does not benefit from a one-size-fits-all approach, which is
5 with all its
settings, is such a useful tool. However those starting out or
not interested in technicalities will find the options in Cleaner
mind-boggling, to say nothing of its 300 page manual.
That is where VIDEO COMPRESSION WITH CLEANER 5 becomes useful. Its approach balances the desire for simple answers with enough additional information for the user to make informed choices within Cleaner 5.
This is not an elaborate
video production. During the entire four-tape set the instructor,
Evan Schechtman of Outpost Digital in New York, sits in a plain room in front of
his Mac and video monitor. The only cutaways are the many closeups
of the Mac screen illustrating the points he is describing and
excerpts from the video he's compressing. Evan is clearly comfortable
with the subject at hand, a bit less at being on camera. His
discussion is saturated with useful information and tips and
it will probably take a few viewings before it all sinks in.
The total set clocks
in at under two and a half hours, but spreading it out over four
tapes makes it easier to find the specific section you're looking
for. (A DVD version will be available soon. ed.)
The tape set is in seven sections:
3. Settings Wizard
4. Project Setup
5. Advanced Settings: QuickTime
6. Advanced Settings: RealVideo
7. Advanced Settings: Windows Media
substantial time explaining the concepts of digital video and
compression and the differences among the three architectures
and codecs. He also discusses how to best setup your computer
for digital video. These are important points that anyone working
with digital video needs to know and I'm glad to see them included
He demonstrates how to
import video using MotoDV,
now included in Cleaner 5, and discusses Cleaner's Preferences
and Settings Wizard. As is appropriate, the bulk of the discussion
of Advanced Settings centers on QuickTime, the format with the most options. RealPlayer gets a good run through, but
the discussion of WindowsMedia is quite brief. MPEG video and MP3 audio also get short shrift here.
Each feature is presented
clearly and concisely, explaining where to set it for optimal
results. This approach yields good results in a minimal amount
of time, but does not consider the complexities or possibilities
of many of the controls.
For example, throughout
the tapes Mr. Schechtman suggests a keyframing rule of 1 keyframe
per 100 frames. This is a good suggestion for someone looking
for a simple answer, but the 2-page discussion of keyframe frequency
in the Cleaner 5 manual indicates the real answer is not so simple.
Streaming media also
requires interaction with web pages and connection with media
servers, but Mr. Schechtman's discussion of these features stays
entirely within Cleaner. Although he shows some dialog boxes,
he never shows an FTP upload, html, a movie embedded in a web
page, or the contents of the intermediate .ram or .asx files
necessary for communication with the media server. All these
functions are part of Cleaner 5 and I think viewers would be
better served by seeing the entire process.
VIDEO COMPRESSION WITH CLEANER 5 is a useful video for anyone getting started with Cleaner 5. Its not the last word on the subject, but it's a great starting point and a good resource for those who hate reading manuals.
Daniel Sofer runs Hermosawave Internet, a web development and hosting firm in Hermosa
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