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Old December 31st, 2003, 12:32 AM   #1
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Help and opinion about web video...

I have a video here http://www.bmxbums.com/videos/contest%20video.wmv . Its .wmv and the compression is horrible. Its a small size for a fifteen minute video but the quality is terrible. What do you guys use to compress videos for web use? Someone told me mpeg 4 is supposed to be really good but what do I use to encode that? Also since I have the video already posted here can you give me an honest opinion on it? As in editing wise? I know the filming is horrible because I was running around a huge park trying to follow the riders and I didnt have a steadycam or anything. I posted it on a few forums and they all told me it "sucked" or it was "crap", they didnt explain why it was so bad so an honest opinion would be nice just so I can see what I need to work on. Thanks alot.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 02:30 AM   #2
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Dustin,

All the Lady X episodes are compressed for Quicktime format using the Sorensen 3 codec. That's just one of many methods...but it's one that has worked for us.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 03:10 AM   #3
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You can encode Mpeg 4 with Quicktime (Pro). $29.95. Real good quality.

Sorensen 3 is excellent as well. But this costs a whole lot more if you want the best quality/encoding options. About $200 i think.

You might want to try Flash MX 2004 (For flash player 7+) and encode to the .flv codec which is very very good too.

I've seen some very impressive Windows Media 9 stuff though.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 04:06 AM   #4
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I haven't. Mac users can't view a lot of Windows Media stuff now.

True... Mac users are a small percentage...but what if that potential investor in your next project only uses a Mac?I for one don't want to exclude anyone from viewing just because of file type.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 04:15 AM   #5
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Yes. I'm a 95% Mac user too. But i have seen some amazing WM9 media on my colleague's PC. If i remember correctly, the bmw films online were encoded in windows media and can be viewed on a mac using player 7. The quality is excellent.

I am excited about and recommend the new flash mx app and it's excellent video handling. Truly seemless video/web integration and cross-platform indeed.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 04:53 AM   #6
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That's what I've been experimenting with lately, Kevin. It really does do a good job, although not quite as sharp as I'm used to with Quicktime. But I think the fact that it's cross-platform and doesn't require a player download in most cases overrides the small drop in quality.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 05:01 AM   #7
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The quality will improve, but as it is now, i think it's superior. Macromedia is one of the most aggresive players on the web these days.

The most significant potential that flash has now is the ability for seemless(windowless) video presentation. An interactive narrative or short, for example. Hotspots on your footage leading to different destinations/narrative endings etc. And the usual blue-screened/keyed video product demos.

Here's to the future.

(I'd love to visit tokyo soon... wow)
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Old December 31st, 2003, 06:13 AM   #8
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I can't check right now. Are you using WM8 or WM9 for the compression? I've been compressing martial arts footage and found that 512kbps is pretty good and sooooooo much better than 256kbps. You appear to be running at 236 kbps. If you're trying to limit the file size, have you considered cutting the video in half? This kind of action footage really deserves a higher data rate. May I suggest that you severely reduce the 4 minute introduction? I like techno, but the intro music is kinda clubby and "chicky." It's hard to see the real action during the intro unless there are no cars on the road. More footage with fewer cars would have served you better. Perhaps a few isolated jumps in slow motion would be a better introduction for you. As for editing, have you considered some slo-mo action during the interesting parts of the jumps? That may eat up your file budget, but perhaps you can service fewer jumps in greater detail.

I like what seems like you're fast forwarding as you walk through the event (up the stairs), but you can probably cut out the full pan of the arena. Perhaps you can fast forward during the approaches and landings while keeping the jump either full speed or 1.2 speed. At least for some of the jumps. Another twist would be to stop the video after the interesting part of the jump.
Does anyone really want to watch the run up to the take off and and the run down after landing? I learned this doing martial arts
highlights. Too much context is not useful in a series of highlights.

I haven't experimented with VBR and can't tell if you already use it, but it may pay off well for the scenes in which the background
is constant.

It's a chore videotaping unpredictable action. You seem to do a pretty smooth job of panning around. In the past, I would
zoom out to catch all of the action. These days, I prefer to pass most of the action just to get some good close up footage, especially for frame grabs. I lose a lot of good material, but I'm left with footage in which you can recognize the subjects and see the intricacy of their stunts.

After watching this video, I feel like I just want to go out and have a lot of fun breaking a lot of stuff. Cool. Sorry for the long-winded commentary. I'm kinda working on a similar action project and enjoyed watching your work.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 08:20 AM   #9
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Thanks for the help guys. I made the video for my local skatepark that hosted the contest. So it wasn't really meant for the web. I should probably cut it in half to make two downloads. When I was making it I felt like I wanted to break away from the normal bmx video I see all the time (music, riding, minimal editing, and thats it). Thats where the weird colors, sink water, ceiling fan, driving footage and fading highlights of the riding came in. I was trying to reach my never before touch 'artistic side'. = ] But as for the introduction being a bit long...I can see how it is, I started the video with the length about 30 mins. But then I realized alot of my footage was just horrible because of the shakiness. So I went through and cut it all out. I already had the introduction part finished and I liked how it came out so I didn't shorten it (they werent paying me to make this anyway so I kinda just did it the they want I wanted with the intro). I was thinking about cutting it up and just showing the highlights and not the run ups and landings but thats just like every video. With this one I wanted to show how the contest actually wen down. So I cut up a few highlight clips but left a few full runs so that people who watched it could get a good view and feel of the real contest. I guess this didnt work out how I thought it would. It's okay though, I really appreciate someone explaining to me what I should try improving. I have a couple other shorter (about 3 mins) videos here if you want to watch them to get a feel of the norm for a bmx video. And by the norm I don't mean old and boring but it's how they all are, but they are still good nonetheless.

http://www.bmxbums.com/videos/bmxbums%20trailor1web.wmv

http://www.bmxbums.com/videos/bmxbums%20trailor2web.wmv

Thanks alot for the help guys. Im going to look into that stuff (the quicktime and macromedia) today.
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