Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Dark Arts

On2 (ONT), the company behind the Flash video codec, VP6, has seemingly announced an improvement of 40% in the quality of its codec. This either means better video or reduced bandwidth requirements, depending on how you look at it.

The company has been somewhat under the cosh recently with the introduction of H.264 (MPEG4) on the Flash platform.

I've yet to try out the new encoding and would weclome hearing about the experiences of anyone working with this or other server side encoding solutions such as Anystream, Autodesk Cleaner, Riva, Turbine, SUPER or Sothink.

Encoding to me has always been a bit of a dark art that involves time, patience and the right recipe; merely having a decent codec doesn't make a difference as the varying implementations of Flash video encoding already on the internet testifies.

Accelerating the encoding with solutions such as Digital Rapids can also help, but my contention remains that you are better off encoding locally with a double pass software based encoder and then uploading the resulting files. It's quicker and delivers better quality.

Still, I guess people want the convenience of server based encoding, which especially makes life easier for user generated video.

2 comments:

Bradley said...

What about codecs such as Move Networks (Level3) or Vividas as well?

Iolo Jones said...

Down the years I've come across tens of codecs - many of them technically superior to the incumbents, but, as Cinepak, Intel and Sorensen attest, this is a numbers game and the requirement to install a codec - especially when there are so many spyware 'codecs' out there is an anathema to many viewers. personally I believe that both these codecs are inferior to VC1 under the right encoding circumstances. However beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder!