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Old July 17th, 2006, 04:36 AM   #16
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The streaming worked fine for me.

My question would be for the users trying to view the stream. Are you behind a firewall? Is your codecs up to date on the player?

Firewall is most likely the issue as it might bar you from viewing content that is blocked.

As for codecs, if it's a windows media, and you have your settings for automatic update, it should be up to date and you should have the latest codecs unless it's some codec not used by Windows Media, in which case you'll have to search for the right codec and download it before you can view the stream.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 07:17 AM   #17
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I had a slightly different issue watching Episode 4 via WMV. The stream started fine then the video would freeze frame but the audio kept playing just fine.

This continued throughout the 30 minute program. The video would freeze frame for anywhere form 30 seconds to several minutes, frozen on one particular frame that whole time. Then it would catch up to the audio for a short while and freeze frame again.

However, the audio track played perfectly. It was what Jody said that I was most interested in anyway. I plan on watching the QT version when it comes out so I can see as well as hear the entire episode.

Jonathan, have you tried viewing 2nd Unit TV on your new MacBook Pro? If so, did you have any issues viewing? This would be an important piece of information to have in order to figure out if something else may be going on.

I believe, however, that the issue is most likely do to Mac users not having any options at this time to upgrade to a newer WMV codec. This is why offering a download version of each episode in WMV format and not just the WMV stream is important. See below for more information.

A couple of points about WMV on the Mac:

1.) Microsoft has not offered an update to WMV Player on the Mac since November of 2003. Go check out the WMV update site and you'll see this date.

You also will notice this on the copyright page when you check the version number of WMV for OSX. While running WMV, go to Windows Media Player>About Windows Media Player. The most up-to-date version is Version 9.0.0 (3307). The copyright date range is 1997-2003.

2.) WMV for OSX often installs with its network connection speed defaulted to 56 Kbps Modem. Assuming you're not using a modem anymore, you will need to change this to a higher connect speed. To do so, go to Windows Media Player>Preferences then select the "Connection" tab. Once there, select your connection parameters and then hit "OK". You will need to restart the WMV stream to take advantage of the higher connection speed.

Setting the connection speed to a higher rate may not affect how the WMV streaming server communicates with your version on WMV Player. It depends on how the streaming server in configured. However, it looks like 2nd Unit TV is sending the WMV stream at 304 Kbps, sufficiently fast enough for decent quality viewing on a DSL or higher connection.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 08:21 AM   #18
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Hey Jeff.

Jonathan and I had a few discussions about the delivery of "2nd Unit". If you see my CruiserCast podcast you see that I only offer QT H.264, so you know my point of view :)
As you mentioned, MS does not support WMV (Flip4Mac is not an "official" implementation) on anything but Windows. On the other hand Apple develops QuickTime on both Mac and Windows and QuickTime is a de-facto standard in this industry. Artbeats, for example, delivers the stock footage in QT etc.etc. If you work in video/film you have QT on your machine. If I had only one choice I would use QT, especially because iTunes is now installed on so many machines because of the iPod.
The reality is that the schedule for the release of "2nd Unit" and the platform selected at the beginning, Premiere on a PC, pretty much forced the use of WMV. 30-40 minutes (episode 5 is 42 minute long) of HDV cause Premiere to crash or slow down to a crawl when it comes to exporting. In one case I tried an export in QuickTime Targa codec (to try to import in Apple's Compressor) and it took 16 hours only to crash at the very end and leave me without file.
Pressed for time I had to launch an export using WMV at 15fps. That was performed in about 2 hours without crash and that's the result that we see now. We are working with Adobe's tech support to solve this issue. As soon as we find a way of getting the timeline exported in full resolution (720p) I'll import the footage for all the episodes into Compressor and generate beautiful QT H.264 versions of the episodes. Episode 2 is already available in H.264 with less compression artifacts. See the "Archives" section of the website.
Thanks to all for your patience while we iron the wrinkles oout.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 09:17 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sayre
I had a slightly different issue watching Episode 4 via WMV. The stream started fine then the video would freeze frame but the audio kept playing just fine.
Specifically the problem I'm having. I've tried it on 3 different computers on 2 different networks...one of which is a full open for internally established traffic DS3...I don't have bandwidth concerns on that one. The other is a 5Mb/s cable.

On the Mac, we can't upgrade WMP anymore as they've stopped making in for the Mac. I've got flip4mac installed (the recommend replacement for WMP per microsoft)...but it doesn't seem to handle streaming. The MMS won't allow me to save it to my desktop, so I can't watch until the QT version comes out.

I've had good success with cross platform compatability using MPEG4 compression within quicktime. Feel free to contact me if you'd like specifics.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:13 AM   #20
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Paolo-

Even with this technical issue 2nd Unit TV is still off to a great start! The issues your are experiencing is exactly why Internet TV, a.k.a video podcasting, has not yet realized its full potential.

It takes a lot of hard work and messing around with encoding schemas to get everything just right. When you do, something else comes along to foul it up. Whereas there are many video podcastsers out there, most of the stuff is poor quality from a technical standpoint.

But 2nd Unit TV is on the cutting edge--not only in terms of your program content but also the fact that you are broadcasting exclusively via the Internet.

As you and Cole have pointed out, Flip4Mac just does not cut it on the Mac. But, any self-respecting Internet TV channel has to offer a QT and WMV version. There are still enough viewers out there who do not yet have QT installed on their Windows-based machines. So, it is imperative for the foreseeable future that you offer two encodes--QT and WMV.

Now, as a small operation it is very time consuming, not to mention often frustrating, to encode a QT and WMV version. Your post details the hoops you must go through to accomplish that task.

Have you considered exporting your finished PPro edit into FCP and then running your encodes at the same time but on two different machines? This is an extra step but would allow for both encodes to be posted to the website at the same time. If you need another FCP workstation to help out, give me a call.


P.S. CriuserCast is a favorite of mine! When's your next cast coming out?
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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:33 AM   #21
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Hey Jeff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sayre
Even with this technical issue 2nd Unit TV is still off to a great start!
Thank you! This is what keeps us going, feedback like yours.

Quote:
As you and Cole have pointed out, Flip4Mac just does not cut it on the Mac. But, any self-respecting Internet TV channel has to offer a QT and WMV version.
I have a different take on this. "2nd Unit" is not targeted to eveybody. Our audience is the future film-maker/cinematographer/film-video artist. In this crowd QuickTime is a given. And because the Mac is so popular with the creative professionals, I might say that QuickTime, and not WMV, is most popular in our industry.
Having said so, I bought the Flip4Mac professional version that includes the encoder for WVM on the Mac. A first test yelded excellent results, higher quality that I could get from Premiere.
At this point we have 2 Macs in the house and I just configured Compressor for distributed compression. This means that we will be able to run a compression batch with load distributed among both machines. I love this!
And this also means that we will be in good shape to provide QuickTime and WMV files simultaneously. BTW, I already have an iPod-compatible of Episode 5. We tried it on Jonathan's video iPod and works just fine.
As soon as we get the first episodes converted to QT I will submit "2nd Unit" to the iTunes Store.

BTW, thank you very much for your offer and for your appreciation for CruiserCast. Currently I'm 24/7 involved with 2nd Unit. As soon as I get a break I'll work on the next episode of CruiserCast.

Take care.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
I have a different take on this. "2nd Unit" is not targeted to eveybody. Our audience is the future film-maker/cinematographer/film-video artist. In this crowd QuickTime is a given. And because the Mac is so popular with the creative professionals, I might say that QuickTime, and not WMV, is most popular in our industry.
I guess I should have thought of that point! That makes a lot of sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
Having said so, I bought the Flip4Mac professional version that includes the encoder for WVM on the Mac. A first test yelded excellent results, higher quality that I could get from Premiere.
At this point we have 2 Macs in the house and I just configured Compressor for distributed compression. This means that we will be able to run a compression batch with load distributed among both machines. I love this!
Great! I did not realize you had 2 Macs. Your distributed Compressor network is definitely the way to go. I have 4 macs and I distribute all possible processing activities with any application that supports it. It is indeed a fantastic tool!
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Old July 17th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sayre
Great! I did not realize you had 2 Macs.
I use my "old" Powerbook G4 all the time and last week Jonathan got a new MacBookPro 17". An amazing machine!
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Old July 17th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #24
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I'd also like to point out that's not exactly hard to get Quicktime!

If you're going to be downloading 2nd Unit episodes you either have a fast internet connection, or are used to waiting. Downloading QT won't take you long! It's also a very well designed piece of software, so if you want to remove it, the uninstall program actually removes it. So it's safe. No ads, no spyware, plenty of support.

I see no problem "forcing" users to download QT in order to watch the episode. It's just like anyone with a Flash-only website, if you want to view it, get the plug-in. It's basically a "part of life" when using the Internet (ie. you download a document, but its a RAR file, so you need to download some software to open it).

However, with all that said, I do understand why you want to support Windows Media Player users as well. But personally, on my Windows machines, I'd much prefer to run Quicktime over WMP. Even though its designed by Apple on a Microsoft system, its a lot faster and friendlier.

Also, have you concidered Flash? I've seen a lot of websites start to use it. I've never had any problems from a users point of view.

Finally, just a thought, but when you're doing compression tests, etc. do you export the WHOLE episode or just a section of it? For doing tests, you're better off to export a minute or two to check the quality before you spend hours rendering the whole thing only to find it looks very poor quality.

My 2c.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 05:51 PM   #25
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Hi Chris.

Yes, we considered Flash and it is attractive but... we want to delver for the iPod and that basically means creaing a Qt file. At that point Flash becomes a 3rd format that I rather not spport at this point.
Regarding the tests, yes, I tried on a short clip and then on the whole timeline. Short clip good, timeline => crash :(
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Old July 17th, 2006, 06:15 PM   #26
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link for those who haven't seen it:

http://www.apple.com/quicktime
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 04:02 PM   #27
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any updates on a quicktime version of part 1 of the Mr. Eldred piece? I don't want to watch part 2 before seeing part 1...unless I have no choice.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 05:17 PM   #28
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You folks certainly have the QT delivery nailed. It looked beautiful, and played smoothly, without pauses. Only beef I had with it, was the way it loaded at the extreme left of my screen. It seems as though some of it was cut off, including the volume control. When will part one be available in QT?
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 06:43 PM   #29
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Paolo:

Keith is correct. Looking at the HTML, it appears that you have not added the requisite 16 pixels of extra height to account for the QT controller.

Currently, you have width="600" and height="400". I assume you encoded the QT file with these dimensions. However, for properly displaying the controller, the QT viewing frame requires that you add an extra 16 pixels to the height. Therefore, your values should be width="600" and height="416".

Also, if you want to center the viewer, you can place your HTML for the QT codebase in a table cell with align equal to center.

I have not yet watched episode 5. I'm fully loading it first then I will watch.
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Last edited by Jeff Sayre; July 22nd, 2006 at 08:52 PM.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 11:21 PM   #30
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I thought Eps 5 (part 2) with Jody totally rocked! He's a very interesting guy and well spoken. The cut aways to Jamie were well timed and the "creative choice" section where you wiped to the different "Film Looks" were slick and impressive. Hell of a job guys! You've raised the bar again. Keep it up. My only complaint is that Jamie may want to rethink his wardrobe..LOL. How long did the doctor tell him he had to wear that shirt?
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