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MP4 Compression for On-Demand Web Streaming

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Jared Ganem
MP4 Compression for On-Demand Web Streaming
on Mar 7, 2014 at 5:19:12 pm
Last Edited By Jared Ganem on Mar 7, 2014 at 5:21:53 pm

Hey guys,

I'm not sure what forum to put this in because I couldn't find an MPEG Streamclip section, but I do all my work out of FCP7 and run it through Streamclip anyway so I thought it might be related.

I have a 4 day conference I've been working on. Each day is separated into separate speakers of about one hour per speaker.

The client would like to upload these videos to their Amazon S3 account for web streaming on demand. The original files were MP4 files set up for Youtube, but apparently the file sizes were too big and instead of playing, they would just spool forever and the content would never begin.

My question is, how can I take these 1 hour videos (between 4gb-6g), compress them into something that will easily stream online, while still maintaining reasonable quality?

My initial reaction was to set my compression settings at MP4/H.264 with Limit Bitrate at 8mbps for 720
Sound: MPEG-4 AAC, Stereo, Auto, 192kbps Frame Size: Unscaled at 720.
Interlaced scaling: OFF

Even with this the files still come out around 5gb.

Is there something I'm missing? Maybe it has to do with allowing the video to play before it fully loads? I know it exists, I just don't know how to do that.

Thanks for the help!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: MP4 Compression for On-Demand Web Streaming
on Mar 7, 2014 at 7:10:19 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Mar 7, 2014 at 11:38:25 pm

Two things to try --

Cut the horizontal & vertical dimensions in half: 640x360 instead of 1280x720
Cut the frame rate in half: 14.985 instead of 29.97

With those two things, you can cut the bit rate WAY down.

Or have the client invest in a server system as beefy as Netflix. Fat chance of that one, eh?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Eric Strand
Re: MP4 Compression for On-Demand Web Streaming
on Mar 7, 2014 at 9:59:59 pm

Since you're videos are just speakers you could try dropping the bitrate way down, something like 2 or 3 mbps. Judging by the fact that your 8mbps file is 5 gigs, a 2 or 3 mbps file should come out between 1 - 2 gigs. If you cut the resolution to 640x360 as Dave is suggesting, you could go down even lower.


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Christopher McDonell
Re: MP4 Compression for On-Demand Web Streaming
on Mar 17, 2014 at 6:38:39 am

Most websites are 980 pixels wide. For that reason I think 960 x 540 is an optimum size (essentially 50% HD). I played around quite a bit with various settings and settled on 2500Kbps with 224 stereo audio. For my HD (high-quality option) which most players offer, I upload a 5Mbps 540p. Even in full screen on a 27" TBD, this looks pretty good. I also upload a 360p option at 1500Kbps for mobile. I never chince on audio though! If you have the option, as you do in Compressor, you'll also want Fast Start selected. Not to mention using the resizing On settings.

Obviously the lower the bitrate, the smoother your playback. I think people generally have at least 5Mbps download speed now (I have 50), but in coffee shops you're lucky to get 1.5. So picture quality vs interrupted play... that's the balance you need to find.

Keep in mind that mp4 will not play on Firefox. Most players do Flash fallback but your picture might stutter as a result. I'm not sure how Amazon works. Bit if you're uploading to your own site, you'll also need to create webm videos (

Oh and personally, I would never cut down the frame rate. Too big a sacrifice.

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