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HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob

Posted by Gary Sumlak 
HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 01, 2010 07:03PM
I am trying to create an audio podcast in STP2 with HD resolution Marker Images.

I add an image for the Marker by selecting "Image Source Other" and select a 2444x1583 jpeg image. The image shows up in the preview box and it looks good.

However as soon as I select any tab, track, whatever... and the image preview box disappears, and I then come back to the marker image preview, the image gets processed and compressed to a completely unrecognizable blob! If I go ahead and export the podcast, the marker image is displayed in iTunes looking exactly like the mangled image in STP and has been reduce to 53Wx35H pixels!!!

This mangling also occurs with the Episode image, although it actually does not even get exported to the final podcast.

After some further experimenting with image size, it seems that if I keep the Marker image within 533 x 400 pixels there is no compression of the image and the aspect ratio is also maintained. Fine for an iPhone/iPod, but not great for iPad or display.

I checked rigorously through the PDF manual and there is not a single mention of this limitation.

So, I guess what I need to know is, is there a way to increase the marker image resolution?

If I could get the resolution even up to HD 1080p quality, that would be satisfactory.

To create the podcast I make sure the file type is AAC/Podcast File > Podcast > Enhanced (Images).

BTW - I have tried various file formats including PDF and PNG and the results are the same - ALWAYS a 53Wx35H pixel image.

Any help or suggestions on how to get the Marker Images to HD quality would be greatly appreciated!!

ASIDE - I created the same podcast in Garageband 09 and the images are Crystal clear. However, the marker image ALWAYS gets reformatted from wide screen format to square, adding white padding below and above the image, so that it become useless for distribution.

TIA for anyone that reads this and responds.

Thanks
Gary Sumlak
thumbprints Multimedia Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
[www.thumbprints.ca]

*** Superior Film Transfers at a Reasonable Price ***
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 02, 2010 12:02PM
Gary,

What you are trying to do is very likely outside of the current "specifications" and "definition" of what is considered an enhanced podcast (at least in terms of iTunes).

With SoundTrack Pro being more of a "pro" application, it doesn't have as much "automation" built into it as GarageBand, which probably explains why GarageBand does a better job of resizing the original image.

Pretty much every tool I've used for making enhanced podcasts restricts images to a square frame size. Some offer tools for zooming/resizing images, some do not.

For example, GarageBand has a checkbox for restricting an image to 300 x 300 pixels on export (for better iPod compatibility and to keep file sizes smaller).

-----

Perhaps, a better approach would be to treat this more like a video project. Instead of video, you would have large-sized still images along with audio. Since the images are static, they should not result in file sizes as large as a regular video file. On the downside, a regular "video file" probably won't conform to what is considered a valid, enhanced podcast (in terms of iTunes support, etc.). For playback from a web page, a video file containing stills and audio (and chapter markers) should work fine...

After all, podcasts are primarily audio-oriented, or audio with "small" pictures...
winking smiley


-Dave
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 03, 2010 02:04PM
Thanks Dave for the reply.

Aside for the anomalous 53x43 scaling, the lack of documentation was what frustrated me the most - one stating image must be constrained to 533 x 400 would have eliminated two days of frustration completely.

Unfortunate, it is that HD size images are not supported (yet), that would be of the greatest use for me at this time.

Thanks
Gary Sumlak
thumbprints Multimedia Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
[www.thumbprints.ca]

*** Superior Film Transfers at a Reasonable Price ***
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 03, 2010 02:37PM
Gary,

I totally agree about the lack of a clear specification... I have never been able to find anything definitive anywhere, especially on Apple's website.

I "cheated" and asked several well-connected friends who regularly make podcasts...
winking smiley

It does seem reasonable that support for larger sized images should be forthcoming, considering changes in screen dimensions for the newer "i" devices... But, then again, using larger images is tending towards something less oriented towards audio... A video file containing the larger images with audio should work just fine (outside of iTunes)...


-Dave
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 03, 2010 04:20PM
OK - Got It Figured Out!!! Woo Hoo!!

I am able to do exactly what I want in Compressor... go figure!!

1. Select "AAC for Audio Podcast" preset.

2. In the Encoder Audio tab, select "Enhanced Padcast (m4a file)"

3. Change "Fit marker images within" to "1280" by "1024"

4. Add Chapter marker and edit

5. Change Type to "Podcast"

6. Select Image "From file" and select the HR file - could drag from Finder as well.

7. Save

8. Submit (took about 30 seconds to run)

Viola!! A nice, tight, small, HR slide show; 5 minutes long and ONLY 4.5 MB - about .1 MB larger than the audio alone! The entire process (once the new preset is saved) takes less than a minute - as long as you know the time code for the marker image placement.

Thanks again for the sympathetic ear..eyes and advice.

Off to make the Client VERY happy!!

Thanks
Gary Sumlak
thumbprints Multimedia Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
[www.thumbprints.ca]

*** Superior Film Transfers at a Reasonable Price ***
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 03, 2010 05:44PM
Gary,

Glad to hear you figured out something. And, thanks for sharing your solution. I use Compressor a lot but haven't used it for podcasts (yet)...

If you have a chance to test this in iTunes, could you? I suspect that it may work but will resize the images down to 160 x 160 (album art size) unless you have the "artwork" open in a separate window... dunno for sure...

You mentioned having larger images so they show up better on the new iPhone and iPad. How are you playing the podcast on those devices? I am very curious...


-Dave
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 04, 2010 03:41AM
Quote
If you have a chance to test this in iTunes, could you? I suspect that it may work but will resize the images down to 160 x 160 (album art size) unless you have the "artwork" open in a separate window... dunno for sure...

Tested in iTunes having the file local and well as shared. In the item artwork viewer the images fill the viewer. When displayed in a separate window, the window expands to fill the display up to resolution of the image - on a 1920x1440 display, a window pops up at 1280x1024; at lower display resolutions, the window scales to the display.

Quote
You mentioned having larger images so they show up better on the new iPhone and iPad. How are you playing the podcast on those devices? I am very curious...

Same goes when I loaded the track onto my iPhone and played the track in the iPod player - the image scales to the resolution of the display, and changes at the chapter marker. When you flip the album artwork, the chapters are listed, so you can go to that marker and the image updates automatically.

The only shortcoming is that, as artwork, you can't zoom in, but on the iPad's larger display, that should not be a problem as long as the image was scaled appropriately. I don't have an iPad, so have not been able to test on one, but I know someone who does, and will ask them to test it.

I am quite excited about the possibilities!!

Thanks
Gary Sumlak
thumbprints Multimedia Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
[www.thumbprints.ca]

*** Superior Film Transfers at a Reasonable Price ***
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
August 04, 2010 08:45AM
Gary,

Thanks for taking the time to respond with the additional info!


-Dave
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
September 27, 2010 03:05AM
OK, after several weeks of the chapter image corruption issue getting worse by the day (it got to the point that ALL images being use got reduced to 25x25 pixels), I finally resolved to a complete uninstall of STP.

After some research, I found a recommendation for FCS Remover, which allows uninstalling a single app and any/all of its components or the entire suite.

I decided to uninstall STP and any related components (leaving the 25GB+ of media alone).

I then reinstalled STP and now any image I use as a Chapter or Episode image in encoded at the same resolution as the original image!

So, it seems that there was a corruption in an STP resource that was replaced with the reinstall.

All is good in my little world. grinning smiley

Thanks again D-Mac for all the help!

Thanks
Gary Sumlak
thumbprints Multimedia Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
[www.thumbprints.ca]

*** Superior Film Transfers at a Reasonable Price ***
Re: HELP! Audio Podcast Marker Image Being Compressed to Mangled Blob
September 27, 2010 08:23AM
Great to hear that FCS Remover worked. I've found that STP can certainly show some odd, nearly irrational behavior. I had a situation in which the audio meters weren't behaving correctly at all. Everything else worked fine. I began to question my own workflow. I decided to trash the STP preferences and the meters functioned as expected again.

Unlike other Final Cut apps, when STP goes awry it does so in ways that don't seem to make sense compared to lets say FCP preference corruption.
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