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Best video format for playback


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Hi all,

I've done a few shows on Watchout and recently started conversation with a client to start on another show. By default I've always told the client that content needs to be ProRes 422. Recently I was thinking is that really still the best format for Watchout?

Does anyone find they have a go-to format/codec for playback of simple 1080p video clips? This would be running on standard 1080p outputs from intel based PCs running Win10 pro, NVIDIA Quadro M4000 GPUs and all Watchout optimisations performed.


The manual kind of lists every supported format but there's no real "We recommend X for the most stable playback".


Happy to hear anyone's thoughts!

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I've not been under the impression prores was EVER recommended for watchout.

Jonas posted a Media format guide ages ago that I thought was a sticky, but cant find it.

I always thought the order was: MPEG2, H264, quicktime animation for transparency.

Watching the forum, it seems people are having great success with HAP, though I haven't ventured into that world yet.

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  • Dataton Partner

Through a lot of testing, and I'm still not done yet, I've found that the video codec to use is HAP across the board. Depending on your hardware you can get up to 16 4K 60 videos playing where as the other formats are all 10 and below. Prores is actually playing better these days as Dataton has been writing and in control of the decoder instead of purchasing it from a 3rd party vendor (most of the other codec are handled this way).

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I would second the preference for HAP.  It is very high quality and playback is much better than any other format I have tried.  I will sometimes use ProRes, but that is generally in a "get it on the screen" mode when that is the format delivered.  If you can do a minimal amount of planning, there are plug ins for Adobe to allow rendering directly to HAP.  Once I started using HAP, I've never looked back.

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Thanks all. I have experience with HAP and D3 and have consistently been impressed by it. I always find it a bit of a pain transcoding things to HAP on a mac from Final Cut/compressor. But if it's the clear winner than I should really start getting used to it!

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10 hours ago, RBeddig said:

I don't know whether it works on your OS-X version but I've installed AVF Batch Converter on my OS-X 10.10 and it exports all the formats I usually need including chunks for HAP files.

Thanks, yep that's my go-to tool on the mac, nice and simple and works well! Would be nice if it just tied into FCPX though haha!

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  • 1 year later...
  • Moderator
7 minutes ago, DDDD said:

Hello is mp4 okay??

A very qualified yes. The mp4 codec has many option settings and those parameters can significantly affect stability. For example, an mp4 with bi-directional frames will probably play ok once in a quick test, but run that same file over and over again over the course of a day and it will often take the server down. 

The encoding setrings for mp4 are similar to mp2, so the details described in this article apply to mp4 as well. reference: https://knowledge.dataton.com/knowledge/how-to-encode

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