MPEG 4 codec : Ultimate codec solution

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by Darth_Lord, Jul 13, 2002.

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  1. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

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    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    Having realised that QT6 is now out (that's very early!) I downloaded and installed it, and paid another £25.00 for another Pro Key :mad: (That's the third one I've bought now...)

    Anyway, interestingly enough on2 just played straight away, with no problems. So then I set about messing around with the MPEG4 codec, and early signs are pretty good.

    I took Ryans Alternate Lightsabre trailer, which is a 3.5MB in Sorenson.

    First I compressed it using good old on2 and got it down to 2.5MB - same quality as the original.

    Then I tried it with MPEG4, first at 100% on the slider, which produced a filesize of 5.7MB and the quality was (unsuprisingly) as good as the original. Then I tried it at 50% quality, and the filesize was 1MB - but the quality was pretty ropey, but then I tried it at 65% quality, and the filesize was 1.6MB and the quality was pretty good, not perfect, but good considering the filesize, I'm sure with tweaking along the quality it will get better.

    So, this really is a big break for the fanfilm makers. It's over twice as small as the Sorenson equivilant (which is a BIG deal when you have a film like, say, the Formula) and the quality is up there with the best. Plus if it's a standard codec with Quicktime you won't have any of the compatibility I can't get on2 to work issues etc. So I'll have to see. It's definately a serious contender, and you may well see the Storm Ahead Sorenson trailer be taken down from my site soon, and an MPEG4 version in it's place.

    I wonder what it's like full screen, whether it plays well on slower machines etc (a problem on2 had for some people) So far, so good though. Just another reason for me not to shell out for the Sorenson Developers edition :D

    One thing that definately IS big news is the ability to encode sound in MPEG4 without needing something like Cleaner (for mp3) or a ropey workaround. So for me, it's goodbye to IMA:4 and the Q-Design that comes with QTPro, and hello MPEG4.

    I have had a go at compressing the trailer using MPEG4 video and sound, and the results are pretty good, although not breathtaking. If you are so inclined, have a look [link=http://homepage.mac.com/daftmaul/FileSharing1.html]here[/link] and maybe download the trailer. Truthfully, I still prefer the quality of the on2 version, so I'll be interested to hear how people get on with the full screen viewing of this MPEG version.
  2. MoffJake Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2001
    star 4
    Hey, I take offense to that 'ropey' workaround for mp3 encoded movies. 8-}

    Anyway I agree with you that AAC will be a welcome addition to QT Pro.

    For those testing out MPEG-4 I will mention that it does really well with high key frame values. And I believe that setting it to a ridiculously high value will allow QuickTime to automatically choose the new key frames.

    Also, if you are doing your own comparison tests, I would recomend setting each codec to the same bit rate and then compare the quality of the resulting picture. I say this because the quality sliders on each codecs setting are an arbitrary value (not strictly quantitative). One codec's '0 quality' setting can be vastly different than another codec's '0 quality' setting. If you choose a bitrate (maybe 50-150kbps) and have a sharp eye for compression artifacts I think you will have a better gauge at how one codec compares to another. And of course, see how well each works at varying resolutions. Some high res MPEG-4 clips won't play smoothly on low end systems.

    Finally I'll mention that I think Sorenson will still be the codec of choice for movie trailers (the high quality ones at least). MPEG-4 will be much better for lower bitrate videos and long fanfilms. And of course there's the whole ISO compliant factor. I can't wait for the day I can stream 'The Formula' onto my PDA to show all my friends. :)
  3. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

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    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    I take offense to that 'ropey' workaround for mp3 encoded movies.

    Sorry buddy, I could just never get it to work properly, but I'm sure it was just me :)

    I actually figured out about the large keyframing, so did that, but wehat I didn;t do (which was a good suggestion) was encode them both using the same data rate. I've since done that, and both have their datarate set to 140K (both being on2 and MPEG4) There isn't a huge amount in it really, but for me on2 is still 'da bomb' especially when the action gets frantic. Check out the blocking on the MPEG version when Nikki starts flying.

    But it's all pretty encouraging stuff, and I'm sure we'll start seeing a few more people using MPEG4 in the future...
  4. unclepain Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 3
    Daft-

    A side by side comparison of the 2 files definitely gives the advantage to On2. Especially when there was heavy motion in the file. MP4 had MAJOR artifacting during fast motion shots. On2 looked awesome during even the busiest scene. The mp4 file also had color artifacts that just looked smoother in On2. (Look at the smoke that comes out when the huge droid with the chain gun appears.) It's just smoother... I don't know how to explain it. And to add injury to insult, the On2 codec is smaller by a meg- Ouch! Well, I'm starting to become a believer in On2. I guess the compatability issue is still a strike against On2, but in terms of quality and files size, so far On2 spanks mp4 in the files you created.

    Later- Jeremy
  5. agentgonzo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2001
    star 3
    I've just been doing some tests between the Divx5 codec, and the RealMagic one. It seems to me that Divx5 is far better than the RealMagic one, and yields much smaller files.
  6. MoffJake Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2001
    star 4
    I may end up eating my own words about Sorenson remaining king of the movie trailer codecs. Compare these 2 clips of the Minority Report Teaser.

    [link=http://www.palacenet.net/home/bortz/Minority_Report_MPEG4.mov]MPEG-4, 640x352, 9.6 MB, 120Kbytes/sec (recompressed by amateur)[/link]

    [link=http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/minority_report/trail1_lg.html]Sorenson 3, 480x272, 11.5 MB, 140 Kbytes/sec (official trailer)[/link]

    Judge for yourself.
    :)
  7. Lots Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2001
    star 4
    i messed around with the mpeg 4 controls a bit... and while it was great quality wise (i didnt get the artifacts i got with on2 or any other codec for that matter..) its file size was just huge compared to the others... and when i did manage to get it down to about 1 meg (like the other files) the quality was terrible and MAJOR distortions occurred (alot worse than the other 3..)
  8. Sauja-Dupen Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 3
    DaftMaul,

    Did you try compressing from original uncompressed footage? That wasn't clear from your post, and I'm sure you'd get better results!!!

    Plus, isn't there a licensing issue for MPEG-4? I thought Apple had pulled out because of it and it would cost consumer money to use any technology with MPEG-4????

    What's the scoop?
  9. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

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    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    Hey Suaja,

    Both of those trailers where compressed from the uncompressed original.

    I can only assume that the licensing issues with Apple/Quicktime where resolved by making people pay for the Quicktime Pro key again. I expect most of that fee goes to the MPEG makers. Last thing I had read they where not expecting a resolution until about October.
  10. Carl_el_cee Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 3
    OK, so I got QT6 which allows you to compress and view stuff in MP4. But what about MP4 for avi? Wheres the final version everyone's getting?

    Carl
  11. unclepain Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 3
    Found this online in regards to the MP4 licensing issues-

    How much does it cost to stream?
    For the average user, it is practically free. If you have the bandwidth and the QTSS, you can stream in MPEG-4 to up to 50,000 users in a year without paying a per stream fee. Prior to this week, the MPEG-LA (licensing authority) was planning to require a fee for every hour of every stream broadcast. With the announcement of the free download of QT Broadcaster, the MPEG-LA seems to have finalized their licensing terms.

    Now, to broadcast in MPEG-4, a broadcaster can have up to 50,000 users per year. After 50,000 users, a broadcaster must pay $.02 per hour per stream of broadcast or $.25 per user for the year. Alternatively a company can opt to pay $1 Million to the MPEG licensing committee per year and avoid the per user/stream fees. the committee is made of 18 patent holders forming the MPEG-4 format.

    This allows small and medium sized business to broadcast video and audio at high quality with less data throughput without charges. Now a medium sized company can broadcast a meeting to its employees with no charge. Small online broadcasters (like MacTV Network) can broadcast without fear of large fees.


    Bottom line- we shouldn't have to worry about it. It's only going to be an issue for sites that stream LOTS of MP4 files.
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