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Forums VEGAS Pro Hulu & How Do They Do It?

  • Hulu & How Do They Do It?

  • Kristofar Rieleef

    December 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I’ve been intrigued by the amazing web video quality that Hulu achieves. I’ve found out that they use the On2 VP6 compression for the lower bandwidth video watchers, but how are they achieving that amazing HD quality? H.264 right? But that still doesn’t explain it to me. I’ve recently upgraded to 10mbs for internet speed. Before I had 1.5mbs. I was able to stream Hulu at 1.5 at high quality, but going to YouTube, I couldn’t watch HD, without waiting for it to load. How do they achieve such mastery? How can I achieve this with Vegas? What would I need. I’m frustrated with my quality verses compression settings. I’d like to be able render straight out of Vegas, to a perfect high quality, web streamlined video. Problem is, I end up rendering and rendering and never coming up with the right formula for an awesome vid. My file either is way too big, or it’s lacking in quality. What’s the secret and how do I learn it?

  • Kristofar Rieleef

    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I realize now I should have posted this in the compression technique section. Sorry bout that.

  • D. Eric Franks

    December 10, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    To be honest, compression is probably only part of the issue. Movies and television shows on Hulu look so good because they start with excellent source material: expertly lit, professional stabilization, expensive cameras, gorgeous design and then, at best, they use compression that doesn’t screw it up. Consumer gear is notoriously noisy, most home videos are not lit all that well and, oy, if it’s handheld? There’s no hope any amount of magical compression can fix that and, in fact, given exactly the same compression as Hulu, the poor encoding algorithm struggles mightily to encode all kinds on on-screen chaos, artifacts and motion and there’s nothing to be done.

    Not saying this has anything at all to do with your video, which I’ve never seen a single frame of, but more often than not, when people have asked me “What compression did you use to make the video look so good?” it hasn’t been the right question. When you start with the source video Hulu starts with, getting excellent compression is relatively easy: Any old H.264 implementation will work just fine, from WMV to Apple.

  • Kristofar Rieleef

    December 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Your post makes perfect sense. I had given a bit of thought to it, after I made the comment and was thinking the same thing, but wasn’t sure. I use a Canon XH-A1 and generally can get some pretty decent web video from Vegas. I experiment a lot with rendering to see if I can get some magical combination. I recently encoded a video in MP-4 HDV and then downsized it out of Quicktime Pro as a qt file and it looked good. I feel, after awhile, my head starts spinning and I can’t even look at it anymore, because it all looks bad, when really, I’ve just been focusing too hard. Thanks for the input. I’ll start focusing more on lighting and focusing! That’s something I notice as well with HD, is that it’s tricky focusing in the moment and getting it right. Yeah, if I was in a studio, I’d have a monitor, but I run into more situations, where I’m working news style and as a one man band. You can see some of my video at if you have the interest. I do short blurbs on a lot of different subjects. Today it’ll be ski season opening!

  • D. Eric Franks

    December 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Nice! Well, the quality of the source video is not an issue at all with what you are doing! Well done. So you are definitely trying to go from 95% great to 100% with the encoding, which is definitely a worthy goal. And not very fun or easy. I watched the Petoskey Celebrates clip: the dark areas are very clean, which can be challenging for the encoder, so that is a victory. The motion seems a little sharp – actually the whole thing seems sharp, which is a better problem to have than soft, imo – the wideshot of the intersection at the 30-second mark reveals something jittery: That may be something you can correct with smoother encoding (sacrificing sharpness – which you’ve got in spades – for smoother motion). Or it could be the source footage or the project settings. Sorry!

    So, coming straight out of Vegas, it sounds like you are wrestling with the right problems: I think you are going to get the best results with one of the H.264 AVC codecs, but there are a lot of options that are not revealed by default (e.g., motion estimation vs. sharpness). Higher-end versions of these codecs do, indeed, have more options, at a price, and would require a two-step conversion process (I’m thinking an app like Squeeze). Others here might have other suggestions or maybe the folks in the Compression forum can be more helpful?

  • Kristofar Rieleef

    December 11, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks Eric for taking the time to watch that video. Another videographer who also contributes his work seems to get clearer renders coming out of Final Cut Pro Compressor. I’ve also noticed when I’ve edited with FC, that Compressor does an excellent job of encoding in H.264 HD and keeping the file small as can be. I’ve yet to match the file size of Compressor. I can get the picture quality. The AVC codec seems to be export pretty big for size, that’s why I’m re-encoding again through Quicktime, not to mention the required video format by the web designer, is Quicktime H.264. So there’s no getting around the double encoding for me. It’s nice to hear some critiquing of my work. You’re right, I’m a 100% type of guy when it comes to quality. I’ll keep working on it. Thanks

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