Tag Archives: film

Bit Rate Settings

A while ago I rendered out a video at 1080p and then again at 720p.

As expected the 720p file size was considerably smaller than the 1080p one. However I thought I’d play a bit more with this as I was a little ‘uncertain’ with the results I was getting, after all not just image size (1080 / 720) had changed, but bit rate too. On play back both videos looked ‘good quality’ and even stretching the 720 up to fill a 1080 size window didn’t noticeably reduce its viewing quality.

So I took a short 20 second clip standing on a street corner which started with the camera held still (so a mix of non-moving buildings but with cars and people going past) and then at the 10 second point panned the camera around so everything was now moving relative to the camera.
Then it was a case of rendering this out at 1080p various times, the only thing being changed between each session being the bit rate, working up from around 800 Kbps to 32Mbps.

Down at the low bit rates stationary items looked all right, but moving items (people, cars, the buildings when the camera was panning around) were of very poor quality. At the high bit rate end of the scale everything looked crisp and nice, however both rendering time and file size had also grown.

What was also apparent was that the choice of playback program was significant. Different players, VLC, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, all will play back the same clip differently. Same applies to using different browsers as a play-back engine – they are not all equal. Also what you have recorded makes a difference. A clip with little movement and few colours will be very different from a clip with lots of movement and activity.

Then a matter of working up from the bottom to find the bit rate cut-off point between where a clip was unacceptable and one was watchable; and coming down from the high bit rates and at what stage starting to notice a degradation in quality. Then finding an overall mid-point balance between quality and file size .

So what this really means is that there is no one ideal bit rate setting that’s going to cover all situations. For my set-up, with my camera and my editing software and thinking of uploading to somewhere like Vimeo or YouTube, then I’ll be thinking of working at 8 Mbps for indoor videos where there’s not a lot going on, and 12Mbps for outdoor videos full of colour and movement.
But this just my experience. You will need to do your own experiments to find your best compromise settings that will suite your equipment and set-up.

Cinema super-hero watching

Found myself down in the cinema a fair bit recently watching a few super-heros such as Avengers Assemble, The Amazing Spider-man, and also Ice Age: Continental Drift.
Enjoyed them all, but…when I say enjoy, I did enjoy them, but only ’enjoy’, not ’wow that was amazing’. All this got me wondering what’s going on with the big film studios these days.

This Ice Age is now the 4th in the series. I really liked the interplay between Sid, Manny, and Diego in the original. Now there are so many other characters (and sub-plots) demanding your attention that the original sparkle has been lost in a sea of indifference.

Another reinvention of Spider-man (I assume the numerous sub-plots were left open to enable plenty of sequel opportunities). However I’m not too sure how really different this version was compared to the start of the previous series (except perhaps for the college students who looked far more mid-20s than late teenage guys).

A pulling together of Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Capt. America, Black Widow, and Hawkeye into the Avengers. I thought a chance for some amazing interplay between these characters, but it seemed more a case of throw in as many impressive special effects as you can even if they’re not very original (how many times can New York get trashed in how many different films), and just let the plot look after itself without too much thought required.

As mentioned at the start (and despite my other comments) I enjoyed watching these films, but is it just me in that I do find myself getting a bit tired of the big film studios relying too much on the re-hashing of existing franchise and going for known safe numbers rather exciting us with something new. (We made money with this before so let’s just re-do it again and we’ll make even more money.)

Then I read that the film studios are splashing out over $200 million on making some of these action films, or around $2,000,000 per screen minute. That’s one hell of a lot, and considering the cost of a cinema ticket, I really expect more for that sort of outlay than just another repeat.

What to do now post-Harry Potter?

What to do now post-Harry Potter?

At the time of writing this the final part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has just come out in the cinema. This brings to an end an amazing Harry Potter journey that started in 1997 with the publication of the first book of Harry and his adventure concerning the Philosopher’s Stone.

However my discovery of the world of Potter started at Christmas 2000 with a radio broadcast of the first book. (This was at a time when books 1 to 4 had been published.) This means for me Potter’s been around 11 years, or for those who got in at the start, 14 years.

Let’s look at it another way, as an adult it represents an 11 year chunk of my life, but it’s still just a chunk out of middle age. For someone who started at book 1 and at age 9, 10, 11 sort of area, then for them it’s been a 14 year period which now brings them up into their mid 20s, so their whole ‘growing up’ part of their life has involved Harry Potter (whether with book publication or film release). That’s puberty and adolescence, that’s teenage years and growing up, discovering girlfriends and boyfriends, that’s leaving school, college, university, finding work and becoming an adult. All with Harry Potter there growing up with them.

So I was not surprised to see some emotional people leaving the cinema after the midnight showing ended. It’s finished. Something that’s always been there for them now is not there. Emptiness.
I’ve uploaded a YouTube video commenting more on things:-

One thing about the books, they need re-reading. I don’t know how many times I’ve read them, but each time I see things I missed before. Until fairly recently I’d thought of book 2 as being one of the weaker ones, however a friend suggested I read it not for the story-line, but specifically to look to comments and references that have some significance in the future, and doing so totally changed the way I saw the book.
A few examples of things to look out for. Fairly early on in the book Harry hides in a cabinet – one end of a pair of vanishing cabinets, and later Peeves drops a cabinet (the other one) when Harry is in Filch’s office. (Is this how the link between them got damaged which then leads to Malfoy wanting Borgin & Burkes to repair the link.)

We meet Dobby and learn of house elves special magic, there’s a couple of light-hearted comments about Percy potentially being rather ambitious. We see our first Horcrux (though we don’t know it) and that Harry has the impression that Professor Snape can read minds. There are hints about Ginny and her future relationship to Harry… and so the list goes on. All the earlier books refer to future events, but book 2 has something on almost every other page!

Anyway, the books are done, the films finished, but then as they say, all good things must come to an end sometime. However it does leave me thinking, what to do now post-Harry Potter?