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  • Edius to Flash Questions

    Thought I would get some ideas from the brain trust.

    My work is pretty specialized compared to most with some particular requirements.

    My productions are generally very short (2mins to 10 mins) and produced with limited time available. I work remotely for my clients and am in a very remote area with limited Internet bandwidth (compared to the big metropolitan areas). Most of my clients use PCs. My work is almost exclusively animation with a little bit of audio (many times no audio) and the occasional photo or video footage included.

    Because of the nature of my work being almost all computer graphics... uncompressed video gives the absolute best quality when looking at CG things like gradient colors and there are no artifacts when doing this. But the logistical hassle of using uncompressed on my projects is not really practical (I must keep multiple projects active at once) so I use CanopusHQ and find that it works great for my needs.


    On the delivery aspect... this is where my questions lie.

    Because of the expediency of my work... delivering the final product as a digital file using the Internet is the best option for me and my clients. It allows me more time to produce the product before the deadline and can be gotten into my client's hands more quickly than preparing a BD or DVD and shipping it.

    The HQ files look great... but they are gigantic in size and are not really practical for me to upload given my bandwidth. So I must use some type of a compressed file to deliver. Currently... I am using WMV files to deliver. They work fine and can be played in Media Player or some other Windows player (such as Media Player Classic). My clients also have a need of ease of use since they are not very computer savvy and one of the helpful things is for them to be able to control the player easily and in particular, have a slider they can grab to scroll the animation. WMVs work fine for all these things.

    A recent (no-audio) 1280x720 project HQ file was 1.1GB and the resulting WMV file (encoded at CBR 3600) was 30MB.

    But I'm starting to wonder if I ought to be using a different delivery format. The WMV look pretty good but there are times in the video where artifacts seem to appear and these seem to be at points where there are gradients, transitions, special effects, etc. Ideally... I want the video to look consistent and artifact-free.

    1. Now I could crank up the bitrate on the WMVs even further. What are others using as a high-quality bitrate on a delivery WMV?


    FLASH

    But I've been considering moving to making FLASH videos for delivery. When I did a test of encoding a FLV using FLASH8 Video Encoder On2VP6 with the same bitrate (3600)... I got a filesize of 34MB. The visual quality seems to be more consistent with less artifacts noticable in the troublesome areas.

    2. Is this the experience of others?... is FLASH generally better quality?

    3. What other newer FLASH codecs/FLASH Encoder Apps will give better quality (I know FLASH8 is a bit dated).

    4. I use my Procoder2 and Procoder3 to encode WMVs but I don't think they will encode FLASH for me... Am I correct in this assumption?

    5. Do the other FLASH encoding apps take advantage of multi-processor systems to speed the encoding process?

    6. I have the FLV Player which will play raw FLV files. It works fine but ideally, I would like a FLASH player that is a bit more customizable or streamlined in it's interface as my clients show the animations in the courtroom and the interface can be distracting. Ideally, I know that I can create my own FLASH player but my FLASH skills at this point are poor. Does anyone have a good source for other existing FLASH video players or interfaces? I have done some Internet searches but have not really found already made FLASH players.

    7. When encoding FLVs from HQ files... I get upside down video (as has been discussed in other posts). The solution provided was to output some other format (such as MSDV) and encode that... then the video is right side up. But I am trying to NOT introduce any more encoding artifacts into the process and it seems this would add them. Is there no artifact-free way of getting right side up videos from Edius? If I output uncompressed from Edius and encoded this to FLV would the video be right side up?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
    Sincerely,

    Mike Truly
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Truly Media
    970.349.5651
    www.trulymedia.com

    System1: Edius 7.41|Storm Mobile|Dual Xeon 3.1 (20 cores w HT OFF)|128GB RAM|Dual 512 SSDs|7TB RAID5|Dual Quadro5000s|Win7_64

    System2: EdiusNX+Exp|Edius 6.03|Procoder3|XP32|Dual Xeon 3.6|4GB RAM|U320 RAID0 15K

  • #2
    What kind of computer graphics are you generating? It almost sounds like you might do better with a player app with an embedded project of whatever you're authoring in, so it'd be rendered on-the-fly rather than rendering to a video sequence, then encoding the video sequence.

    Example, if you were authoring a Flash cartoon, you'd end up with a tiny SWF and let the Flash engine render the vector graphics on the player, rather than encoding that to actual video.

    Reading your post more, it seems that's what you're doing, so I would go the opposite direction. Instead of encoding your entire "canned" Flash animation to video, why not just let them play the SWF?

    You might have to encode some of the video elements you're using so Flash can digest them, but it's far less data to give Flash the instructions to draw a bunch of lines compared to having it display a compressed frame of video - no matter how much the video is compressed.

    I'd look at a few web design firms that do multimedia-type sites and ask them what embedded Flash player they're using.

    If you're delivering SWFs, most times it's simple enough just to have the client "Open with..." the file with their web browser, as the web browser should know how to play SWF.

    Comment


    • #3
      Brandon,

      Thanks for the ideas. Unfortunately, this is not FLASH animation. The work I do is primarily 3D animation so rendered frames are the end product for this.

      I am merely looking into using FLV as the delivery video format rather than WMV. In a side by side comparison of the same HQ file encoded to both, the FLV has some advantages in sharpness and less compression artifacts during movement.

      But as you'll see in my other post about encoding to FLV from Edius and the framerate, I am having trouble getting a final FLV that will play without jerkiness.

      I currently have the 1280x720 WMV open in Media Player Classic and the 1280x720 FLV open in FLV Player side-by-side on my multi-monitor system. The visual difference in jerkiness is HUGE (I am not playing them simultaneously). The WMV plays perfectly smoothly whereas the FLV has incredibly jerky playback.

      To narrow this down further... I even encoded the 30fps animation frames themselves directly to FLV at 30fps and the result is still jerky compared to the WMV playback.

      I simply don't understand how the playback could look so bad.

      I'll keep investigating but at this point (even though the FLV has a slightly better-looking image) I'll stick with the WMV until I get an acceptable result.

      Thanks again.
      Sincerely,

      Mike Truly
      ----------------------------------------------------------------
      Truly Media
      970.349.5651
      www.trulymedia.com

      System1: Edius 7.41|Storm Mobile|Dual Xeon 3.1 (20 cores w HT OFF)|128GB RAM|Dual 512 SSDs|7TB RAID5|Dual Quadro5000s|Win7_64

      System2: EdiusNX+Exp|Edius 6.03|Procoder3|XP32|Dual Xeon 3.6|4GB RAM|U320 RAID0 15K

      Comment


      • #4
        Jerkiness can be a result of insufficient CPU power to decode the encoded video and/or framerate change decisions made in the encoding process.

        At lower bitrates when letting the encoder automatically adjust the framerate, it'll lower framerate to balance quality when necessary.

        If you're getting jerkiness when the encoding is set discretely at 30 fps, then it might be insufficient CPU power.

        Comment


        • #5
          Brandon,

          Thanks for the ideas.

          This is on a powerful workstation (dual quad-core 3.6Ghz, 8GB RAM, SAS hard drives). The 1280x720p WMV encoded at 59.94 from HQ in Procoder3 plays perfectly smooth. So smooth in fact, that when using Media Player Classic I can actually step forward through the video at 1/60 of a second and see each individual frame of motion from the 59.94 encode.

          I can even play the WMV in Media Player classic and simultaneously play the FLV in FLV Player and see that the WMV plays perfectly smooth and the FLV is jerky. The visual results are the same as when the two videos are played independantly. The workstation power is fine.

          I have determined that this particular problem is related to the FLV capabilities itself... not the Edius framerate situation. I encoded the raw 30fps frames from the 3D animation program directly to FLV trying each framerate setting and the result is still jerky playback compared to the perfectly smooth WMV. At this point... FLV can't cut it.

          Still investigating.

          Thanks again.
          Sincerely,

          Mike Truly
          ----------------------------------------------------------------
          Truly Media
          970.349.5651
          www.trulymedia.com

          System1: Edius 7.41|Storm Mobile|Dual Xeon 3.1 (20 cores w HT OFF)|128GB RAM|Dual 512 SSDs|7TB RAID5|Dual Quadro5000s|Win7_64

          System2: EdiusNX+Exp|Edius 6.03|Procoder3|XP32|Dual Xeon 3.6|4GB RAM|U320 RAID0 15K

          Comment


          • #6
            G'day Mike.
            Not much help to you and maybe what Brandon is saying anyway.

            I have done similar to you with respect to work and delivery.

            I have noticed:
            - that carefully watching wmv playbacks (same file, just replayed several times) slight differences in the playback. Audio, artifacts, 'visual drag' etc.
            Little differences in an already, at times subtle edit, that gets 'destroyed' (lost it's purpose/desired effect/feel) by this behaviour.

            I put this down to computer playback of the wmv, since it is not consistent. It is verrrry subtle at times but there nonetheless to my eye.

            FYI (but something that has no doubt ocurred to I'm sure) - are you sure you want to get faster delivery time back to the client?

            You know what happens next don't you?
            They either deliver later and still expect the impossible or expect more output for the same time frame.

            Your turnaround buffer is gone gone gone.
            peterC
            ---------------------
            Edius 3 v3.62 beta / DVRexRT cards
            (Please don't throw stones, it works!)
            Edius 9 v3

            Comment


            • #7
              What about using H.264 (MPEG4) encoding then? I use Adobe Media Encoder CS4 - and is able to reduce a 2.3GB Canopus HQ file to something like 400MB (at 1280 x 720 - 25 frames/sec), with audio in AAC.
              TingSern
              --------------------------------------
              Edius 9.4 Pro, Lenovo P72 workstation laptop, 64GB RAM, Xeon CPU, Windows 10 Pro (64 bits), 2 x 2TB Samsung M2.NVME and 1 x 4TB Samsung SSD internal. Panasonic UX180 camera, Blackmagic 4K Pocket Cinema, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema

              Comment


              • #8
                You use QT for playback? That would mean MAC compatible, rigth?

                Thanks.

                /Ulf
                Best regards * Ulf * Denmark
                mail to me
                Main system: i7 3930K, 3.2 GHz @ 4.3 GHz, 32 GB RAM , 2 x WD 1TB Raid 0, 2 x 1 TB HDD, 1 x SSD boot, Nvidia GFX 570, Win 7 64.
                Second system: i7 970, 3.2 GHz, 24 GB RAM, Asus P6T, Samsung 840 Pro 120 GB systemdrive, 4 x WD 1TB in raid 5, 1 WD 500 GB for exports, Asus GTX 460 Win 7 64.
                Third system: Dell Precision M4600, i7 3.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro 2GB, 2 x SSD, win 7 64 Pro.

                Edius 7.01 & 6.54 & - VisTitle 2

                Comment


                • #9
                  QT is one of the programs that can play back MPEG4 video. There are more ...
                  TingSern
                  --------------------------------------
                  Edius 9.4 Pro, Lenovo P72 workstation laptop, 64GB RAM, Xeon CPU, Windows 10 Pro (64 bits), 2 x 2TB Samsung M2.NVME and 1 x 4TB Samsung SSD internal. Panasonic UX180 camera, Blackmagic 4K Pocket Cinema, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    peterC,

                    Thanks very much for the ideas.

                    You are right that there are artifacts expected by compressed video playback on strange, uncontrollable computers and sometimes even on controllable computers... but I can not fix that.

                    Currently, I am delivering WMVs to my clients and they are working great (not perfect... but great). I am delivering WMVs at 6000CBR and the playback is near perfect on my machines (and I have received no complaints from the clients in the many years I have been using this).


                    My goal once again... (I know this can be confusing... it seems my goals always are!) is multi-pronged. So achieving even some of the prongs is an improvement.

                    1. Improve image quality while maintaining Internet uploadability. WMVs look great and play back smoothly but FLVs look slightly better... so I was attempting to move in this direction. But FLV playback is a joke at this point so it doesn't look like this will work. The 60fps WMVs play back smoothly and the FLVs are jerky at even 30fps. (I will keep investigating but at this point I have almost given up).

                    2. Interactive Presentation. Currently with the WMVs... I am saying to my clients, here are some videos and a player, go play them. I would like to create simple, interactive menus that present the video clip buttons with thumbnails for the client to choose, and then have a simplified player (which is appropriate for the courtroom) play the videos with basic controls. Had the FLVs worked properly, I would be doing this in FLASH now. But since the FLVs are a failure at this point, I must look to some method of providing interactivity to my WMVs (which work great). Currently, I am looking into using my MediaChance MMB to author this simple interactivity.

                    3. Minimum hassle for the clients to play the videos. My clients primarily are PC users. WMVs will play on all their computers with very little loading of new software. I was hoping that my move to FLVs and FLASH would also minimize loading of any new software and perhaps make the presentation easier for MAC users to view. But jerky playing FLVs will not work... so I am sticking with the WMVs for now.

                    4. It is the Internet uploadability that must be maintained (since my remote location dictates narrow bandwidth uploads with short project deadlines). WMV and FLV give the best bang-for-buck with their quality and small file size. Other formats look great, but are HUGE in filesize. That's why I was exploring the possibilities of FLASH video. WMVs work great for now.


                    These changes will not really affect my delivery schedule as I already work under tight deadlines and deliver the end product via the Internet. I am merely trying to improve the look of my finished product and once I have everything setup in this fashion, all future projects will just drop into the template. It's actually delivering products where I have to produce and ship DVDs and BDs to clients that eat up my production time.

                    Thanks again.
                    Last edited by Mike Truly; 02-04-2009, 03:50 PM.
                    Sincerely,

                    Mike Truly
                    ----------------------------------------------------------------
                    Truly Media
                    970.349.5651
                    www.trulymedia.com

                    System1: Edius 7.41|Storm Mobile|Dual Xeon 3.1 (20 cores w HT OFF)|128GB RAM|Dual 512 SSDs|7TB RAID5|Dual Quadro5000s|Win7_64

                    System2: EdiusNX+Exp|Edius 6.03|Procoder3|XP32|Dual Xeon 3.6|4GB RAM|U320 RAID0 15K

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tingsern,

                      Thanks very much for the ideas.

                      On my current project, a finished 1.1GB HQ file will convert to a 45MB WMV at 6000CBR. The same HQ file converted to a 6000 bitrate FLV is 50MB. These are in the range of the filesizes that I need. 200 to 400MB files are too large for uploading quickly with my current Internet limitations (although I'm sure the quality is good).

                      Thanks again.
                      Sincerely,

                      Mike Truly
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------
                      Truly Media
                      970.349.5651
                      www.trulymedia.com

                      System1: Edius 7.41|Storm Mobile|Dual Xeon 3.1 (20 cores w HT OFF)|128GB RAM|Dual 512 SSDs|7TB RAID5|Dual Quadro5000s|Win7_64

                      System2: EdiusNX+Exp|Edius 6.03|Procoder3|XP32|Dual Xeon 3.6|4GB RAM|U320 RAID0 15K

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ulf,

                        Thanks for the ideas. Quicktime is great but I haven't been able to get filesizes anywhere near what WMV or FLVs will do so far.

                        To all,

                        I know in with the older FLASH, only FLVs could be played by FLASH. I think with the newer versions of FLASH... that H264(MPEG4) are playable by FLASH.

                        Are there any other formats that FLASH will play now?

                        Thanks again to all.
                        Sincerely,

                        Mike Truly
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------
                        Truly Media
                        970.349.5651
                        www.trulymedia.com

                        System1: Edius 7.41|Storm Mobile|Dual Xeon 3.1 (20 cores w HT OFF)|128GB RAM|Dual 512 SSDs|7TB RAID5|Dual Quadro5000s|Win7_64

                        System2: EdiusNX+Exp|Edius 6.03|Procoder3|XP32|Dual Xeon 3.6|4GB RAM|U320 RAID0 15K

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          G'day Mike.
                          Re artifacts through compression:
                          I try to compress to a level that these are not introduced if you get me. I like my wmv's very clean. I can waste a lot of time trying to get as far 'under the bar' file size wise as possible, whilst still retaining high quality sound and visuals . It is a pain for sure to get quality for file size to where I want it since they are diametrically opposed.

                          I am one for the multi pronged approach to, FWIW!

                          Re your point 1:
                          Some of my rules - which create their own set of problems re file size.
                          - I never 'cut' FPS to other than 25 (Pal here). Never.
                          - I never 'cut' audio to other than stereo, and if possible the higher the khz I can get away with I will take. Always.

                          I must restrict any file for my work to my own ISP site to max of 10MB so I am sure you can see I have a problem too as you do. Unless I can upload to client host which is something you may or may not have looked at as an alternative to your situation.

                          Point 2
                          Can't offer any advice on this

                          Point 3
                          I agree with you.
                          Despite Macs being 'dur rigeur' down here, I am as you, PC oriented, as is most people who would need/want to see my work.
                          There is always a PC around there somewhere, but not always a Mac.That is why I chose wmv for this type of media distribution.
                          I create wmv's using WM9 since I see this as more 'universal' to negate any playback difficulties users may have if using more advanced WMP's and the problems not being 'backwards compatible' may cause. You have more chance for users to play back using wmv than any other way,eg Flash IMO. ( I can hear howls of protest from some at this time- 'not true, not true'.....yeah well...... )

                          Point 4
                          I agree. Best bang for buck quality to file size. That's another reason I stick with wmv.

                          I totally agree re DVD production. Never liked it from 'on white paper'. Saw us going backwards with all the mktg hype that came with it's release. I avoid it as much as possible and as soon as we can get rid of it the better. Roll on solid state.

                          I cannot talk about Flash (I hear more howls). It's here and used everywhere, but in mktg terms, there is some merit in (me) being a 'laggard' ie slow to get off the baby bottle and try something 'new'! It (new tech) always seems too dusty first up and at times the dust never settles before it's up and gone never to be seen again while we all run around 'like chooks with our heads cut off'. Getting too old for that.
                          peterC
                          ---------------------
                          Edius 3 v3.62 beta / DVRexRT cards
                          (Please don't throw stones, it works!)
                          Edius 9 v3

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am not saying your converted files after passing through MPEG4 will be 200MB to 400MB. I use my example of a 2.3GB Canopus HQ to become 400MB after converted to MPEG4. Why not give it a try and see what your filesize is like after conversion then?
                            TingSern
                            --------------------------------------
                            Edius 9.4 Pro, Lenovo P72 workstation laptop, 64GB RAM, Xeon CPU, Windows 10 Pro (64 bits), 2 x 2TB Samsung M2.NVME and 1 x 4TB Samsung SSD internal. Panasonic UX180 camera, Blackmagic 4K Pocket Cinema, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              peterC,

                              Thanks for all the tips!

                              Like I said, the quality of the WMV was only 'slightly' less than a comparable FLV... so I have no problem sticking with WMV for now until I find something better.

                              Currently my problems relate to the desire to simply add an interactive interface to my WMV presentation. I would have preferred using/learning FLASH to make the interface... but it seems that FLASH will only play FLVs and not WMVs... pity. I am struggling with MultiMediaBuilder at the moment to make this happen. The app is fine for creating the basic interactivity that I need, but there are no drag-n-drop video playback controls so making the video control buttons are a real hassle.

                              If anyone knows of another interactive authoring app with easy implementation of video playback controls for playing WMVs, I'd love to know.

                              Thanks again.
                              Sincerely,

                              Mike Truly
                              ----------------------------------------------------------------
                              Truly Media
                              970.349.5651
                              www.trulymedia.com

                              System1: Edius 7.41|Storm Mobile|Dual Xeon 3.1 (20 cores w HT OFF)|128GB RAM|Dual 512 SSDs|7TB RAID5|Dual Quadro5000s|Win7_64

                              System2: EdiusNX+Exp|Edius 6.03|Procoder3|XP32|Dual Xeon 3.6|4GB RAM|U320 RAID0 15K

                              Comment

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