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Site Graphics and Multimedia Design Forum

    
Movies on the web
what format do you use
grnidone




msg:848251
 9:48 pm on May 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

I have to put a video up on a site, and I am wondering what format I should use. I have never done this before.

The video is about two to three minutes long and will be taken put into digital format from an analog tape. It is not a cartoon, but shows an actual movie taken by a photographer. I am grateful the person who took it was a professional, so it is good quality.

If I had to take a guess at my audience, they have dog slow modems, possibly AOL connections, and older hardware. I also don't have a whole lot of space on the server for this whole thing. I'd like the download to be quick, but I do believe the audience would be willing to wait for the download. Probably PC users with Windows 95 or 98. Also not real computer saavy.

My gut says to save it in quicktime. As I understand, quicktime is the most widely understood format. I do not know however, if this will give the best compression.

I'd appreciate any tips you can give to me on what format would be best for this audience and ways I can squish this thing as tight as possible without losing too much.

Thanks
-G

 

BoneHeadicus




msg:848252
 10:34 pm on May 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately RealPlayer is the best format (player) out there. It decodes quicktime as well as windows media files.if you have a packet sniffer take a peep and let us know what you see when you run RealPlayer

I wouldn't bother with streaming server software like the Real Server G2...it ain't worth the wait if you're on a modem cuz you're gonna get 16KBS and thats what the HTTP streaming does. Most hosts support the Real mimetype so you can set it on your server, build a ram file pointing to it and off you go.

The RealVideo 8 codec is a vast improvement over anything else. Quicktime is good too and is supported by RealPlayer so there you go grnidone...HTH

grnidone




msg:848253
 10:43 pm on May 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

Any particular tips on "crunching" the data?
-G

BoneHeadicus




msg:848254
 10:51 pm on May 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

Screen height and width is your enemy....keep it as small as possible. Look at 175x144 and see it that works and inch upwards if you must. RealVideo 8 has some kind of telecine preprocessor that seems to help too. Keep the framerate to 15 if you can. Make all your shots headshots so only the mouth is moving...this makes a good video even on a modem.

Basically it all boils down to screen size. You can also reduce the color output to 256 but I know RealVideo 8 won't work that way. It needs 16 bit color. I don't know much about Quicktime cuz I never used it.

There are Flash video encoders now that are really the best answer as far as plugins go.

bill




msg:848255
 4:29 am on May 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

What about the [url=www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/]Windows Media[/url] Video 8 or even 7? The new codec makes some really pretty videos.

oilman




msg:848256
 4:35 am on May 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

If you decide to go with the REAL Player version it can be setup to stream off any http server. I did it awhile back and still have my notes around here somewhere (he says as he knocks over several piles of paper and MaximumPC magazines just by breathing too deeply)

oilman




msg:848257
 4:36 am on May 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

oh - I see BH already mentioned the http streamin. Good call dude. ;)

toolman




msg:848258
 6:17 am on May 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

What about the Windows Media Video 8 or even 7? The new codec makes some really pretty videos.

Yes it does but I've found the sound in WMedia to be a bit "tinny". Kinda like talking with two cans and a string. Add to that the recent marketing tactics by M$ that are even more obnoxious than Real and you got a recipe for decline in market share. Keep your eyes open for Ogg Vorbis. It's open source.

I jumped into web video with both feet and sunk...simply put...it doesn't work. Or to put it better..it's more work than it's worth. The days are a coming but they aren't here yet.

Robert Charlton




msg:848259
 8:50 am on May 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>simply put...it doesn't work<<

I basically agree. Streaming video doesn't even work when there's a Real server. The only good web video that I've seen has been on downloaded files or DSL... and there you have to motivate people that the download time is worth it. The "Star Wars: Episode 2" trailer looked great (I think it was QuickTime with the Sorensen codec), but "Star Wars" was a known quantity, so people were willing to wait out the download.

From comparisons that I've seen of Real and Windows Media, which were a while back, at slow transfer rates, I thought that Real worked better. But Microsoft, I felt, looked a lot better at faster rates, and I think they've perhaps conceded the unsatisfactory dial-up present and are staking out a faster DSL future.

For any streaming media, if you're really serious, you should check out a piece of software (not cheap) called Media Cleaner. I think they've been acquired by someone, so I'm not sure if that's still their name.

Also, I just read something of interest in DV magazine... a letter about: "a $99 utility from Wildform ( [url=www.wildform.com]www.wildform.com[/url] ) called Flix that converts AVI files into SWF files with big savings in size."

When I tried to check it out, the site crashed my browser, so I haven't seen it. I'd love to get a report... I'm not willing to go through the crash recovery again. It seems the utility would have to posterize movies and do some sort of an outline map to vectorize the content, but I'm only guessing. I'm very curious, as Flash really does produce some great looking video, but it's generally animation.

toolman




msg:848260
 3:22 pm on May 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

Also, I just read something of interest in DV magazine... a letter about: "a $99 utility from Wildform ( www.wildform.com ) called Flix that converts AVI files into SWF files with big savings in size."

Check out the Flix discussion boards at flashkit.com to get a picture of what's up with that. It works fine but the gut feeling is wait for the next release.

Media Cleaner Pro5 is definitley the way to go. I think it even has the sorensen codec but I'm not sure whether that is a standard plug in for most players or not. I haven't done anything hands on with video for a year now. I keeps tabs on it because I know it will happen one day.

Robert Charlton




msg:848261
 8:01 am on May 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>I think it even has the sorensen codec<<

Yes, Media Cleaner Pro was the first software, in fact, to push the Sorensen Codec. The program is now called Terran Interactive Cleaner... a version 5 has just been released for either Windows or the Mac, and it costs $599.

Essentially, it's the motion equivalent of Image Ready... as I remember it, and it's been a while since I've played with it, you can preview different image sizes, frame rates, download speeds, codecs, etc. Web site is [url=www.terran.com]www.terran.com[/url]. They used to have a great tutorial on their site about how to prepare streaming media for the Web. The "Learn" link on the current site seems to offer what they used to have plus more.

Robert Charlton




msg:848262
 7:40 am on May 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

toolman - Do you know of any urls where I can see a sample of a Wildform Flash movie without risking the Wildform site again. ?

toolman




msg:848263
 3:08 pm on May 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I don't know any others for wildform but there's another company working on doing the same thing [javakitty.com....]

Froggyman




msg:848264
 5:36 pm on May 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I use Studio DC10 [theallwoods.co.uk] to edit and format my video files. It will crunch a 30meg .avi file into a 700kb .exe file. Takes about 2 minutes to load on a slow modem. Since it's an executable file it renders the video faster without much loss in photo quality.

mivox




msg:848265
 6:29 pm on May 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

It will crunch a 30meg .avi file into a 700kb .exe file

The .exe file will give mac users major indigestion though... Which is why standard video formats like QT are preferrable.

I don't have much experience with web video, but I'd try to stick with whatever file format has the widest market penetration, and I'd definitely look into getting a copy of Cleaner Pro for encoding. I've heard nothing but raves about that program.

john316




msg:848266
 7:48 pm on May 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

You can offer all 3 formats and give the client the choice. MAC folks might pick the QT option, Windoze folks can pick the realplayer, DSL guys can go with flash.

toolman




msg:848267
 8:05 pm on May 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

You can offer all 3 formats and give the client the choice. MAC folks might pick the QT option, Windoze folks can pick the realplayer, DSL guys can go with flash.

Think about how much work that is!

How about just using one of those animated gifs of the Dancing Hamsters ;)

Robert Charlton




msg:848268
 1:46 am on May 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>How about just using one of those animated gifs of the Dancing Hamsters<<

Blinking text was easier....

theperlyking




msg:848269
 2:15 am on May 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

Dont forget ASCII movies :)

[asciimation.co.nz...]

Robert Charlton




msg:848270
 2:26 am on May 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>Dont forget ASCII movies<<

Pretty cute, though I was glad there was a fast forward feature.

What about those scrolling email messages?

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