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Choppy playback on slower machine

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Kelly Kendziorski
Choppy playback on slower machine
on Mar 17, 2011 at 12:29:48 am

We have some video posted online in a Flash application that is playing fine on faster machines, but is really choppy on slower processors. We have other video that plays smoothly on a variety of computers, but this one is giving us trouble.

The main difference between the ones that work and the one that doesn't is that this video was given to us by a client. The original file I received is 15fps H.264 .mp4 Already, this is not ideal, but it is what I have to work with.

I brought it into Final Cut and set the sequence Uncompressed 8-bit in hopes of mitigating as much quality-loss as possible. I also set the editing time base to 30. When playing back the timeline at these settings, the screen flashes red. I changed the settings to ProRes, still flashes red. We did a test export anyway, and the video played fine in QT, so we went with it.

The exported video is H.264, 15 fps, 600kbs, hinted streaming. It performs well on faster computers, but on slower machines the video is really choppy. The audio track is performing well, but the video is sticking and then catching up. Clearly this video is hobbling along and choking up slower machines.

Is there a better way to handle video of unknown origin that is already highly compressed? Is there anything I can do to clean this up and make it play more smoothly?


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