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  1. Member
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    Hi all -

    I really really hope you guys can help me. I shoot tons of video of my toddler son using my little point-and-click Canon PowerShot SD940. It's a new version - I had been using an older Canon that shot in AVI format and had a perfect process set up for converting those movies to FLV files his grandma and grandpa can view online. This new camera only shoots MOV files. Given that I'm on a Mac I'd assumed that would be even simpler than dealing with AVIs. Unfortunately this has not been the case.

    What happens when I try to convert the MOVs to FLV is that ffmpegx does its usual song and dance - it doesn't take suspiciously long or short about it, either - and gives me no errors whatsoever. It happily produces a normal-appearing FLV file, but when I look at the actual movie, it has frequent choppy gray frames. It'll go for a few seconds and look normal, and then many seconds of invisible gray ugliness.

    I had been using an older version of ffmpegx - 0.0.9x - so I tried downloading a new version of the software. Now not only does the same thing occur, but it also claims that ALL "movs" are Unrecognized in the Summary screen. I tried checking the Decode with QT option but that did not help (and now it has disappeared, it seems, which is further confounding.)

    The Quicktime Movie Inspector says the following about the movie (I have since told the camera to stop recording in HD, so the aspect ratio is now 4:3, but otherwise it's the same) format:

    H.264, 1280 x 720, Millions
    16-bit Integer (Little Endian), Mono, 44.100 kHz

    I am presently attempting to convert it using MPEG Streamclip but it has been at it for at least forty-five minutes now, for one 1:13 movie, which makes that, to put it lightly, *incredibly* slow, especially since I often take a few movies a day. If it does work, it will be the only solution I have been able to find, but it will be a very tough solution to swallow, time-wise.

    Any help, leads, or tips would be very, very much appreciated. I've been searching around here and elsewhere for a long time and haven't managed to find exactly this problem (though I could be being obtuse!) - if I missed something somewhere, apologies in advance!

    best and thanks,
    katie

    ps - the site I keep for my kid is not public, but if someone wants to see an example MOV or FLV, I can put it somewhere to download.
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  2. Explorer Case's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ygg View Post
    I shoot tons of video of my toddler son using my little point-and-click Canon PowerShot SD940. This new camera only shoots MOV files. Given that I'm on a Mac I'd assumed that would be even simpler than dealing with AVIs.
    The "simpler" part only applies to applications based on QuickTime, e.g. iMovie, QuickTime Player Pro and the like. Applications based on ffmpeg will find little benefit from the MOV file format.

    Originally Posted by ygg
    ffmpegx [...] it has frequent choppy gray frames. It'll go for a few seconds and look normal, and then many seconds of invisible gray ugliness. I tried downloading a new version of the software. ALL "movs" are Unrecognized in the Summary screen.
    I would have to do some test conversions to diagnose that further.

    Originally Posted by ygg
    H.264, 1280 x 720, Millions
    16-bit Integer (Little Endian), Mono, 44.100 kHz
    1280x720 HD, 640x480 VGA or 320x240 QVGA are available, according to some review websites.

    Originally Posted by ygg
    I am presently attempting to convert it using MPEG Streamclip
    AFAIK, MPEG Streamclip doesn't convert to FLV. So what are you converting to?

    Originally Posted by ygg
    if someone wants to see an example MOV or FLV, I can put it somewhere to download.
    If you pm me an URL to such a file, I will have a try with it.
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    Originally Posted by Case View Post
    Originally Posted by ygg View Post
    I shoot tons of video of my toddler son using my little point-and-click Canon PowerShot SD940. This new camera only shoots MOV files. Given that I'm on a Mac I'd assumed that would be even simpler than dealing with AVIs.
    The "simpler" part only applies to applications based on QuickTime, e.g. iMovie, QuickTime Player Pro and the like. Applications based on ffmpeg will find little benefit from the MOV file format.
    Well, poop.

    Originally Posted by Case View Post
    Originally Posted by ygg
    I am presently attempting to convert it using MPEG Streamclip
    AFAIK, MPEG Streamclip doesn't convert to FLV. So what are you converting to?
    Nope, it definitely converts to FLV. At least version 1.9.2 does. It took an hour to do it, but it did manage eventually

    Originally Posted by Case View Post
    Originally Posted by ygg
    if someone wants to see an example MOV or FLV, I can put it somewhere to download.
    If you pm me an URL to such a file, I will have a try with it.
    I will do so! I'll have to upload the original MOV so it might take me a little bit but as soon as I can I'll send you URLs. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply & take a look at this - I really appreciate it.
    Last edited by ygg; 11th Feb 2010 at 21:50.
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  4. Explorer Case's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ygg View Post
    MPEG Streamclip definitely converts to FLV. At least version 1.9.2 does.
    Please enlighten me, as I have trouble finding such an export function in my copy.
    (Perhaps you had some third party software (CS3?) install a Flash Video exporter for QuickTime?)

    Originally Posted by ygg
    I'll have to upload the original MOV so it might take me a little bit but as soon as I can I'll send you URLs.
    ffmpegX doesn't seem to like your source file format very much. I get the grey frames too with just about every preset, like bad I-frames.

    I did fid a way that works, though. It involves two encodes: First encode to a downscaled but large file size, high quality, intermediate file with just I-frames (ffmpegX loadable preset 1), then encode the new output file to FLV (ffmpegX loadable preset 2). For a 0:01:03 clip, it doesn't take too long to encode even twice. The downscaling in the first step helps with that.

    For the second encoding, for size 624x352, ffmpegX recommends 1332 kbps video bitrate, but I find the result with just 700 kbps very acceptable for web video -- and the difference between 10.5 MB and 5.7 MB is enough to make the download much easier for viewers of the content.

    I will try to find a conversion method that involves just one encode, but so far, only encoding twice worked well.
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    Last edited by Case; 13th Feb 2010 at 11:15.
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    Originally Posted by Case View Post
    Originally Posted by ygg View Post
    MPEG Streamclip definitely converts to FLV. At least version 1.9.2 does.
    Please enlighten me, as I have trouble finding such an export function in my copy.
    (Perhaps you had some third party software (CS3?) install a Flash Video exporter for QuickTime?)
    Not that I know of! I had to go to File > Export to Other Formats -- and then in the drop-down menu at the top of the resulting window, you can choose "FLV." It is monumentally slow to convert, though.

    Originally Posted by Case View Post
    Originally Posted by ygg
    I'll have to upload the original MOV so it might take me a little bit but as soon as I can I'll send you URLs.
    ffmpegX doesn't seem to like your source file format very much. I get the grey frames too with just about every preset, like bad I-frames.

    I did fid a way that works, though. It involves two encodes: First encode to a downscaled but large file size, high quality, intermediate file with just I-frames (ffmpegX loadable preset 1), then encode the new output file to FLV (ffmpegX loadable preset 2). For a 0:01:03 clip, it doesn't take too long to encode even twice. The downscaling in the first step helps with that.

    For the second encoding, for size 624x352, ffmpegX recommends 1332 kbps video bitrate, but I find the result with just 700 kbps very acceptable for web video -- and the difference between 10.5 MB and 5.7 MB is enough to make the download much easier for viewers of the content.

    I will try to find a conversion method that involves just one encode, but so far, only encoding twice worked well.
    Yowza. You are really extremely good at this. I *may* have found an alternate solution: it seems that ffmpegX will successfully (without the awful grey frames) convert the MOV to an MP4 H.264 file, which one of the free flash players out there (jwplayer) will play, just like an FLV. So I think I can rejigger my existing process not too much to move over to H.264 mp4s and change my movie player for those files. A heck of a lot better than trying to switch to MPEG Streamclip or another application.

    Again, thank you SO much for all of your time, information, and attention!!

    katie
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    Originally Posted by ygg View Post
    I *may* have found an alternate solution: it seems that ffmpegX will successfully convert the MOV to an MP4 H.264 file, which one of the free flash players out there (jwplayer) will play, just like an FLV. So I think I can rejigger my existing process not too much to move over to H.264 mp4s and change my movie player for those files.
    Do note that 'regular' MP4 files do not do pseudo-streaming (playing while downloading), because they have the meta data at the end of the file. It only starts playing after the whole file has been downloaded. To enable pseudo-streaming, the meta data on the MP4 has to be moved to the beginning of the file. This can be changed using Mike Melanson's qt-faststart. Marc Liyanage made a Mac OS X drag-and-drop app of it.
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