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Encoding for the Apple iPad, Part 2

May 4, 2010 12:00 PM, By Jan Ozer

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Encoding for the Apple iPad

Last time out, I detailed how to produce videos transferred to the Apple iPad via cable, whether directly in your office or uploaded via iTunes. This time, I'll discuss how to encode files for delivering via Wi-Fi or 3G. When producing for iTunes or direct uploading, I assumed that your goal was great-looking full-screen video; if you're distributing via W-Fi or 3G, your goal could be full screen or playback within a window, but either way, your main concern is producing a video file that the iPad can play relatively smoothly while retrieving the bits either via Wi-Fi or 3G cellular.

Wi-Fi delivery

If you're producing for Wi-Fi or 3G delivery to the iPad, your first stop should be at the "Apple Tech Note: Best Practices for Creating and Deploying HTTP Live Streaming Media for the iPhone and iPad". Note that Apple includes very specific recommendations for combined iPhone/iPad delivery, and iPad-only delivery, in both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios and multiple source frame rates.

  Related Links

Encoding for the Apple iPad, Part 1
If the Apple iPad had a tattoo, it would read, "Born to consume content." Love it or hate it, if you're a video producer on any platform, someone soon will be asking you to get your (and probably their) content onto the iPad. So that's what I'll cover over the next two issues of Final Cut Pro Insider...

A Coming War Over Web Video?
You could hear the jeers the instant Apple introduced its iPad last week. It was a common refrain: "No Flash support? What's the point?"...

The Future of Web Video, Part 1
I admit that the nexus is a bit tenuous, but if you're an Apple Final Cut Pro producer, you're undoubtedly producing for the Web. Over the past few months, you've been hearing that Flash is going away, H.264 is going away, and soon you'll have to produce all your video in an open-source video codec...

Why read any further here? A couple of reasons. First, Apple's recommendations are for adaptive streaming via the HTTP Live Streaming technique (detailed below), which you may not be using. If you're streaming only a single file, you definitely need to read on to identify the optimal configuration. Even if you are using HTTP Live Streaming, Apple doesn't detail all the encoding parameters that you'll need to produce the files, forcing you to make decisions like variable-bit-rate encoding vs. constant-bit-rate encoding on your own. If you want some help with those, you'll find the following material useful.

Let's start with a quick look at Apple's recommended encoding parameters.

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