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Pond5 / Re: Pond5 Limited Licensing Program
« on: November 09, 2017, 10:33 »
I'd say this a great move in the right direction for Pond5 and their contributors.

No really. The problem is that there are at least 2 quite separate markets for stock video - big broadcast/content/whatever and small youtube/intra-corporate one. Pond5 pricing is a double edged sword in that if you want to stay profitable in the broadcast market, which has much lower number of sales, you have to price yourself out of the youtube arena. And if you go the other way and lower your prices $25 is not really low enough to appeal to small fish and you seriously damage your profits with traditional big buyers. (Not to mention feeling like excrement for undercutting prices).

I've been considering submitting to Envato for some time but their horrifying process has put me off. A lot of my stuff is ideally suited for that kind of usage, motion backgrounds and such - presentations, maybe greenscreens in youtube videos and so on. As a stock buyer as well as seller, I find myself buying much more often from Envato than Pond5 or SS... Vast majority of projects I do simply can't justify $70 per clip. It's just not that kind of market and not that kind of content. Profitable, sure, but it has a much faster turnover than your traditional media. On the other hand, as a seller I'm probably loosing a heck load of sales just because a lot of my stuff is simply too expensive for a guy just looking for some backdrop for his tube video or something to spice up his boardroom presentation... and the sales I do make to big buyers are not as profitable as they could be because I had to go low in the first place...

Imo, this is absolutely ideal. Now I can finally raise my prices to something normal (say 50) which will give me good returns from occasional sales to the broadcast market while not scaring off youtubers and corporate presentation people. I'm totally /thumbsup about this.

The only thing I'd like to see is the option to opt-out individual files. While a lot of stock stuff could benefit from this 2-tier model, there is content which cannot be sold for next to nothing, even on a limited basis. There are shots which sell and sell well for $500 and more, and with reason, and their exclusivity should be preserved.

So you mean that it is available to only select authors or only after your first submissions?

If that is so, than it is still ridiculous. I'm a fairly successful contributor to a range of different venues, looking to do business with Envato. One look at their upload page made me go "why bother".

If it is in their interest to have as few contributors and files available, if that's their model (and with absolutely lowest prices aimed at the widest possible market available i sincerely doubt so) then good luck to them. I know that's one company stock I'd never invest in.

No really, is there a submission page that resembles something more akin to current standards, or is that thing all there is?

Any news on this new upload tool?

I work mainly in motion graphics, particularly universally usable low key seamless loop backgrounds and similar stuff, things which would presumably sell much better on markets that Envato caters to than those of my current main agencies. I suspect I could get much better sales at lower price aimed at youtubers and the like (which seems to be Envatos prime market).

However, I'm utterly put off by their ridiculous upload procedures - I have to upload, tag and submit each file individually, are you for real?!?! I've got thousands of the things! Also, I have to manually and individually prepare thumbnails and low-res previews?!?! It's just laughably ridiculous. What . is wrong with you people, you can script and automatize these things in a few days.

So anyway, uploading to VideoHive seems to me entirely too much needless work for such dubious returns. Is there any possibility they fix this along the lines of, say, Pond5 or VideoBlocks? I mean, how much work can it be?

Imo H264 is a much maligned codec, primarily because it's so easily abused...

In my experience (freelance director/producer/editor + over 2000 stock videos and animations) I've found that H264 done to broadcast intermediate standard is the best you can get out of an 8bit codec... But be prepared for some pretty large file sizes if your footage contains a lot of detail. 500+ MB is not uncommon for a 20sec HD video clip.

(Broadcast intermediate = 100% quality, no interframes)

General - Stock Video / Re: H264, again...
« on: December 01, 2015, 14:57 »
It's very different. PJPEG is intra-frame and H.264 is inter-frame. intra-frame codecs are editable, inter-frame's should only be used for delivery, projection.

Wrong. This just shows the depth and ubiquitousness of the prejudice.

H264 can be EITHER intra-frame or inter-frame.

It depends on the frequency of keyframes. If it is set to "each frame" then it is intra-frame, just like PJPEG or any other editing standard. Broadcast Intermediate H264 uses the same codec but with 1 frame keyframes and maximum possible quality/frame. It is basically the same as PJPEG but with much more advanced picture compression, not to mention that the algorithms it uses are based on the needs of a moving image rather than photography. PJPEG is actually a hybrid creature, a photography codec shoehorned into video use, while H264 is designed to work optimally with video from ground up.

A lot of weird compression effects and artifacts I get from PJPEG are due to this simple fact - it is designed for photographs, discrete pictures which are not meant to be sequentially viewed. H264, even when exported as intra-frame codec does take neighboring frames into account at compression time to get the smoothest and most natural feel. PJPEG doesn't; at compression time it treats your video just like a batch of unrelated bitmaps, a bunch of photos stitched together.

Ok, here's a constructive suggestion - I know that due to its flexibility there can be really bad H264 (and so can PJPEG, but let stick to the subject). Why don't the agencies simply check keyframe frequency for each submitted clip? If it's set to 1 then it's ok to go - a good basic metric on whether its truly fit for editing.

General - Stock Video / Re: H264, again...
« on: December 01, 2015, 10:18 »
In the below discussion there is a technical explanation about the issue;


They say PJPEG is superior to h.264.

Unfortunately.. :(

I still don't get it. With PJPEG I get banding and artifacts and increased file size. With H264 I get smooth color gradients and no artifacts. Conclusion: PJPEG is better. HOW?!? What is it that I can't see??? The "conclusions" in the quoted thread make no sense to me because when I place the same clip at two different codecs side by side on my monitors I can very clearly see the difference, and it's totally opposite to what they state. ("If you try to compress clean video into H.264 youll get too much banding..." Like, what?! Yes, you will get banding if you compress it at youtube preset lol. Try compressing PJPEG to that datarate and see what you'll get).

I believe the problem may be that when H264 is mentioned, people automatically associate this with low data-rate DSLR footage. It's like saying PJPEG is totally useless crap because it's all compressed at 60%. H264 broadcast intermediate and H264 youtube preset are two quite different beasts. In this case it is a problem of branding and nothing else - quite simply, H264 seems to be too flexible a format. Maybe Broadcast Intermediate standard should be given a separate name to differentiate it from what comes out of your smartphone.

But anyways, what should I do? Any buyers/editors out there to give me feedback? Is H264 codec an issue when purchasing clips? Frankly, when I buy an animation i prefer H264 to PJPEG, particularly when there's lots of color gradients but maybe that's just me.

General - Stock Video / H264, again...
« on: December 01, 2015, 09:29 »
Ok guys, need some fresh feedback on this.

Is H264 really still treated as a red-headed step child in this business, I mean really?

I'm in stock video for 3 years already and I've been uploading all my footage as H264 broadcast intermediate; and yes even the animations - especially the animations.

I mean, the H264 BI is so superior to PJPEG, particularly in terms of quality that it is not even funny. I've recently joined VideoBlocks and they clearly state that PJPEG is the most desireable codec for them while H264 is the least desireable one. And yet, I cannot bring myself to butcher, yes BUTCHER my files by re-rendering them to a clearly inferior format. Color banding is a particularly glaring problem - even at 92% (yes 92%) the banding in my subtle color shifting backgrounds is painful to watch while the H264 BI versions of the same there is no banding at all - frankly it looks like it wasn't compressed at all.

To clarify - so far I've been uploading all my stuff at H264 broadcast intermediate, that's 100% quality with 1 frame keyframes. Even the stuff I live shoot at lower bitrates get a CC treatment and are exported at BI standard which tremendously increases their quality. PJPEG even at maximum rates simply cannot compare, neither in detail, nor in artifacts and particularly not in terms of color definition (see banding).

So I'm asking you guys, what's the deal here? Should I degrade my existing footage just to serve some ancient ridiculous prejudice or stick to my guns? I know I shouldn't really care because I'm in it for the money and buyer beware and all that, but I mean, it's so * obvious the difference in quality! Even when I'm occasionally buying stock for my video projects I prefer the H264 because I've really explored the 2 formats and I know which one is clearly superior and ultimately less work in editing. So what should I do? Am I missing something?

h.264 is much more compressed than photojpeg.  H.264 looks good when played as a finished project but people buying stock footage generally want to edit and color grade the footage to match the rest of their project and this is where h.264 falls apart.  Due to it's compression there just isn't enough info to do any significant editing without the quality taking a hit.

Hmm, as both a producer and buyer of stock I find exactly the opposite is true. Broadcast intermediate H264 (I assume that's what we're talking about here) is completely superior to PJPEG in quality, particularly regarding artifacts as well as comparative file sizes.

I've just completed a series of background animations with some quite subtle color gradations and in PJPEG, even at 92% quality the color banding is clearly visible. No such problems with H264 broadcast intermediate. And the same goes for any shot footage with color gradients (sky, walls etc). When buying stuff I'll always prefer H264 because the quality is clearly superior.

My post-prod with live footage (shot at less than ideal data rate H264) is to always apply a layer of good denoiser with tweaks to enhance (red giant's stuff is stellar). This solves many problems, particularly banding which annoys me to no end. After that, export to H264 BI and voilla! No banding, no visible artifacting of any kind. Exporting to PJPEG would make most of this work useless since * PJPEG seems to love those color bands sooo much. Just loves to place em whenever it can.

I don't know how it is with other buyers but if they're prefering PJPEG to H264 BI they're clearly shooting themselves in the foot.

General - Stock Video / Re: Fotolia review team sucks!
« on: November 30, 2015, 16:02 »
Absolutely agree.

They are totally ridiculous in that regard. I have a feeling they're using editors who have experience with photography only and are applying those criteria to video footage, which is utterly moronic.

I've got 20 years experience in video and film editing, and their reasons for rejection are beyond words, showing absolutely no knowledge of the subject, no sense of how footage is used in editing or what makes it potentially useful or not.

I sent them some of my best selling material recently, animations of starfields in three versions, one is straight, one is spinning left and one is spinning right. And they reject 2 of those for being "too similar". Do I need to say more?

I sent them some of my best night time, low light wild animal footage (sells regularly on SS and P5) and they reject it for being "grainy".

Anyone who has spent even a couple of days working in professional video editing needs no further clarification or examples.

Those people are idiots. Even after I complained and even got an apology from staff (kudos), the next batch of uploads got butchered even more and with even more ridiculous reasons for rejection.

Needless to say, I've given up on them. My upload capacity is limited and coupled with extra hassle of preparing weighted keywords (!) they're simply not worth the bother - I've got plenty of other agencies to upload to in my off-time. Until their editorial policy vis-a-vis footage changes, they're simply not worth the bother of any professional stock footage producer. Frankly, it is bordering on insulting. A pity.

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