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Old March 4th, 2006, 07:37 PM   #1
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Windows Media Player or FLASH for videos on web?

Hello everyone.
I produce Virtual Tours for Realtors. On my site I always post the video on Quicktime format, which I like so much, and WMP format for PC users.
I am still not so happy with the quality of a compressed WMP video. I have watched several videos done/compressed on Flash and liked the results, eventhough the frame rate is not as good as the ones on WMP or QT; on Flash I have the impression of seeing the video "jumping a bit" - but on the other hand, on Flash, the video starts faster and also is not as "dark" as a WMP video. I am wondering if the quality of a video on Flash is really lighter and better.
What is your opinion?

Thank you everybody
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Old March 4th, 2006, 09:33 PM   #2
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you can massage windows media to get any quality you want out of it... if you want a lower framerate, to match whatever you are seeing in flash for instance, simply encode wmp to some multiple of 30 fps... 15 fps, for instance.

doing that frees up a lot of bandwidth that can be used to improve the picture quality, and the wmv player does a wonderful job of pseudo-creating the missing frames, for want of a better term.

when generalizing about various codecs, you have to make sure that you are referencing the latest and greatest, AND that you have the software tools necessary to create the best possible picture quality in the first place.

a perfect example of that would be this very recent article:

"Our research shows that optimally produced Flash video can look great, but that the choice of codec, encoding tools, and parameters make a huge difference, as does how you shoot and edit," concluded Ozer.

http://www.streamingmedia.com/press/view.asp?id=4336

if i were you i'd find out what the actual limits of your windows media encoding quality really are, then think about taking a look at spending $$$ for flash 8... just don't use any of the older flash codecs.

so you'd be looking at:
1) wmv encoding parameters that you are using
2) wmv encoding applications that you are using
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Old March 5th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #3
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Thanks Dan,
Just to add to our conversation, I use a XL1-S for filming and Final Cut Express for editing. I have purchased a Windows Media Player plug-in to be used with FCE.

I use the Flip4mac wmv version 1.0.6

When compressing the videos, this is the set up I use "most of the times"
- Cable DSL 256 K
- Audio at 22kbps, 22;1 khz, Stereo
- Video:
CBR (quality at 100%)
Bit rate : 302 kbits/second
Key frame every 10.0 seconds
Input Frame: Progressive
Output Frame : Rate 29.97 frames/second
Type: Progressive

On the plug-in these are the other options on the BIT RATE: 15, 22, 84, 185, 302 (used by me most at the times), 386, 636, 1272.

My videos have around 6.0MB for a 2.5 minute of lenght. Do you considere it heavy?

Dan, Am I missing something? What is your opinion about this plug-in? Any other option?

By the way, I have the Flash 8, just wondering if it would be "Smart" of me to spend some time to learn it to be able to use it for my porpuse.. Or better stick with the WMPlayer.


If you want to check one of this videos, please go to;
http://www.pixelitvideos.com/video.htm

Thank you so much

Rey Soares
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Old March 5th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #4
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For small Videos Flash is better

Hi,
I am using Flash videos on my website http://www.travelvideosonline.com . Flash videos provide immediate streaming , customised layouts. But if you are using high bit rate videos, I prefer wmv format, as the quality is high.

Regards
Binu
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Old March 5th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #5
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Thanks Joseph!
My videos on WMPlayer usually have 6MB and last about 2 1/2 minutes. Do you consider too heavy the size of the video? Would FLASH make it lighter?
If you want to check it out, please do:
http://www.pixelitvideos.com/video.htm

I am checking yours right now.
Take care, and I'd love to hear your opinion about the size and bit rates of the video you'll watch on my website.
Thanks,
Rey
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Old March 5th, 2006, 11:23 PM   #6
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Rey - You could cut the frame rate in half (drop every other frame) on the WMV video and that would allow you to cut the file size almost in half (encode at half the bitrate), while still maintaining very close to the same visual quality. (I didn't look at the QT version.)
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Old March 5th, 2006, 11:28 PM   #7
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Rey - I'm curious what camera you shot that with.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 12:13 AM   #8
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Embed the video

Well , I viewed the wmv file . I had to download it , and it was not in a streaming format. Usually visitors may , not be interested in downloading a file , and it would generate more visitors if it is in streaming format. You can embed the video using ......

<OBJECT ID="MediaPlayer" WIDTH="320" HEIGHT="240" CLASSID="CLSID:22D6F312-B0F6-11D0-94AB-0080C74C7E95"
STANDBY="Loading Windows Media Player components..." TYPE="application/x-oleobject">
<PARAM NAME="FileName" VALUE="videofilename.wmv">
<PARAM name="ShowControls" VALUE="true">
<param name="ShowStatusBar" value="false">
<PARAM name="ShowDisplay" VALUE="false">
<PARAM name="autostart" VALUE="false">
<EMBED TYPE="application/x-mplayer2" SRC="videofilename.wmv" NAME="MediaPlayer"
WIDTH="320" HEIGHT="240" ShowControls="1" ShowStatusBar="0" ShowDisplay="0" autostart="0"> </EMBED>
</OBJECT>

.....the above format. Just change the videfilename.wmv to your filename.
Alternatively you may use Flash as I had done in my site www.travelvideosonline.com , which is suitable for small files, with less panning and zooms.

Binu
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Old March 6th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #9
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Robert,
thank you so much for the great feedback.
I use a Canon XL1-S for filming and Final Cut Express for Post-production.
I will cut in half the bit rate and so forth... Now, what would the correct choices be for these settings here? I use FCE and Flip4Mac to compress file to WMplayer format.

CODING METHOD
- One pass, constatnt bit rate (CBR) OR
- One pass, variable bit rate (VBR)

Bit rate:
- "I will cut that in half like you suggested"

Key frame every:
- From 1 to 10 seconds. I normally use 10. What do you think?

Input Frame
- Type: Progressive, Interlace (upper field first) or Interlace (lower field first)
WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE? I have been choosing Progressive.

Output frame
- Rate: " I will cut in half like you suggested"
- Type: Progressive, Interlace (upper field first) or Interlace (lower field first)
WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE? I have been choosing Progressive.

AUDIO:
- I always use 22 kbps, 22.1 khz, Stereo. Should I use mono?

You have no idea how much you and the others have been helping me!

Thanks,
Rey
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Old March 6th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #10
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Joseph, thanks a BUNCH!
You have menciond you needed to download the WMP file before watching it... That's strange, because I have checked the video on PC's and never needed to download them.
I use FLIP4Mac on my Final Cut Express to compress the videos, and I do not see any option on the Flip4Mac to make the video stream. Wondering if you know...

I am not really good with HTML, but would that codes you sent me make the video start right away? Or, is it for something else? Sorry for my dumb question, my friend.

Thanks again.

REy
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #11
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Rey - I replied to your email. The one question I forgot to address in my reply to your email is about CBR or VBR usage. For streaming video, you should use CBR. For video that will be fully downloaded before playing, use VBR.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:09 PM   #12
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Also, you need to drop (delete) every other frame in post, before encoding at half the framerate, otherwise you will have just as many frames in the video, simply playing back twice as slowly (filesize will stay the same also).
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
Also, you need to drop (delete) every other frame in post, before encoding at half the framerate, otherwise you will have just as many frames in the video, simply playing back twice as slowly (filesize will stay the same also).
I'm not saying your wrong Robert, but is that really necessary? I've rendered 60i and 24P material out of Vegas using lower frame rates and I haven't had any speed issues like that. I don't mean to be argumentative, it's just that I'd never experienced anything like that myself.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #14
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I'd actually have to go test a little to see where frames are/can be dropped using Vegas and compressing the render using WMV, going from 30fps (60i deinterlaced) to 15fps. I'm still new to Vegas (and haven't changed framerates while using it), but I do know that you have to do a frame rate conversion (dropping frames) somewhere along the line to keep the playback speed from changing. If you simply tell a compressor to compress material, that contains 30 frames per second of video, encoding it to display at 15fps (unless the compressor does the dopping of the extra frames), it will result in slowing down the playback of the footage (slo-mo). I believe that when you are doing that (and it works correctly), it would be Vegas doing the frame rate conversion (dropping frames), not the compressor codec.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 05:36 PM   #15
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The key concept is the distinction between a frame rate conversion and frame rate change (without a conversion to keep time sync with the original source).
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