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Matt Jones
wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 29, 2010 at 8:39:16 pm

I'm producing an autoplay CD to be distributed around the world to assist with administering a drug study.

I'm compressing a 720x540 windows media file straight out of After effects using the export wmv command and flip4Mac. I'm using a 2-pass CBR of 400 @ 15 fps. It looks good enough, but still kinda blocky when compared to some H264 stuff I've done.

The issue at hand is compatibility. What's the difference between WMV9 Advanced versus the WMV9 Standard? With these CDs going to Romania, Hungary, and Poland, I want to make sure they are as compatible as possible.

Your time and responses will be appreciated.

Matt


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Daniel Low
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 29, 2010 at 9:32:01 pm

[Matt Jones] "I'm producing an autoplay CD to be distributed around the world to assist with administering a drug study"

WMV whether Standard or advanced is a very bad choice then.

[Matt Jones] "720x540 windows media file straight out of After effects using the export wmv command and flip4Mac. I'm using a 2-pass CBR of 400 @ 15 fps."

720x540 at 400Kb/s is very aggressive - is the content mostly static? You should be able to double that bit rate easily.

Why 15fps? - even a crappy old mobile device can handle a full frame rate.

If you want the widest compatibility use MPEG-4 SP or MPEG-1, not WMV.


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Matt Jones
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 2:28:08 pm

>>720x540 at 400Kb/s is very aggressive - is the content mostly static? You should be able to double that bit rate easily.<<

The video was shot at 1920x1080 and scaled to fit in the top 2/3 of the frame. I have subtitles over black in the bottom 1/3.

It looks OK, but I wanted to keep the bitrate and framerate as low as possible in case I ran into some slow Windows95 machines out there. I'm all about switching to another codec, but I'm afraid mp4-SP might be too new for some older machines. I don't want them to come up with some message that they don't have the right codec or they need to download one. I'm assuming Windows Media Player will be the default player. What's your experience with mp4 compatibility?

Is MPEG-4 SP also known as "improved? In my export dialog from AE I have "basic" and "Improved" Also, If I choose "ISMA", I can't change the frame size to custom.

Of course mpeg-1 is the most widely accepted. If I use mpeg-1, what would you suggest as the top bitrate for playback from CD? How do you think MPEG-1 compares to WMV9 at equal bitrates?

Thanks for your help.

Mj

Matt Jones
Metro Productions, Inc.
Raleigh, NC


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Daniel Low
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 5:10:34 pm

[Matt Jones] "It looks OK, but I wanted to keep the bitrate and framerate as low as possible in case I ran into some slow Windows95 machines out there"

A locked down Win95 PC would not be able to play WMV without an update but would be able to play MPEG-1. Anyhow

[Matt Jones] "Is MPEG-4 SP also known as "improved? In my export dialog from AE I have "basic" and "Improved" Also, If I choose "ISMA", I can't change the frame size to custom."

MPEG-4 SP = Simple Profile or rather MPEG-4 Part 2. (MPEG-4 Part 10 is H.264)

ISMA = Internet Streaming Media Alliance. Don't choose it. It's designed for streaming over IP networks

Do not use AE to transcode your videos, it's a compositing and special effects application with some powerful video processing tools, it's not a transcoder. Get a dedicated piece of software to do it.

[Matt Jones] "Of course mpeg-1 is the most widely accepted. If I use mpeg-1, what would you suggest as the top bitrate for playback from CD? How do you think MPEG-1 compares to WMV9 at equal bitrates? "

MPEG-1 was designed for CD playback and was released in 1992. You could happily use a video datarate of 1.5Mb/s and be safe in the knowledge that it would play on pretty well every computer out there with a CD-ROM drive.

How does it compare to WMV9? I'll let you guess!



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Matt Jones
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 5:48:34 pm

Thanks again for your insight:

>>MPEG-4 SP = Simple Profile or rather MPEG-4 Part 2. (MPEG-4 Part 10 is H.264)

So how does that correspond to "basic" and "improved"?

>>Do not use AE to transcode your videos, it's a compositing and special effects application with some powerful video processing tools, it's not a transcoder. Get a dedicated piece of software to do it.

I have interlaced HD video in the top 2/3. I have vector text that I am compositing in AE. If I do the compression in AE, it separates the fields of video correctly while giving me nice crisp text in the progressive output. It uses the same Flip4Mac 2-pass wmv encoder that any of my other Quicktime-based application would use. What is the advantage of doing a primary compression to a lossless format and then going to wmv? I could use compressor for this workflow, but I don't see the advantage.

Thanks,

Mj



Matt Jones
Metro Productions, Inc.
Raleigh, NC


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Daniel Low
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 6:17:59 pm

[Matt Jones] "So how does that correspond to "basic" and "improved"? "

This is Quicktime specific. Always choose improved.

[Matt Jones] " It uses the same Flip4Mac 2-pass wmv encoder that any of my other Quicktime-based application would use"

If you used a dedicated application like Episode, from Telestream (the same people who make Flip4Mac) you'd get MUCH better results and also be able to make the MPEG-1 along with every other format you're likely to come across.



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Matt Jones
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 6:44:04 pm

Thanks Daniel. I'm downloading Episode now.

I'll try some tests versus the Flip4Mac encoder. If it's that much better, we need it. Since it seems that the whole world has decided to watch their videos on their laptop PCs, that's how my videos will have to be encoded.

Do you know if Episode 5.3.1 will replace my Flip4Mac codecs/settings? If I don't end up purchasing, will there be any issues getting Episode uninstalled and Flip4Mac to work again?


Matt Jones
Metro Productions, Inc.
Raleigh, NC


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Craig Seeman
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 6:53:56 pm

Episode and Flip4Mac can live happily on the same system. I have both. Episode has lots more control and excellent processing filters such as a very controllable deinterlace filter.



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Daniel Low
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 7:22:53 pm

There you go, I was going to say that Craig is your man for all things Episode related.

Craig: I assume the cheque is in the post? ;-)

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Matt Jones
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 9:34:34 pm

After downloading and testing Episode Pro, I believe that After Effects might still be the best tool for this job.

The fly in the ointment is a 720x540 square pixel frame containing downscaled interlaced video AND vector based text generated by AE.

Here's what I did: I output a 720x540 interlaced quicktime using the Animation codec. I opened the file in Episode, selected a template, changed the size and checked that it was deinterlacing it properly.

I got a very large file with good looking video and crappy (1 field) text. I'm going to try again, producing a progressive Animation Quicktime for my source file.

Matt Jones
Metro Productions, Inc.
Raleigh, NC


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Daniel Low
Re: wmv Advanced or standard
on Mar 30, 2010 at 10:20:28 pm

[Matt Jones] "The fly in the ointment is a 720x540 square pixel frame containing downscaled interlaced video AND vector based text generated by AE.
"


What is it with you and interlace?

As soon as you downscale 1080i it's deinterlaced, your problem is that you currently are not controlling how it's being deinterlaced.

[Matt Jones] "Here's what I did: I output a 720x540 interlaced quicktime using the Animation codec. I opened the file in Episode, selected a template, changed the size and checked that it was deinterlacing it properly. "

Why are you outputting interlaced?.

Simply deinterlace the 1080i and work progressive from there on.



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