aled's cyfle

Monday, 12 March 2007

Being Unique...

Posted at 12:56 pm.

Last week, we got a visit from Jon Stethridge, Managing Director of Unique Media and Unique Media TV, which I think are two different sections of the same company. They're an established design and communications agency from the Bristol area over the border in England.

They've become specialized over the years to provide video streaming services. He came to give us a short workshop on the process of shooting, cutting and encoding video for the web.

When we finished our impromptu group chat about various aspects of the web - politics, web2 and social networking etc., we got down to business.

As I have a degree in Film and TV studies, I expected to know everything he was about to explain to us, but my expectations were quashed slightly due to the realisation that shooting and cutting film for the web is a totally different affair.

It's a little obvious when you think about it... keep long shots to a minimum (only once to establish the situation). Keep to tighter shots when filming (not shooting) a person, and avoid excessing or unnecessary zooms, pans, crabs etc.

The reason for these limitations are nothing to do with things like screen sizes or their refresh rate or a computer's processing power, but rather with encoding the video to keep its size to a minimum. The more pixels that change in every frame, the higher the file size. We were also told not to use dissolves in any video shot for the web for this reason... in the short sequence of a dissolve, every pixel in the video is a different colour, meaning that every pixel has to be encoded, resulting in a higher file size.

This, I suppose, applies to all digital film formats. It certainly was a very useful resource for when I go to Cube, who do a lot of encoding as part of their work.


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