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Universal QuickTime Recipe for Mac & PC

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Thomas Miller
Universal QuickTime Recipe for Mac & PC
on May 23, 2011 at 3:25:57 pm

Greetings compression experts,

We are producing a series of training DVDs on lighting, that will be distributed right here on the COW. I am running into a slight technical glitch that I'm hoping someone can help me with. The DVDs will actually be DVD-ROMS that one can put in their computer to play the files. Each chapter will be accessed via an html landing page that one uses his or her browser to open.

Per the publisher's request, we are compressing them to QuickTime, but are having problems creating a universal "recipe" for Quicktime that looks good on a PC platform (running Quicktime). The files look great on Mac running QuickTime. The original footage was shot in HD, and since it's about lighting, it's critical that it look good. We are using Final Cut and Compressor.

My question is, has anyone come up with a compression "recipe" that provides files that look good on PC and Mac - both running Quicktime? Is this even possible?

Tom Miller
Big Pictures Media
Denver, Colorado

http://www.BigPicturesMedia.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Universal QuickTime Recipe for Mac & PC
on May 23, 2011 at 8:34:11 pm

[Thomas Miller] "having problems creating a universal "recipe" for Quicktime that looks good on a PC platform (running Quicktime). The files look great on Mac running QuickTime."

I don't know of such "universal" recipe. There are too many variables. At the very least you'd need to articulate why the files looked better on the Mac then on the PC with Quicktime. I can make a long list of guesses but those would be blind. You really need to provide details described as technically as possible ranging from gamma to macroblocking issues as well as the computer specs of the Mac and the PC for comparison.

At the top of this forum there's a sticky about getting the fastest compression help. Please read it.



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Thomas Miller
Re: Universal QuickTime Recipe for Mac & PC
on May 24, 2011 at 12:18:04 pm

Sorry for not reading that sticky first. Here are more details (probably way more than you need!):

Computer doing the compressing - Mac 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad Core Intel xeon running 10.6.7,
and most recent version of FCP and Compressor.

The majority of the original footage was shot using a Panasonic HPX170 P2 camera onto DVCPRO HD footage, 720p with a frame rate of 29.97. Additional footage was shot with a Panasonic HDX900 HD camera and encoded with a Kona LHe into ProRes 422. Both were intercut into DVCPRO HD 720p/60 sequences, vid rate 29.97, and aspect of 960x720.

We've tried many compression paths, but the latest was to export those files out of Final Cut as self-contained files with no setting changes (Export as Quicktime Movie). Then we brought them into Compressor and did a batch compression using a with the following settings:

File Extension: mov
Estimated size: 691.2 MB/hour of source
Audio Encoder
AAC, Mono, 44.100 kHz
Video Encoder
Format: QT
Width: (100% of source)
Height: (100% of source)
Pixel aspect ratio: Default
Crop: None
Padding: None
Frame rate: 29.97
Frame Controls: Off
Codec Type: H.264
Multi-pass: On, frame reorder: On
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 75
Min. Spatial quality: 50
Temporal quality: 50
Min. temporal quality: 50
Average data rate: 1.536 (Mbps)
Maximum data rate: 20.972 (Mbps)
Hinted for QuickTime
streaming server

This created files with the following specs - Here is one example:

Format: H.264, 960x720, AAC, 1 channel, 44100
FPS: 29.97
Data Size = 13MB
Rate of 1,571 kbit/sec

These files look great on our Macs, but are described as looking "washed out" when played on someone's Window's computer who is testing the files. They look good on someone else's Windows computer. Both say they are running Windows 7, and have the latest version of QuickTime.

Any thoughts?

Tom Miller
Big Pictures Media
Denver, Colorado

http://www.BigPicturesMedia.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Universal QuickTime Recipe for Mac & PC
on May 24, 2011 at 4:20:42 pm

[Thomas Miller] "These files look great on our Macs, but are described as looking "washed out" when played on someone's Window's computer who is testing the files. They look good on someone else's Windows computer. Both say they are running Windows 7, and have the latest version of QuickTime."

Your settings seem OK given source and target. What you're running into may be gamma related. Unfortunately people don't calibrate their monitors. Snow Leopard should default your system to a display gamma that matches most PCs. Leopard an early was set to a different display gamma (1.8 vs 2.2).

If you're getting different results on two different computers, it's going to be hard to discover the cause and correct for it. Again people don't calibrate their monitors. If you darken the mids are blacks it will then look OK on one computer but dark on another.

To begin with you should (must) calibrate your monitor so at least you know you're seeing "reality." There's not much you can do for other people's monitors but by calibrating your own you can assure your client that your settings are correct and the video targets the look you want.



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Thomas Miller
Re: Universal QuickTime Recipe for Mac & PC
on May 26, 2011 at 3:00:22 am

Great advice, thank you. I totally agree about monitor calibration. We deal with that in the field with production monitors all the time.

I think we've got this one worked out. I really appreciate your replying though.

Tom Miller
Big Pictures Media
Denver, Colorado

http://www.BigPicturesMedia.com


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