Archive for February, 2006

Which FLV encoding solution is best?

A question I hear frequently is ‘which codec/encoder should I use for encoding my FLV files, and why?’ Well, I usually just answer ‘use your eyes, they’re always the best judge’. And if you need a great place to do exactly that right now without encoding it all yourself, I’d have to say run- don’t walk- to Seriously.

Thanks to Elliot Mebane (Roguish) and a whole slew of folks helping him out with content, support and hosting (full credits listed on the site), you can easily compare both the Sorenson and On2VP6 Flash Video codecs as output from three different applications (Flash 8 Encoder, Flix, and Squeeze), across a wide variety of video files/types/styles/etc. As codecs will behave differently based on the video you’re actually encoding, it’s very helpful to be able to compare different types of video along with the codecs used, to get a better idea of how each does it’s ‘squeezing’ and where you’ll get the most mileage. The handy split-pane view and zooming features really let you hone in on what’s happening at a low-level in your frames.

Hats off to Elliot and all his compadres for such a great comparitive resource to have at quick disposal! I’ll be referring to it in my Wednesday Flashforward preso on FLV optimization, so get the jump on it now- if you haven’t already. ;-)

(Personal revelation- I was rather surprised to find, in more cases than I would have guessed, that the Flash 8 encoder actually does a nice relative job- even without 2-pass VBR encoding at it’s disposal. Good news for video freaks on a tight budget!)

Fast-forward to FlashForward

Wow- these last few weeks really have flown by! As with Peldi before me, I’ve been a bit remiss in posting lately but it’s only due to a busy schedule. I’m currently packing my camera/laptop to walk over to Flashforward ’06, which starts today in slightly-overcast Seattle. I’m speaking Wednesday afternoon on Optimizing Video for the Web (which will look at best practices for shooting/capturing/processing Flash Video across the gamut of production schedules), but will also be wandering the streets/halls with a video camera through much of the conference shooting pick-up interviews with attendees. I’ve got a set of questions I’m going to be asking folks- but don’t let them deter you. If you see me setting up somewhere, come over and say hi!

TEACHnow, with Flash Video

From where will the next wave of new schoolteachers for our children emerge? For a real-world perspective of the manpower challenges the US educational system faces, check out TEACH, a 35-minute FLV-based film/teacher recruitment piece directed by Davis Guggenheim, which chronicles four new schoolteachers’ first year in some of the toughest schools in the country. TEACH is a followup to Guggenheim’s Peabody-winning documentary “The First Year”, on the same subject. Delivered via streaming Flash Video, developers Robert Reinhardt and Snow Dowd of [theMAKERS] took great pains to assure the video playback was a smooth and consistent experience- fantastic use of the format (and a great documentary/subject). Enjoy!

Flash Media Server 2.0.1 – Update Available

That’s right, you heard it right- Flash Media Server 2.0.1 (Dynamo) is now available for download. According to Steven Wolkoff, Flash Media Server product manager, along with configurable license profiles (a much requested and hotly-debated change to FMS 2), a number of key fixes were also added into this free update for current FMS 2 customers.

You can read more details about the updater and what’s included in the FMS 2.0.1 Release Notes here, and get your hands on the update itself from the download center. Enjoy!

Lightroom Podcast – Submit your questions

Adobe’s pro photography evangelist (and Lightroom demo meister) George Jardine is currently taking questions through today for a very, very cool new format for his Lightroom podcasts- leave a message with your question to the Lightroom team, and you could end up hearing your answer ‘on the air’! Extracted from George’s forums posting:

Want to have your voice heard? Do you have a burning question on Lightroom that you feel everyone must hear the answer to? Here’s an opportunity to have your question heard, and answered by members of the Adobe Lightroom development team. I’m going to be creating a series of sort of voicemail-bag podcasts to bring answers to your questions to the public. This first podcast will focus on the raw processing controls in the Develop module, and how they compare with those in ACR. Remember, the more concise and on topic your question is… the more likely it is that we will choose to answer it during the podcast.”

Questions on the Develop module are due by end of day today if you want them answered in this ‘edition’ of the podcast- and you can get all the details in George’s posting in the Adobe Labs Lightroom forums, of course. Great idea!

(Note- comments disabled on this posting, please leave any feedback in the linked forums thread!)