So I'm doing the Mongol rally (driving from UK to Mongolia) and figured it would be nice to get a semi decently made video for posterity. I didn't want to spend a great deal on equipment, A) Because its a rough and tumble ride and stuff breaks and B) Because robbery and banditry aint entirely uncommon where we're going.
So I got a cheap camera and will get a cheap netbook. Of course I'll need to trim and compress the video I take along the way, but I'm totally new to this.
So for COMPRESSION.
Looks like my camera's videos come out in these specs.
- Mov format
- 1280w x 720h
- data rate: 10623 kbps
- total bitrate: 10883 kbps
- 24 fps
- bit rate: 260 kbps
- channels 1 (mono)
- audio sample rate: 16khz
What would be the best software to compress the above without losing quality?
For editing, I really don't need anything fancy, just something to cut and snip and weld bits together so I don't have fluff I don't need taking up space on drive. Can palm off the fancy stuff to someone better qualified when I get home!
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MOV is an already compressed format. Compressing it more will lose further information (quality), likewise converting it.
Best is to leave it alone. Just take the days shoot and upload a zipped folder (dated for reference) to a MEGA account or similar and have someone at home (who knows what they're doing) download and store them for you. Assuming you are not held for ransom by those pesky bandits, do your editing when you get back. Although I doubt you will have an internet connection, so buy a portable HDD (SSD - no moving heads to break) and keep your full clips on there.
If you plan to edit 'in the field' you want a lossless editor. If all you want is to cut sections out try VideotoVideo Converter (Tools>Split Video (use the Direct Stream Copy Preset)). Practice with this before you go. It's not hard or involved but it takes a bit of time to get familiar with the method. Once you save these cuts in a folder you can join them back together using Tools>Join Video Files. Simple as that. No involved slow, bloated NLE, just a straightforward cutter. Be aware it only cuts on keyframes.
If you really want to compress it more then you can use the same program and experiment with the presets (MOV, MP4).
Generally, reducing the bitrate reduces the filesize, but it also lowers the quality, so I suggest you don't go there.
This is a one-off adventure, right? You want the best quality you can get and that is what comes straight out of the camera.
Just suggestions. I am sure someone else will add more.
My suggestion would be to use something comfortable and practical like Sony Vegas for example or Vegas Platinum (cheaper), and encode your timeline in 2pass VBR.
Those editing softwares do not have CRF method of encoding so you encode 2pass VBR to average bitrate. Test it with some clips, give it 15 Mbit average bitrate (15,000,000) then 10 or 12 see the result, in short test it, it will give you some answers. Point is to find bitrate for your footage that your encoder is comfortable with and does not start to create too much artifacts (not having enough bitrate).
I'm being generous, but we all here realize re-encoding loses quality ("how much" is complex).
Regardless of whether you re-encode or not, you need to think about the M*A*S*S*I*V*E amount of data you could be generating.
Let's take a sparse look and a generous look at examples:
1. Sparse - Average 1 hour / day @ 6Mpbs for the duration of 3 1/2 weeks' trip. This equals 60 * 60 * 6 * 0.125 * 25 / 1024 = ~65.92GB
Not too bad, but the amount taken is just 1 hour, and your quality is fair-to-poor (and this would require re-encoding it all to get to the lower bitrate, with ensuing time involved). You could raise it to normal cam bitrates, but it would double your total size unless you drop recording time down to 30 minutes. Note that this works out to recording about 1 minute's worth every 70 km or so.
2. Generous - Average 5 hours / day @ 12Mbps for the duration of the trip. This equals 300 * 60 * 12 * 0.125 * 25 / 1024 = ~659.2GB.
This is 10x the sparse version. Could be done if you use multiple cards and then upload at the end of each day (though I don't know whether you guys stop, or have AC power to use, etc) to either the cloud (time-consuming!) or to external HDD. Even at this rate (which is slightly above the rate of your cam), your cam's bitrate is relatively mediocre for 720p AVC source quality. As a comparison, I routinely use my Fuji, Nikon or GoPros at 20-25Mbps, which is ~DOUBLE your rate (whether using 720p or 1080i or 1080p). Even THAT is not considered HIGH, PROFESSIONAL quality.
If your trip takes much longer, you're could be looking at >1 TB, even with your camera.
I'm also going to suggest that you don't expect to rely on "the cloud", because I expect there might be more than a few places along the route where you will NOT have high-speed access, wired or not. Maybe not ANY access at all! Even if you do have access, but it is only modest upload speed (e.g. 1Mbps), a daily recording of the "Generous" 26GB would take 59Hours to upload! Yes, that's right - more than 2 1/2 days to upload 1 day's worth of footage. NOT a good idea. Even the sparse 2.6GB would still take almost 6 Hours. That's going to slow you down.
Use an HDD, and figure out your mobile power requirements beforehand. Also, you'll need to make sure you have enough spare cards so you can swap out in round-robin fashion while uploading (though you cannot let yourself get behind in the workflow).
P.s. Neither of these examples is the same as time-lapse (which is another cool way to document such a journey). Don't know if your cam can do that. GoPros can be tweaked to use an arbitrary still recording rate. A similar thread about that topic was discussed here in the recent past (though that was London->Cannes? or similar).
Last edited by Cornucopia; 27th Jun 2014 at 23:47."When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
Nothing to do with the Topic really
But Good Luck on the Rally