Video encoding option madness

22 January 2007

Today I've spent the better part of the day encoding video. Not by hand, iMovie does all of the dirty work for me. Though I'm surprised at how many choices there are with video formats, sizes, resolutions, frame rate, audio quality, compression method, etc.

I'm all for choice but is this the only area of iMovie that Apple hasn't made dummy-proof? Apple does offer some default "sharing" options for you to choose from. You can choose to send someone a video via email, on a CD-ROM, or streaming over the web with almost any bandwidth selection but once you get to that point there is a huge jump in size to anything with good quality.

Let me explain. Say I don't want to export my movie at "Full Quality", which at present would leave me with a 1.51GB video, but the "Broadband-High" nor the "CD-ROM" qualities produce good results. What should I do? I can hop into the expert settings and, even though I know less than diddily about video encoding, I can start clicking on various options until I think I have what I want (though I can't accurately preview the result nor see any statistics regarding file size) and then I can wait an hour for it to encode only to find out that I am not happy with the result. Grrr.

There seems to be this huge gap between video that is "ok" to watch online and video that is "ok" to watch offline. Being that broadband has come a long way, and video sharing sites like Viddler are giving users the ability to upload much higher quality video than before, I think it is time to add a few more "dummy" options into the mix. Perhaps the "Broadband-High" could get a bump in quality or a new selection could be created altogether. I think it is time we start seeing higher quality video in public, rather than the crap we're usually served.

Either way, I'm finding it very difficult to strike a balance between the overall size of my video file and its quality. Any suggestions?

[tags]imovie, apple, video, viddler, ilife, encoding[/tags]

[slug]video-encoding-options[/slug]