I create training videos using Final Cut to edit the videos. Finished videos are uploaded, as Flash videos, to a normal hosted server and progressively streamed to users.
I used to export the edited movie directly from FCE, at the same time converting it to .flv. I'd set the physical size to 320x240 and the bitrate to 400kbps (320kbps for the video and 80kbps for the audio). This looked and played OK at 320x240, not so great at full screen. Users asked for larger pixel dimensions, better clarity.
Based on more research, I changed my procedure. I now export a native, uncompressed QT movie from FCE, then use the Flash Video Encoder to convert the .mov video to .flv. In the process, I change only the bitrate settings, not the pixel dimensions, and set that to 600kbps (536kbps for the video and 64kbps for the audio, now mono).
This method gives me superior video quality and still seems to play well, even though I've increased the bitrate.
1. Is there anything wrong with my current approach?
2. Suggestions for improvement?
3. The one major issue for me now is the inordinate amount of time it takes to convert the .mov to .flv. The videos range from 1 hour to 2.5 hours in length, and the processing time using my laptop (!) can take 20 hours for the 2.5 hour videos! A 2.5 hour native .mov is 340GB, the resulting .flv is 700MB. Suggestions?