Normally when I need to compress video for the web, I often use Apple’s Compressor. However, this time around I thought I might as well use the 64 bit native Media Encoder from CS5, seeing that I had to deliver in Flash

The program is has a very easy and simple to use interface. Simply Drag a clip into the encoding window and select your options from the drop down menu. The menu will show you several options including your custom export settings. This encode required a custom job as the web host has specific needs for video.

First step in creating the custom encode was to change the format within the “Format” Tab from F4V to FLV OnVp6. This is a widely accepted Flash codec that will open on various web browsers ensuring you reach the widest audience. The next step was to scale down the footage from 1080p to 720p. By scrolling down you can see the option is there, no real explanation is necessary here.

This next step is a little more crucial, setting bit rates. First change the CBR (Constant Bit Rate) to VBR ( Variable Bit Rate). Now normally you can use a CBR especially when using H.264 for the web however, this time VBR better suits are needs allowing for a little more flexibility. Selecting a “2 Pass” is a must, a single pass on the video will ensure your HD footage looks horrendous. If this was SD you could get away with it, but seeing that our footage was HD and nearly 8 mins long, a 2 pass is a must.

Setting Key frames are mandatory this helps ensures not only quality, but audio sync as well. The web hosting provider specifically required for keyframes to be set to 180 frames. By “Undershooting” the quality to you can maintain a smaller file size, and yet not loose a tremendous amount of quality. I usually undershoot from 85 – 90%. Beneath the advance setting you can see that Media Encoder will give you an estimate file size for the compressed file. This is a nice feature especially when you need to meet strict requirements for web delivery. This feature is an estimate though, it can vary depending on the setting you use for compression. I found for this flash encode the file ended up being 6mb larger than the estimate.

Audio is simple enough, just a stereo MP3 sound at 256 kbs is fine. Now that your are done you are ready to render. Simply click ” Start Queue” and watch as the progression yellow bar moves along. Media Encoder has a great little preview window in the lower right hand corner. By keeping an eye on this you can see your footage being compressed out and just double check and errors on titles or lower thirds. This is a very nice feature.

 

Audio is simple enough, just a stereo MP3 sound at 256 kbs is fine. Now that your are done you are ready to render. Simply click ” Start Queue” and watch as the progression yellow bar moves along. Media Encoder has a great little preview window in the lower right hand corner. By keeping an eye on this you can see your footage being compressed out and just double check and errors on titles or lower thirds. This is a very nice feature.

Finally thoughts on Media Encoder CS5, not only is it now 64bit native, making it the fastest Media Encoder to date. It is also a great simple and easy to use compressing tool. A great piece of software in my tool belt in the battle between quality vs file size.

 

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