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Old August 14th, 2005, 10:48 PM   #1
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fcp 5: compress a 6 min movie for web

I just did a rough cut of a film that was shot 2.5 years ago on the XL-1. I want to put it up on my .mac account, but I want to avoid the $50 extra per year for more space (for now, at least).

I want it to be around 50-90 mb, but it keeps coming out to around 650 mb. Any advice on getting it, via export-quicktime conversion, to be a QT movie that small?

Thanks,

heath
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Old August 14th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #2
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Heath,
What settings are you using currently (video codec, resolution, etc.). You should be able to get 6 quality minutes on at well under 90 MB unless you need it at full NTSC resolution. If you use a codec like Sorenson Video 3 at 320x240 and use the MPEG-4 AAC codec for audio, you should do fine. If you want to make compression more efficient (and if you're worried about size then you do), you should use cuts rather than dissolves wherever possible, and you should at least try de-interlacing, softening or anti-aliasing your video. I recommend testing this with a 20-second section of footage to make sure you're not ruining the image quality with these filters. It may also help if you make sure your blacks are at 0% in FCP. I've read that many codecs just add dummy data to videos with resolutions that aren't at powers of 2 or even multiples of 16 (this is because of the 4:2:0 color space of most web codecs, so 640x480 and 320x240 are your best options), but I can't tell you from experience whether that's true with particular codecs because I always use multiples of 16.

It will hurt your efficiency tremendously if your video is full of sweeping camera moves or shaky handheld footage. When I compress trailers for the web, I try to use as many static shots as possible, and it makes a huge difference in efficiency. But that's easy for me because I make instructional videos - I know that might not be a reasonable option for you.

Let us know what settings work for you when you find them.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 07:23 PM   #3
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1- You can use the batch export feature in FCP to shotgun your project out at different settings. Like Zach suggested, do a small 10-20s chunk first. To make calculation easy for you, do a length that's 1/100th or 1/1000th the length of your film.

2- Best quicktime exports:

Video: H.264
Audio: MPEG4 audio

If some people can't get QT7 (i.e. for Windows, it's just a public preview)
Video: sorenson3 (the pro codecs do a MUCH better job than the free one in QT Pro/FCP)
Audio: MPEG4 audio (pushes compatibility down from QT5 to QT6), or qdesign (sound terrible unless you have $), IMA4:1 (only 4:1 compression, instead of ~20:1 with mpeg4), or mp3 (which you have to pay for).

3- Try lowering your resolution... 320X240, or 240X180 are example resolutions.
Halving the frame rate
De-interlacing if you're getting interlacing artifacts.
Lower the quality slider. I find that limit data rate to ____ gives terrible results... but I haven't played with this for H.264.

4- If you have a PC, you can use Windows Media Encoder to get even better compression without having to pay money. Ask for details.

It takes about ~37KB/s for good quality, ~12KB/s for good enough quality (this is highly subjective).

5- I wouldn't suggest changing your content.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 09:39 PM   #4
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Glenn, why do you not recommend changing content? If manageable file size is the goal here, content can have a major effect with interframe web codecs. When I compress trailers, I use Sorenson 3 (the packaged-with-FCP version - not the pro version), and I generally make all the trailers the same length. A trailer full of pans, zooms, dissolves and intricate patterns can compress to twice the size of a trailer with static shots and large blocks of similar color at the same quality settings. This general principle should hold true with Windows Media (good suggestion, by the way), even if it doesn't have as huge an effect as it does in a worse codec like Sorenson 3. I only suggested it here because Heath said he is still in a rough cut stage. So what problems do you see with changing content to reduce file size?
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Old August 15th, 2005, 10:42 PM   #5
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Well I wouldn't do it because:
A- Takes time. (Although it may not take that long if at the rough cut stage???)
B- Limits you creatively.
C- Your time is likely better spent doing better compression... like 2-pass VBR instead of CBR, using a good codec (i.e. H.264).

2- Compressing a 2-pass VBR version using the H.264 codec is probably your best bet. It should be doable from compressor?

I haven't had any experience playing around with the newer codecs out there, so I'm not sure what the process is for 2-pass VBR H.264.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 11:15 PM   #6
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I just want to put it up on my mac.com homepage (750 mb total/max). What would I need to do, in the easiest, fastest way possible?

thanx,

heath
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Old August 15th, 2005, 11:23 PM   #7
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If you just want a fast solution, I say use Glenn's idea with the batch export from FCP. Set up compression with 2 or 3 codecs (say, H.264, Sorenson 3 and MPEG-4) and make a 640x480 and a 320x240 version with each. Let it render overnight or when you aren't working and see which makes you happiest for quality and file size. Just be aware that Mac users will need QuickTime 7 to watch H.264, and I think Windows users will need the QT7 public preview, although there may be other Windows players that can do it.
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