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Old June 10th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #1
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best export format to play HD footage on Windows?

Greetings folks! Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help with this question...

A coworker recently posed this to me and I realized I'd like to have a good answer on this myself. Let's say you're working on an HD project in Final Cut (for the sake of argument, it doesn't really matter if it was sourced from AVCHD, HDV, etc. just that it's now imported to Final Cut and you're working on it). You would like to share an export of your footage with someone who needs to display it on a Windows system. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you can't depend on this person having enough access to or skill with the Windows system in question to install extra codecs or anything...at best you can count on it having a recent version of Windows Media Player installed (but not Quicktime for Windows, not VLC, nothing like that).

In order to hand this person a file which will play back without a fuss on this hypothetical Windows system (without jittery video, missing audio, or any other issue) what export container/codec choices would be ideal? Note that dropping resolution and interlacing to make a video DVD is not an option, it is desired to keep the experience "HD."

(I have my own thoughts on this, but I'd like to crowdsource the best ideas)
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Old June 11th, 2010, 07:25 AM   #2
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Mp4. Unless you purchase some program that exports WMV files (Flip for Mac, DV Kitchen, Episode) it's the safest way to go. There are some good mp4 presets in Compressor. MPEGStreamclip can make mp4 files as well. However let's just say that the "hypothetic" Windows system remains just that. Never leave it to chance and hope. I had a terrible experience with a client who didn't test the files I made until she got to Argentina and was sitting with important clients. The files worked on her office computer but her travel laptop was a different story. Her tech had turned off all updates since something was crashing the laptop when it upgraded so her laptop was trapped in a time before certain video codecs came into use. She sent me urgent e-mails and I quickly made new files in WMV, mov and Flash and sent them by FTP for a second meeting the next day but none worked. Finally I uploaded the file to YouTube but by then it was too late and the clients couldn't see the video.
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