Topic: Video Compression Settings for Various Programs
I figured we needed an easily accessible place for video compression settings that are teted and proven to be good for Film Fights, or online video in general.
Final Cut Pro:
In FCP, go to File > Export > Using Compressor...
In the "Settings" window, you have lots of great choices, including Mpeg-2 optimized for DVDs, H.264 optimized for iPods, but for the web (and Film Fights), what you want is the only setting under "Mpeg-4." Drag that setting up to the project window. You can also right-click "Source" to change where the encoded file will save, and you can change the name of the encoded file in the text box.
This default Mpeg-4 (MP4) setting is already great... (My latest 2:45 Film Fights entry was only 17MB, but it looks nice.) ...but you'll want to tweak a few more settings, in the "Inspector" window:
Click the 3rd tab ("Frame Controls"), and turn on "Frame Controls" by clicking the gear then selecting "On." By default, that turns on de-interlacing, which is something I recommend anytime you prepare standard definition (SD) video for the web. (It removes those jagged lines that appear during fast camera or action movement, which, incidentally, don't exist in HD, so you can skip this step for HD video.)
Click the 5th tab ("Geometry") to manipulate the image size. By default, regular NTSC SD video is 720x480 pixels, which is fine for TV, but distorted wide on a computer screen, so for most SD (non-widescreen) for web applications, change the "Frame Size" to 640x480, which essentially squeezes the picture back down to normal aspect ratio. For Film Fights, though, you should be editing in either an HD or widescreen 16x9 (SD) timeline, which means you'll need to export a 16x9 aspect ratio. I use 640x360, but any correct 16x9 ratio would work. Or, if you've edited a 4x3 video and want to make sure it's padded to fit correctly in Film Fights' 16x9 player, you can select a 4x3 "Padding," which will add 80 pixels on each side, assuming your frame size is 640x360. (If you're editing in HD, and want to maintain the screen size, use a "100% of the source" frame. HD video is not distorted for TV, so the aspect ratio will be fine.)
That's it. You can hit "Save" in the "Inspector" window if you think this is a setting you'll use often, and when you're ready to encode, hit "Submit..." in the project window.
I will update this as we find/test more methods. Hopefully something for Windows users, soon. In the mean time, Windows users can export to a high avi quality, then render in Quicktime pro ($30), using the settings in that Vimeo tutorial above.