Question: Is there a way to save animation as MP4 rather than AVI?
MP4 is not listed as an option while saving the animation. However, in the codec list  Xvid MPEG-4 codec is listed. As a matter of fact I did use it (MPEG-4) since I do not have Lagirth Lossless codec (you recommend in your training videos) on my machine.
You see, MP4 format seems to be more common among clients than AVI as it does not require  VLC media player.

We do not include the CODEC for MP4.  CODECs are not free and are licensed by the owners.  Most are very difficult (and expensive) to secure a license for.

I never use uncompressed since you get huge files and no key frames, however, the most important issue is that it requires tremendous bandwidth.

It is all too easy to create bitmap animations with bandwidths so high that your customer’s computer cannot play them (well).  You need to be aware of what factors increase bandwidth and strive to make your animations viewable on a broad range of computer hardware.  The following are the key factors that affect bandwidth, with the most important factors listed first:

  • Video Size: (length * width) in Pixels is a key factor. I recommend never going above 1080p (1920 x 1080), but often making a smaller video is well advised.
  • Frame rate: Though television standards are 30 or 60 frames per second, when played back on computers, most videos look great at 10-20 frames per second.
  • CODEC used: Some CODECs dramatically reduce, or even limit bandwidth, at the cost of video quality. This makes the video more playable but may result in unacceptable quality.  Only testing on your part will tell you if a bandwidth limit (target) is acceptable.  Note: This could be listed first since CODEC settings can overwhelm everything else.
  • Video content: The complexity of the objects in your video and the speed at which they move will affect bandwidth.

The majority of CODECs are only available as 32 bit libraries.  Since EVS is a true 64 bit application, this further limits the number of CODECs available to run within EVS.  We recommend the following two free CODECs, both of which we cannot include with our installation because of their licensing rules:

If you plan to make very large videos I strongly recommend you consider buying  http://gromada.com/videomach/.  VideoMach lets you start with either

  • .HAV format (quick and lossless) or
  • a sequence of PNG image files

and it will then convert either of these lossless formats to one of many other formats (including MP4) very quickly.  VideoMach is available in Standard ($19.90) and Pro ($59.90) versions.  Unless you need to write Apple Quicktime or work with TIFF images, Standard should be all you need.

Let me explain the advantage of writing a sequence of PNG images.  When you write a large animation in EVS, it must store the entire animation in memory as it processes and compresses the animation.  It needs to do this simultaneously with everything else it is doing.  When writing PNG files, it only needs to write each file, which it uniquely and sequentially numbers.  Each PNG file is a perfect lossless representation of your animation.  If you chose to make a 30 second animation at 20 frames per second, you’ll have 600 frames, which equals 600 PNG files.

If your testing tells you that these frames won’t play well at 20 fps, but rather need to be played at 15 fps, you can use VideoMach to turn the 600 images into a 40 second animation at 15 fps without needing to recreate the images.