1 person found this helpful
MPEG1 is just about the worst choice for what you're trying to achieve (well, except for maybe Real Media): you want small files that have decent clarity and color rendition, and (apparently) anamorphic display. Basically, going from MPEG1 to MPEG2 to MPEG4, you either maintain the same quality and halve the bitrate, or you maintain the bitrate and double the quality. As such, you're going to have to probably give on one of those goals in order to fulfill the other using MPEG1. You know the old production saying, "You can have it fast, you can it cheap, you can have it good; pick any two?" Well, with MPEG1, you only get to pick one
Anyway... I don't think MPEG1 is directly "encodeable" from Premiere. You will have to look at some third-party app for this; it's possible that even Windows Movie Maker might have this, though I've long since purged it from my systems. I don't have a good recommendation for MPEG1, so get your Google shoes on and go a-walkin'...
Here's a couple other thoughts, though....
Is there any particular reason you need anamorphic WMVs? I'm assuming you're exporting from something like DVCPROHD sequences. Why not do the math and cook up a square pixel ratio and spit that out to WMV? I never send anamorphic files for client delivery for precisely the reasons you're bringing up: I know I've got the player and wherewithal to make it scale correctly, but I can't count on the client to have the same. As such, I always send square pixel deliverables (well, web deliverables, anyway) regardless of them being WMV, MOV, MP4, or FLV. Just a thought...
Is there any particular reason you can't use H.264? Depending on the duration of your exports, you can get some pretty tiny (relatively speaking) files that look fantastic. Is it just a matter of throwing the right switches to get the file sizes down? If you can throw some specs out, I might have some more details for you.
... such is the fun of the brave new Interweb world ...
I must take a look at the Square pixel solution.
I have been carrying a preset for anamorphic wmv's thru since about CS2
Apart from wmvs I really struggle to get that combination of switches pushed in the right order to get these small reasonable quality preview files.
Half the issue is my particular "problem client has 10mb limit on emails and is never keen on ftp or You Sendit type solutions. They have IT nazis there controlling the show.
1 person found this helpful
I think square pixel exports will save you a lot of grief, at least when it comes to client relations. The biggest challenge is figuring out the correct ratios and cropping in order to prevent excessive distortion of the image. Obviously, it's easy to set up a preset once you do that, so a little time on the front end will speed things up later on.
Are your TVCs 30 second spots? I can get pretty decent looking H.264 MP4s at 320x240, 30fps at about 2.5MB, and 640x480, 30fps at about 4MB. Those are nice and lightweight, and look pretty good.
Have you checked out the new CS Review service for Premiere that recently became active? We're exploring that for client review, and I think it's going to be pretty useful. No figuring out what format to send, no emailing files, not shuffling of notes (revisions come straight to Premiere!)--a little bit of a hurdle to engage the client, but it's far more interactive and, at least from the editor's viewpoint, far more useful. I recommend checking it out, if you haven't.
Points noted Colin
In fact I just shot over two 30 sec TVCs square pixel wmvs to the same client.
I asked him if there were any issues ...so will wait and see.
Will take a look at H264 MP4s (anfd the CS Review thingy)
Care to share your settings for H264 MP4s so that I might get results that you indicate you were getting.
I tried and kind of failed to get close in file size and acceptable quality.
Good news is I have got the wmvs sorted with my client by using Sq pixel.
I never thought that anamorphic would have been an issue because it certainly isnt with any of my other clients .
Yeah, sure thing--I can cook up a preset for you that you can then tweak to your needs. Just let me know what your source sequence, format and duration are, and what sort of constraints you have for export (e.g. frame size, file size, etc.). Those will dictate some of the parameters, and get you pretty close to what you need; from there it will just be a little bit of adjusting to dial it in.
If I could get H.264 MP4s at...
320x240, 25fps at about 2.5 to 4 MB, and 640x480, 25fps at about 4- 7 MB. from 720p 30 second sequences that would be great.
Everything I tried so far gave me over 12MB+ with less quality than 8mb wmvs.
So you want them letterboxed, then?
No 16:9 full frame.
I should send you a wmv sample - sq pixel.
Got it. So you probably want something like 320x180 and 640x360, then, instead of 320x240 and 640x480 (which would be 4:3 square pixel)...
Shoot me a PM or email (in my profile) with a link.
Thats about right Colin
I never have any problems creating the 16:9 dimensions for the material .... its just bit rates etc that I stumble with.
Give these a shot: Presets1.zip
Obviously, there is no magic bullet, but let's see what kind of output you get with those using your source material. The "small" one is 320x180, and the "medium" one is 640x360. Audio is 44.1kHz mono, 96kbps, but if you need stereo you can change it, with the obvious increase in file size.
Since I don't have your particular footage to play with, try those and post the tests somewhere to have a look at; we'll tweak from there!
Thanx Colin for your trouble.
I will try them.
VIA PM: I sent you a sample wmv of a sq pixel encode of about the quality file size spec that I use for emailable previews to clients
OK, took a look at the WMV file...
It definitely looks good--but at 2Mbps for a 480x270 encode, that is to be expected I'm pretty confident that with H.264, you could easily go to half that bitrate--maybe less--and get a file that looks just as good. Of course, since bitrate correlates to filesize, if you halve the bitrate, you'll also more or less halve the file size. If you're OK with the filesize, go ahead and use the same bitrate and you'll have a pretty pristine file at those dimensions. You could also use larger dimensions for better viewability at the 2Mbps rate.
As it is, I slightly reworked the presets, and cooked up a few more. All are widescreen with stereo audio, and designed for 720p--though they should work with 1080i/p, as well, with the possibility of having to crop a few pixels off the sides. You should now have:
The bitrate increases incrementally with each to account for the greater number of pixels you'll be squeezing, but even the jumbo file should, size-wise, be email-friendly. These use the Main profile, so they won't play on some older handheld devices (if that's a concern), but should not tax any CPU made in the last several years. They'll play in Windows Media Player on Windows 7... not so sure about Vista, though (no H.264 decoder, if I recall).
Anyhow, here are the presets: Presets2.zip
Let me know your thoughts!
Let me know your thoughts!
Anyone else trying these may like to comment (and also thank Colin)
Encoding small dimension (and file size) and with an acceptable degree of quality is challenging.
Tested the Presets thanx Colin. (Took me an age to finf the AME custom presets folder - doh!)
They work fine and I can tweak them really well as per size requirement.
Thanx so much for your efforts.
These are now in my Tool Box of AME Presets and I have a better understanding of them.
Would not have dared pushing the bit rate and target rate that low before.
The source file that created the 8,5MB wmv sample I sent you started off at 1.8GB. I can now do that just as well in H264.
Is e-mail the only way your client wants to get the samples.
Do you have a website ? Most ISP's give you a free site.
If so cant you upload it there and just send him a direct link so he can download a copy.
That way you dont have to try so hard to get them so small.
Tested the Presets thanx Colin. (Took me an age to finf the AME custom presets folder - doh!)
Ha! Yes, I ran into the same issue when I was trying to locate the presets to bundle them up. Fortunately, there is a much easier way to import the presets, next time: simply open the export settings window (as if you were going to set up an export) and click the little file folder icon next to the Preset dropdown. That will let you navigate to and import the preset, and it will be copied to the correct folder for future use. Sure beats mining through a cavalcade of Explorer folders, trying to find the proper location.
I do hope these help you get on the road to good H.264 encoding. There are lots of parameters that can be tweaked to really fine tune the compression quality and size of H.264, but unfortunately, Premiere hides most of these advanced settings. The H.264 encoder at use in Adobe's products--that is, the one from Main Concept--doesn't access all of the potentialities of H.264, either. Open source projects like x264 have exposed many of the advanced settings, and actually trumps most (maybe all) of the commercial encoder offerings out there. That said, the encodes that come out of Premiere are not too bad--they're definitely better than they were in CS4.
H.264 is pretty amazing in its ability to crank out fantastic looking video at almost impossibly low bitrates. I've seen examples of 1280x720 30p encodes at 500kbps that looked incredible--that's simply impossible with other codecs right now. It will be surpassed, I'm sure, but for now, it is the king.
Good luck with the encodes--and definitely check out CS Review when you get a chance. I think you might be impressed with its review capabilities.
WMV is a very good solution for just this type of problem, and here is why, the WMV encoder has a feature the other formats do not, single pass variable quality encoding. Using that, you set a quality setting between 0-100%, this is not a bitrate setting, but a setting of picture quality and is bitrate independent.
So for example, I use a setting between 88-91% for most of my web/client files, now wheter I create a tiny 320x180 file or a massive 1280x720, the picture quality will be the same (but bitrate and file size will vary), the encoder will automatically find the correct lowest possible bitrate for the files. And this is true not just for picture size, but more importantly, for image complexity. So what you get is the lowest possible file size for the quality setting you select. This is better then setting a target bitrate, because the complexity of your project visual details can vary greatly even on the same timeline (i.e. a lock-down head shot of someone talking against a wall takes a lot lower bitrate than a moving camera with lots of detail like water or other moving patterns) and variable quality will identify these areas and will set the lowest bitrate possible. Using target bitrate encoding will only do this to a limited range.
Also, most people don't realize WMV (VC-1) is H.264, in fact Microsoft has over 70 patents on MPG4 and were the key engineers in developing H.264 with the MPEG group. VC-1 is H.264 with some added features.
If you look at the samples on my website (www.toyraygun.net) you can see examples of variable quality encoding. The Susan G Koman spot is only 4MB, it is 560x316 and :30. In contrast, the US Dept of Education spot is a full 720p and is 38MB at :60. Both used a quality setting around 90%.
Is e-mail the only way your client wants to get the samples
The reason is that the client distributes the small files to global and local colleagues via email ...usually as part of an approval process. eg legal department , advertising agency, product managers etc..
Part of it is controlling the distribution of "confidential" or commercially sensitive items.
BTW: Any larger requirements I can send via You Sendit and DropBox.
Most of my clients accept a larger file via email though.
Another issue is we have lousy upload speeds in New Zealand.
Great info JK
Very interesting and thought provoking read
Must say I am a bit of a fan for wmvs ...but like us all...we need some good alternatives when clients get "playback" issues.
(Bring Back VHS I say)
Coincidence - the reference to the Movie on your sight featured Gabrielle Union. The reference wmv file I sent to Colin B included a spot also including Gabrielle Union scenes (Neutrogena). I am in about that area of file size and quality as well. I judge quality a fair bit based on the graphics quality of the encode.
Again ...thanx Colin for your wealth of knowledge.
Yeah, sorry to chime in late....
But for an FYI shooternz, MPEG1 was the codec required for back in the days of creating VCD's..
So in your export formats somewhere, you should have the option for exporting to VCD, and then the flyout codec would default to MPEG1...
Of course it doesn't support interlacing, and is basically the equivalent of CD rom cartoons that my 3 year old plays on the computer...
I suspect that the post house gets reasonable results, is because so much information gets thrown out, your eyes get tricked into thinking that it looks good at 352x280 pixels....
As far as the Anamorphic playback is concerned, there should be a flag somewhere telling Media player to play back correctly..
The only reason i would go with WMV, is because it pretty well guarantees playback on any windows machine...
Sorry if it didn't help for your scenario..
Coincidence - the reference to the Movie on your sight featured Gabrielle Union. The reference wmv file I sent to Colin B included a spot also including Gabrielle Union scenes (Neutrogena).
WMV is very universal, pretty much any computer should be able to play it, but I certainly get Mac clients that for whatever reason can't/won't load the WMV add-on to QuickTime. In those cases H.264 is definitely the way to go,unfortunately, QuickTime's handling of H.264 is poor and anything more than a baseline profile tends not to playback properly. And I hesitate to send H.264 to clients with Windows because if they are not running Windows 7, they more than likely are using QuickTime Player for H.264 and QuickTime player for Windows (and possibly Mac) displays Gamma incorrectly for MPG4 and everything appears washed out. Apparently this is a known problem with QuickTime player going back several years and they don't/can't fix the problem.
Format, compatibility and client technical issues is almost a full-time job these days.
Most of my MAC colleagues have Flip4Mac installed and they enjoy the fact they can view plus export to
wmv . (via QTPro)