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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old November 9th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #1
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Bee and flowers at 720p

I uploaded this page to test out the HD streaming abilities and quality of Flash. I feel like it probably looks good enough to share here. Nothing amazing like Steven Dempsey, or anything, but not too bad I guess. One of my zooms is particularly harsh, but I left it in there.

http://www.brownland.org/video/beetest.htm

I shot this clip this summer, manual everything, gain at -3db, Panalook preset, IIRC. I just down-rezzed it in PPro CS3, no effects, color correction, or anything. I encoded to Flash @ 3000k VP2 codec, 128k audio. About 29MB for 1 minute.

Music track is by Steve Hansen/ TracksNow.

Depending on your connection speed, it may not stream w/o hesitation and you'll have to pause and wait.

Enjoy,
Brian Brown
BrownCow Productions
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Old November 26th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #2
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My Dual Core Mac was not able to play the file smoothly. Not sure why. I also would recommend updating to the latest version of the JW Flash player. It has lots of improvements in the current release of 3.12
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Old November 26th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #3
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Jerky play on my AMD dual core, too.
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Old November 26th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #4
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Hmm... interesting. I just updated the JW Flash Player, per Josh's advice. Not sure if that will help with the stuttering or not. Once the file streams (I have to pause it), it seems to play OK for me online... about 40% CPU utilization on my quad-core.

Here's an H.264 file of the same video: http://www.brownland.org/video/beetest.mp4

The colors are a bit more muted on the H.264 than the Flash file.

Thanks,
Brian Brown
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Old November 27th, 2007, 01:35 AM   #5
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Brian,

It seems to me that you have a very high bitrate setting for your flash video, which is why it is very jerky.

What birate setting did you use?
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Old November 27th, 2007, 01:40 AM   #6
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The same goes for your quicktime file. Even after downloading it playing it from my machine I get jerks every once in a while. Deffinately a bitrate issue. Try using a bitrate of about 768kbps to start with.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #7
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Shiv,

I used the guidelines for Vimeo HD here: http://vimeo.com/help/hd Their recommendation was 3000-5000kbps, but it sure seems WAY too high. I'll try your suggestions and see how it looks.

Thanks!
Brian
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Old November 27th, 2007, 12:47 PM   #8
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Brian,

Typically bitrate is kind of directly proportional to the amount of movement in your video. The more the movement the higher the bitrate required in order to make the video look good. In one sense they are correct is stating 3000 kbits/s (note also that it's bits and not bytes, where 8 bits make a byte).

Since the bitrate has the most impact on the final file size of the video you need to play around with this number so as to get the best compromise between file size and quality. Also keep in mind that most people's download bandwidth can't support 3000 kbits/sec and most hosts will throtle the download bitrate of files so as to balance out their bandwidth utilization.

So if you're showing a prospective customer your work you might want to encode your video at a high bitrate and play it back directly on your laptop or whatever (or make sure you download the video first if online and then playback).

My 5 year old laptop can play back smaller (dimension) videos at 3000 kbits/s but not larger dimension videos (at the same bitrate). My 3 year old desktop(the one I use for work other than video editing) could not play back your quicktime video smoothly even after downloading it locally :).

Shiv
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Old November 27th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #9
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Most excellent information, Shiv. Thanks for the info and tips.

Here's a 768kbps render of the same video: http://www.brownland.org/video/beetest768k.htm

It seems to stream well from my 1Mbit connection. The files size is about 7.5MB compared to the other one's 29MB. Some artifacting is evident, esp. on fast motion. There's a few times the background breaks up completely. Had I been on a tripod for the shot, I probably would have had a cleaner encode.

Thanks again,
Brian
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Old November 27th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #10
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Brian,

I have the same issue still :). Yes I see some smudging on the edges.

If you'd like, send me your 2 .flv files (3000 kbit/s and 768 kbits/s). I can put them up on one of my servers so we can see if the bitrate is causing this or their player/bandwidth is.

I have my own flash player than can host any .flv file. Typically, I've found that once the video has downloaded is plays just fine, but in your case that does not seem to be happening.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 01:48 PM   #11
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Weird! I would have thought that the reduced-bandwidth version would stream fine.

So, here's the FLVs...

http://www.brownland.org/video/beetest.flv
http://www.brownland.org/video/beetest768k.flv

Thanks for the help!
Brian
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Old November 27th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #12
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I think flash has issues playing movies that large (pixel wise), only the new beta flash when using MP4s seem to do well. I think you are better off, using a smaller 16:9 resolution with a higher bitrate and FPS and then stretching it using the player. Give that a shot :)

I often use a 800+ bit rate and do not have the same glitching issues. One other thing to note about the JW player is that is only runs @ 20FPS and it does a fine job of playing FLVs with a faster frame rate but you can some times save space by changing your video to 20FPS.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 05:05 PM   #13
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Brian,

I tried your flv files locally before posting them online and find that both videos still jerk quite a bit. So It's not the JW player or the bandwidth it seems.

The next thing I'd try (as Josh also suggested) is smaller dimensions. Videos playback best when their dimensions are multiples of 16. So good dimensions are:
640x480
576x432
480x270
384x288
320x240

I use 576x432 most times for online video.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 05:12 PM   #14
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Sorry about the dimensions in the last post, they were examples of 4:3 :)

For HDV use:
1024x576
768x432
512x288
256x144
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Old November 27th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #15
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Cool. Thanks for the info, guys.

Looks like Flash is not quite ready for HD prime-time. I may post some vids to Vimeo HD and see how they stream.

Cheers,
Brian
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