Sunday, April 04, 2010

iPad video formats

I said I wouldn't write about the iPad again unless it was video related, so here goes.

I've been experimenting with exporting video for the iPad. The iPad will play video up to 720p, 30fps as long as it's H.264. But the screen is actually 1024 wide, so in theory you could output 16x9 video at 1024 x 576. I actually did some experiments with video at that resolution, but then it occurred to me that authoring specifically for the iPad doesn't really make sense. There's other settings that will look just as good, and save a bit of time/effort. This revelation was also helped along by some lower resolution video that looked pretty incredible when player back on the iPad.

The QuickTime Player (in Leopard) has an Export for Web... option that includes two options: iPhone and "Desktop." The iPhone setting is 480 x 270, and though it doesn't look terrible on the iPad, it doesn't look fantastic either. The Desktop setting is 852 x 480 and looks pretty good.

Export for Web... options

The other option is to use Export... in QuickTime Player and choose the Apple TV option. This is 960 x 540. It's slightly better than the Desktop setting, and I think is the one I'll use; particularly as I also have an Apple TV.
Note: Apple TV supports video at up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps)
Finally, there is 720p. The files are larger (unless you aggressively lower the bit rate, which defeats the purpose of raising the resolution.) It also takes longer to export. But if you're uploading to YouTube in 720p, then using that format might make more sense than anything else; saving you time and multiple file copies, at the expense of space on the iPad.

But since I have an AppleTV it just makes sense for me to use that setting.

Settings Name
File Size
480 x 270
6.77 MB
852 x 480
10.32 MB
Apple TV
960 x 540
25.93 MB
1280 x 720
36.45 MB


1 comment: said...

Thank you!! I've been exporting my videos from After Effect and Premier trying to find the appropriate codec unsuccessfully. You saved me a lot of time. I had no idea you could do this through Quicktime.