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Old November 15th, 2007, 03:38 AM   #1
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Another WMV rendering question

I wonder if someone could kindly recommend some settings for a Windows Media Video render to improve its quality.

I have been given specific guidelines by the client, who wishes to put the video on their website, but I can't quite seem to find a satisfactory trade off between filesize and quality. It was shot and edited for showing on a TV, not in a tiny window so I know it's never going to look fantastic on a website, but my results so far have been disappointing.

Basically, the client wants wmv and a filesize of not more than 15mb. The video is 7m10s widescreen PAL SD.

I'm not hugely familiar with wmv settings and would welcome any suggestions.

Thanks,

Ian . . .
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:01 AM   #2
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For WMV, at over 7 minutes, and less than 15MB, unfortunately I think the client simply may be asking too much from available video compression.

What display size are you looking for? What bit rate are you using?

I just took a fairly typical SD (NTSC) project of mine, and rendered 1 minute out to WMV.

First, I used the default 512K bitrate template, which renders to 320x240 at 512K bitrate (obviously). 1 minute renders to 3.8MB. 7.10 minutes of that would be over 27MB. At that bitrate, even at 320x240, the image was starting to look pretty muddy with compression artifacts.

Then I used a 640x480 template I created previously, which renders at 1MB bit rate. Result was 7.9MB for the same 1 minute. Looks better (not fantastic, but have to look hard for bad-looking artifacts), but 7.10 minutes is going to be well over 55MB.

If your client is happy with 320x240 (or the nearest equivalent suitable for PAL SD dimensions), it may just be a matter of playing with the bitrate from the default template, finding the lowest threshold of quality you're happy with, and convincing the client that the (invariably higher than 15MB) filesize is the lowest you can get under those parameters.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 08:57 AM   #3
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Hi Ian. Many thanks for that, pretty much confirms what I thought was the case - can't be done!

We have now compromised and I have created a sub-15Mb version and a sub-60Mb version which will both go on the website, giving those visitors with faster broadband the opportunity to d/l a better quality version.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

Ian . . .
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Old November 16th, 2007, 12:43 AM   #4
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Encoding to .wmv is an art. Try 15 fps for starters. I’d also render to uncompressed .avi and then encode to .wmv in Windows encoder. You’ll find a lot more options there to get the best quality vs. file size.

And… read every tutorial you can get your hands on regarding encoding to wmv!
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Old November 16th, 2007, 02:36 AM   #5
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Yep, just started reading those articles - bit of a mess, huh?!

Thanks for the tips - I'll check out WME today.

Cheers,

Ian . . .

p.s. as an additional question, what would members recommend as a good format for compressing a piece originally purposed for display on a TV screen - i.e. not shot for web streaming (lots of fast movement, long shots, low contrast shots etc). Is QT the way to go?
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:04 AM   #6
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Is it me or is WME much faster than Vegas at encoding to wmv? If the basic engine is the same in both apps (I read this in another thread) then what is Vegas doing that slows it up?

Really appreciate all the extra attributes you can work with in WME. Lots to do!

Thanks again.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:35 AM   #7
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Sorry to be a real pain with this subject but I have had some kind of brain seizure! I can't seem to set the widescreen attributes correctly in WME.

My source is a 1.6Gb PAL widescreen SD avi. Properties for the conversion are as follows:

COMPRESSION TAB
I have made a custom preset based on the 1105Kbps preset with the PAL and 'Allow nonsquare pixel output' bits set.
In the Bit Rate tab (still in the Custom Encoding Settings dialogue box) I have set the video size to 384 x 288 (actually, I think it may have done that for me).

VIDEO SIZE TAB
No cropping
Pixel aspect ratio DV PAL 16:9

Despite this, the output is squashed horizontally.

I am gradually going through the numerous tutorials and articles but I can't see where I am going wrong - on top of which I haven't found a tutorial that deals with PAL (or is that not important when converting to wmv?).

Can anyone help please?
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Old November 18th, 2007, 04:07 PM   #8
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...sometimes you just have to look someone in the eye and quote Scotty from Star Trek:

"Captain, I cannot break the laws of physics!"

;-)
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Old November 18th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #9
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And on this one Tim, I agree entirely!! Cheers, Ian . . .
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