.

http://coxmedia.com/cfc/assets/pdf/SpotXPress_MP.pdf



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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 3:15:31 pm

You are probably right. My bad. Crazy companies with their "X's". Thanks for putting up with me :)

Bryce Leverich


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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 3:02:39 pm

Thanks,
SpotExpress needs the video in a QT container, so here are their QT accepted codecs:

QuickTime Apple Animation
QuickTime Apple BMP
QuickTime Apple Cinepak
QuickTime Apple Component Video
QuickTime Apple DV/DVCPRO
QuickTime Apple Graphics
QuickTime Apple H.261
QuickTime Apple Motion JPEG A
QuickTime Apple Motion JPEG B
QuickTime Apple MPEG-4
QuickTime Apple Photo JPEG
QuickTime Apple Planar RGB
QuickTime Apple PNG
QuickTime Apple TGA
QuickTime Apple TIFF
QuickTime Apple Video
QuickTime Avid DNxHD
QuickTime HDV
QuickTime IMX
QuickTime BlackMagic 10-bit
QuickTime BlackMagic RGB 10-bit
QuickTime DVCPro 50
QuickTime DVCPro 100/HD
QuickTime H.263
QuickTime H.264
QuickTime Intel Indeo Video 4.4
QuickTime JPEG 2000
QuickTime Omneon
Spotexpress does not have it's own website (strange I know, but according to tech support, it does not exist) but the mother company is VideoShip, http://videoship.com/

They require 720x480 or 720x486, 16bit audio and a max file size of 300mb.

I am using FCP export with QT conversion, but I also have Episode pro and Compressor.

Bryce Leverich


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 3:25:24 pm

It seems they don't have specs for slate and black as DG does. As you note .mov cuts a broad swath and they only have size limit rather than peak data rate ceiling.

300MB is rather hefty.
What's your source codec in FCP timeline?
You could probably deliver H.264 at something obscene like 50mbps and still be under 300MB for a 30 second spot.

Interesting that they have Black Magic 10 Bit but not "old fashioned" 8 or 10 bit Uncompressed. Heck they even accept DVPro100/HD. It looks like they'll accept many timeline codecs as is. It seems possible to do no compression at all in some cases.



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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 3:48:41 pm

We shoot in DVPRO-HD, timeline is uncompressed 10-bit. I am exporting an h264 at 50mbps as we speak.

Bryce Leverich


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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 5:07:44 pm

H264 at 50mbps looked great... only problem is it took over 30 minutes to encode. With our deadlines and the amount of spots we put out in one day, we can't encode that long.

I am going to go ahead and try some other codecs, and try to figure this out via trial and error. I really appreciate your help!


Bryce Leverich


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 5:29:49 pm

[Bryce Leverich] "it took over 30 minutes to encode"
G5 with one core, MacMini with 1 core, MacPro 8 core with QMaster set to 4 instances?
Time is a meaningless number without details.

As a auto mechanic might say, "I can't fix your vehicle on the phone. For all I know you're riding a tricycle."

Multi Core Mac use QMaster.
Try encoding on Episode using 2 Pass.

You could go with the "old reliable" MPEG2 Program stream (They mention .mpg as acceptable)





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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 5:37:08 pm

Sorry, wasn't asking for advice on the speed issue, otherwise I would have added that info. Just stating a fact. Unless you know of a way to keep the exact same export settings and quality while increasing encode time?

Bryce Leverich


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 5:58:27 pm

[Bryce Leverich] "Sorry, wasn't asking for advice on the speed issue, otherwise I would have added that info. Just stating a fact. Unless you know of a way to keep the exact same export settings and quality while increasing encode time?
"



Your reasoning is wrong on this. How you setup your system and/or what encoder you use has impact on speed. You can change those without fundamentally changing any settings (given differences with different encoders).

Please don't make assumptions. Describe the problem in detail and allow the diagnosticians to do their stuff.

"Runner says I'm running slow and my feat hurt. Can I change my feat to run faster? Coach suggests try putting on your running shoes."




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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotXpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 5:59:31 pm

Sorry! I didn't mean to be assuming. You are definitely the diagnostician on this, based on your profile you were doing this stuff before I was born :)

Here are my specs:
Mac Pro 2x3GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
4GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM

I am not very familiar with QMaster settings.

Sorry for being so ignorant on the subject, this is my first time really working with this type of compression.




Bryce Leverich


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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 7:04:23 pm

Craig,
The episode pro encoding was much faster, producing a great result. I salute you, and appreciate you staying with me on this. I have one final question for you on the episode encoding. SpotXpress only takes 4:3 video at 720x480/486. Our spots are in widescreen. I am needing to put my widescreen video into a 4:3 space with letterboxing (see attached pic). I am having a hard time doing this with episode, do you have any idea as to how to do this? The attached pic was a screengrab from the FCP QT conversion export. I am using Episode Pro ver. 4.4.

Thanks again

Bryce Leverich


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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 7:31:03 pm

sorry... Attached pic here.


Bryce Leverich


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 7:49:18 pm

Update Episode to 5.1.2 ASAP. There's been many bug fixes and improvements. There's really no reason you shouldn't have updated.

Use Resize Filter
Maintain Proportion with Letterbox (Pad)

ALWAYS start with an Episode template and then tweak if you are unsure of anything in Episode.



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Bryce Leverich
Re: Compressing for SpotExpress delivery
on May 19, 2009 at 5:25:44 pm

Thanks, I will try that. Again, I appreciate all your help!

Bryce Leverich


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