Image Processing Reference
being prepared. The standardization process is running more slowly than was anticipated,
however, and there is a possibility that the WM-based codec requirement could be with-
drawn if it is not ratified in time. The Hollywood movie studios are somewhat ambivalent
about this new DVD format as yet.
If you are working with Windows Media, it is best to build your workflow around a suite
of Windows-based PC systems. One of the arguments for using open standards is that you
are then free to choose the production platform that most suits your workflow process.
Creating WM7 and WM8 files on Mac OS with Discreet Cleaner is possible, but the
format options are limited and it is not an optimal solution.
The Telestream QuickTime Plug-In
If you decide to deploy Windows Media Player and want to also use the WM9 or VC-1
codec, tradition dictates that your production system would be a Windows machine.
Creating WM9 files on Mac OS as a direct export from Final Cut Pro has just become pos-
sible with the Telestream Flip4Mac plug-in exporter for QuickTime.
Microsoft has chosen to make the Windows Media codec available on Mac OS and
Solaris only as an embedded codec inside its own player. However, you cannot operate it
on the same peer level as all the other codecs that QuickTime supports.
At IBC 2004, Telestream announced Windows Media codec plug-ins for playback
and export of standard and high-definition Windows Media on the Mac OS platform. This
is a very significant development and is possibly one of the first fruits of the SMPTE VC-1
standardization process, although they may be unconnected.
You should still maintain some Windows machines in order to test the content.
It is possible to build a farm of Windows-based encoders and administer them through
a Web-based administrative interface. This has been supported since the Series 7 release.
With the Telestream codec embedded in a Mac OS X-based QuickTime installation, all the
UNIX scripting and AppleScript support can be used to create an automated workflow.
The Flip4Mac plug-in is very well designed. It installs very easily and the user inter-
face obeys all the correct rules of Mac OS software design. This provides an export to
Windows Media from any application that uses QuickTime. Although it will encode to the
advanced codec, that process does require some heavyweight computing power, and if
you are intending to encode Windows Media with it, you should consider using the fastest
available machine you can find. It does work fine with lower-specification hardware.
WM9 Risk Factors
There is always some risk that goes with selecting a proprietary system, and that goes as
much for Real Networks and QuickTime as for Windows Media. You are at the mercy of