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Video: How To Build Your Encoding Ladder, Part 2: Resolution

Encoding has never been a one-size-fits-all undertaking, whether you're scaling your output to requirements set by your client or gauging what your end-users can handle. Your encoding parameters should cover a range, or ladder, of settings for adaptive encoding, from lowest-common denominator to the highest bitrate and resolution your clients desire or your end-users will be able to play. In this two-part series from his Streaming Media East 2016 presentation, "How To: Fine-Tuning Your Adaptive Encoding Groups With Objective Quality Metrics," Jan Ozer offers recommendations for adaptive bitrate encoding settings, taking into account not only the high and low end but the key points to hit in between. He also touches on the cost/benefit of budgeting for higher bitrates. 

Part 1 focuses on data rate options. Watch Part 1, How To Build Your Encoding Ladder, Part 1: Bitrates.

Watch the full video from Streaming Media East 2016.

Read the full transcript of Jan Ozer's remarks in this clip:

Jan Ozer: What resolutions are you going to use at each data rate? Here's where you just start encoding files at different resolutions and coming up with different PSNR ratings. This is is essence kind of what Netflix did. They used a different way of getting here, but they basically encoded files at 1080p, 720p, 540p, 360p, and these are all the typical resolutions you want to encode at. These are the raw numbers. Then, again, by using a tool in your spreadsheet, you have a column over here that has what's the maximum between this and this, and then which value matches the maximum.

We'll turn that one green, so we know immediately which data rate is the highest-quality alternative, and then we turn it into a chart, where we have the ability to very quickly say, "OK, what's the best stream at 3Mbps? Well, it's the 1080p stream. What's the best stream at 1,500Kbps? Well, it's the red stream. It's the 720p stream, so at any point you can see the highest resolution for a quality perspective, you can also see which sizes are never the highest quality, so this is the 180p stream, and this chart convinced the client to just drop the 180p stream, because it's never the best quality according to these numbers.

The 270p stream doesn't have long to live either. It's really not providing a lot of value at any data rate, so at any point, you can see what the highest quality resolution is. You can see which sizes are never going to catch up, and you can also gauge the scope of the quality curve, so a lot of questions you get are, "I said I wanted 4,600 Kilobits per second. Should I go higher? Well, if you can show them this curve, you can say, "If you go from here to here, you're really not gaining that much. You gain a whole lot when you go from here to here. Going out towards that end, you don't gain a lot of quality."

All this stuff is really, really simple once you have the data.

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