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Pool video file formats research

last updated: 18.09.08


Video Formats for Pool


Introduction: Containers and Codecs

Video files have quite a few variables and choosing the right ones can be difficult. Firstly there is the file type or container e.g. mov, avi and wmv.
Then there are the two codecs or compression types for both audio and video e.g. mp3, acc, XviD, mp4
Add to that there are choices to be made of frame rates, screen size, bitrates etc. so it can get pretty complicated.
If you get one of the settings wrong the final video may play okay on your computer but not another one, or Pool might not be able to play a preview of it. It relies on both machines having the same codecs installed.
We’ll talk a bit more about those things a later, but for now if you are contributing a video to Pool these are some basic settings we recommend.

Recommendations based on Pool tests

Avoid h264 and mpg1 will work for sure everytime.
We are researching this issue and hope to support more codec combinations soon when we have full control of our server.

File type: mov or QuickTime
Video Codec: H.263
Audio Codec: QDesign Music2

File type: avi
Video Codec: XviD mp4
Audio Codec: mp3

File type: wmv
Video Codec: WMV 9
Audio Codec: WMA 9.2

Sources:

Engagemedia for Windows http://www.engagemedia.org/help/how-to-compress-video

Engagemedia for Mac http://www.engagemedia.org/help/tutorial-encoding-on-a-mac

ABC Gruen Transfer d.i.y. video guidehttp://www.abc.net.au/tv/gruentransfer/doityourself.htm

Advice from - ABC Online

Our own research on contributed files

You Tube Yahoo and Vimeo help pages

Details:

Engagemedia

Engagemedia.org has this encoding advice page
http://www.engagemedia.org/help/how-to-compress-video
"Data Rate 1400 Kbits/second etc. These settings should result in a file that is about 11 megabytes per minute in size, or around 110 megabytes for a 10 minute video."

ABC Gruen Transfer Video Formats

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/gruentransfer/doityourself.htm
DOWNLOAD VIDEO FORMAT - The majority of the video files that you are downloading will be 1024 x 576 QuickTime Movies with an H264 codec.
UPLOAD FORMAT - All submissions will be considered for inclusion on this site and potentially on ABC TV. Ideally you would edit and resend your ad in the format above with your audio compressed to no lower than 128 kbps (stereo). We will also accept other formats such as .dv, avi or mpeg4, but make no guarantee that these will be able to be converted and shown. Be aware that you may have difficulty uploading large files. If you are struggling to get your files size down to a manageable size (using above pixel dimensions) try 512 x 288 (no lower).

Mark King of ABC TV online said:
"Aspect: 400 x 224 pixels
Bit rate: 360kbs - 400kbs
Format: wmp or mp4 (he preferred mp4 due to it universal accessibility)"

Pool video format research

In an effort to generate meaningful data to help formulate recommendations for video file formats for Pool contributors a number of videos that had been uploaded were examined for flash playback compatibility, container and codec formats. We used the program Movavi Video Suite to look inside videos to see containers and codecs used.

These seven Pool videos transcoded okay i.e. ARE supported

Type
Video Codec
Audio Codec

Quick Time Movie
Sorenson Video 3
16Bit Big Endian

WMV File
msmpeg4
mp3

QuickTime Movie
H.264
16Bit Little Endian

WMV File
WMV 9
WMA 9.2

AVI File
XviD MPEG-4
Layer3

AVI File
DV
Uncompressed

Quick Time Movie
H.263
QDesign Music2

These seven Pool videos did not transcode okay i.e. may not be supported.
Note that the problem might have been with the file itself and so this is not a conclusive indication that these combinations will fail. This still needs more testing.

Type
Video Codec
Audio Codec

Quick Time Movie
H.264
MPEG-4 Audio

MPEG-4 File Format
MPEG-4 Video
AAC

3GPP Movie
H.263
AMR

MPEG-4 File Format
MPEG-4 Video
AAC

Quick Time Movie
MPEG-4 Video
MPEG-4 Audio

Quick Time Movie
H.264
MPEG-4 Audio

Quick Time Movie
MPEG-4 Video
MPEG-4 Audio

Please note these videos were uploadable and can be downloaded, just not auditioned by playing within the flash previewer

Conclusions

We need more support of QuickTime and mobile media types as the community is giving us various combinations that we don’t support.
We can however see some combos of codecs that will work for QuickTime files in the top list.

Actions

Show this list to some other people to get more opinions.
See if we can develop better flash transcoder support of mp4 and H.264 for mov containers.

You Tube video format info from their help pages

Summary

We recommend the MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid, SQV3 rather than h.264) format at 320x240 resolution with MP3 audio

Details

Editing and Exporting Videos: File formats

YouTube accepts a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI, .MOV and .MPG transferred from most digital cameras, camcorders and mobile phones. If you don't think that your current video file format is recognised by YouTube, you may get the best results by converting your file to MPEG4 video with MP3 audio.

Our recommended file format is MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid, or SQV3 rather than h.264) at 320x240 resolution with MP3 audio (64k mono).

"Invalid file format error" means that your video is in a format that our system doesn't accept. We accept most file formats, including wmv, mov, .mpg or .avi. If your video meets these minimum requirements and still won't upload, it may be due to a problem with the video compression you are using. We recommend the MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid, SQV3) format at 320x240 resolution with MP3 audio. Resizing your video to these specifications before uploading will help your clips look better on YouTube.

Editing and Exporting Videos: Editing my video

Most computers come with some sort of video editing application already installed, such as Apple iMovie or Microsoft Movie Maker. Using these programs, you can easily edit your videos, add soundtracks, change the file type, compress the file size, etc.

There are also more advanced editing programs available for purchase or download online. We encourage you to look around and find the editing software that's right for you.

Yahoo video format info from their help pages

Yahoo!7 Video supports the following file types: Windows Media, ASF, QuickTime, MPEG-1, and MPEG-2.
Your video needs to in WMV, ASF, QT, MOD, MOV, MPG, 3GP, 3GP2 or AVI format, and have audio.

Vimeo video format info from their help pages

Summary

No container specified.
Codec video H.264 audio AAC.
640x480 (for regular video) or 1280x720 (for high definition).
1800 Kbits/sec (for regular video) or 5000 Kbits/sec (for high definition).

Vimeo has some video tutorials of note

One is a round up of how to render out HD files for various video editors
http://vimeo.com/forums/topic:3671

Text from Vimeo Help files

Okay, we’re going to be honest with you: there’s no way we can make exporting/compression guides for every kind of video software on the market. It’s just overwhelming! However, we do want to give you some guidelines for compressing your videos for Vimeo, so look over these tips, find the corresponding settings in your software, and you should be able to make it work for you.

Note: Sometimes these settings are in ‘Advanced’ or ‘Options’ when exporting.

Codec
Choose H.264 for the video codec. Choose AAC for the audio codec.

Frame rate
This is usually 30, in Europe it's usually 25. If there is an option that says “current” just go with that. Please note that Vimeo converts all HD videos up to 24 frames per second for optimum playback performance.

Keyframes
Every 30 frames. This is basically how often the compressor references your uncompressed video.

Data rate
1800 Kbits/sec (for regular video) or 5000 Kbits/sec (for high definition). Making this number higher will increase both quality and size.

Size
640x480 (for regular video) or 1280x720 (for high definition). Please note, 1440x1080 videos will not be widescreen on Vimeo, you must compress them as 1280x720.

Deinterlace
Yes. If you do not deinterlace, you will often get weird-looking horizontal lines in your video.

Sound sample rate
44.100 kHz

Audio quality
You want audio with a bit rate of 128 Kbps. You can set your audio to really good quality without increasing file size too much.