Here are the reasons why I have converted from MOV and AVI to MPEG-1/2:
Because the MOV and AVI files cannot be enlarged without being blocky, it was decided to look at MPEG-1 as a viable replacement for MOV and AVI files. One of the things requested a lot is larger images. Unfortunately, larger MOV and AVI files take more time to produce. To the rescue comes MPEG-1, a format that can now be produced easily with software and it is playable on all operating systems. Unlike MPEG-2, a MPEG card is not required, as it can be played with simple media programs. But if you have a MPEG card in your computer, it can be used to play the files.
MPEG-1 has a default image size of 352x240. Its audio is 44.1 kHz, stereo. The MPEG-1 image enlarges to standard NTSC image size and doesn't become pixelated (blocky). It also has a frame rate of 29.97, twice as fast as the MOV/AVI files that I previously made.
What is 352x240, you may ask? It is supposed to be 320x240. You're used to consumer video and computer monitor square pixels. To improve the video bandwidth of broadcast video, rectangular pixels are used. A consumer video capture card will grab NTSC video at 640x480. But, professional video is captured using rectangular pixels, at 720x480. The next size down is 360x240. But, because a MPEG macro block is 16 bits, the next sized image that is a multiple of 16 is 352. Hence the 352x240 image size.
The only drawback is that Windoze Media Player doesn't know that the pixels are rectangular, so it displays the image incorrectly. Bill Gates' programmers can't get anything right.
In a nutshell, here are the reasons for converting to MPEG-1 video:
On 7/24/00, I updated the Panasonic MPEG-1 encoder and the video quality has improved dramatically. Watching the new files, full screen on my 17" computer monitor, was a real treat.
The biggest drawback is the file size. It is about twice the size of an AVI file. But, the image is about 1.96 times the area of a MOV or AVI movie. There will be some of you that will balk at the file size.
While the MPEG files are supposed to be playable on all platforms, there will be reported problems. I choose MPEG-1 encoding values that produce compliant VideoCD MPEG-1 files.
I'll add compatibility issues to this page, as they show up. This page will also undergo revisions, based upon viewer feedback.
QuickTime 5.0, or later, can be used to play the .M1S files. Using QuickTime will produce better visual results, including having the video displayed in the correct aspect ratio. Media player does not display non-square pixels correctly, QuickTime does.
To set up Windoze 98SE to automatically start QuickTime when you double-click on a file, do the following:
You are ready to roll. Consult your Windoze manual for setting up other Windoze versions.
Mac QuickTime playback requirements for MPEG-1 multiplexed (muxed) system streams are a PowerPC processor and QuickTime 2.x or higher.
QuickTime 2.0 requires the "QuickTime MPEG Extension" and the Sparkle shareware app.
QuickTime 2.5 and greater has everything included in the default (easy) install option.
The latest PPC (PowerPC) version can be found on Apple's QuickTime download pages.
The last 68k (680x0) version can be found on Apple's QuickTime full installer page.
For optimal/smooth playback, processor speed should be 120 MHz or higher, and if "black lining" occurs when double sized, Movie/QuickTime Player's "Present Movie" or "High Quality" option can be use to prevent this.
If your Mac's display uses a video card with MPEG-1 support, then QuickTime will use this to help decode the video stream.
Note for Performa users: if your model number has four digits, it has a PowerPC processor and can play MPEG movies. If the model number only has three digits, then it has an older 680x0 based processor and their clock speed is too slow to play MPEG movies directly.
They need an app like Maczilla which converts the MPEG-1 streams to a QuickTime movie. The app uses the Apple Animation RGB based compressor which can then be exported to another video compressor which can handle lower data rates. The audio stream is converted to a 16 bit PCM sample (uncompressed).
Here is a QuickTime page giving a quick guide on what main data formats/decompressors are supported.
But, if you don't have a DVD-ROM in your system, now you have to go looking for for standalone software that will play MPEG-2 video files. Unfortunately, I do not know of any free versions. Here are some links of places to check out:
The next upcoming release of QuickTime has been confirmed to have both MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video decoding and basic encoding on both 32-bit Windoze and PPC-based Macs. But, the final release will not play MPEG-2 files, no matter what it says in the press release. The QuickTime 5 specification only lists MPEG-1 playback.
What is a Mac user to do? For that matter, what is a PeeCee user supposed to do without a DVD-ROM drive and DVD playing software/hardware? This is all the fault of the people who own the MPEG-2 license.
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