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Old August 22nd, 2005, 06:25 AM   #1
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Codec / Bitrate for Website Delivery

I run a local site based around bands (both local and international) and I film as many as I can get to. I try to add as many videos to the site for people to download, and as the entire place is getting a complete overhaul, I think its time to do the video section properly.

I was thinking of making a page for each video (using php/sql) and having a low res, 256kbit or so stream on the page itself, then having a download option (maybe just for subscribed users, obviously people will trade the files but if it brings in a few $ for hosting, then hey) for something like a 1mbit version.

Obviously lowering the filesize is nice for us, less transfer... but I want to give good quality videos out. I tend to use around 1mbit now, but its not always ideal, and people will often fullscreen the vids despite the ugliness!

I have a 20gb storage, 300gb transfer deal for the whole site.. I want to host as many videos as possible, and I've done so in the past without breaking my limits. I've switched formats so many times, but would like to know what people suggest for maximum compatability across browsers/systems. I've found the audio when using Quicktime to be terrible when using its default audio codec, and only becomes usable if I use a 4:1 codec, which adds a fair chunk to the size from memory. WMV9 is my current choice, but if there's something more appropriate, then I'm willing to listen. Also what resolutions would people use, these tend to be fairly dark videos as they're shot in venues with coloured lighting on the stage with a PD150.. but the quality on the original (after messing around in post) is generally pretty good.. much better than most people who film bands live anyway (unless they've got a better rig, naturally!)

Cheers
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 11:52 AM   #2
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I've switched formats so many times, but would like to know what people suggest for maximum compatibility across browsers/systems.
That depends on your audience, although in general Windows Media would have the largest audience simply because the vast majority of computers on the Internet are running Windows. You should really take a look at your site statistics and see what operating systems and browsers your audience is running.

If you want to maximize compatibility across browsers, and you embed the video on a webpage, the primary concern would be to not use an ActiveX based embedded player, which is primarily (or exclusively?) a concern with Windows Media Player. Firefox/Mozilla browsers don't have support for ActiveX applets. There are embedded versions of the Windows Media Player that are not ActiveX based. (If you want a non-ActiveX based WM player, let me know and I can post the code for one.)

Whatever format you use, you aren't going to cover the entire audience. That's why sites like cbsnews.com have their videos in at least two formats.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 05:36 AM   #3
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Cheers for that Chris, yeah web stats are dead useful... annoyingly none of mine give me res stats.. but we're devving at 1024px now anyway.

Good advice to avoid ActiveX i'll make sure my guy does that.. I'm running "the big 3" Windows based browsers (IE, Opera, Firefox) so everything will get full tested, and I'll make sure some of my maccites try Safari etc as well.

I popped up a clip yesterday, 1mbit WMV9 encode and its 30mb.. but it doesn't look bad at fullscreen, the video and audio quality are fairly retained (fine for a web download anyway) and it shouldn't hit my server too hard. We have 1,800 registered users, and I'll protect the videos from hotlinking and guest accounts, I'll just watch my server stats over the next few days :)

Thanks
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