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Old December 27th, 2003, 03:03 AM   #1
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What's your favorite codec to use for compressed rendering?

I noticed in my video rendering codec selection there are many different codecs that I know very little about. Just wondering which one you like to use and why?
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Old December 27th, 2003, 05:51 AM   #2
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Most of the legacy codecs found on a PC are there to decode the kind of video you'd find on old CDs like the encyclopedia disks. They were developed for old, slow systems and video cards with negligible on board memory. You can certainly choose one, like Indeo 3.2 or 5.1, or Cinepak, but there's little or no reason to today.

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Old December 27th, 2003, 09:42 AM   #3
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We tend to use Quicktime compression for cross-platform compatibility. To be more exact - Sorenson 3. I'm not sure if that implements MPEG 4, but it yields good picture quality with minimal file size. I +fav xvid compression as well - another MPEG 4 codec.
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Old December 29th, 2003, 02:31 PM   #4
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Most people seem to use either QuickTime with Sorenson 3 or
DiVX/XviD with AVI. Sometimes mpeg or a streaming format is
used as well.
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Old December 29th, 2003, 03:02 PM   #5
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First off the answer depends on what bitrates you are encoding at (I'm assuming for web).

Windows Media Encoder is *excellent*, although Microsoft is evil. With very little messing around you can get great results and beat divX and sorenson3 (non-pro).

Usually the best route is Windows Media Player + Quicktime. Sorenson3 and mpeg4 audio gives the best results for Quicktime. The Pro version of the sorenson3 with Cleaner gives the best results with sorenson3.
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Old December 29th, 2003, 05:13 PM   #6
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Unfortunately WMV and MOV files aren't accepted by every application (such as 3DS Max in my case). But you can always use DivX, cause that works flawlessly with most anything that'll read AVIs.

I really wish someone would make a high quality near-lossless codec (like DV) for HD or other resolutions and ARs besides normal DV.
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Old December 29th, 2003, 06:58 PM   #7
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I've just been experimenting with encoding clips captured from VHS. In motion scenes (knife fight scene), WindowsMedia9 at 512kbps or 256kbps definitely beats out Sorenson3 at the same bitrate. On my knife fight scene, WM9 at 256 kbps also beats Sorenson3 at 512kbps. There is an obvious difference in motion artifact levels and the black/dark color levels between Sorenson and WM9. The Sorensons produces blacks with green hazy blocks.

Also, is WM9 have a wide coverage these days, or will I better off going for WM8 ?

Since some of you are pleased with Sorenson3, what settings are you using? I'm using Vegas4 to render using the QuickTime5 512kbps and 256kbps templates. Thanks for any advice.
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Old December 29th, 2003, 08:35 PM   #8
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Cleaner with the pro Sorenson3 codec will give you better than normal results. It still looks like WME is better.

All Windows Media Player clients are *supposed* to automatically download codecs that they don't have. However, sometimes Media Player doesn't feel like doing it so it doesn't work all the time. I don't know how widespread it is. WMV8 I believe is still decent.

win95/98 users by the way are going to have a hard time playing back WMV8 and WMV9. Media Player 7 isn't supported on those OSes, although you can get WMV8 to play on win98 (I forget about WMV9). Quicktime works well on win95/98 though.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 03:26 AM   #9
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Glenn,

I have Media Player 7 running on an old 400 MHz Pentium III computer (Win98). It has
no trouble playing back WM9 files and somewhere along
the way has downloaded that codec. I'll try WM8 for kicks and report back.

As for Media Player codec download, it can only downloads some. A while back, I had to manually install the DiVX when I was working with that compression format. I know that WMPlayer on my current WinXP machine refuses on MPEG2 files, although I'm pretty sure that it has do with the AC3 audio. All of this occurs on a machine with an nVidia chipset which supports real-time AC3 encode. Go figure.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 02:16 PM   #10
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My old celeron733 would choke on large movies. WMV movies didn't seem so bad, but I don't think I encountered big ones.

You can't play back MPEG2 unless you buy a software MPEG2 player. It has to do with licensing issues.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 07:22 PM   #11
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Some of the software DVD players (nvdvd) install codecs that allow playback of MPEG2 from Media Player. However, only MPEG2 files with PCM audio or MPEG-1 Layer II work. Those with AC3 audio don't.
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