11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 20, 2011 12:39 AM by water bowl RSS

    Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?

    water bowl Community Member

      I am attempting to encode two 3 minute .flv files for my client for their website. I have encoded both of them under a number of settings and I am now down to tiny 8mb files in order for only one of them to play without excessive buffering. It will play, but it looks absolutely horrible, like the folks are under water. The original file was a .mmv that I first encoded to an .flv file around 18mb that looked fairly nice inside of Dreamweaver. I am using Adobe Media Encoder. The excessive buffering is "play one second, stop for 3-5 seconds", etc. So a 3 min video can take a half hour to play sometimes.


      I have gone through the whole process this forum recommends for updating drivers, checking the settings for the website (100mb) (locally now on flash 10.3) and the global settings (client site has unlimited access). I have checked my download speed (Download Speed: 5298 kbps (662.3 KB/sec transfer rate).


      These videos need to be viewable by many different people so there are many variables that I cannot control. I am trying to target DSL and above, not modem.


      We are actually able to stream internet material to our tv off this computer and my webdev computer is a new ssd running windows 7 pro.


      I would appreciate help in getting these two videos encoded and up on the website in a flash player so that they do not buffer excessively.

      Thank you.

        • 1. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
          kglad MVP

          the key with streaming video is not file size.  it's bitrate.


          if your bitrate is less than a user's download rate, after an initial brief buffering, no further buffering will be seen by the user.  you can detect a user's download rate and you can serve a video tailored to that user's rate.


          if you can't lower bitrate below anticipated download rate, you can preload the video and then start play when loading is complete.  that will ensure no buffering will be seen.  of course, your users will be waiting for the video to start so there's a trade-off.

          • 2. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
            water bowl Community Member

            Yes, of course you are right. I understand what you mean. I should say I am using different settings in Adobe Media Encoder that combine altering settings to all the attributes of the file, not just the file size. I understand from reading that encoding is somewhat of an art form. I thought I would let AME do the hard work of combining the proper settings. But if someone has a better combination than any of those in AME, I will try them. Should I go into these presets and increase the bitrate? The drop down shows from 1 to 30 and then a custom setting.


            I am just working my way down the settings list and I am now at the second to lowest, FLV, web small, Flash 8 and up. The video settings are as follows:

            328x240 (source is 1280x720), On2 VP6, Frame Rate same as source, Bitrate 400kbps, advanced setting Undershoot [%target] 90, quality good, estimated file size 11mb.


            Even this encoding setting falters when playing. The only setting that seemed to work was the lowest one for Web Modem flash 8 and up. I can't possibly anticipate what thousands of users' download rates would be, but I have decided to not serve out to modems. The image quality is horrible.


            I am pretty sure my clients will not like waiting to see the video start. So that is just not an option.


            Any suggestions would be welcome. Thank you

            • 3. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
              pwillener ACP/MVPs

              Since you talk about a specific product (Adobe Media Encoder - AME), wouldn't it be better to discuss this in that forum?

              • 4. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
                water bowl Community Member

                I did post on the AME forum a month ago about issues I was having encoding and an Adobe rep did attempt to help me privately. He finally said since the flash player was also involved I might have better luck with the flash forum, more visitors etc.


                There are hair raising stories going on that forum right now too. My original problem was that AME CS5 would stop encoding at about half way through an hour long video, compress the hour of video (powerpoint presentation) into 30 min and truncate the audio at 30 min. I ended up having to strip the hour long audio from the original file (f4v) with Quicktime pro and use it without the video (because of the poor quality video that resulted). It seems like right now folks are having similar, but slightly different issues encoding and some of them are shops where they do *a lot* of encoding. I don't encode that quantity. I just want to encode a single video once in a while for my client and I rely on AME to help me get through the process.


                I was told by someone who works with both PC and QT/Apple/Mac that if a file (in this case an f4v) was originally encoded in an Apple environment (Final Cut Pro) that my machine would need to have the QT codecs loaded to play the file. This despite the fact that the f4v file was being encoded in Adobe to an flv for flash playback. And that was the case, I ended up having to buy the QT Pro to work with the file and skip AME altogether. It makes no sense. But the fellow who took the f4v file to test said it played fine on his machine with the QT codecs loaded. Go figure. I didn't know the presentation was 60 min for 4 days until something just didn't seem right. AME or Flash Player couldn't play the file.


                Anyway, I thought I would give this forum a try. There must be a few web designers here that work with both products and might have some tips. I don't know if my problem is related to Flash Player or AME. It doesn't make any sense why this is happening. It's a 3 min interview of only moderate video quality. I received the original as a .wmv which probably complicates it even more. AME looks like it is encoding it ok, but Flash Player is butchering it.

                • 5. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
                  pwillener ACP/MVPs

                  Thank you for the explanation.  There are not many developers/designers here (at least not active), but hopefully someone with more knowledge than me will be able to help you.

                  • 6. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?

                    Wondering if you came to a solution on this?  I'm having a similar problem.  Trying to add a 3 minute video onto my site, and have about a 40MB file with 500kbs it plays horribly jerky. I'm on a fast cable connection.  I've tried various compression settings, and none seem to work well, either they don't make it much smaller, or they are small but poor quality.  I'm trying not to use a video hosting site (vimeo, youtube) for this.  Figured there has to be a way.



                    • 7. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
                      water bowl Community Member

                      Well, yes I did finally resolve the problem, but it's not pretty. My client's website is hosted on Godaddy. My personal website is hosted on another webhost. After some experimentation I discovered I could get a credibly good playback if I hosted the videos out of my own webhost. I wouldn't recommend this if your webhost has specific restrictions to using server space for file storage.


                      This was a decision that is based on several hours of time on the phone with Godaddy. The simple facts to me are that not all webhost companies actually give you "unlimited" whatever. I tried all kinds of online video hosting services (including those you mention) and there was some issue with all of them that made it impractical to use for a commercial client. I looked into paid video hosting services and they were mighty expensive.


                      It is not how I wanted to do this and I will have a lot of trouble when they want to use more video material. Do I keep hosting videos on another account?

                      • 8. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
                        Davebpa Community Member

                        Thanks.  That's interesting.  My site is actually hosted on GoDaddy too.  I wonder if they're hosting services are not good for video streaming?  Wouldn't that be considered "bandwidth"?


                        Anyway, thanks for your response. Not sure I can set up another web host. It sucks though because the vid is now extremely unwatchable (5 seconds at a time).I wouldn't mind a stutter here or there, for now.  FWIW Vimeo has a new Vimeo Pro account which looks really good. You host your videos there, get the embed code & streaming service. But what's awesome about it is you can create & upload a tiny logo to display in the bottom right corner, with either your logo or theirs.  So instead of it saying (Vimeo or Youtube) in the corner, you could have your clients name. Worth checking into.  I think it runs $199/year. A little pricey.

                        • 9. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
                          water bowl Community Member

                          Well, my experience is that I can't host flash videos (that I encode in AME), of any size on my client's site, hosted by Godaddy. And that I can easily host flash videos (that I encode) from my own personal webhost account. I don't have a pricey webhost account, just an equal competitor. Do you have a friend who is hosting with another vendor that might let you do a trial run on their account?


                          Yes, it is very frustrating to watch it buffering. It was very revealing when I used a much higher encoding setting in AME and hosted it from my own server that it played nicely, on any machine.


                          Thank you for the information on Vimeo. I looked into that early on as a really desirable solution, but at that time they had very strict rules about their service only being used to highlight the creative efforts of individuals. They didn't allow folks to host videos that were not of their own making. This new commercial hosting is just what is needed and it allows third party players! $200 is not a lot for a year of hosting, but of course it is dependant on the client's desire to pay for it! I can propose it and see where it gets me. I also wish I could move them to another hosting service, but it's hard to justify it when things seem to run perfectly now for them and it doesn't cost them very much.


                          So, still, the question I have, what sort of settings do pros use when encoding flash videos? Do they tweek the standard settings in Adobe Media Encoder? Do they have their own "recipes?" I also tried using Adobe Premier Elements, a home version of Premier, to try to encode these videos. It works great for uploading to youtube (who has an extensive server network), but it didn't work *for me* uploading to the godaddy server.

                          • 10. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
                            Davebpa Community Member

                            Thanks for you help with this, so I wanted to relay my outcome & what I learned.  Apparently, GoDaddy doesn't "allow" (or is it "aren't set up for") video streaming on their "shared servers". You need to upgrade to a dedicated server. OR, a virtual server. (Somehow I have a feeling their virtual servers are just shared servers with a guy turning the knobs up to a higher, faster setting). Anyway, I'm not much of a techie & they've been pretty good to me, so I got 6 months of virtual server & once transfered they allowed me to close out the other one.  So yeah it works now & works great. Probably more pricey than yours, but again, I got a few sites up & running on my own with GoDaddy so I can't put a price on that.


                            Just wanted you to know. And so you can inform your clients with the info if it comes up later.

                            • 11. Re: Optimum Video File Size To Avoid Buffering?
                              water bowl Community Member

                              Well that is good to hear! It confirms what I thought was happening at Godaddy. Are you able to use a really high quality file now? You know I wonder if Godaddy does this specifically so they can sell the more expensive server hosting account?


                              So, yes, it is going to help when I talk with my client. There was plenty of monday morning quarter backing at their office back in May when I couldn't get the yearly meeting up on the website over the weekend. I sure worked hard to get it done. The comment I heard was that I didn't have the correct software. Well, I thought having the latest complete Adobe suite was enough. Trying my own hosting server was a last desperate attempt to find a solution (and get some sleep).


                              Thanks for the helpful information!