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Best Quicktime codec for flat graphics content

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Richard LyonsBest Quicktime codec for flat graphics content
by on Sep 17, 2011 at 10:35:12 pm

Hi - have some AE animations (1920x1080) that are all flat color graphics, very little gradients or any live video.

Can anyone recommend best Quicktime codec to render these to for low bandwidth playback that keep the color saturation and image sharpness to best quality?

H264, prores etc all introduce color sampling and compression artifacts as they are designed in delivering live action at low bandwidth, not 1 pixel lines against a flat background.

I used legacy codecs such as Cinepak or Graphics many years ago (at much lower resolutions) but they are no longer available in 10.6?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated...

Cheers, Rich


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ben g ungurenRe: Best Quicktime codec for flat graphics content
by on Sep 19, 2011 at 12:28:06 am

If you have very contrasty graphics (deep blues against white, or deep reds against grey, e.g.) then most compressors, especially ones for online streaming, will struggle. H264 should work pretty well, but you'll need to pull back the saturation and contrast a little bit (hard to know for sure without sample images).

There are other codecs out there, of course, but the best thing to do is try them out. I don't mean to come across as mean-spirited or anything, but in my experience the key to finding the right compression is try, try, and try again -- different codecs, different settings within a single codec, etc. For more important projects, I like to grab a 10-second sample of my footage that represents the whole pretty well, and spend a few hours fiddling with compression settings until I get something that balances a nice image with acceptable filesize.

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing
http://www.mostlydocumentary.com


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Walter SoykaRe: Best Quicktime codec for flat graphics content
by on Sep 19, 2011 at 4:38:43 pm

[Richard Lyons] "I used legacy codecs such as Cinepak or Graphics many years ago (at much lower resolutions) but they are no longer available in 10.6?"

Cinepak and Graphics are now considered "legacy codecs." They are still available (for now), but you must first enable them on the command line in Terminal:

qtdefaults write LegacyCodecsEnabled yes

Current versions of QuickTime will still read and play them, but I don't know if this will be true for future versions or not.

If you have large regions of truly flat color, the Animation codec will be efficient.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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