Archive for March 22nd, 2007

Love

I am heads over heels about my husband.

That is all.

Holy Crap! h.264 Killer!

I will be honest with you. While the encoding times of h.264 were always pissing me off, I recognized the format as the best option to do video online regarding bandwidth consumption. I was always bummed by the fact that Flash used a niche format for its video support rather than h.264. I felt like grabbing Tinic (Adobe engineer working in Flash video, but also an ex-Be, Inc. engineer and my ex-housemate) from his hair and shout at his ear (I am adorable, yes). ;-)

So, I did some research today.

I found that Flash uses a video format called VP6, from a company called On2. Never heard of them. But I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and I checked their latest format version, called VP7. I downloaded one of their movie trailer samples, and then I downloaded the same trailer in high-resolution and re-encoded it in h.264 at the same bitrate. Results below.

WOW! That’s all I can say. VP7 kicks h.264’s ass any time of the day at the same bitrate. Not only h.264 had 2 fps less in its advantage, 6 horizontal fewer pixels to deal with, somewhat bigger resulted filesize overall (it wouldn’t let me encode video below 32kbps you see) and terrible quality at that bitrate, but also it required more CPU power to decode than VP7. I encoded the h.264 video with multi-pass for better(!) quality and low-enough AAC encoding so it fits together with the video at that 1200 KBs as the VP7 does. So, at the same resulted filesize, VP7 is miles better.

Now, I only pray that Adobe uses VP7 in Flash 10 and that Joost also switches to VP7 instead of using h.264. And I also hope that VP7 becomes a standard and services use it enough to provide good video quality via cellphones or 56k modem lines. I am impressed. I never thought that it was engineeringly possible to have anything that much better than h.264 and definitely didn’t expect usable video on a 56k modem line. Never say never I guess.

Update: Reader AC re-encoded the video using the x264 encoder variant of h.264 and he came up with this very good quality at 58kbps. There is no audio in his video so we are not sure what the filesize would really be with some AAC in there, but for the resulted 870 KBs, I’ll bite. Problem with the x264 encoder is that it is a bitch to use. The GUIs for it only make it more difficult to use, not the other way around (MediaCoder fails to use x264 properly, MEgui is made for people with IQ 200 by people with IQ 50 and StarTrix just fails to read the .mov or .mpg source file here).