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Old March 27th, 2006, 07:32 AM   #1
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QT bloated fuzzies

Okay. I've read the web tips, and tried every QT encoding available on my Premiere Pro 1.5. Why, I ask, is QT so inferior to Microsoft Video?
My wmv file is 18M and looks quite decent. I can get a decent QT encoding (at 1G!), but the best 50M encoding comes using the H.264 codec, and it is quite inferior to the Windows Media file.

Why, why, why?

Do you have to spring extra dollars to get a decent encoder for Quicktime?

I used the Sorenson 3 codec, for a fairly decent video (still inferior to wmv and over 100M). I understand they sell a better codec (Sorenson Pro?), but before I drop dollars, I wanted to hear from this group. Is there a low cost encoder available for QT that generates video comparible to Windows Media? Apple MPEG-4, and H.264 don't seem to cut mustard. What gives?

Enquiring minds want to know.

On the plus side, the shoot went very well, and I'm pleased with the result. I decided to use adult actors, and cast the two leads from a recent show I directed, "Barefoot in the Park." (We got better reviews than they did on Broadway!)
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Old March 27th, 2006, 09:50 AM   #2
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I'm running into the same situation. I've tried different settings for QT, Flash and WMV. and, so far, WMV wins hands down. I know this will be judged by many on a bunch of different platforms, but I'd like to know what the bigger detriment is: poor quality QT/Flash or limited audience with WMV?
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Old March 27th, 2006, 10:50 AM   #3
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With QT, you tend to have to use a higher bitrate to get comparable results to WMV. Bands that have .mov music videos usually have at least 30MB files for 4 minute songs.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Utley
With QT, you tend to have to use a higher bitrate to get comparable results to WMV. Bands that have .mov music videos usually have at least 30MB files for 4 minute songs.
They also must be using a better encoder than I have available. My four minute movie looks pretty crappy with a 50M file. What is the best encoder one can get for QT?
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Old March 27th, 2006, 12:17 PM   #5
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I'm thinking of just posting mine as a WMV file. Would there be any objections to this? A viewer is available for the Mac.

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherpr...d=windowsmedia
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Old March 27th, 2006, 07:29 PM   #6
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Dick, if your movie is anything like the one I'm working on now, it's going to be a pretty good sized file on wmv. With so many entries, might you consider giving both options? That way people have a choice. Folks in a hurry may not wait on the large file. Looking at my web stats, at judging time it's fairly heavily weighted: people are watching the .mov for time's sake. Yeah, I don't care for the way they look, but it's a decent representation, and better than someone skipping it entirely. :)
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Old March 27th, 2006, 07:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton
Dick, if your movie is anything like the one I'm working on now, it's going to be a pretty good sized file on wmv. With so many entries, might you consider giving both options? That way people have a choice. Folks in a hurry may not wait on the large file. Looking at my web stats, at judging time it's fairly heavily weighted: people are watching the .mov for time's sake. Yeah, I don't care for the way they look, but it's a decent representation, and better than someone skipping it entirely. :)
Lorinda,

I exported my 4:50 movie as 320x180 as both a .wmv file and as a .mov (QT H.264) The .wmv is 18M and QT 49M. My question is why would anyone want to see the mov file? I'm guessing it would take less time to download the Windows Media Player for the Mac and the .wmv file. And it looks far better. There has to be a trick to producing a good .mov file that I'm missing.

I love my movie this time, and want people to see the pretty version!
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Old March 27th, 2006, 09:22 PM   #8
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I don't know if it would produce any kind of significant size difference, but from the reading I've done, some codecs work better with resolutions whose axes are each multiples of sixteen; 320 by 180 doesn't qualify. I'm not sure how much better the file size would be, if at all, but maybe you could try cropping to 320 by 176 and encoding that?

That might work, but here's something that will work, hopefully quite nicely. A little trick I picked up from Ben Waggoner's "Compression for Great Digital Video": if you have Quicktime Pro (worth the thirty bucks just for this, in my opinion), you can set the encode and playback resolutions to be completely different. So you encode your 320 by 180 video at 320 by 90, but then open the file in QT Pro and set the playback res to 320 by 180. Modern graphics cards have no problem doing decent scaling, and this takes care of the need to deinterlace your footage (I think...I haven't got extensive experience with this technique, so take care when experimenting) at the same time. Other resolutions work the same way. 640 by 240, for example, looks pretty good by my standards. I'm not a professional compressionist, but you get the idea.

Play around with it, see if it does anything for you. And pick up a copy of that book while you're at it, explains lots of stuff I never knew before.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #9
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Robert,

Are you telling me the H.264 codec I get with QT Pro is better than the one I am using in Premiere Pro? Maybe B-frames are disabled or something with the one I currently have. Anyone know the details? I downloaded the free QT program, and I don't know if that added the H.264 option or if it came with Premiere. I could spring $30 if it will make a big difference.

Thanks for your advice.

Dick
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Old March 28th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #10
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That's not quite what I meant, though it may be true (don't quote me on that, though: the Pro purchase is just a license key that unlocks certain functionality of Quicktime, it's not a separate download). What is unlocked with QT Pro is the ability to change some settings inside .MOV files, namely the playback resolution.

When I say Pro is worth the money, I only mean that it will allow you to perform the trick I described; I don't know whether or not the codec itself is changed. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

I'll try to do some tests today, see how it works. I've been meaning to get a copy of Quicktime 7 Pro anyway, this is the perfect excuse! :)

UPDATE! Take a look at this twenty-one second clip from my film (no dialogue or anything else even remotely "spoiler" in nature--feel free to watch, this won't ruin anything):

http://www.gyroshot.com/movies/PondT...kbps-15fps.mov

I tried to pick a section that had some complexity and movement, that's the best I could do. Not sure if it's anything like yours, Dick, hope I at least came close.

From a 4:3, 720x480 source file (640x480 in square pixels, to be fair) that clocked in at over three hundred eighty megabytes, I produced that which you see here. A 16:9, 640x364 file that comes in at just under nine hundred kilobytes. The filename gives most of the important details, except for the fact that I used that little technique I love so much: the video is encoded internally at 640x182, but scaled to 640x364 when you open it, so no one's the wiser. And it got rid of the interlacing in the process. All done from within Quicktime Player Pro. It's not a professional compressionist's suite, but it gets the job done.

Just imagine what you'll get at 320x240 (or 180, as you said). Promising, no? I can do more tests if you like, or provide details upon request; I'm not sure if this highly scientific procedure helps at all, but thought you'd be interested.

Last edited by Robert Martens; March 28th, 2006 at 04:01 PM.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 08:10 PM   #11
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I too am not impressed with the quality in which the .mov compression comes out to compared to .wmv at the same file size but I will be fiddling around with settings. . .but I'll probably just leave the option of viewing either the wmv of mov file to make it easy on people.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 07:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Martens
That's not quite what I meant, though it may be true (don't quote me on that, though: the Pro purchase is just a license key that unlocks certain functionality of Quicktime, it's not a separate download). What is unlocked with QT Pro is the ability to change some settings inside .MOV files, namely the playback resolution.

When I say Pro is worth the money, I only mean that it will allow you to perform the trick I described; I don't know whether or not the codec itself is changed. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
Robert,

Great advice. I spend the $30 and got QT Pro, and it looks much better than any rendering I could get out of Premiere Pro. I used your 1/2 vertical resolution trick as it saves bandwidth without much affect on the image quality. Thanks for the help!!!
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Old April 5th, 2006, 07:34 PM   #13
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I'm happy to help out, just passing along what little I know about this subject.

A bit of trivia I've picked up since last reading this thread: after going over that book a little more, I've learned that not only does Sorenson Video 3 not support B frames (Pro does, but costs around three hundred dollars, if I remember correctly), Quicktime doesn't either. This may be outdated info, as the book is from 2002, but according to the author, Quicktime has never done well with B frames, which is the reason MPEG files, for one, have always behaved strangely in the player. So you were mostly right; B frames are disabled in the free Quicktime player, but you'd have to spend more than thirty dollars to get them, and even then it wouldn't do much good.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 03:40 PM   #14
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Forgive me for not knowing such things, but does anyone here work on a Mac with FCP HD? If so, assuming I'd like to export a file that can be played on wmv, what would I do?

I only have a .mov QT with Sorenson 3 at 320x240

Thank you!
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Old April 6th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #15
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Anyone have an aversion to Flash?

I'm finishing up tonight and need to decide how to get it posted. I've got 25MB of space on my server and in test runs I've only made it fit by using H.264 - which people have requested we avoid - or a 160x120 image size. I do a lot of Flash delivery at work and know I could come in at a nice size and quality that way, but won't if people try to avoid Flash as well.
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