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Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats

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Sandra Danilovic
Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats
on Mar 1, 2012 at 5:27:03 pm

Hello Everyone,

I am wondering if someone can give me some advice on shooting video for mobile platform.

I am part of a development team developing a mobile app - (for html5 coding). I need to shoot video and would appreciate if someone could give me some ideas on how to compress the video optimally, compression rates/FORMATS, codecs, and suggested shooting format. I will be importing the footage into Final Cut Pro and compressing it with Compressor for mobile format.

Many thanks,
Sandra

Sandra Danilovic
Independent Filmmaker, Toronto, ON
Rodna Films Inc.


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats
on Mar 1, 2012 at 7:23:50 pm

Lots of questions! What is the subject matter?

Jerry

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Sandra Danilovic
Re: Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats
on Mar 1, 2012 at 7:45:54 pm

So, the subject matter is short 30 sec interview video clips (with audio).

I need to create 5-10 clips, 30 seconds each, that can be uploaded onto this mobile app my team is creating.

I am shooting with the EOS Rebel Canon T2i camera. HD quality. But in all honesty, have never used this camera, so don't know its specs yet.

I was thinking of shooting (maybe 720p) and then compressing that to whatever format I need to compress. The final output may be in KB?? I have no idea what to compress to. I have no idea what format to compress to.

These videos (and this app) will be cross-mobile (iPhone, Blackberry, Android).

Thank you so much!!!!!

Sandra Danilovic
Independent Filmmaker, Toronto, ON
Rodna Films Inc.


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats
on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:50:49 pm

This is why the world was easy with Flash. It worked everywhere until iOS.

Here's the current breakdown:
• Apple and Microsoft only accept H.264 HTML 5 video on their desktop browsers and mobile devices. Internet Explorer added H.264 support at IE9. You'll need Flash video for IE8 and older. With Windows 8 it'll be H.264 or nothing - no Flash support.
• Google says hey, H.264 isn't open source so we aren't supporting it. They created their own open WebM video standards. Android 2.3.x also supports WebM. Chrome doesn't natively accept H.264, although browser plugins can allow H.264 video to play.
• Mozilla supports WebM and Ogg Theora natively, but does not natively accept H.264. H.264 support can be added on the Windows side.
• Opera supports WebM and Ogg Theora natively, and does not support H.264 at all.

The kicker - All browsers support H.264 through Adobe Flash, and all browsers support WebM and Ogg Theora through Adobe Flash - except iOS devices of course, and Windows 8 won't support Flash in Metro mode.

===

Since everything mobile works with H.264 (right now) I would encode a mobile version in H.264 at 640x360 at whatever bitrate you find acceptable for your content. I wouldn't go over 500kbps - it needs to stream well over 3G.

Then for the full browser you'll need H.264 and Flash versions at least, and probably a WebM version. The server will need to send the appropriate version to the appropriate browsers. I would let the frame size be defined by the website layout, and then the bitrate will depend on the frame size.
Compressor can make H.264 for you, but it won't make WebM or Flash video on its own, so you'll need a separate utility to create those versions.

Personally, I would avoid all of these headaches and embed through Vimeo or YouTube. They employee engineers who have to figure all of this out. You upload a file and it works everywhere.

===

Also, to make your Final Cut Pro (7) experience better make sure you're handling your SLR footage properly. Dragging the .mov files off of the card and onto the timeline will cause problems. Check out Shane Ross' tutorial on tapeless workflow for the best way to handle SLR footage in Final Cut.
http://library.creativecow.net/ross_shane/tapeless-workflow_fcp-7/1


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Sandra Danilovic
Re: Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats
on Mar 3, 2012 at 9:01:47 pm

Hi guys,

Thanks for this info, I really appreciate it!!!!!!!!!!

I have no experience shooting with the T2i. My experience rests with the XDCAM and importing it into FCP, for DVD output or similar. I also have experience using the ProRes 422 codec before (shooting machinima with IShow U HD Pro). I don't have experience shooting for mobile output though.

By the way, any ideas for frame rates? Should I stick to 60fps or something else with the T2i for mobile content?

Cheers,
Sandra

Sandra Danilovic
Independent Filmmaker, Toronto, ON
Rodna Films Inc.


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Andrew Stuckey
Re: Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:47:08 am

Some good info here on mobile/ browser compatibility. Thanks.

My number one piece of advice for achieving best quality H264 format videos would be to use the x264 codec (http://www.videolan.org/developers/x264.html) and NOT Apple's H264 codec found in Quicktime and Compressor.

The x264 codec can be installed in QT and Compressor, but I have found much better results using popular compression programs such as Handbrake and MPEG Streamclip. Handbrake uses x264 by default and it can be installed into MPEG Streamclip. You'll find both programs MUCH faster than Compressor too (even when running Compressor using several virtual clusters).

All the best with the project.


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Mobile Platform Compression and Shooting: suggestions for resolution rates, codecs and compression formats
on Mar 2, 2012 at 5:32:42 am

First up shoot the original footage in the highest quality possible, this means don't shoot 720p in T2i, shoot 1080p. Also don't expect anything but poor quality from the camera mic, use an external lav or boom mic. Really you should also record the master audio on separate digital audio device such as a ZoomH4n or Tascam and post sync, because the quality of pre-amps in DSLRs is not good. Alternatively choose a dedicated video camera, the process is far less complex.

FCPro 7 is not suitable for editing native H264 that HDSLRs record, you'll need to bring it in as ProRes for editing. Shane Ross has an excellent workflow on how to do this. http://library.creativecow.net/ross_shane/tapeless-workflow_fcp-7/1

I believe FCP eX can play with H264.

For HTML 5 if you want to put the videos on your own server you need to make an mp4, webm and ogv version of each video then code using HTML5 and JQuery so each browser can play the video it requires. iOs devices can play Youtube and Vimeo in direct embeds but I know from experience if you want to build your own HTML5 playlist and player Vimeo doesn't work yet because there a Flash element involved.

Suggest you might start looking here for some ideas on putting HTML5 video online; http://docs.sublimevideo.net/quickstart-guide . Sublime now has free version that puts a lower right supered logo at on the first few seconds of each play and paid versions with other extras that eliminate the sublime video logo. They also have tutorials on how to create the different codec versions for each browser.

Brightcove is also a professional but simplified way of getting your video into all browser but you need to set up an account that may not be viable for a small number of videos.

I've used an app called PrettyPhoto http://www.no-margin-for-errors.com/projects/prettyphoto-jquery-lightbox-cl... to create a player on my own websites but still have some issues with HTML5, which isn't quite fully ready for video yet.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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