OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?

Posted by Karan 
OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 10:50AM
Hi guys,

Sorry to go off topic, but I've been wandering. Recently everywhere I go on the web where there is some form of video content, the video is delivered via flash or some youtube-like variant. I seem to see less and less Quicktime clips on the web. Anyone else notice this? it's a shame cause I think QT is a far superior viewing medium.

So is flash-video giving Apple and QT a run for it's money?

Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 11:08AM
I'm no expert, but I feel like it's apples and oranges. Flash is frequently used because it plays on practically any computer with a web browser. QuickTime is not nearly so universal, but I'd consider QuickTime a much more professional format because of how fast it responds, the quality. And also, Flash crashes my web browser all the time -- can't tell you how many times some graphic-oversaturated animated web ad has crashed my browser when I'm just trying to read the New York Times or Billboard online.

With the commercial company I work for, they've resisted even using Flip4Mac for their PC-using clients because you can't frame-advance and control over the playback is sloppy and hiccupy. It's QuickTime and MPEGs all the way there. But I'm guessing the majority of people watching video casually on the web are more than happy with Flash and YouTube-level (ie. garbage) video quality. But Flash can't do many of the jobs QuickTime can, and vice versa.

Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 11:26AM
Flash is a very bit conscious delivery system for the web. Taking a 5 minute QT file and importing it into flash, then exporting to a swf file can get a reasonable quality video lower than 1 MB is size.

A Flash .swf file is a great way to deliver content off a web site but is ONLY a delivery format. it's still garbage in = garbage out, but the compression into a .swf is very usable.

Quicktime is a transport vehicle (wrapper) and needs to be left at Best Quality to be reused.
Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 11:28AM
What, Derek "no an expert"? What does that make me? LOL

Well, let's just say I'm a layman (pun not intended :-)

I think ...

Flash is the dominant web format already. QT is great for download and for file sharing over the Internet.

And to get Apple trailer quality on the web with QT, well, you can't, unless you're a rocket scientist or something.

The deciding factor with respect to this question is file size. There's no way QT files can get as small as Flash files and produce the same quality on the web.

This is my inexpert opinion :-)
Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 12:06PM
its a situation of "horses for courses" there are things that each is better suited for.

for example, flash movies can be deployed easilly into page content without displaying player controls and can be layered within the page elements thus it gives a more "designed" feel to the overall user experience.

but then quicktime, seems to be more aggressive with the compression/quality ratio AND is WAY simpler to embed on a basic html page.

kinda like asking if a vaccum is going to overtake a broom. its a different tool for a different need.
Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 12:16PM
In my world, FLASH video is not an option. Clients can't "step" through FLASH proofs frame by frame which is one reason I don't use it personally. I also believe it's being used more by companies that want to keep folks from downloading the files & save them to their hard drives (like QT's).

I agree with you...I think QT is superior to FLASH media, IMHO. I'll probably be the last guy on the forum to let go of my Quicktime.

- Joey

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 03:18PM
If I may, I'd like to clear up a few things concerning the FLV format.

For one, like any other codec format, the quality is not only predicated on which encoding application is performing the encode, but also the input in which the user enters the encoding variables. You Tube is a poor example of what FLV can do since their goal is to compress the heck out of it with a gazillion users adding videos everyday.

FLV is also somewhat of a "wrapper" or "shell" like QuickTime or AVI is. Codecs that work in FLV include H.263 and the newer On2 VP6 codec. I've seen some pretty amazing encodes using the On2 VP6 codec.

As for the comments regarding FLV not being able to scrub frame by frame is incorrect. You can, however, it's a matter of two things: (1) The FLV video must be encoded with a high keyframe count, i.e., a keyframe (AKA "I-frame"winking smiley every frame and (2) the FLV player displaying the FLV video must have scrubbing ability programmed into it.

Many of you didn't get a chance to see my demo of Media Batch at the last LAFCPUG event where I showcased the integrated FLV viewer in the second half of my presentation. Besides the timecode-based notation abilities you get with the viewer you can also scrub frame-by-frame using the left and right arrow keys (the up and down arrow keys goes up/down to each marker location which can also be done using the number keys; "1" goes to location 1, "2" goes to location 2, etc., which, when going to that marker point is also frame accurate).

And as some of you saw in my demo, there's complete timecode integration down to frame-rate accuracy (it adjusts timecode by reading the file's frame-rate, whether 29.97, 23.976, 25, etc.). I didn't get a chance to show how you can also offset the master timecode as well.

As a web delivery format, I much rather prefer FLV since it's cross-browser *and* cross-platform compatible without issues. However on the production end, I much prefer QuickTime. No question.

In essence, they're two different beasts when it comes down to it. I do like using QuickTime H.264 for web delivery, but if I want complete compatibility for my users (as well as the cool FLV notation feature within Media Batch) then it's FLV all the way.

Marco Solorio | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Media Batch
Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 29, 2007 11:50PM
For getting your content out to the maximum number of people, Flash is the way to go, nearly everyone has it and with some basic flash skills, you can use it pretty creatively. With lots of skills, like Marco, you can use it professionally for clients in a way that i think, frankly beats Adobe Clips notes. Can't wait to see the drawing ability integrated in newer versions of MediaBatch...

QT and H.264 cant be beat for look tho, Apple Trailers are the standard of quality for web video and nothing but H.264 is gonna get there. For download or sale, distributing on tech savy forums/friends, this is how you show yourself off. However, some times you need to focus on a larger audience who might not be as up to date as the rest of us.

The one thing QT will always have FLV's beat on is computer playback, I still cannot believe that there is no standard player for FLV's on either platform. I cant wait till Finder/Explorer become as media rich as Adobe Bridge...
Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 30, 2007 12:34AM
<<<Apple Trailers are the standard of quality for web video and nothing but H.264 is gonna get there.>>>

Careful H.264, 24-frame masters, Javascript in the browser, and QuickTime 7. The trailers come as a package. Ever wonder why QuickTime always seems to open when you're viewing a trailer--it won't open in the browser viewer? That's not accidental.

We tried to duplicate the look with our own material and gave up at the scripting language.

Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 30, 2007 12:54AM
Sorry for taking this a bit off topic.

Marco are you familiar with Adobe's Clip Notes that is part of PPro2? Can Media Batch be used in a similar way?
Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 30, 2007 04:35AM
Chuck Spaulding Wrote:
> Sorry for taking this a bit off topic.
> Marco are you familiar with Adobe's Clip Notes
> that is part of PPro2? Can Media Batch be used in
> a similar way?

It is different but I suppose there are some similarities. For one, Clip Notes works within PP2, right within the timeline if you like. I personally have never needed it *this* integrated. I've literally had clients email a list of editorial changes and I went from there. This is how Media Batch can work in that the notation markers you make can be...

- Emailed: Media Batch launches your email app and automatically creates an email with all the timecode notation spots.

- Copied to you clipboard: Same as above except that it copies all the timecode notations to the computer's clipboard which can then be pasted to app you want.

- Printed: Creates a white screen with black text for clear printing of timecode notations.

- Saved: You can save the timecode notations to your computer as a standard txt (text) file.

- Viewed: Or just view it right within Media Batch.

One thing to note is the you do not inherently have to save the notations as you create them. Each time you add a marker point or add a note or change the location point name, etc., Media Batch automatically saves each change to your server. This way you don't have to spend an hour writing notes only to have your power go out or something and lose all your work.

I should mention too that the loop function is frame accurate in the Media Batch FLV viewer as well. By setting the location point's in and out point and click the "L" button will loop that section.

One thing that wasn't ready in the LAFCPUG event (but that I said would be ready soon) is the ability to show each location's marker point on the timeline. Well, it's there now (has been since last week actually) and includes a few extra features, including highlighting which location number you're currently on, an orange bar showing the duration of your in and out point of your current location and more. You can click on the marker point to instantly go to that location as well (again, frame accurate).

I should mention too (while I'm at it and attaching this image) that the left-most timecode indicator is the master timecode offset. So if let's say you have a video that starts at 00:58:30:00 or whatever, you can set that here. The middle TC is the current running timecode of the video in real-time and the right-most TC is the TRT of the clip. The two smaller timecodes are for the current location's in and out points.

Still a few more bells and whistles to iron out of this FLV viewer and it'll be as good as gold. Even as it stands now it's incredibly powerful. Everything just works and does so in real-time.

Click this image to view the full-rez version:

Marco Solorio | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Media Batch
Re: OT - Flash overtaking Quicktime?
May 30, 2007 03:13PM
I do most quick "Down and Dirty" encoding to showcase my VO work to clients. I've found that the 3 most used systems (Flash, Windows .wmv, and Quicktime) are really pretty similar in terms of quality vs. bandwidth. Experiments/Samples: www.hd-vo.com/stream

I've established the following rules for selecting a codec.

(1) When you want the vast majority (85%) of the people on the internet to be able to view content easily, choose .wmv 9 first. The reality is that most people are on Windows PCs - Windows Media Player comes with their machines, and simply works better on Internet Explorer than any other system. Quality can be excelent (It's actually h.264 with different header info) and all it requires is a simple link.

Many Windows users don't have Quicktime, believe it or not. - Many IT managers won't allow installation of Quicktime because it "doesn't play fair" with other Windows Aps. While Flash 8 actually claims a greater percentage of users, it's not as easy to encode and implement your material.

(2) When you want your work to be seen by media professionals, use Quicktime. I've found that over 50 percent of media professionals are on Macs. Those that aren't have access to the Quicktime Player on their PCs. On the other hand, many, many Mac users don't have the .wmv player.

(3) If you want EVERYONE to be able to view your material, use Flash 7. Flash 7 1.1 .flv is not nearly as good Flash 8 .flv, but it is on something like 97 percent of computers out there. Flash 8 is much better in terms of bandwidth/quality, but it's penetration is more like 89 percent.


Most of the time, I encode Quicktime h.264 AND Windows Media. That covers most of the bases most of the time. For the same bandwidth/filesize the .wmv usually looks somewhat better on a PC than the Quicktime on the Mac. If I wasn't in such a hurry most of the time, I'd probably use Flash 8 more often

VoiceOver Guy and Entertainment Technology Enthusiast
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