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"Best universal download format?"

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Mark W
"Best universal download format?"
on Oct 3, 2011 at 7:14:17 pm

I'm selling an instant video download which is 3.5 hours in length and I need to choose the most universal codec.

This is a download, not for streaming.

Could I pick your brains please in terms of which codec I should choose that maintains a good quality whilst being playable on Mac/PC?

The package will be downloaded in one go so I'm also thinking of offering different quality levels - medium and high quality versions. In which case what different settings would I choose for medium/high quality?

All customers will have broadband and will be prepared for a big(ish) download!

I'm using FCP/Compressor, the edited footage is in ProRes HD 1920x1080.

I'm guessing I should halve the screen resolution to 960x540 to reduce size yet preserve aspect ratio?

Thanks very much for your help.


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Craig Seeman
Re: "Best universal download format?"
on Oct 3, 2011 at 7:20:07 pm

H.264 .mp4.

Look at the iTunes podcasts for examples of what people are doing. Keep in mind that iTunes is not Mac specific. iTunes is available for both Windows and Mac (as well as iDevices).

H.264 .mp4 can also play in WMP12 on Windows 7. Older systems may need Quicktime or some other player or plugin.

The frame size, data rate, profile (baseline, main, high) choice may depend on how widely compatible you want it to be on older computers and iDevices.



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Mark W
Re: "Best universal download format?"
on Oct 3, 2011 at 8:12:01 pm

Thanks Craig. H264 mp4 it is!

Assuming I provide a link to the QuickTime 7 download, anybody on the latest version of QuickTime - Mac or PC - should be able able to play the above?

Anything else I'd need to do to maximise compatibility across the major platforms?

Craig Seeman
The frame size, data rate, profile (baseline, main, high) choice may depend on how widely compatible you want it to be on older computers and iDevices.


Any typical example profiles for maximum compatibility?

In Compressor 3.5.3 I see several H.264 profiles under:

Web->Download->QuickTime 7 Compatible

100Kbps/300Kbps/800Kbps/LAN etc

I presume I just need to experiment with these?

Thanks



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Craig Seeman
Re: "Best universal download format?"
on Oct 3, 2011 at 8:51:31 pm

[Mark W] "Assuming I provide a link to the QuickTime 7 download, anybody on the latest version of QuickTime - Mac or PC - should be able able to play the above?"

As noted above, Window Media Player 12 can also play H.264 .mp4. Quicktime not needed on Windows 7. It will be though for folks on Vista or XP but those numbers are declining.

[Mark W] "In Compressor 3.5.3 I see several H.264 profiles under:

Web->Download->QuickTime 7 Compatible

100Kbps/300Kbps/800Kbps/LAN etc

I presume I just need to experiment with these?"


Compressor 3.5.3 does H.264 .mov and H.264 .m4v (iDevice presets but you can change .m4v to mp4 but the problem is you can't customize the settings).

Compressor 4 does H.264 .mp4
Quicktime 7 Pro does H.264 .mp4
the free MPEGStreamClip does H.264 .mp4 as well.



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Ralph Chaney
Re: "Best universal download format?"
on Oct 4, 2011 at 7:35:43 pm

When you refer to H.264 .mp4, as set in Compressor, are you referring to the simple .mp4 settings I see there? There is no reference to H.264 when selecting MPEG-4 as the file format. Is this because in later MPEG-4 flavors they are "the same"?

So, by setting a selection to either H.264 or .mp4, are we essentially setting for the other as well?

-R.

-> Ralph


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Craig Seeman
Re: "Best universal download format?"
on Oct 4, 2011 at 7:42:58 pm

Only Compressor 4 does H.264 .mp4.
Compressor 3.5.3 and earlier can only do the older .mp4 variants which you do not want to use. The only way to create H.264 .mp4 in pre version 4 is to create an .m4v (iDevice presets) and change the extension to .mp4 but you have no settings control in those templates.



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Mark W
Re: "Best universal download format?"
on Oct 4, 2011 at 8:16:39 pm

I'm in Compressor 3.5.3 and under the following nav tree:

Other workflows->Web->Download->QuickTime 7 Compatible

I can see 4 different H264 presets.

There's also some other H264 presets in other categories if you input '264' in the search box.

In FCP itself you can also export H264.

How does the filename extension, either .m4v or mp4 affect matters?

I'm confused? (it doesn't take much).



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Craig Seeman
Re: "Best universal download format?"
on Oct 4, 2011 at 8:50:37 pm

Compressor 3.5.3 outputs H.264 .mov not H.264 .mp4
Either .mov will work for you or you'll have to use another app for H.264 .mp4
I already posted that a couples of posts back.



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