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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?

Thanks.


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Jeff Greenberg
Re: Choppy playback on slower machine
on Mar 17, 2011 at 2:15:16 pm

Kelly,

Are you converting it through FCP to re-export it?

You should use compressor to make it a 29.97 uncompressed file for editing in FCP (or MPEG streamclip- a great free open source utility)

What's a 'slower' machine? h.264 of that flavor should work fine on macs made for the last 4 years, easily.

This will sound like a strange question: where are you playing it back that shows choppiness? Safari? QuickTime 7? QuickTime X?

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC
Come See me speak at NAB!
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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Kelly Kendziorski
Re: Choppy playback on slower machine
on Mar 17, 2011 at 6:22:17 pm

Thanks! I was using FCP to convert and see the error of my ways. I used MPEG Streamclip to make an uncompressed file and the red flashing is gone.

The older computer is a first-generation Intel macbook pro, and it's in a custom Flash player in Firefox. It's been reported that there are still problems with the new video, but it definitely seems more stable from here.

In your experience, is uncompressed the best option? Should I be trying something else? I'm actually changing the frame rate to 30 rather than 29.97 since we ultimately want it at that rate for multi-media navigation purposes. Does that have an effect?

I'm a little out of my league at this point and really appreciate the help.


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Jeff Greenberg
Re: Choppy playback on slower machine
on Mar 17, 2011 at 6:34:41 pm

Uncompressed is fine - 30 fps (vs. 29.97) is also fine....

My one question/concern is this: why are you doing all of this?

If their video is 'damaged' and causing playback problems, shouldn't you be getting the original video so you can compress it correctly?

Best,

Jeff G

Apple Master Trainer | Avid Cert. Instructor DS/MC
Come See me speak at NAB!
Compressor Essentials from Lynda.com
(older but still good) Marquee, Media Composer (3.5) and Basic/Advanced Color DVDs (1.0) from Vasst.com
Contact me through my Website


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Kelly Kendziorski
Re: Choppy playback on slower machine
on Mar 17, 2011 at 7:07:32 pm

We are re-purposing older video into a web app for training purposes. The source video isn't an option, unfortunately.


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Ramil Pasibe
Re: Choppy playback on slower machine
on Mar 17, 2011 at 3:59:05 pm

I suggest you convert the material first to PRORES using compressor. As of the latest version, FCP does not handle h264 formats very well.


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