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What encoding setting should I use?

A question that is often posted to user forums and Adobe’s community help regards what settings to use when encoding video for different types of content.

Without knowing the specifics about a user’s video requirements, such as the desired dimensions of the video and the bandwidth requirements they want to adhere to, it’s difficult to give hard numbers. However, more than likely one of the encoding presets that Adobe Media Encoder ships with will give you the video quality you’re looking for.

When exporting with Adobe Media Encoder, choosing a format (such as F4V for Flash video) automatically makes available a list of associated presets designed for particular delivery scenarios. Selecting a preset, in turn, activates the appropriate options in the various settings tabs (Video, Audio, and so on). In most cases, one of the provided presets matches your output goals.

For those of you creating web sites using Flash video, you will find a table of the F4V and FLV encoding presets at: F4V and FLV encoding presets

In addition, there is a Flash video bitrate calculator developed by Robert Reinhardt to help you determine the optimal bitrate at which to encode Flash video files.

One area of encoding settings that causes confusion is setting the key frame distance (also known as the key frame interval). In general the default value for the key frame distance provides a reasonable level of control when seeking within a video clip. If you select a custom key frame placement value, be aware that the smaller the key frame distance, the larger the file size.

If your footage has a lot of scene changes or rapidly moving motion or animation, then the overall image quality may benefit from a lower key frame distance. In general, a higher key frame distance produces better image quality because data is not wasted describing the areas of an image that remain unchanged from frame to frame.

Adobe Flash-Ajax Video Component

Recently made available on Adobe Labs is the Flash-Ajax Video Component, a small, open source Flash component that you can use to provide video playback within an Ajax application. It exposes all of the formatting and video playback controls necessary to build a video player customized entirely using HTML and JavaScript.

Key features of this component are:

  • One line instantiation makes it trivial to integrate video playback within an HTML and JavaScript interface.
  • Simple APIs provide the ability to manipulate video size, position, and scaling prior to or during video playback.
  • Video playback parameters such as playback, video seek, cue points, and audio control allow sophisticated programmatic integration with Ajax applications.

To learn more about the Adobe Flash-Ajax Video component, visit its web page on the Adobe Labs website:

Adobe Media Encoder CS4 documentation

Adobe® Media Encoder CS4 is a video and audio encoding application that lets you encode audio and video files into a variety of distribution formats for different applications and audiences. These video and audio formats are more-compressed formats such as:

  • Adobe® FLV | F4V for use with Adobe Flash Player
  • H.264 used for Apple® iPod®, 3GPP mobile phones, and Sony® PSP®
  • MPEG-1 used in CD-ROM authoring (Windows only)
  • MPEG-2 used in DVD authoring (Windows only)
  • Apple® QuickTime®
  • Windows Media (Windows only)

Adobe Media Encoder accommodates the numerous settings these formats offer, and also includes preset settings designed to export files compatible with particular delivery media. Using Adobe Media Encoder, you can export video in formats suitable for devices ranging from DVD players to websites to mobile phones to portable media players and standard- and high-definition TV sets.

The Adobe Media Encoder CS4 documentation is available on the Adobe web site. You can access the documentation at the below link: