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  1. #1

    MPEG4 How to create and options, streaming capabilities, bookmarking videos

    When a colleague left our company I inherited the encoding and video streaming responsibilities. We have a REAL Helix Universal server, Windows Media Services on a Win 2003 box and a Windows 2003 server with Windows Media Encoder and Real Producer, and an installed Osprey Video/Audio capture card. Until now requests have been satisfied with streaming .wmv files for the most part. Recently we encoded some .wmv files for streaming and the user came back with the following suggestions and needs:
    1. Next and Previous Frame buttons needs to work in Windows Media Player (version 9 and 10)(right now I can only get it to work for downloaded videos, not streaming - should the next and previous frame buttons work for a streaminng video?
    2. When we try to get a Mac to play the streaming video using WMP 9, we get the message server is not responding - so far on 3 different Mac computers. Not sure if this is a firewall issue or server setting.
    3. The customer has suggested that we should use MPEG 4 to get smaller files and better compression. I am not sure if this is true. And right now I have no idea what to use to create an MPEG 4 file. When .wmv file is created our encoding machine has an ViewCast Osprey card for video/audio capture and the source is a VHS or DV tape. What would be the suggested method for creating MPEG4 files ?
    4. And also the customer is now asking if it is possible to encode metadata that could be used to bookmark the video, if there is more than one "story" in a video a person viewing the video could jump to the beginning of a story instead of fast forwarding through...

    I am not sure if a streaming video can do all these things since part of the reason we stream is so (1) the file is not downloaded (2) the person viewing does not need to wait for a download .

    Any advice is appreciated. Sorry to ask so many questions in one place, but these requests are throwing me for a loop and between reading many web sites and looking for useful books it seems to get more confusing ...

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Quote
    Quote: toadknot
    1. Next and Previous Frame buttons needs to work in Windows Media Player (version 9 and 10)(right now I can only get it to work for downloaded videos, not streaming - should the next and previous frame buttons work for a streaminng video?
    I believe the next button is supposed to take you to the next file in the playlist, in which case it wouldn't work with streaming video.

    Quote
    Quote: toadknot
    2. When we try to get a Mac to play the streaming video using WMP 9, we get the message server is not responding - so far on 3 different Mac computers. Not sure if this is a firewall issue or server setting.
    Sorry, I don't know either. It would certainly make sense to try disabling the firewall and anything else which might be interfering, just to test it out.

    Quote
    Quote: toadknot
    3. The customer has suggested that we should use MPEG 4 to get smaller files and better compression. I am not sure if this is true. And right now I have no idea what to use to create an MPEG 4 file. When .wmv file is created our encoding machine has an ViewCast Osprey card for video/audio capture and the source is a VHS or DV tape. What would be the suggested method for creating MPEG4 files ?
    You will get good compression and smaller files with mpeg4. The disadvantage (IMO) is that mpeg4 isn't as well supported and is more difficult to work with. Mpeg4 supporters might disagree but that's been my experience. As much as I hate to say it, I have found simple old Windows Media to be a good all-round option. These days though I'm leaning more towards Flash, but it does involve a whole new learning curve.

    The following page has some info and links regarding creating mpeg4 video: http://mpeg4ip.sourceforge.net/docs/

    Quote
    Quote: toadknot
    4. And also the customer is now asking if it is possible to encode metadata that could be used to bookmark the video, if there is more than one "story" in a video a person viewing the video could jump to the beginning of a story instead of fast forwarding through...
    This is where Flash shines. You can add interactive features to your video which no other format can come close to.

    Quote
    Quote: toadknot
    I am not sure if a streaming video can do all these things since part of the reason we stream is so (1) the file is not downloaded (2) the person viewing does not need to wait for a download .
    Streaming is certainly a compromise - you can't do all the things a downloadable file can do.

    Quote
    Quote: toadknot
    Any advice is appreciated. Sorry to ask so many questions in one place, but these requests are throwing me for a loop and between reading many web sites and looking for useful books it seems to get more confusing ...
    I know what you mean . I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful but good luck anyway. I'd love to hear how you get on.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
    NBW
    Guest
    In answer to your first question, this is because your 'live' stream does not contain index information. That's a limitation of the Windows Media format, the Windows Media encoder does not index live streams. You can only apply an index to a file.

    I have implemented a workaround using MPEG-1 and the Universal Helix streaming server but that probably wouldn't work in your situation if you need low bandwidth streaming.

    I am now investigating MPEG-4 as you can index this format and it offers performance/quality as good if not better them Windows Media, especially MPEG-4 AVC.

  4. #4

    Thx- what are you using to create the MPEG-1 or 4 AVC

    Thanks for the information. We are looking for methods for creating MPEG-1 and 4 files now. Is there a product(s) that can create/encode MPEG files from a capture card receiving a Audio and Video feed? We have a Helix Universal Server..

  5. #5
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    You can save your captured files from the Osprey as DV files (I think) and then convert (encode) them using a variety of applications. Quicktime Pro can encode into MPEG-4 - this would be a cheap option.

    I've been meaning to give this a go myself for a while so I can make a more informed recommendation - if you decide to try it can you let us know how it goes?
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

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