Image Processing Reference
Why Some Codecs Are Available and Others Are Not
Choosing one computer operating system over another will affect the available codecs due
to the commercial policy of video-compression companies. For example, certain codecs are
only available on the Windows platform. Tools that provide compression frameworks
such as Sorenson Squeeze or Discreet Cleaner appear not to support some codecs in their
Macintosh version of the product. This is not because they did not port the code from
Windows to Mac OS but because the software development kit (SDK) provided by
Microsoft for Windows Media and by Real Networks for its codec was previously not fully
supported on the Mac OS operating system. Because they are both proprietary formats,
the availability across different computer platforms is dictated by Microsoft and Real
Networks, not by Sorenson or Discreet.
In the case of the Real Networks encoder, you may be able to address this shortcom-
ing of Squeeze and Cleaner by installing the Real Networks QuickTime codec plug-in.
Then you should be able to export using the QuickTime API. Support for encoding
Windows Media on Mac OS systems is possible when you install the Telestream Flip4Mac
Unless you are only doing some small amounts of video compression (say, one file every
day or so), the task is likely to become repetitive and boring. This activity is not well
suited for a human being. People are best at making decisions. Robots and computers
are very good at carrying out the same set of instructions many times without making
mistakes, provided they are given the correct instructions in the first place.
Therefore, deploying sufficient automation in your workflow is a worthwhile invest-
ment. Your operators can set up and initiate batches while the compression system works
through the boring repetition on its own.
Products such as Flip Factory by Telestream or the Popwire Technology Compression
Engine software are examples of that sort of architecture. It is worth wrapping additional
metadata and workflow control around these systems in order to manage your business
logic with some labor-saving automation.
Think about workflow automation from the word Go.
On the other hand, if you have done some work with your business logic and work-
flow, deploying diverse encoding platforms lets you encode the widest possible range of
formats. You have only to ensure that the job goes to the correct machine.