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Old January 13th, 2005, 01:47 AM   #1
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Video Streaming

I have been looking for info on video steaming like many of you have on your posts or linked web sites. I would like to know what is the best way of streaming video and how do your videos look so good on the web from such small files.

The videos I have on my web site are way too large and don't stream but have to be downloaded first. I want to be able to click on one of the demos and have it start fairly quickly. Right now when a demo is selected it starts downloading but you don't really know what it's doing until it's finished. It then needs to be opened in Windows Media Player in order to watch.

I suppose there is a thread on this subject but I haven't found it yet. Any help would be appreciated.

I just returned from Vegas where I wore and used my Indicam stabilizer for three straight days at seven hours each day. The footage looks great but I need some way of showing it.

Thanks in advance...
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Old January 13th, 2005, 08:03 AM   #2
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There's a thread going on here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=37242

Personally, I've been playing around with the new MP4 standard at 64kbit/44.1kHz audio and video ranging from 200k to 500k. The results are good quality (at 500k), small file size and excellent audio for streaming.

Being MP4 (industry standard) It's one of the few formats that work on all platforms (Win, Mac, Linux...)
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Old January 13th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #3
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Streaming video

Thanks Rob for the info.

I have downloaded and watched Divx clips and thought they were very good. Larger size and more detail. MPEG4 and Divx is the same thing I believe with different names.

I would love to use the MPEG4 codec as long as there is an easy way for others to view the clips and doesn't cost too much for the encoder.

Flash is easy to show but I think it has a steep price for the encoding side.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 12:40 PM   #4
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Hi,
I have tried so many codecks and method how to do the best conclusion between size, speed, quality, time to do it....

and.., (because i design sites in flash), i am sure, that nothing is so easy like sorenson squeeze...
try it...
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Old January 13th, 2005, 02:13 PM   #5
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If you have the Nero suite, it comes with recoder which makes excellent mp4 files from DVDs and a variety of sources. There is a free streaming application called VLC media player which can turn any PC into a media stream server.

worth a look.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #6
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Personally, I don't care much for the Divx codec because of all the nagware and commercial advertisments you must install just to get the codec.

Also, there's the large files it makes, incompatibility with any other codec and player, and with Linux and Mac, you're left in the dust. Not very helpful to reach every audience.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #7
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Windows Media Encorder, will give you *excellent* quality and is free. In it, you should turn file indexing on if you want people to scrub through the footage.

Quicktime:
Video quality goes up dramatically if you buy the professional Sorenson codecs or Squeeze.

sorenson3 is the best codec for quicktime that I've seen. I haven't tried MPEG4 (the pro one sorenson makes) but I think sorenson3 is a better codec.

Audio for Quicktime:
MPEG4 audio gives excellent sounding audio at low bitrates. You might want to drop down the sampling rate to 32khz for music (target audience is web) and 22khz for voice. Use mono, because few computer users get good stereo perception. From Vegas I don't think you can export MPEG4 audio... Quicktime Pro can do it. (Squeeze ???, Procoder ???)

Qdesign is ok until you buy the pro codec. It needs QT3 instead of QT6 to play back.

IMA is also good (lossless except on transients/spikes/sudden changes) but poor compression.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 02:19 AM   #8
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I'm overwhelmed

OK so there isn't just one real good codec. Don't Mac or Linux have MPEG4 decoders yet? It's been around for a while.

Joe...Where can I find VLC. I just need some simple but good and inexpensive streaming system. I know...there's that problem with simple-good-and inexpensive. You can only have two of the three.

I do own Vegas Video 4 but haven't messed with the output other than regular wmv and mov as well as MPEG2. I don't know that much about windows compression stuff but I have heard that it is good.

Maybe I need to learn more about setting up the output correctly.

Terry
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Old January 14th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #9
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Re: I'm overwhelmed

<<<-- Originally posted by Terry Thompson : Don't Mac or Linux have MPEG4 decoders yet?-->>>

MPEG4 is available for Windows and Macs today. There's no decoder/encoder for Linux because there's a licensing fee for MPEG4. Since MPEG4 must be licenced per box, there's no forseeable way for us to see a free Linux version anytime soon.

...unless...

Unless some big name vendor like Adobe (Premiere), Avid or Pinnacle release a version of their NLE software titles for Linux.

After contacting Adobe recently, they don't believe in Linux at all. I was told that "Only hackers use Linux." I was so upset, I hung up on him.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 05:42 PM   #10
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Re: I'm overwhelmed

<<<-- Originally posted by Terry Thompson : OK so there isn't just one real good codec. -->>>

actually, wmp9 IS that one really good codec... probably better video/audio quality than anything else that's realistically accessible on the web today... judge for yourself:

http://www.oceanstreetvideo.com/videocodectest.zip

the only mpeg4 that is worthwhile is h.264, and it's real good, but there are no players for it anywhere... vlc will not play it back, but it will in the future... for now, tho, it's a killer codec with zero player penetration :-(

the bottom line on choosing which media format to use is to pick the one that works for the most 'net users... since the windows o.s. completely dominates the internet, the decision is made for you... look at the stats:

http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2004/November/os.php
http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeis...ist-jun04.html
http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/
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Old January 15th, 2005, 09:41 AM   #11
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TERRY THOMPSON wrote:
<<I have been looking for info on video steaming like many of you have on your posts or linked web sites. I would like to know what is the best way of streaming video and how do your videos look so good on the web from such small files.>>

Two important things to decide on:
1) What format to use?
2) What streaming service to use?

STREAMING:
Last I looked (6 months ago), there are video streaming services that you can contract with that will give you flat or per byte pricing. These services take care of maintaining the server and high speed connection to the internet. If you want to run your own streaming server, there are several options out there. You can do a calculation of how many simultaneous users you can support by taking the speed of your server's connection and dividing it by the bandwidth you have chosen for your video (e.g. 1MB DSL with 256k streams means 4 (theoretically) simultaneous streams active).

FORMAT:
As for formats, you have options. The "original" MPEG4 standard is called MPEG4 part 2. That was first supported by the QuickTime player (both PC and Mac) in version 6 of that player so its been around awhile. The newest version of MPEG4 called "part 10" is based on the H.264 CODEC standard and promises improved quality etc. However, it's very early and players for it are scarce. On the creation side, the Sorenson Squeeze tools produce both types of MPEG4, all the QuickTime formats and some others. It's considered one of the top tools.

If you can't afford to setup a streaming server but want to provide instant playback-when-you-click, there's a little known feature in the Flash support of Sorenson Squeeze called "Stitching". This lets you create your video using the Flash video CODEC but split into chunks of a given size. That is, if your video is 4MB total and you set the stitching file size to 1MB, you end up with four 1MB files plus a master file that "stitches them together" during playback. The net effect is that playback starts as soon as the first file downloads and the Flash player takes care of downloading the other files to deliver as smooth an experience as possible from a standard web server over the user's connection. If the user's connection, internet traffic or your server can't sustain the bandwidth, users will get a burp in the playback every few minutes (depending). It's a poor-man's streaming but it works on a standard web server. I've used it successfully for modem and 300K DSL streams. I think you can try it out with trial versions of Squeeze for Flash.

The great thing about Flash is that it is cross platform and more pervasive than any other player.

There are other thread-wars on DVINFO (search for "problems with .wmv") where streaming format has been debated for you to look at. There's a number of factors to consider in the choice and you can decide which are important to you. Some people only care about image quality that's lost on most people and they will sacrifice the advantages of other formats that deliver perfectly decent video with better user experience. But as the producer, you get to decide.
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Old January 16th, 2005, 01:32 AM   #12
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video streaming

Ernest,

Wow, lots of great info! I'll have to do a check on the Sprenson Squeeze and see how much it costs. I've spent so much $ on the creation of my video stabilization system with the tooling, raw materials, and contracted parts that I have to get the most I can for the buck with regards to the demo stuff. I know it is one of the most important factors in the whole scheme of things.

What I want to stream are various clips with and without the Indicam stabilizer. Many shots will be from this years Consumer Electronics Show which just ended. One of the cool comparisons is regular video going down the escalator and the next shot is stabilized video going down the stairs which are next to the escalator. If that doesn't show the stabilizer off I don't know what will.

Anyway, thanks for all the quality information everyone. I would like to be self sufficient as much as possible so I'm leaning towards my own server streaming the video. I'll check out the "stitching" thing.

Terry
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