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Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download

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Marc D'Agostino
Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:39:51 pm

Hello and thanks in advance! I am tasked with compressing a 86 minute feature length film into two files (a "large" and a "small" version) for download and streaming.

>The target file sizes are 1.5GB and 750MB.
>the original file is prores422HQ, 1920x1080, 24p, which clocks in at 104GB roughly.

I have done tests using H264 at bit rates set to hit the targets, using 2-pass process, @1280x720, and I've tried it via compressor, adobe media encoder and MPEG streamclip. The results, especially for the 750MB are not very good (terrible, actually). I realize going from 104GB to 750MB and maintaining high quality is asking a lot, but thought I'd check if there's some aspect to the compression game I'm not utilizing (some other variable I don't know about?).

Are there any tricks/other codecs worth trying (these need to be widely playable on many devices, so non-consumer formats won't work).

Thanks so much,
Marc


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Ivan Myles
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:22:54 pm

What export settings did you use? Files sizes of 750MB and 1.5GB correlate to total bitrates of 1.2 and 2.4 Mbps, respectively. For reference, YouTube compresses 1280x720 to about 1.6 Mbps, and Vimeo to about 2.5 Mbps. Therefore, the 2.4 Mbps target is feasible, but 1.2 Mbps is probably pushing the limits unless you further decrease resolution to 854x480. Here are my recommendations:

- For better compression use High/Main Profile; for better compatibility and smoother playback use Baseline Profile
- 2-Pass VBR for better compression; 1-Pass for compatibility with older mobile devices
- Level 3.1
- 750MB file: 854x480 video @ 1024kbps, audio @ 128kbps
- 1.5GB file: 1280x720 video @ 2200kbps, audio @ 160/192kbps
- Key Frame Distance set to Auto
- Adobe Media Encoder: use the H.264 format rather than the QuickTime H.264 codec; set Maximum bitrate to 1.5x average bitrate; under the Multiplexer tab set Stream Compatibility to Standard for better compression, or iPod for use on older mobile devices
- Compressor: enable Streaming for online viewing; average bitrate might need to be reduced slightly to meet the file size requirement


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Marc D'Agostino
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 9, 2013 at 3:58:14 pm

Thanks, Ivan. I used Adobe Encoder, at roughly the bitrates (1.2 and 2.4) that you suggested. I cheated a little, upped them slightly and made slightly bigger files (and of course audio takes up some MBs, so I had to put that into the equation).

Changing the stream compatibility to "standard" did seem to help the quality more than expected, so thanks for that tip. I got acceptable results, so problem more or less solved...

I do wish we could attain better quality at 720 for feature length and keep the file around 1GB than it seems we can do these days. Anything new coming down the pike as far as compression codecs go?

Thanks!
M


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Ivan Myles
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 9, 2013 at 4:40:46 pm

H.265/HEVC


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thomas adjani
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 15, 2013 at 10:44:25 pm

Hi Ivan,

Glad I found this thread bc I have a similar issue. Hope there is not a problem with piggy backing.

I have a 37gig QT file. Using FCP 7 and Compressor. I have to be doing something wrong with my settings.

Want to get close to, but not over, 2 gig mpeg file for streaming.

I added the 37gig file and used the Quicktime 6 compatible setting of MPEG-4-800kps Streaming. Got an MPEG of 7 gigs, resolution was fine but way too big.

Then added that 7gig file as my reference and did a MPEG 4 again, got a 650mb MPEG with terrible resolution.

Can you advise me as to how I should be approaching this?

Thanks much,

Thomas



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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 15, 2013 at 11:00:47 pm

Size equals duration times data rate
just as
car at 50mph drives 2 hours travels 100 miles.

Bitrate Calculator to figure out the size.
http://www.pimley.net/bitrateinfo/

Use H.264 codec. It's more efficient.

Ivan can expand but this fundamental concepts must be understood.



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thomas adjani
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 15, 2013 at 11:05:34 pm

Thanks for the calculator Craig. I will use it. Still not clear on where to plug in the numbers though in Compressor's many settings.

Also, the website requires an MPEG file (or FLV) for streaming. So I can't compress using h264...

Thanks,

Thomas



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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 15, 2013 at 11:14:08 pm

[thomas adjani] "Also, the website requires an MPEG file (or FLV) for streaming"

Don't confuse containers with codecs. H.264 can be either in an .mov or .mp4 container.
The older MPEG codecs are not very efficient (poor quality).

Compressor 4 can do H.264 .mp4 if they insist on that container. The free Handbrake can do that as well.

In Compressor 3.X create a preset
Encoder (the second button).
File Format QuickTime Movie
Video click on Settings then Compression Type H.264
Data Rate Restrict to and fill in your targeted data rate.
Back in Encoder where it says Streaming change from None to Fast Start.



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thomas adjani
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 15, 2013 at 11:44:37 pm

Very helpful, Craig. Thank you so much.

My film is 1 hr, 51 min so I am trying the QT movie with a 2400 kbp streaming rate to get me to 2 gigs. Hopefully the resolution will be decent.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 16, 2013 at 12:10:26 am

[thomas adjani] "400 kbp streaming rate to get me to 2 gigs. Hopefully the resolution will be decent."

Frame size will have a big impact 1280x720 2400kbps will look better than 1920x1080 2400kbps.
Fewer pixels means more bits per pixel (more data to describe the image).



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Marc D'Agostino
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 15, 2013 at 11:28:55 pm

Thomas:

h264 is actually MPEG4 compression, so it's likely you can use it. Don't know what wrapper you need to use - if you've tried and it hasn't worked, that might be your issue.

You can change the bitrate and wrapper/extension in the inspector window of Compressor.

>Highlight the compression setting that you placed on the asset

>now, in the inspector window, right under the "description" field, there are 6 buttons. Second from the left is the "encoder" button. Click that.

>Change the extension if you want

>Set your bitrate by clicking video: SETTINGS. A window will pop up to allow you to do this.

>You can also change your frame size using the geometry button - a smaller frame size at the same bitrate will yield better quality at that size (though there are diminishing returns as the video gets smaller).

>Also, multi-pass process will always yield better results.

Hope this helps. In the future, there are plenty of video and text-based tutorials for the button pushing needed to accomplish these type of tasks - just plug your question into google and you're bound to get many good results.

Best,
Marc


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 16, 2013 at 12:14:29 am

[Marc D'Agostino] "h264 is actually MPEG4 compression, so it's likely you can use it."

MPEG4 involves many encoder specs. MPEG4 part 2 will look very bad compared to MPEG4 part 10 (H.264).
At matching bit rates the quality likely won't even be close.



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Marc D'Agostino
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 16, 2013 at 12:21:48 am

Sure, but for thomas's purposes, h264 is in the MPEG family - so he can use it for a site that specifies it wants some form of MPEG compression. He'll probably have to use the MP4 extension/wrapper. Is that correct? I'm not sure what are you adding here?


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Craig Seeman
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:36:49 am

The older MPEG is horrible quality compared to H.264. It's been retired from common use years ago. There's really no reason to use it.



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thomas adjani
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:41:09 am

I used h264. Streaming. Restrict to 2400 kbits/sec.

best quality. File Format: Quicktime movie. Changed the extension to mp4.



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thomas adjani
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 16, 2013 at 12:24:26 am

Thank you so much, Marc for the detailed reply. I had watched a few youtube vids, but turns out the info was not helpful. I think my not knowing about the possibility of using h264 to get to mpeg was the issue!



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thomas adjani
Re: Compressing Feature Length film for streaming/download
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:33:19 am

Yeah, it looks horrible at 2400 streaming : ( and at a small frame no less



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