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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old October 18th, 2011, 11:03 AM   #1
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USB Thumb Drive Delivery

I'm considering delivering a complete version of our weddings to the customer on a USB thumb drive (with our company logo printed on it) along with the 3 dvds, etc. that are part of our package.

I know that several of you do that or something similar.

My Question is : what file format do you compress to? I use FCP7 and am currently exporting out to Pro Res 442 and then into compressor for the DVD build. Those Pro Res Files are huge? What might be a good codec / format to use. I would like to buy 4GB drives.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Steve Pustay
Horizon Video
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Old October 18th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: USB Thumb Drive Delivery

This is my workflow, and it maybe different to others. From FCP I export it as Quicktime, and drop it to Mpeg Streamclip. Export as MP4 using H.264 compression.

Since I shoot 1080i, I check on Deinterlace video. I slide the quality to 100% then I limit the data rate by checking on it. For 30 minute video I limit the size to 970 mgb by adjusting the kbps to around 6900 or I just play with it until I get my desired file size. Then I let it encode.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 11:21 PM   #3
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Re: USB Thumb Drive Delivery

Is the USB so you can provide HD? If so then my advice is to encode to h.264 main profile in an mp4 container at no more than 10 Mbps for maximum compatibility with playback devices. Personally I use DNxHD as an intermediate and get good results feeding that to Handbrake, which uses the "x264" encoder. Image quality is noticeably better using this method than encoding straight to h.264 from the NLE I use (Vegas) with its included encoders (MainConcept and Sony AVC). Final encoding at, say, 8 Mbps average (e.g., using "constant quality" mode in Handbrake) should allow about 1 hour of 1080i60 or 720p60 on a 4GB stick with quite decent quality. If your content is 1080p24 you can get the same quality with 80% of the bit rate and fit an extra 15 minutes or so on the stick.

If not for HD delivery I really don't see the point (and I just wasted my time and yours :).

PS. Re DNxHD, I don't really know how it compares to ProRes 422 because I've never tried the latter. They're competing codecs. I can say, however, that I see very little if any quality difference in the final h.264 renders when using the lower bit rates available with DNxHD, which may or may not be equivalent to "standard quality" in ProRes 422.

Last edited by Alen Koebel; October 19th, 2011 at 10:16 AM. Reason: expanded
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Old October 19th, 2011, 03:53 AM   #4
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Re: USB Thumb Drive Delivery

OK I'm considering this also as the concept of Blu-Ray for some reason confuses customers (most of them think HD is simply better quality DVD!)

What do you do about chapter points though - If played back in windows media player these are accessible (and maybe quickime player) but what about TVs that can play back from a flash drive?

Cheers

Pete
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Old October 19th, 2011, 06:52 AM   #5
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Re: USB Thumb Drive Delivery

Hi Guys

I would definately use MP4 and computers will play the clips which means the bride can take the usb and her laptop to all her girlfriends and watch the wedding. Media Players (which are also cheap) will always play MP4 with no issues and can connect to a TV via HDMI too!!

I must admit I haven't quite figured out a menu system but when I do weddings in any format each event is a clip on it's own so I don't use chapters at all!! On a normal SD DVD each clip starts with a black background and a simple white title and the end of each clip fades to black so when played continously on the DVD they run seamlessly with using chapters but more importantly short clips are far more watchable as they give the brain a 10 second "reset" each time a new clip starts so the normal human attention span of around 15 minutes is defeated....there aren't many family members who will sit thru 120 minutes of video non-stop but give them the "reset" segment and they are fine.

Because I load clips (intellegently named) on the drive, the bride can easily pick 'n choose what to watch whether it's on a PC or a media player or via a TV's own USB slot...it's not the greast menu system but it does work!!!

Chris
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Old October 19th, 2011, 08:17 AM   #6
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Re: USB Thumb Drive Delivery

Re chapter markers in mp4, apparently Handbrake does support this (although I've never used it myself). AppleTV or Quicktime will read them. I doubt HD game consoles or most media players do. How you get the chapter markers in the source file is another matter. I assume that the chapter markers you define in your NLE would have to be included in the intermediate file in a format that Handbrake or whatever final h264 encoding program you use understands.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 10:16 AM   #7
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Re: USB Thumb Drive Delivery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
but what about TVs that can play back from a flash drive?

Cheers

Pete
I have a TV that can play the mp4 file from a flash drive.
It seams to create its own chapter points so you can advance to another one OK.
You can also FF slightly, so making your way through it isn't to bad.

Just thinking of this delivery option too btw, I think anything is better than a DVD but encoding the mp4 file takes a bit of time on my PC.
Going to get a something a bit faster early next year.
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