The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Help With Flash Audio Presets and Internet Audio Quality

For those of us in production one of the problems we face is the bandwidth issues that are established in production tools themselves.

When we match audio to picture we often find ourselves creating large files which get digitally compressed by default presets in the software. These defaults tend to be particularly tough on audio, often squashing it down to a low resolution file that sounds grainy at best.

These settings are designed to protect a certain level of picture size and resolution in playback through streaming media. But they destroy the delicate nuance of sound and make it the rough equivalent of a telephone.

There are several ways to improve this situation and deliver quality picture and sound to the user. But we're still looking for help, particularly in Flash, to adjust the defaults and allow better sound while preserving the picture. We've seen some very good examples of this and we know it can be done, but we need help from a Flash wizard who can help us understand the processing and how to optimize it. We think this is an important step toward guiding our post production clients to appreciate and expect better results online.

First of all, we know how to create good sounding files for marriage with Flash. One trick we employ is reducing stereo files to mono files whenever possible. This reduces the gross size of a full resolution file by half and allows for less compression in the mixdown. We then compress the mono file to a 192k resolution MP3 file that retains good, clean quality. Even so, we find that our pre-compressed and configured files are then re-compressed by Flash so that the results are often muddy and unsatisfactory compared to the compressed files we deliver.

Does anyone know how to strip in premixed audio and prevent Flash from further compression of the audio in the mixdown to picture?

The problem seems to be just as bad or worse when Flash handles full resolution audio
in a mixdown.

Your input would be helpful.


Darryl Pearce said... many of these programs, there's a little "radio button" on some submenu or alter-tab to control the auto-compression functions.

I'm checking with my knowledge base (two pals). Hopefully, we can get something....

John Quimby said...

Thanks Darryl, that would be very helpful.