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Old July 30th, 2003, 06:59 AM   #1
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Small "screen", high quality web compression

I'm editing with analogue source (VHS) converted from early 60's footage from a consumer film camera. The film wasn't in great shape and the telecine made every third frame look like a very bad print registration. In considering sending the client an email clip I realized that after two years of compressing for progressive download I've never before wanted a tiny window (say 160X120) with high quality image. Tiny usually means lousy, as in 56-k modem access but here I want the best image I can get due to the poor quality of the source, in the smallest file size to facilitate emailing the result. Any voices of experience on this in a WMEncoder environment?

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Old July 30th, 2003, 05:36 PM   #2
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We are using QuickTime for our Lady X series. Have you seen it?
What do you think about our quality?
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Old July 30th, 2003, 09:35 PM   #3
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Rob -

What do you use to compress the video? I have FCP4 and use the new compression program to output.

I noticed the file size is large but not as large as I would expect for the clairity (did that make sence?)

My latest video for the web is at

www.cpimedic.com/cpi_trailer.html - in QT format.

The video is suposta come up in a pop-up window so it will look better framed as opposed to the large window in the direct link.

Let me know if I can improve.

- AR
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Old July 31st, 2003, 05:11 AM   #4
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We are using various software depending on which Excutive
Producer is compressing the episode. I myself am using Vegas 4
on the PC. Others are using MAC's with I think Cleaner.

The basic settings we are using:

Video:
320 x 180 (= widescreen) @ 25 or 30 fps
Sorenson 3 codec @ 65 KB/s

Sound:
22.050 hz, 16 bit, stereo (one episode was mono)
IMA 4:1 codec
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Old July 31st, 2003, 05:58 AM   #5
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I have indeed seen your Lady X work and the quality is excellent, but at +4MB per minute it's still a larger file than I want to email. I"d like the same quality at half the screen size - 160X120 probably. Do you use the Sorenson Pro 3 codec? I haven't had much luck making high quality Quick Time without huge files resulting, but I also haven't forked over for the pro codec.

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Old July 31st, 2003, 06:01 AM   #6
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No, we aren't using the pro codec. Pro might be interesting because
you can set a lot more settings and even do VBR. If you want
smaller files you might take a look into DiVX (only windows?)
or other mpeg4 solutions from someone like microsoft. Basically
video just takes a lot of space, not an easy way around that.
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Old August 4th, 2003, 10:20 AM   #7
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Does it *have* to be emailed? You could put high-quality video into a small window using shockwave flash...and post it to a website for your client to view online using something like FlixSE from wildform.

Just a thought.

Gary
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Old August 4th, 2003, 10:27 AM   #8
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Thanks for the thought, Gary. I read some on video in flash many months back but didn't try it. What straightforward path is there to accomplishing it - ie exporting to the format or converting AVI to it?

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Old August 5th, 2003, 02:50 AM   #9
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I settled on using FlixSE from wildform (http://www.wildform.com/). The SE version is $69, and the Lite version is $29. The Pro version is dearer at $149 but since I don't need to create custom players and all the other bells and whistles, I went for the SE version.

It's a rather nifty program that converts your finished video into shockwave flash, and also creates the html page to display it if you so wish...

Filesize isn't small, but that's not a problem with a webserver and the .swf files...it's 'streaming' and starts playing the moment a visitor clicks the 'play' button. (I was told that a 10-minute talking-head production I did worked fine over a 56k modem, even though the source file size was around 24MB).

I use it to put corporate video on the company intranet...we have a mix of IE and Netscape users, and a whole bunch of other folks who can't/won't/ run Windows Media Player for .wmvs...so this fits the bill nicely...apparently .swf is compatible with "98% of the world's internet browsers".

David, I've put an example on my webserver for you to have a look at:

http://www.garyjkelly.com/vid/nzclip.htm

I've also included the source file so you can do a direct comparison between the flash version and the .wmv. Please note that the quality isn't as high as it could be, I cut a clip from an MPEG1 (VCD) of my holiday video from New Zealand, then converted it to .wmv, then converted it to flash format...but you'll get the idea I hope!

Regards,
Gary

PS...re the filesize...the finished .swf actually comes out a tad smaller than the source when using .wmv as the input file.
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Old August 5th, 2003, 06:57 AM   #10
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Thanks, Gary. I can see its use for compatibility reasons over the other player-specific formats. When you go from native DV to flash do you think you get a higher quality image than when you go direct to wmv or qt?

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Old August 5th, 2003, 07:20 AM   #11
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David,

I've actually never tried that! :) For web-work, I usually edit the DV in Vegas Video, render to .WMV, then convert to Flash before putting both the .wmv and .swf online on our intranet.

I suspect the quality of the .swf if the source was DV .avi would be great...but the file-size would be big as a big thing. I'll try it tonight when I get home, and let you know I get on! If the output file isn't too huge, I'll upload it and send you the link for another comparison. (they'd shoot me if I posted any of the corporate stuff from here at the office on the www).

One thing about using FlixSE (or similar converters)...you can burn the output onto CDrom or DVDrom, and computer-users can then view the video in their web-browser, making it "non-platform specific".

Gary
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Old August 6th, 2003, 02:54 AM   #12
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I tried running pure DV through FlixSE and as I suspected, file-sizes were enormous....too big for my webserver allocation for one thing.

Secondly, shockwave loads into a client's RAM, so if the .swf file exceeds around 50MB, Flix warns against possible problems at the client end. And there's a 16000 frame limitation to the shockwave format, apparently.

On the upside, I rendered the clip into MPEG-2 using Vegas and ran that through Flix...and set the output for 25fps. It looks really rather good in a small window. The example can be viewed at:

http://www.garyjkelly.com/vid2/clip.htm
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Old August 6th, 2003, 03:59 AM   #13
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What is your target file size?

I use Sorenson Squeeze and Sorenson Squeeze for flash and it gets DV down as low as I want. Files often over a gig down to 1-5MB(under that with as small a res ur talikng about) give or take a audio setting or two. Sometimes a touch more compression added when publishing out of Flash.

Saving DV to something else with as little compression as poss can make a big difference in file size for sure.

Jake
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Old August 6th, 2003, 04:23 AM   #14
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Jake,

Interesting...I'm just downloading Sorenson Squeeze demo and will give it a go...

I'm not generally concerned with filesize myself, most of my corporate video work is talking heads, and they rarely exceed 10 minutes. Besides, bandwidth and disk-space aren't an issue on the corporate intranet.

I think David was originally looking for a way to email a production with high quality vs small filesize... I suggested shockwave as an alternative for his requirements.

The Sorenson download's just finished...must go test!

Gary
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Old August 6th, 2003, 04:32 AM   #15
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Ok thanks for the sum up :-) oh and I'd say good advice.

I'd use a preset as a guide then from there you can tweek everything. Touch up and down the settings as you like. The normal trade offs apply still as far as quality and size but tweaking the mp3 audio and touching up the datarate might be a good way to go.

Oh and dont be alarmed at the pic quality on the first pass of 2-pass VBR cause the final output will be fine whether it's a .flv .swf or .mov.

Jake.
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