I usually deliver the videos I make for clients in DVD format (until they ask for bluray or something else), but last week I shot a short How-to video and when I asked the client if he wanted it on DVD he answered that there was no need for a DVD and that an .AVI file would be sufficient and that he planned to distribute it among his employees as a file in a data CD, USB stick, etc (I think the "etc" part includes e-mail or intranet), when I asked what codec would he prefer for the avi file, he just looked at me as if I had asked him if he wanted ketchup and mustard and replied "what?, no, just a simple AVI will do" and walked away without giving me time to explain the difference between codec and container.
So I wonder what would be the most adequate way to render it considering that the people who will watch the file have very little (if at all) knowledge of video basics, will probably use the standard Windows Media Player that came with their office´s PCs, and probably will refuse to seek and download any other codecs or even a better media player?
The file was shot at 720p (AVCHD) and is lees than 10 minutes long.
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As I'm sure you know, the closest thing to a universal format is mp4 containing h.264 video and aac audio. There is almost no avi that someone isn't missing the codec for.
If your client has used avi files for this previously, maybe you can ask for an sample and mediainfo it. Or just try to talk him into the mp4.
You can also always post it to a private youtube address as a "backup."
Thanks to all...yes, I had thought that mp4/aac would be the best option but couldn´t help thinking that some of the computers they could have might not be modern enough (probably older OS as well)
I think I´ll wind up giving them a disc with a mp4 file as well as a wmv and a Divx or Xvid AVI..and yes, a portable player is a good idea, as long as I convince them that they won´t have to "install" anything extra in their computers.
By the way...what bitrate would you recomend? (considering what´s been mentioned earlier)
But those suggestions are FAR from universal. WMP12 doesn't exist for users of XP (still a large percentage of non-tech business users), or Mac for that matter. That is why DVD or BD are CONSUMER friendly. Strict standards.
That discussion with the client should not have ended when it did - would have been a good teaching moment. Regardless, currently on PCs, the STILL most universal codec is MPEG1 video+MP2 audio in a MPG system stream. Certainly inefficient by today's standards, but still the MOST universal. Only time I have seen a PC not work with it is when the default out-of-the-box installation has been tampered with. AVI files, in contrast, are almost by nature NOT universal, as it is meant to be a GENERAL PURPOSE MM container, just like QT/MOV & MKV.
Scott, right...the problem is that the client was the typical boss with the "Hey, I´m only the owner of this company, don´t bother me with details" attitude...luckily there was a younger guy in his staff there that handles his graphic design and multimedia tasks, I´ll get in touch with him and even have him test the mp4 file I´m most likely to render (smrpix, thanks, I´ll make tests with those settings)
And indeed, I agree that a VCD spec mpg file is the closest to a "universal file" , it certainly makes you wonder how´s that even possible in this day and age.