[OT] Understanding Codecs

Trevor DeVore lists at mangomultimedia.com
Tue Feb 8 10:27:16 EST 2005

On Feb 7, 2005, at 11:44 PM, Dan Shafer wrote:

> I have been doing a good bit of work with SnapZProX lately and I've 
> been stymied by a problem related to the one in this thread.
> So far, I have been unable to find any way to understand the specific 
> codecs for sound and video compression used in the SnapZProX product 
> in terms of:
> 1. Which are the best at compressing with minimal loss
> 2. Which are included as part of the QT distro
> 3. Which are likely to cause problems on Windows
> Can anyone point me to a resource? I'll spend the time to learn this 
> stuff but I've posted on a half-dozen message boards to no avail and 
> searched with Google/A9 until I can't come up with terms to use for 
> searching any more.

To see what is included with different versions of QuickTime take a 
look at <http://www.simnet.is/klipklap/quicktime/>.  With QT you 
shouldn't run into problems on Windows if you are using codecs that are 
available on both platforms.  When it comes to compressing screen 
capture there is no default QuickTime codec which does a good job of 
compressing with minimal loss.  The Animation codec (which I believe is 
the default in SnapzPro) is lossless at 100% but the files are very 
large.  I don't really like the results when dropping the compression 
percentage down with the Animation codec.

The TechSmith Ensharpen codec is really good for screen capture in the 
tests I have done.  If you take care when recording (use a solid color 
desktop, don't "pan" the camera" but rather follow the mouse, etc.) you 
can get great video quality with a good amount of compression.

The problem of course is that the Ensharpen codec doesn't come with 
QuickTime by default and even though the folks at TechSmith have 
applied for the component download program it seems that the QuickTime 
folks aren't doing anything with the program for the time being.  What 
you can do though is check for the installation of the Ensharpen codec 
as it will be placed in the QuickTime component directory on the users 
computer and if it isn't there then display a nice dialog that directs 
the user to the download site.  Unfortunate but it would work.

Trevor DeVore
Blue Mango Multimedia
trevor at mangomultimedia.com

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