Advanced Export Options for MP4 - Camtasia 3

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I'm in the process of creating videos to upload to my website that will be streamed from S3 / CloudFront with either FlowPlayer or JW Player. I'm coming from Final Cut Pro, which has a lot more options and need some clarification to Camtasia's MP4 export settings.

What are the exact differences between the profile settings of Baseline, Main, and High?
What's the difference between CABAC and CAVLC?

I'll select the "Streaming" optimization.
I'm not worried about the file size since this is all screencasts at 1080P. With the settings that Camtasia has, what are the best settings for playback across all devices and file size?

I'm using Camtasia 3 on Mac.

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Posted 3 years ago

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Photo of Jack Fruh

Jack Fruh, Champion

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baseline is the oldest and requires the least CPU cycles, These days, High is the preferred way as nearly all playback devices have h.264 acceleration.

I don't remember the CABAC vs CAVLC answer - I thought it had something to do with the encoding algorithm. With h.264, each frame isn't actually encoded, only the keyframes are and then every frame in between is a 'difference' frame which tend to be much smaller. If memory serves CABAC vs CAVLC had something to do with that algorithm.

Note that one of the export options allows you to export to prores, so you could export an uncompressed copy (it would be huge) and then do the compression in a tool you're familiar with like Apple's compressor. tool.

When using the built in Camtasia Exporters, I think the area that takes a bit of trial and error is striking the balance between encoding rate and quality. High encoding rates look great, but take more space. Low encoding rates can show artifacts.  
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Paul Middlin, Employee

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The purpose of Baseline, Main, and High profiles is to add more capabilities that reduce file size and/or increase quality, but less and less devices are supported with each. For specific details, check out this or google around a bit. 

If all this sounds overwhelming to anyone, don't fret- just use the defaults, and it will look good, play back on modern devices, and have a reasonable file size for streaming. 
Photo of Wizbang_fl


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CABAC requires less processing power for decode, has compatibility limits (incompatible with H264 Baseline or Extended Profiles)  After encoded CABAC will not compress the files as much as CALVC.  

To realize the improved compression CAVLC requires more encoding & decoding power but the smaller file can result in loss of some quality but is compatible with all H264 profiles.