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Compression for Great Video and Audio: Master Tips and Common Sense (DV Expert) [Paperback]

Ben Waggoner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 24.99
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Book Description

1 Jan 2010 DV Expert

Learn how to compress video and audio with optimal quality and minimal hassles. Renowned expert Ben Waggoner teaches you to improve the quality of your final content and develop effective workflows. Understand the basic concepts of vision and hearing, apply that knowledge in the context of compression, then move onto practical, applicable information for creating, editing, and compressing the best video and audio, whether you're delivering for the web, DVD, Blu-ray, phones, or beyond.

  • Clear examples of how to make the best choices in real-world projects
  • Covers Mac and Windows products for a complete look at today's compression technologies: all the different tools, codecs, and formats for different kinds of deliverables are described, focusing on how to pick the right options for particular projects, players, and sources



  • Windows Media
  • QuickTime
  • Flash FLV and F4V
  • MPEG-4 and H.264
  • MPEG-2
  • Ogg Vorbis and Theora
  • Silverlight and Smooth Streaming


  • iPod and iPhone
  • Zune HD
  • Playstation Portable
  • Playstation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • DVD and Blu-ray


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Compression for Great Video and Audio: Master Tips and Common Sense (DV Expert) + The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard + Digital Video and HD: Algorithms and Interfaces (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics)
Price For All Three: 143.73

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (1 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240812131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240812137
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 755,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


About the Author

Ben Waggoner has been compressing video for nearly 20 years. He cofounded the pioneering digital media services company Journeyman Digital, launched Terran Interactive's consulting services division, and was principal of Interframe Media. Ben joined Microsoft in 2005, and is now Principal Video Strategist for Microsoft's Silverlight platform.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Compressed knowledge 12 April 2013
By Robin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Written by an expert who has a great sense of humour. Makes compicated stuff easy to understand. Great sections on the basics and tons of reference material.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) Lots of information, some good advice, but not enough help with critical questions or audio 28 July 2011
By Snap, Crackle and Pop - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Compression of audio and video has enabled the digital revolution in media that we are all immersed in today, and has been used for many years. Just about all of the audio or video you are exposed to now has been digitized and compressed. Not just what you see or hear on a computer or a mobile phone, but also DVD, cable TV, often even radio. So compression of audio and video is an important and powerful topic, in a way that few people seem to really understand. So a book like Ben Waggoner's Compression for Great Video and Audio has a lot of potential for usefullness and impact.

There are a bewildering array of methods that can be used to compress audio or video, and a range of ways to deliver that content. The wealth of information this book offers on a wide range of topics is its strength, and is enough to make this book attractive to many who are interested in this topic.

And it's organized in a way that will be useful to those both new to the field and those who have some knowledge. Trying to hunt up this information on the internet won't give you what you need, in a reliable way. It's presented here in a more complete and clear way than you'll find by searching.

But as someone once ironically commented, the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. That's where this book has gaps. The big questions in compression often involve difficult choices and tradeoffs. In fact, fundamentally compression is all about difficult choices and tradeoffs - how much bandwidth or storage are you using, how do you allocate it to video or audio, and so on. While there's some good and very general advice, this Second Edition doesn't go far enough in helping users make decisions to complete their projects, such as: What codecs should I use? What bitrate should I use? How should I trade off between bitrate used for video and for audio? While in many cases these decisions may be made by the organization you are part of, or the hardware or software platforms you are using - that will not always be the case.

Further, the treatment of audio is cursory and needs to be significantly enhanced. Again, there is some good information and advice, just not nearly enough of it for a book promises to cover that topic well.

So Compression for Great Video and Audio has lots of good information, and some wise advice. I didn't find much that was wrong (and that's a risk in this field - there is an incredible amount of information that's just wrong in many discussions of compression). That's enough to recommend the book. But there are a lot of gaps, and the title seems to promise much more than the book delivers. This book is worth the price, but it isn't a complete guide to Compression for Great Video and Audio.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers the Basics to the Sophisticated 25 Jan 2011
By Theseus - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The author knows the realities -- in a digital world loaded with audio applications, many users futz around, get a result that sounds and looks ok, and tend to move on. This book is dedicated to teaching people how truly manipulate compressed media data to get the best results possible. The author starts with some of the basic physics of audio and visual, and them moves into more sophisticated territory such as quantization.

Throughout, this book presents both the nitty-gritty details and a large overview. For this reason, it functions as a quick how-to that can solve a problem and also as an all-purpose reference text.

The meat of the meal is chapter 3 which is about the basics of compression. The clarity and sophistication brought to the part of the book is admirable.

Throughout, the book presents matters in a clear writing style and the layout is decent.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive information on video formats and codecs for novices and experts alike. 19 July 2012
By AmazonDiva - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this book as I just wanted to know more about the multitude of video and audio formats available and what were the quality trade-offs between these formats. Why is one format better than the other etc.? This book covers each format in great details and provides comprehensive information on this subject.

The book begins by diving into Fundamentals of Compression, then gets into Digital Workflow, Production and Preprocessing. Along the way it discusses types of compressions, picking a production format, aspect ratios, noise reduction, scaling, decoding etc. The next part is Using Video Codecs which talks about Bitstream, Data Rates, Frame Size, Frame Rate. Next comes Audio Codecs followed by all video/audio formats - each one is a separate chapter going into details of each format.
- MPEG 1/2
- MP3
-MPEG-4, plus Video Codec
- AAC and M4A
- H.264
- Windows Media
- VC-1
- Ogg
- RealMedia
- Bink
The next few chapters are:
- Web Video
- DVD, Blu-Ray, ROM
- Phones and Devices (Streaming)
- Flash
- Silverlight
Then it ends with a discussion on: Media on Windows platform, Media on QuickTime and Mac OS

Basically it gives all the information for these video formats. At the end of this book one learns why some formats are inherently better than others, and also why some formats dropped out during the battle to win over the devices. It also gives some practical tips. However, for the hardcore enthusiasts and converters, it may not give all the information they are looking for to convert one format to another, especially for video with audio.

Overall, a comprehensive book which can be used as a reference for media formats.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars seriously comprehensive 28 Jan 2011
By Brandy Fortune - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this for my husband for christmas, he was shocked there was that much information to make up such a thick book, he's always had a skill for compressing video so I knew he would love this. He was impressed!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific book on video compression 3 Jan 2011
By Jon Norris - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an outstanding book. Having worked with video since the days of 3/4 inch and VHS tape, I really appreciate the detail and depth the author brings to the topic. His coverage of the subject is great, and the information is very high quality.

I also appreciate the way he approaches the process of digital encoding and compression. As I have battled with the multiple formats, encoding rates, codec variations, etc., etc., I have come to loathe much of the digital video world. We thought VHS versus Beta was a nuisance! There are over 50 digital video formats and "containers," and thousands of variables to play with. It is a video professional's nightmare.

It is refreshing, therefore, to find a book so clear, so concise, and so out and out useful in dancing through the digital video minefield. I wish I had been able to read this 10 years ago!

There are 28 chapters and nearly 600 pages of good information and practical techniques for creating, converting, encoding, and displaying digital video. Everything from how we see and hear to fine details on tweaking individual codecs is covered in enough detail to make this book essential for anyone involved in handling digital video. He even mentions D-VHS!

Highly recommended if you are involved at all with digital video.
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