making .wmv files with mac, fcp5...is it worth it? at DVinfo.net

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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #1
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making .wmv files with mac, fcp5...is it worth it?

I've tried every conceivable way to make great looking videos for my Windows Media web-customers, but the results have not been good thus far. Either the video doesn't get completely rendered, or it looks choppy, even with similar settings I use for quicktime. Are there any mac users who've had success creating good-looking .wmv? Please share.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 10:12 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michelle Lewis
I've tried every conceivable way to make great looking videos for my Windows Media web-customers, but the results have not been good thus far. Either the video doesn't get completely rendered, or it looks choppy, even with similar settings I use for quicktime. Are there any mac users who've had success creating good-looking .wmv? Please share.
Hi Michelle,

If you could elaborate a bit on your workflow, maybe the forum members can help you better. IOW, what are you using to render .wmv files?

-gb-
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Old January 27th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #3
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why do you need even need .wmv files? can't you just render out to a quicktime format that plays across both mac and PC platforms?
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Old January 27th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston
Hi Michelle,

If you could elaborate a bit on your workflow, maybe the forum members can help you better. IOW, what are you using to render .wmv files?

-gb-
I have clips of my work to show online. I'm attempting to offer another player on my website besides Quicktime, since a large percentage of folks use PCs and have Windows Media.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 11:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
why do you need even need .wmv files? can't you just render out to a quicktime format that plays across both mac and PC platforms?
Yes, quicktime does offer a player to PC users, but I want to eliminate the possibility of them skipping my site, just because they don't want to download another player.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #6
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i'm no web guru by any stretch (*kkkkkk****, paging dave perry, a little help please, dave??), but i think using mp4 or sorensen 3, rendering out of the FCP timeline, should play on a pc without having to download a quicktime-specific player.....
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Old January 27th, 2006, 12:47 PM   #7
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Michelle, what program are you using to edit with? And then, what is your process for exporting to .wmv? It sounds like you use a mac to edit, and then you do something extra for .wmv. Please clarify.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 03:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mark Sloan
Michelle, what program are you using to edit with? And then, what is your process for exporting to .wmv? It sounds like you use a mac to edit, and then you do something extra for .wmv. Please clarify.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. Yes, I'm on mac. I use FCP5 and flip4mac to get the option of creating a .wmv file.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 04:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Michelle Lewis
Sorry if I wasn't clear. Yes, I'm on mac. I use FCP5 and flip4mac to get the option of creating a .wmv file.
That was my original question about elaborating. Interesting because many people say great things about FlipforMac. I have only the player, not the encoder. Hopefully, someone else will jump in here and help you out. BTW, welcome to DV-INFO.

-gb-
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Old January 28th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #10
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I have a G5 running flip4mac as well and I was looking to have the same question answered. Can some windows users give us typical settings to create a very good looking 4 minute cliop at 320x240 that is under say 30MB. I think the bit rate and quality sliders are the most important variables, I have been using variable 2 pass encoding but it still seems choppy and not as good as quicktime.

To reply to a couple posts above, using mp4 through FCP will not allow it to be used on all PCs. I agree that the best way to get people to stop at your site for a couple minutes is to have more than one version but I can't seem to find the right bitrate and quality settings to make it look and flow right. This is all SD footage for me.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 01:48 PM   #11
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even if you could natively play .mp4(iso mpeg4) back on pc's, the picture quality is garbage, and therefore not an option... and the only way you'll get barely acceptable results with sorenson 3 is to use two-pass encoding... those are ancient standards that have been surpassed by all modern web formats, including the h.264 that quicktime uses.

patrick, two-pass vbr is the correct way to do all web video, when quality is the main concern... perhaps you could post all of your settings, so we could see what can be improved? i would suggest looking at things like lowering the framerate, because the wmv player can kind of "pseudo-interpolate", for want of a better term, lol... that frees up precious bandwidth for the stream; how much of it you can get away with would depend on the nature of the source footage.

you should never end up with choppy-looking wmv... and you probably should make the final evaluation on a pc, rather than a mac.

one thing that i have been doing lately is encoding wmv 9.1 audio at stereo 32khz, 32kbps, two-pass cbr... it sounds really good.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 02:25 PM   #12
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dan, you may be right about mp4 and sorenson 3 not looking great, especially compared to h.264--i agree, they aren't the best-looking files, especially compared to h.264, but they work straight out of fcp's timeline and they're not at all labor-intensive to produce, by any means. also, it doesn't sound like the comparable results with flip4mac (which i use as a player and like) is any better and is possibly even worse--or maybe the right encoding combinations have not been found. the two-pass solution patrick proposed does not sound any better than mp4 or sorenson. choppy video quality with flip4mac does not sound like a big improvement over poor video quality with sorenson. they both stink equally....

how about exporting your file to a deck or camera, to full dv tape, and re-import into a pc for rendering straight into .wmv.? seems like it would not be hard to borrow this set-up, and you can bypass the frustration of inadequate 3rd-party solutions. it seems like the most lossless solution.

maybe the answer to the original question, is it worth it to make .wmv files out of fcp5, is....no. for the moment.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 05:38 PM   #13
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you could export an avi file from fcp, and copy it over to the pc for encoding.

if flip4mac couldn't make better-looking web video than iso mpeg4 or sorenson, at the same bitrates, i'd return it for a refund... but i think the issue here is operator error... if you download the test clips from the website in my sig file, you'll be amazed at the potential wmv has, compared to those old codecs.

has anyone called the flip4mac tech support line?
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Old January 31st, 2006, 07:50 PM   #14
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i've e-mailed flip4mac for tech support on the player and found them very responsive and willing to hang with the issue until solved. good idea, dan....
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Old February 1st, 2006, 01:11 AM   #15
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I use the PopWire .wmv export plugin for QuickTime. It allows you to export to .wmv from any QT enabled app. However, I've never been satisfied with the results for the most part. It does a good job but I just haven't had the time to do all the tests necessary to discover the best settings for various projects.

Also, with microsoft officially dropping development of windows media player for the Mac and the advent of the 5th gen iPod capable of playing video, I personally see no reason to continue with .wmv files. Granted microsoft directs you to Flip4Mac where you can download a free plugin to play .wmv files directly within QT so there still is support for .wmv on the Mac, but the iPod is going to do for video, what it did for music: dominate market share.

With iPods already holding 80% of the mp3 player market and now they can play video, and iTunes Music Store selling 80% of music downloads, Apple's in a great position to distribute video content in a way nobody else can right now. Couple that with the various networks that are stumbling over each other to get on board the ITMS, and no support for .wmv on the iPod, I'm not very motivated to deliver content in .wmv format any more.

Just my $.50 worth :)

Check some of my iPod movies here.
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