The last few years have been an extraordinary time for the digital video industry. Not long before the turn of the millennium, digital video editing systems were expensive capital items of equipment that only major broadcasters and production companies could afford. To think that now the same capability is available in a laptop that you can buy off the shelf and it comes with the software for something in the region of $1200 is amazing. This is a capability we have dreamed about having on our desktops for 15 years. The price of the hardware and software needed to run an entire TV broadcast service is now within the reach of any organization or individual who cares to get involved.
Recall the boom in publishing that happened when the Apple LaserWriter was launched with Adobe PostScript contained inside and those early page composition programs enhanced what we were able to do with Word version 1 or MacWrite. We are now at that place with digital media and while some people will create an unattractive mess with these powerful tools, they will also enjoy themselves immensely and learn a lot at the same time. Eventually, a few skilled people will emerge from the pack and this is where the next generation of new talent will come from to drive the TV and film industry forward over the next couple of decades.
When Joanne Tracey asked me to prepare a proposal for this book I realized (as had most authors I have spoken to) that I didn’t know as much about the topic I was about to write on as I thought I did. So this book has been a journey of exploration and discovery for me, just as I hope it will be for you. And yet, we also don’t realize how much we do already know, and I hope you will find yourself nodding and making a mental comment to yourself saying “Yes—I knew that” as you read on.
We excel through the efforts of those around us in our day-to-day interactions with them. I have been particularly lucky to enjoy a few truly inspirational years with a group of like-minded people at the BBC. We all shared the same inquisitive approach into how interactive TV news could work. Now that we have all gone our separate ways I miss those “water cooler moments” when we came up with amazingly ambitious ideas. Some of those ideas live on in the things we engineered and rolled out. Others are yet to develop into a tangible form. But they will, as we adopt and implement the new MPEG-4, 7, and 21 technologies.
"Cliff Wootton's book is great in giving the uninitiated reader an overall review of the key issues relating to audio and video formats, encoding, distributing, storing and rendering...For a non-professional reader the book is very useful. It is relatively easy to read and is well structured. It provides easy-to-follow practical application guidelines and useful step-by-step instructions on best coding and compression practices." - EBU Technical Review
Learn all about Codecs--how they work, as well as design and implementation with this comprehensive, easy-to-use guide to compression. After reading this book, you will be able to prepare and distribute professional audio and video on any platform including streamed to the web, broadcast on-air, stored in PVRs, Burned onto CD-ROMs or DVDs, delivered by broadband, or viewed in Kiosk applications, PDA devices, and mobile phones.
* Learn from an award-winning technologist for a top media company who knows how to explain codecs in terms you can understand
* This entry-level guide contains clear explanations and hundreds of diagrams--no math background needed! Also includes a comprehensive glossary which serves as a useful reference to many technical terms and jargon you will encounter
* Learn how to choose the right technique to get the most out of your compression system--saving both storage space and money