(rant) Flash Video Makes my Head Hurt

I really appreciate how easy Flash video has made doing in-browser video distribution. Look at the ways that sites like Google Video and CNET have integrated video without worrying about plugins and whatnot. However, creating the content is as painful as viewing it is easy. I’ve been using the On2 compression tools, which one would imagine would be quality (seeing as they created the codec) and I’m not sure I’ve ever dealt with a slower, more awkward application. Similarly, just trying to learn about the process for creating content is a maze of folks wanting to sell tutorials or player skins or assorted other things which don’t help me.

Also, I’m frankly unimpressed with the Flash8 codecs. There was such buzz about how the codecs were much improved and on par with the rest of the industry, but they’re just not. I did the same video with the same specs (resolution, bitrate, etc) with QT7’s H.264 and the difference is incredibly vivid.

I think this is motivating me to put together a little video codec shootout of my own. I appreciate what Doom9 has done in the past, but they’re primarily concerned with pirating DVDs, not delivering content on the web.



I spent some time this morning trying to understand wavelet compression. While Discrete Cosine Transformations are fairly straightforward and logical, wavelets appear to consist of voodoo. It’s sort of like string theory, except without Brian Greene. Finally, after much googling and gnashing of teeth, I found this site which explains the process in a very understandable way. I’m still trying to chew through the math behind it all, but at least now the process makes sense. The end result is that wavelets are very cool, and I encourage anyone with an interest in compression to read the linked article. If someone wants to explain the math, that’d be even cooler.

So, I guess I need to buy another domain now…

Final Cut 6 Rumors

It seems like we’re starting to get some better indications of what can be expected from Apple at NAB. I would say it’s at least 80% likely that we’ll see a version bump on FCP, and presumably most of the related apps as well. Based on what I’m hearing, I expect:

  • Handling of M2T files
  • Native handling of MXF
  • Better support in general for non-QT wrapped files
  • Revamped color correction
  • Revamped media management (please!)

One would hope there will be lots of other new and exciting features as well. I’d love to see some form of integration with Aperture, but I’m not sure how likely that is. Anyone have the inside scoop?

The Continuing Tape Conspiracy?

I know that every field has its own set of neuroses and urban legends. Video in particular seems to have quite a few, many stemming from the transition from analog to digital video. Worrying about horizontal blanking on SDI signals so the wide variety of mysticism surrounding square waves. Videotape is another area in which a few bits of anecdotal evidence have spawned whole new ways of behaving.

More crazy conspiracy theories after the jump.

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