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Old November 28th, 2005, 09:36 PM   #1
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Best format/codec for distribution?

There seems to be a huge split in the industy regarding the best 5:1 format to encode digital video for the widest distribution in the industry. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears to come down to Microsoft DV AVI and QuickTime DV. But which of these formats is the best? I assume they are both the same quality and about the same file size. But can AVI files work on Macs in Final Cut like MOV files can work on PCs?

If you had to choose one of the two formats which would you chose and why?

Thanks!
- Joel
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Old November 29th, 2005, 01:30 PM   #2
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I work on a Mac, so .Mov is my bes choice.

But for delivery? Delivery to whom? For what? Knowing that determines my delivery.

Often I will have footage shot on DV, and I edit native DV, but the delivery requirement is Digibeta...so I upconvert the footage to 10-bit uncompressed and output to Digibeta.

Once I was delivering a quicktime file to a client who was going to compress for the web, so I delivered a DV quality .mov, and a DVCAM tape.

It all depends...
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Old November 29th, 2005, 11:06 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response, Shane! I need to share some footage with colleagues in various parts of the country, and instead of spending money exporting to a tape format and shipping, I want to have the footage ready as individual 15-30 second clips that I can ftp at will. The problem is that my coworkers use a variety of machines to edit on, including PC and Mac. So before I start converting all this footage to clip format, I need to choose a DV codec for storage, and it really comes down to AVI versus MOV. So the question is, which format is more universally accepted and compatible? For example, will DV AVI clips work on your Mac. What is the reason that MOV is preferable for you?

Also, I'm a little confused about your reference to upconverting. My understanding is that if you shoot the source footage in DV you are capturing in a 5:1 compression ratio and it is a lossy compression, so the data is gone forever. Does exporting to Digibeta result in higher quality?
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Old November 29th, 2005, 11:57 PM   #4
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I prefer .MOVs because Macs perfer .movs. .AVIs work, but, .MOVs are better for the Mac.

Upconverting...does nothing to improve quality at all. Just converts the footage into a format that the Digibeta wants for output. It will make the Graphics and text look better, but the source won't improve.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 02:35 AM   #5
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I prefer .AVIs since they almost invariably play perfectly and with high quality on Windoze machines, whereas .MOVs have a lot of playback problems, plus stupid Quicktime is adware that takes over the PC. Want to upgrade now? No! I should also mention that every time you run a QT file on a PC, it writes to the RUN section of the registry. I consider that a security issue.

That video on the XL-2 Tour is a good example. Quicktime couldn't play it, no explanation. So I found it in my cache, and tried loading it directly. "Bad atom" or some such rubbish. Used Videolan's VLC player and it played perfectly. However, I've yet to see web-oriented Quicktime files that approach the quality of similar Windows Media files.

You should aim for the target audience's machines, which will almost always be Windoze.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 07:02 AM   #6
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Depends on your audience. If it is your peers here, there are quite a few Mac people, so .MOV might be good. If it is the world in general, WMV as there are far more Windows Media Player folks than there are QuickTime implementations.

Doug, AVI is a wrapper that can contain many codecs such as DivX, DV-AVI, and other encoded formats. Which do you mean?

BTW, although I do not use it, I am starting to like DivX more and more. Newegg now sells a DivX 'DVD' player for about $45USD. Just wow (and a Progressive DVD for under $30 by the same one-off mfgr.)
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