Using the Advanced RealMedia Export for Web Apps

This is the Premiere dual-platform (Mac/Windows) powerhouse export module, with a strong emphasis on the Internet. If there's a way to tweak video/audio compression, then the folks at RealNetworks have included it here.

First, four caveats:

  • Unlike Advanced Windows Media, if you want to play back a RealMedia file with multiple bandwidth streams, you need to buy RealNetworks' RealSystem Server Plus ($2,000). The not-so-elegant workaround is to create and then offer on your Web site multiple files covering a range of bandwidths.

  • When you first use RealMedia Export, it likely will prompt you to download an update and in the process ask you for a bunch of intrusive marketing information.

  • If you're connected to the Internet, after completing the encoding, you'll probably see some obnoxious pop-up ads for RealNetworks' products.

  • You need to register the RealMedia Export plug-in. Expect a few more intrusive questions during that process.

Task: Convert Your Premiere Project into a RealMedia File

To export/convert an element from the timeline or an entire project to a RealMedia file, follow these steps:

  1. Select Export Timeline, Advanced RealMedia Export to open the Advanced RealMedia Export dialog box shown in Figure 20.18. It has a friendlier look and feel than the Windows Media 8 plug-in.

    Figure 20.18. The Advanced RealMedia Export dialog box has a friendlier look and feel than its Windows Media counterpart.

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  2. Note how easy it is to characterize the audio and video format settings in the RealMedia Clip Settings window shown in Figure 20.19. Instead of technical parameters, RealNetworks chose to use user-selected styles of video and audio to set appropriate encoding techniques. The audio choices are self-explanatory. Here's what the video choices mean:

    Normal Motion? Used with clips with mixed high action and limited action.

    Smoothest Motion? ppUsed with limited-action clips

    Sharpest Image? For high-action clips.

    Slide Show? Creates a series of still photos to ensure optimum image clarity

    Figure 20.19. Simplified, real-world format settings are a nice feature of the RealMedia Export module.

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    Three buttons within the Advanced RealMedia Export dialog box let you access more detailed, customized settings: Preferences (in this Clip Settings window) and RealAudio and RealVideo (in the Target Audience Settings window). I'll go over these in a few minutes.


  3. The default selection in the Target Audience Settings window, shown in Figure 20.20, is not surprisingly Multi-rate SureStream. This setting allows multiple bandwidth streams within the same file, but an expensive RealNetworks server is needed to play them.

    Figure 20.20. Take the much less expensive (free is a very good price) single-rate Target Audience Setting route.

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  4. At this point, take the pragmatic view and select Single-rate and accept the default 56K Modems target audience. I'll explain in a few minutes how you can fine-tune this audience setting using the RealAudio and RealVideo buttons.

  5. Just because they're both nifty features, place checks in both boxes below the Target Audience Settings window: Launch file in RealPlayer when finished and Show statistics while encoding.

  6. In an unusual move, the output settings, shown in Figure 20.21, let you adjust the output frame size. With Aspect Ratio checked, changing one number immediately, and proportionately, changes the other. Give your file a name and location, plus select an export range: Entire Project or Work Area.

    Figure 20.21. Output settings take the unusual step of offering frame size settings as well as file location.

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  7. The clip information is optional. One great tool is the Keywords window. This lets search engines such as Google.com scan your site for keywords you chose to identify your video content. It's a great way to direct traffic to your videos.

  8. Click OK to render your RealMedia file. Because you selected Show statistics while encoding, you'll see more than you want to know about the progress of your file conversion. When the process is completed, the RealOne Player should pop up and play your clip. Then you get to see one of those intrusive pop-up ads.

Advanced RealMedia Export Properties

Access the RealMedia Export customizing properties from three separate locations. Start with Clip Settings, Preferences. That opens the Preferences dialog box shown in Figure 20.22. I clicked past the opening page to the one that is worth your while to visit: Video Codec.

Figure 20.22. Use the Preferences dialog box to access 2-Pass Encoding. It's worth the extra effort.

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The one box really worth checking is 2-Pass Encoding. This analyzes the clip in detail and slows the encoding process. But that extra time translates to higher image quality.

The other Preference dialog box tabs are fairly routine. General lets you offer up your videos for download.

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The two buttons at the bottom of the Target Audience Settings section should have different, more descriptive names. RealAudio actually opens a window for audio-only clips or audio with multimedia clips. RealVideo opens a window where you can make video and audio adjustments for video clips.


Click the RealAudio button. It opens the settings dialog box in Figure 20.23.

Figure 20.23. The Target Audience Settings ? Audio Clips dialog box is geared to audio-only clips or multimedia presentations such as slideshows, not video clips with audio.

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This dialog box is geared primarily to audio-only clips, not video clips with linked audio. It lets you stipulate some narrow values for your audio.

Select RealVideo to open the Target Audience Settings ? Video Clips dialog box shown in Figure 20.24.

Figure 20.24. The RealVideo button opens this dialog box, which features both video and audio.

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Select any of the Audio page's drop-down lists and note the overwhelming number of choices. Although you can select anything, the bandwidth of your target audience really dictates how far you can stray from the default settings.

Under the Video tab, you can adjust only the number of frames per second. Target Bitrate lets you select a value, but again you need to stay close to the range to suit your target audience.



    Part II: Enhancing Your Video
     
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