I had a few questions about why we've put the Hutchison DVD in Windows Media
10 format, so here is an overview of the reasoning:
Our original footage started out as a compilation of 6 DVD's in MPEG2 format
-- this is extremely difficult to work with because it's a new & emerging
video standard, and while our editing equipment can import it, it's a
challenge to process efffectively. American Antigravity is a non-profit, and
we don't yet have the extensive media-instrastructure for large-scale video
production. DVD footage is spindled into a massive file that the DVD-player
decodes, so even the process of importing it to make edits changes the data
to some degree. Recompressing it to DVD at this point wouldn't make sense.
From these 6 DVD's, we have nearly 3 hours of footage,and nearly 1,000
photos from our trip. If I put this onto a standard DVD, it would require
cutting the resolution of the footage, as well as severely limiting the way
that we present the photos.
Windows Media Player 10 was the choice for presenting this footage for a
number of reasons:
1. Most personal computers already have WinMedia onboard -- if you use
auto-update, you already have Windows Media Player 10 installed.
2. MPEG2 format usually requires some type of special codec, and there are
severe limits to how well it will compress. Transferring this footage to an
MPEG1 format would reduce compression even further, and make the picture
3. Unlike RealPlayer, Windows Media doesn't take over your system when you
install/play it. For instance, the RealOne player wants all sorts of
customer information when you install it, and once it's loaded it creates a
massive footprint that dramatically impacts your computer's system
performance. This is something that RealNetworks did beginning with the
"RealOne" player, but they've limited their codecs so that you can no longer
compress to the older formats.
4. Windows Media offers the best onboard compression on the market, because
they're currently competing with RealNetworks to become the next-generation
"standard" for streaming media. Thus, they're producing a top-quality
product that almost never crashes, and they're releasing it for free in
order to build marketshare.
Using Windows Media 10 means that our video compressed to fit on a single
DVD without any loss to picture quality, and it left room on the disk for
all of the photos that we took. I also recompressed our audio-interviews
from last year and added them as well, as they are a great technical
overview of what John's research is all about -- with expert analysis by Ted
Gagnon during the joint interview.
I realize that a lot of people have an axe to grind against using Microsoft
products -- and as a Unix SysAdmin I can identify with many of the
complaints. However, please trust me that I've tried all of the audio/video
options available and Windows Media really is the best one currently
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