Video comparison testing

This article has been created as a place to house multimedia tests. It is initially being created for the purpose of testing video equipment, the workflow, including encoding in order to be able to display content on the various IMV Publishing sites. has been producing multimedia content for a number of years. These productions range from Presentations which we call OnlineSymposiums that include slides with audio content to full video productions called AuntMinnieTV with standard lead-in/out segments.

For reference please view Online Symposium or AuntMinnieTV. The AuntMinnieTV segments were recorded with a prosumer (Canon) video camera.

Specific examples to look at:

  1. PACS Worklow and Exception Handling which combines Power Point slides synchronized with a WIndows Media Audio track.
  2. Study takes aim at physician self-referral which combines Power Point slides synchronized with a Windows Media Video track.

Consumer grade video equipment has come a long way in recent years. What was once called prosumer, the middle ground between consumer and professional, has dropped in price and is now in the consumer price range. It's not the intent of this article to create a matrix of features between consumer, prosumer, profession equipment as much as it it to point out some important areas to ensure a quality standard for IMV Publishing sites.

What's not covered (yet) in this article is the presentation technique. You'll see a mix of embedded vs pop-up Windows Media examples. The presentation will be covered in more detail at a later time.

A good quality consumer grade video camera

The following tests were all recorded with Brian's home video camera and transfered to a PC.

Test 1 - The above is an Embedded Flash Format. Source file used was the high-res (640x480) file. Note that the quality here is somewhat pixelated. We need to investiage further why this quality loss occured during this conversion to the Flash format.

The following two examples are Windows Media format, encoded with our standard multi-bitrate settings for streaming. You can see that both of these examples have better video quality.
Test 2 High-res (640x480) source
Test 3 Low-res (320x240) source


Audio - This is arguably the most critical area in producing quality multimedia. Some video cameras have the ability to plug in an external microphone or a mixer. Special consideration in the physical setup will be required if the camera only has a built-in microphone. All “speaking” subjects will need to be equal distance from the camera’s microphone; if not the audio levels for the speakers will be very distracting.

Lighting -

Tripod - Absolutely required. There may be some very special setups where it may not be physically possible to setup a tripod, or for tight shots.

Hosting - We commonly house high-bandwidth content via a service ( They have significant bandwidth datacenters on both the east and west coast.


This is another area that has seen significant transformation in recent years. By far the top 2 video formats are WIndows Media and Flash Video. Formats such as Real Media and Quicktime are distant runners. Ideally we would allow the user to choose between Flash and Windows Media. However, as of today (3/2008) we do not have this option in all of our display/presentation configurations.

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