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twinturbostang

Video Compression... what do you guys use?

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I've got a couple of FPV videos I'd like to compress, and maybe a few more on the way. I'm wondering what you guys are using to compress/render. I've got Vegas 6.0 that I'm using to do the video editing. So far I'm rendering to .wmv files. But there seems to be better stuff out these days. What would you guys suggest? As always it's a tradeoff of file size versus quality. And given the choice, I'd prefer to go higher quality. Although file size is still important.

Thanks,

Brian

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For my Archos AV500 player/recorder I bought ($5 at the time) a conversion program called Lathe, it'll convert many formats (avi,mpeg,dvd,mp4 etc.) into several other formats with ease, it's particularly useful for converting mp4 downloaded files from Google video and my DVD collection into XviD/mp3 format avis that my Archos handles with ease.

Lathe is a derivative of PocketDivXEncoder which is completely freeware.

Lathe: http://www.omniquiti.com/store.php

PocketDivXEncoder: http://divx.ppccool.com/

Edited by Haku

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I use Adobe Premiere to edit, export in DV format, then encode to WMV using Windows Media Encoder.

From the numerous tests I've done, WMV has the best quality/size ratio if configured well (2-pass encoding, deinterlacing if needed,...)

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Another good reason to use wmv is that if you start using other codecs like xvid etc, you have to hope that all the people who want to watch your movie have those codecs installed.

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Another good reason to use wmv is that if you start using other codecs like xvid etc, you have to hope that all the people who want to watch your movie have those codecs installed.

For the PC there's a dead simple solution to that, ffdshow, multiple codec decoding capabilities without having to install multiple codecs.

Working with conversion of video for many years now I've always found WMV to be a complete pain in the ass.

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It's a pain in the ass to reuse later indeed. That's why I keep all my archives in high bitrate DivX, to be able to reprocess parts easily. But for definitive distribution, WMV does very well. Especially at low bitrates, it's hard to compete for the other usual codecs. You pay it in encoding time though.

ffdshow or VLC... but 80% of the average users don't want to install extra stuff than what already is on their machine...

Edited by Kilrah

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Thanks guys. Yeah, basically I'm looking for the best "bang for the buck". wmv, avi, mpeg, etc.

Kilrah, you say you use wmv, but you just released a bunch of videos in high resolution that are avi. And I'm not sure how DivX falls into all of this either. Although I see the DivX watermark whenever watching those videos.

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The HQ versions are DivX. But as I said, they're meant to be my personal archive, and are encoded at 3Mbps. The standard website versions are ~1Mbps, which would look pretty awful with DivX.

One of the AVI's drawbacks is that it doesn't support streaming. With default Windows configuration, clicking a link to a DivX video will appear to do nothing. But actually it started downloading without saying anything, and once the download is finished it will start playing. Many people think there's something wrong as download can obviously take several minutes or more, and nothing happens inbetween...

That's why I've zipped the files in the HQ folder.

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Ok, I encoded an .avi video using "NTSC DV" quality. Five minutes worth equaled 1GB!! Ack! Quality was very good. Almost as good as the original captured video from the MiniDV camcorder. I'm doing a 1.25Mbps .wmv right now. Man, .wmv encoding is SUPER SLOW in comparison.

Edited by twinturbostang

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Hey! the "NTSC DV" will obviously be as good as your camcorder's file, as it IS the same format! That's what you'd ideally use to capture the images from it, so that nothing more than a raw data copy happens. You thus keep the optimal quality. Then, you edit your video, and either directly encode the result into a lossy format for redistribution, or (what I do) export it in DV format to save a perfect copy, and then reopen it in another compression program to make the web version.

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Gotcha. I thought I saw a very slight degredation in image quality when saving back to NTSC DV. But maybe I just *thought* I was seeing things. :)

So I gather from your posts, that you save to DV, then open Windows Media Encoder and use that to do the encoding to .wmv files. Any reason for doing that? Is that better than Adobe Premiere or Vegas would be for encoding to .wmv?

Right now I'm playing around with it, encoding to different bit rates and resolutions to see which has the best quality for the size. Another thing I'm doing is uploading the video to Google Videos. But they have additional compression and it's horrible! Really kills all the detail in the video. Also found that there appears to be a resolution limitation with them. If I upload a 640x480 or 480x360, they are both cut down to somewhere around 320x240 as best I can tell. So if my ultimate goal is to upload to Google Video (it will be for some stuff), I probably should start off with 320x240 for those.

Edited by twinturbostang

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Google video resizes to 320*240 and encode as FLV (Macromedia Flash video).

You're right about my method. Well, initially it was because I was having trouble with my older version of Premiere, which would crash a bit too often for my liking when exporting to formats other than native DV. Now there's no more problems with 2.0, but I kept my habits. Plus, as I anyway would export it as DV... I usually transfer the edited videos back to tape, and keep the DV version on my hard disk for a while, so I can show off the highest quality versions ;)

Another reason is that some programs don't offer all the settings that Media encoder offers. The most important is to be able to encode in 2 passes, the difference is big.

A few hints with WMV:

- Always keep the full resolution, ie do not resize to 320x240. At the same bitrate (->file size) the result is better. Processing time is longer though.

- If you do it my way, ie encode in WME, keep the output DV video as interlaced, and use the deinterlace function in WME. It's often better than to do it in the encoding program.

- For average quality, encode at ~1000kpbs, using 96 for sound and the rest for video.

This site has a tutorial about WME. It's primarily directed to their requirements, but it might help you with the main settings and the screenshots.

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Ok, I'm trying to encode my DV file into a wmv using Media Encoder. Never used the program before though, so I'm a bit stuck. I tried selecting "two-pass encoding", but I get an error... "Two-pass encoding is not available for live broadcasts, screen captures, or when encoding from multiple sources."

Can you tell me what settings you use? Under compression, what "destination", "video", and "audo do you use?

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Ok, I figured out my error. I did not specifically state an output file. For the compression, I used 1Mbps two-pass VBR (variable bit rate). I believe VBR is probably better to use than CBR, since there are sections of video that are mostly still, and some where everything is moving (rolls, turns, etc.). This way it saves more of the bits for the motion stuff. The audio was 64K CBR. I also selected deinterlace as well. What exactly does that do?

In any case, it seems to be pretty good quality at 1Mbps and 640x480. Yeah, the original DV avi is cleaner, but it's a good "bang for the buck". One thing it seems to be doing however, is reducing the contrast. The video seems a bit washed out. I could see the difference during the encoding process by selecting "split display". Is there any way to improve this? Even at 2Mbps it was still noticeable in side by side comparison.

Edited by twinturbostang

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Regarding CBR and VBR it depends a lot on the video. I've recently engoded a few videos both in CBR and VBR, and sometimes CBR was better looking, sometimes it was VBR. The reason is that in order to compensate the excessive amount for data that will be used for complex motion scenes it will use less data for low motion ones. This was, a still picture will look pretty bad in VBR while it's very nice in CBR. If you have many fast motion scenes then VBR can look better, if you mostly have slow ones it's a bit stupid to degrade the quality of the 80% of your video just to get a better result on the last 20%.

Regarding deinterlacing, read the pare I linked to above, it has the explanation ("Progressive Source" chapter).

Also, don't resize to 640x480, use the "same as source" tick.

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