In ProShow 8, we’ve completely reworked the Video For Web, Devices, And Computers window – the main hub for creating video files in ProShow. Although the profiles have expanded and changed over the years, it became increasingly important to us to refocus the layout to provide a more intuitive experience that allows users to get the very best quality without having to know too much about the complex world of video encoding.
The general changes are a) a focus on MPEG-4 H.264 as the primary video format, b) removing niche formats and adding a few new ones, and c) getting rid of the glut of legacy device profiles for hardware that is no longer being used, and d) re-organizing the sections to be more logical. With all that in mind, let’s get into some of the details.
ProShow Gold 8 is now fully licensed to create MPEG-4 H.264 output, so the Devices plugin is no longer needed to unlock those profiles. In doing so, it seemed like an opportune time to focus on that as the base format that you should be using if you’re unsure of which format to choose. The profiles themselves have also been tweaked for greater compatiblity, better streamability when hosted on the web, faster rendering speeds, and of course better quality.
After choosing the desired MPEG-4 resolution – presumably 1080p at this point – you may find it beneficial to look in the Profile drop-down list at the bottom right of the window. Here you can find options for 60fps video which will look much smoother and lifelike during scenes with motion. Additionally, you’ll notice that there are new “Extreme Quality” presets. These are effectively for archiving purposes, or perhaps when hardware compatibility and disc space are not a concern. Be warned; the files created using an “Extreme Quality” preset may be very large!
Additional Video File Formats
In the Additional Video File Formats section, you’ll find AVI, Quicktime and Windows Media Video presets like those that existed in previous versions, albeit they have been optimized for quality. I wouldn’t recommend using these presets without a specific need for those formats, but they are there in the event that you require them.
The new Intermediate / Lossless Formats section is here to address a somewhat common concern: using ProShow to create a video that will then be imported into a 3rd party program for editing or re-encoding. True uncompressed video – like the “AVI Uncompressed” presets of the older Custom Video File output window – is generally not used for working with HD video. The sheer number of pixels results in file sizes that can *and will* eat up all your free hard drive space, not to mention put additional strain on your hard drive when accessing or playing back those files.
For this reason, the video industry commonly works with “Intermediate” formats – those that technically use lossy compression but are visually lossless to the user and don’t degrade when making successive edits. Intermediate also implies quick importing and editing due to the nature of the compression scheme. If you find yourself bringing ProShow slideshows into 3rd party editors, the AVC Intra-frame presets are what you want to choose. There are also Quicktime Animation lossless presets as well, but these should be used sparingly, if at all, for HD.
There’s now more organization based on use-case. If you want a video for mobile devices like phones or tablets, choose from one of the “Mobile” categories. If you want a video that’s specifically formatted for the web, look in the Web category. Lastly, if you want a pre-formatted file that will be authored to disc in another program, look in the “DVD / Blu-ray / AVCHD” section.
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