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Highest Quality, Low File Size Renders

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Ron Moore
Highest Quality, Low File Size Renders
on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:41:22 am

I work in Cinema 4D, After Effects, and Premiere Pro CS3 and have always struggled with maximizing quality with the lowest file size possible for web applications etc. My workflow goes something like this: An ongoing project involves creating logo animations with 3D models constructed in C4D rendered with the Animation codec and finished off in After Effects. Once in Premiere Pro, I bring up the Windows Media Encoder and usually go with the Windows Media Video 9 codec and render out my .wmv to run on a large flatscreen in the lobby of this radio station group by way of a Powerpoint slideshow. My hangup occurs because the computer and/or Powerpoint cannot handle 7 or 8Mb 40sec or so animations without crashing, but when I reduce the file size further to accommodate the computer (down to 2 or 3Mb) the badly pixelated result is just not acceptable. Short of getting a new computer to run this slideshow, can anyone offer suggestions on how I might up the quality of my renders but minimize the file size to no more than 3Mb? Should I switch to Mpeg4 or invest in Sorenson Squeeze?


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Highest Quality, Low File Size Renders
on Mar 13, 2012 at 1:01:45 pm

Good compression (and decompression) can be fairly demanding on the host. If you don't need the "slideshow" ability of Powerpoint, you should definitely not waste additional system resources embedding video inside an already bloated application (PowerPoint) on a (possibly) limited-capacity computing platform. There's a good chance the office application's demand on system resources is part of the issue.

H.264 can be a good option, provided the system can handle it, but it's very demanding, hence the reason many mobile devices now include a dedicated H.264 encoder/decoder so as not to drain the multi-purpose (but less efficient on single, task-specific, applications) CPU.

However, WMV, while older, has the benefit of being less demanding on the CPU and so you may have already been on the right track, but simply use a media player (I'm thinking Media Player Classic here) and create a playlist.

While this advice should by no means be the end-all of solutions, it's worth a shot. The other option, if people are complaining and you're not happy with the end product, is to build a tiny PC for all of a few hundred dollars which CAN handle H.264 or any other number of possible delivery codecs.

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Ron Moore
Re: Highest Quality, Low File Size Renders
on Mar 13, 2012 at 1:56:01 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I've been searching for a good compromise for this limited video display ability for years. One thing, we do need a slideshow format since we are simply showing logo still images of station logos (and 3D scenes) that stay on screen for a few seconds then may shift to video clips of concerts or personal appearances of radio hosts from our seven stations and my animations. Maybe if I lower the resolution as well (I've been rendering in HD whenever possible, 1270 X 768 or 864 X 486). Is Windows Media Player capable of playing such a slideshow as its playlist?


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Highest Quality, Low File Size Renders
on Mar 13, 2012 at 3:18:46 pm

One other option is to make your entire slide-show a "movie." That is add the stills, transitions, and movie clips on the timeline and export it as a single video and then just have it loop.

It's hard to know if resolution will make a difference within Powerpoint as the number of variables are quite high - it doesn't mean you shouldn't try though!:)

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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