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What are you using these files for, marc?
If you're editing them in Premiere Elements, you want them in the DV-AVI codec, which can make for pretty big files. (About 13 gig per hour of video.) That's why a large hard drive is essential for video editing.
If, on the other hand, you're creating video for display on the web, the H.263 or H.264 or even Divx codecs will work for you -- but, if you're trying to create small, compressed files, you certainly don't want them at the 720x576 frame size!
But, if you can tell us what you're trying to create the files for, maybe we can offer advice.
This is for web use, but mind you there are plenty of sites that offer hd video so it's not a particularly high resolution..
I just don't understand why these files are so big considering the maths.
I've had 1800 kbit/s recommended as a decent compression level for web use. That's 225 kbyte/s or roughly 2.5 MB for 10 seconds. Yet as described above the files are 10 times that size. I don't understand why this is when I actually used this exact compression level.
Further, I was only able to specify bitrate compression with the Sorenson codec, not h.264, which is the one I actually want to use (and which I've been told should have adjustable bitrate in PE7 making me doubly confused..)