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Old February 5th, 2007, 06:04 PM   #1
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UWOL#2 How to make it better

Well, I thought I'd start this thread for feedback on how we all can make UWOL#2 even better.

Obviously we need to make the uploading more foolproof. But what else can be done to make the next challenge go smoother?

Did people really have a huge problem meeting the 50 meg limit? What other formats can we use if you didn't like the Sorenson 3 codec? Is it that big a deal if we use H.264? Is FLASH an alternative?

I really enjoyed this first challenge and I'd love to see this grow bigger with each new challenge. So, let's see if we can get all our ducks in a row before we all scatter to the four corners of the planet to shoot footage for UWOL#2. :)
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Old February 6th, 2007, 01:58 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback
Did people really have a huge problem meeting the 50 meg limit? What other formats can we use if you didn't like the Sorenson 3 codec? Is it that big a deal if we use H.264? Is FLASH an alternative?
Meryem pointed out in another thread that we should use available compression formats with no costs for the contributer. What I found was that some of the free compression tools made a quite large file, easily breaking the 50MB limit. A file size limit to 70MB might suit better?

I think the video size is too small, 640x370 (16:9) would suit better for both judging and viewing. Wildlifefootage contains most often of tiny details which not show up good enough in small windows.

The Sorenson 3 codec suits me fine, no need to change this?
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Old February 6th, 2007, 04:50 AM   #3
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Per,

Yeah I'd love to see a larger size film allowed as well. I like to crop my stuff to 2.35:1 so it makes it even smaller.

We only used 18% of our bandwidth for the month so if Meryem ok's it, we could go bigger I think without blowing our bandwidth allotment. Course, I hope thsi thing takes off like a rocket and we have more entries every challenge.

Sorenson 3 worked fine for me as well. Maybe it's not as big of an issue now that everyone has been able to get their feet wet with it.

I liked how some people put their film up on their site and I could just download it and put it up on the UWOL site too. Made it easy for them because they didn't have to fiddle with the uploader or wait for a FTP slot to open up.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 05:21 AM   #4
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Upping the file size would help. Flash is not needed and adds complexity to production and viewing. A command line ftp option would have saved me some time. Length limit was about right.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #5
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well, i was kind of hoping to hold off on this thread until i could actually formulate my thoughts around this, but here goes the on-the-fly version.

i'm fine with a larger file size--my original request was for a 100 MB limit, especially since so many of us are adopting HDV technologies--it's very frustrating to have this great image on the front-end, only to be forced to compress it to death on the uploading end.

HOWEVER, the uploader script seemed to limit us to 50MB. even getting the script to accept 50MB took some really intense work on the part of mat. and it was not user-friendly, in the sense that users had difficulty understanding the need to quit multi-tasking while the upload was in progress.

so i think we need for mat to weigh in on this one, before the file size discussion goes anywhere. having the bandwidth is only one issue. having an uploading script that enables a larger file size is the other, much stickier issue. mat?

i would add that, having all of the files neatly uploaded to one website was awesome! it looks great, it feels great. now that we have that capacity, i'm very attached to that feature and don't want to give that up. so the uploading script might be one parameter that we live with, if we want to keep our discrete website. (and i think we do....)

so it's easy to *say* we want something, but i can't promise that we can deliver it. i trust that, if mat can deliver it, he will. he put a ton of work into ensuring our initial success. so let's let him educate us on this issue, shall we? i think it is the number-one and number-two issue, file size and file format.

regarding file format, i'm willing to accept any .mov extension that will play across platforms. click-n-go is absolutely bottom-line vital. so far, that means mp4, sorenson3, and we recently accepted mpeg-1. any others? educate me, we'll add them to the official rules and regs list. the issue with flash is incompatibility with the uploading script, so for the moment, it's not on the table.

i agree with per that the aspect ratios could be enlarged a bit, but for the first challenge, i was pretty concerned about getting everyone's file compressed to 50MB and using common aspect ratio. i agree that shooting the magnificence of nature and viewing it on these small screens is somewhat unjust.

HOWEVER, i also want to watch all of the videos on a common size, because some of the less experienced shooters/video designers are in the process of learning to compress video to the web, and this puts their videos on the same level playing field as people with more experience in the black art of web compression. i think the virtue of equality in viewing everybody's submission outstrips arguments for larger aspect ratios, because to get the bigger aspect ratio at a good quality, you have to come to the Challenge with a developed, prior knowledge of compression. i think that gives more experienced producers an unfair advantage, and one of the best features of the Challenge is having everyone participate on the same level. so other than adding a comparable 2.35:1 ratio, i'm not quite ready to jump on board changing the ratio sizes, unless we are also able to make larger file sizes. these two issues go together. if we can enlarge the file size, then we can increase the aspect ratios. but if we stay limited at 50MB, then we keep the existing ratios, in order to keep everyone's files, beginner to advanced, reasonably close in quality.

these are the primary issues, but again, they are things which will have to be worked out over time and within the parameters of what mat says we can do.

what about time frame? i think 3 weeks worked pretty well, not too much, not too little, but i'm interested in hearing back on your experiences of it.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #6
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i think the first uwol went on just fine, had no problems at all - except for the things we can't fight - the weather conditions, but i agreed with per johan on the video size, 640x370 (16:9), would suit bether. when it comes to size of file (70 - 100mb) i'm not sure, larger file - longer time up-/downloading. i also think sorenson is ok to use as codec. in wildlife videoing we shoot all from big mountains and animals to microvideoing - thats why i hope for larger video size next time :)
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Old February 6th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #7
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1. I note there is no mention of Windows Media as a potential. Windows media currently presents some of the best capabilities in encoding and maintaining quality of hdv for download purposes. If you are eliminating that option, you are eliminating an important and useful tool to exhibit films. It provides a lot of variables to manipulate to comply with file size limits.

2. Why not allow the entrant to chose between space provided by UWOL, and or a link at the UWOL site, to his own "upgraded" version of her film. At one point, I thought that was being discussed.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 10:21 AM   #8
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entrants are always welcome to post a link to their preferred file format on their feedback thread. in fact, they can post larger aspect ratios, preferred file format, larger file size, longer version etc. the options are unlimited. but we are going to judge on a common standard. we're in the process of figuring out what that common standard can be, given some of the limits. some of the limits are ours to control, others are not.

for the purposes of UWOL, i can't stress enough the importance of click-n-play.

.wmv is not click and play for mac users. h.264 (which is the mac users counterpart to .wmv) is not click and play for PC users. mac users suffer from the lack of h.264, just as much as PC users suffer from the lack of .wmv.
until the cross-platform issues are resolved, both of these are off the table. i've heard arguments from both PC users and mac users that the other "should" download flip4mac/quicktime 7, etc. etc., and both sides express enormous reluctance to download what the other format requires for playing, for various reasons ("it crashes my system," "playback is stuttery," --you name it, we've already heard it!).

the .wmv/h.264 discussions inevitably devolve into platform wars, which are of no use to us.

universal accessability is one of those non-negotiables. our priority is for everyone to be able to view everyone else's videos.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz

for the purposes of UWOL, i can't stress enough the importance of click-n-play.

.
Click-n-play for whom, Meryem?

If the organisers/judges need easy access to do their job, fair enough. We would be navel-gazing without them.

I could not click-n-play any of the entries until I downloaded them. Is that the same procedure for others, or can all mac users click-n-play .mov files without downloading them? Just curious ...
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Old February 6th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #10
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"mac users suffer from the lack of h.264, just as much as PC users suffer from the lack of .wmv."

As a PC user, I can play h.264, but haven't figured a way to encode it right, even through Quicktime 7.

Similarly, as a PC user, I've had a lot of difficulties trying to work out even Quicktime Sorenson encoding issues, especially gamma and aspect ratio problems associated with the encoding. So I don't think Quicktime is as universal as is being portrayed. But I'll work with it, in the spirit of the competition...
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Old February 6th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos
"mac users suffer from the lack of h.264, just as much as PC users suffer from the lack of .wmv."

As a PC user, I can play h.264, but haven't figured a way to encode it right, even through Quicktime 7.

Similarly, as a PC user, I've had a lot of difficulties trying to work out even Quicktime Sorenson encoding issues, especially gamma and aspect ratio problems associated with the encoding. So I don't think Quicktime is as universal as is being portrayed. But I'll work with it, in the spirit of the competition...
I'm having the same issues...

No problems with .wmv
But I'm trying to work on getting QT up and running properly.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #12
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guys, even *having* QT 7 loaded on your computer is several steps ahead of most people, which is, of course, my point...and if you tell me better universal, cross-platform codecs than mp4, sorenson 3, and mpeg-1, i'm happy to add them. they only have to be universal.

brendan, by click and play, i mean that your machine is compatible with the format, meaning no need to download additional software for viewing.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 12:33 PM   #13
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Not having a Mac or Apple product, I don't know the answer to this, but are you saying that Macs can utilize a player like VLC to play windows movie files ?
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Old February 6th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos
Not having a Mac or Apple product, I don't know the answer to this, but are you saying that Macs can utilize a player like VLC to play windows movie files ?
I believe so. I don't own a Mac at the moment but I know that VLC can play just about anything, and it is available for the Mac and PC. As well as many other OS'...

BTW, VLC doesn't hold a candle to WMP on my machine. I just downloaded it and played a few clips. They always looked worse when using VLC.

Not really the point here though...
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Old February 6th, 2007, 12:54 PM   #15
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i don't think i said that, but there certainly a couple of downloadable apps which let .wmv run on a mac...i use flip4mac, personally.

p.s. the playback is pretty weak, though.
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