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Compressing a Movie

Quicktime LogoAt The Sand Trap, we're looking to start a new column. Someone will send us their video, we'll critique their swing, and post our thoughts to the site. It'll be similar to the help given on this site (which I set up for my high school golf team).

Like the second link above, I'd like to post the video along with the still frames so that readers could check the swing out in full. The question I have is this: what compressor works best? I didn't have to worry about bandwidth or storage space for the videos at the second link, but we could some day have a hundred of these articles at The Sand Trap. I'm going to make all of the videos 320 x 240 without audio, but from there, I'm not sure what compressor will work best. I must maintain some clarity (to see the shaft, the hands, and some of the other finer details) but want to minimize file size as much as possible.

P.S. The first video we're going to use, should you need an example, is mildly compressed (and 640 x 480) here: It will be deleted later this week. The full video is a DV stream right from my camera, of course.

One Response to "Compressing a Movie"

  1. "Best" is totally relative. Generally speaking, H.264 is going to net you the best quality for a given bitrate, but is only playable with the newest Quicktime and a few Open Source programs (VLC, MPlayer).

    MPEG-4 is the most widely supported format, since it is on-disk compatible with several others, such as DivX and XviD. If you use one of the highly-developed MPEG-4 codecs (DivX, XviD) instead of Apple's encoder (which isn't all that great) and turn all the quality-enhancing features on (DivX is good for this), then you should be able to get close to H.264 quality while still getting a file that's playable on a number of platforms.

    Be careful not to get confused by Quicktime: both H.264 and MPEG-4 are accessed through the "Export to MPEG-4" option. This is because the former is technically MPEG-4 part 10 and the latter MPEG-4 part 2, and the "MPEG-4" referenced in the option is the general MPEG-4 container format which is used for both (.mp4).