Exporting Video to Windows users - best video formats?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by CmactalkAust, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. CmactalkAust macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2010
    On exporting videos from Mac to Windows users directly. Compatable and best video formats?

    In some instance video presentations are a serious work and means of communication that are not suited or appropriate to just upload for public viewing on utube.

    Creating a video presentation on Mac, say using iMovie is one thing. But the challenges comes, as I have found, in sending videos direct to government departments and others using Windows. This has proven problematic. Most times they have not been able to view them at all. Including when sending as .mp4 files. Not quite sure what the source of incompatability has been.

    One can use a program like iDVD and send the movie as a DVD, but often I am sending a few movie files along with other documentation, word docs, etc. It is simple and best to be able to put all files, movie presentations and other support docs, on a single data DVD disk, so the Windows person can open and access all material as they please.

    Not being a video professional, determining which formats are best to maximise compatability for Windows users is not that self evident. Including retaining the viewing quality at the other end. I figure this is a problem met by other mac users. As part of solving this problem for myself, I thought a thread to gather experience and views on what is best export options for Windows users a worthy exercise.

    If there exists a nice summary resource already covering all this, please post a link. (I have not found one.)

    My first thought was an .mp4 format as best for Windows users. Windows users do not always have Quicktime on their machines, and some govt department employees do not have the liberty to simply download a Quicktime player re restrictions and security on their work computers. (I have met this a few times). Hence why exporting a Quicktime .mov file is not actually a universal option and solution. With the export of a video in .mp4 format, there are a range of options, re audio formats, frame rates, etc that may affect compatability on a Windows machine. It would seem so from my experience of movies in this format not being readible at the other end.

    So what set of export options are most compatable for Windows users, using standard movie players that come with the various Windows OS's - Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 ??? (This covers most Windows users).

    In my case I am exporting first from iMovie'08, now iMovie'11 (using the via Quicktime export option). Videos are HD 1280 x 720 size.

    Particularly valuable comment is where an export format has been compatable with a Windows OS, and the mac user has been able to confirm the quality is clear on the Windows machine.

    I would suggest the following information would help with posts.

    Mac program used:
    Export format:
    Export format settings:
    To Windows OS (XP, Vista, 7):
    Windows Video players viewed on:
    Compatability (yes, no):
    Equal viewing quality confirmed (yes, no):

    Perhaps with the gathering of comments and experience from other Macusers, a guide doc could be created by someone with more experience than myself??

    Hope this initiative meets with approval and a positive response.
  2. issicus macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    well WMA . that is windows media audio? well its video too.. mpeg may work idk

    if size is an issue adobe premier is what your going to want to use. there maybe something cheaper that does the same, possibly vlc i think it uses ffxmpg to compress video , which is open source so thats free.
  3. CmactalkAust thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2010
    Update to my own post re video to windows users.

    First, thanks nermal for moving this topic. And thanks to issicus for his post. Helped point me in the right direction.

    [I suggest read the first post of this thread to make sense of this post.]

    In terms of choosing a video format that is viewable universally for Windows users with the same or similar quality as you intend, at a larger format size (here HD 720 x 1280) it seems I had a few things wrong.

    Firstly it seems .mp4 format is not that commonly accessible by Windows users as I had assumed. At least that is what some windows users are telling me. (Please correct me if you find this statement incorrect.)

    I had thought that .mp4 was fairly universal. What is more universal for windows is .wmv (Windows Media Video) files. In terms of mpeg, Windows Media Player (in its various past releases) is compatable with mpeg1 and mpeg2 formats, but apparently not the later .mp4 file format.

    It seems that a .wmv file format (Windows Media Video) is the most universal for Windows users as Windows Media Player (version 9 for XP, up to version 11 for Windows 7) as part of the standard install with the OS like Quicktime on Mac. (Hey, I live in an isolated area and don't see another Windows computer so how would I know!! Circumstance! :eek:) Hence with this video player available standard on all the last three major Windows OS's (XP, Vista and Windows 7), this video format should be accessible by most Windows users without them having to download any other video player like Quicktime or VLC.

    I should add that this is provided the video is done with fairly standard settings. You may need to look out for interlacing with HD size videos, differences between WMV standard and WMV professional and other details that can complicate the issue and to which I am still getting my head around.

    The best reference I have found so far for exploring this issue of different formats over various OS's is the wikipedia page:


    I mention this as I used Google and Wikipedia to look for useful references with this issue, and only recently did I find this particular Wikipedia page that does help piece the puzzle together.

    I have found, having now upgraded to iMovie'11, that whenever I try to export an HD size movie to .wmv, iMovie'11 crashes. Hmmm, did iMovie'08 do that. I don't think so. So maybe my focus on .mp4 was a misdirection and I have put myself back in a hole with an upgrade to once again a situation of no means for effective universal compatability at HD resolution.

    Many probably just uTube, or other equivalent video sites, posting lower resolution video as that works fine for their communication or video comment. Or alternatively know the answers and find my "searching", and probably missing the obvious amusing. If so, do give me a quick post to point me in the right direction for HD format video. Eg a good primer on all this.

    Thanks. Hope this helps someone else.

  4. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    WMV. That's all.

    I work for the government (as a matter of fact, I'm working right now...) and I make video using Macs. Distribution is one of three methods:
    • for distributions that will be played directly on government PCs: WMV. These are usually emailed (100MB internal limit) or dropped into PowerPoints
    • for stuff we're putting on our intranet: MP4 with JW Player front end, because everyone has Flash installed. Before the PCs were upgraded to Flash 10, we had Flash 8 so I used to use WMVs on the intranet instead. Or even MPEG1s before I got Flip4Mac
    • for distribution to outside our organisation, such as members of the public: DVD. These are usually Big Productions.
    To make WMVs, I use Telestream's Flip4Mac. To make HD, you'll need the expensive one.

    I use FCP to create a QT movie (not self-contained) so it's full quality. I then export a WMV either via QuickTime7 (you can't use QT X) or via MPEG Streamclip, which is basically a really handy front end for a lot of QT functions as well as a great application for handling MPEGs of various types. I export using Flip4Mac presets like High Quality (Presentation) and deinterlace.

    WMVs created this way are fine and their quality is on a par with MP4s. Maybe people who use Compressor can do better, but my stuff isn't exactly Hollywood blockbuster material.
  5. CmactalkAust thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2010

    Really appreciate the post. Thanks. Will do some follow up.
  6. boch82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2008
    I second the flip4mac approach.

    We use it all the time to convert videos for use in powerpoint. As stated you do need to get the highest version to encode in hd. make sure to play with the settings to get a good quality video. The basic settings do not encode the best quality.
  7. efrenjiji macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2012
    Exporting Video to Windows users - best video formats?

    I have the same issue when it comes to exporting video created in iMovie, I am new to MacBookpro, I am windows user before and find it easy to make a movie to be played in ordinary video player or PC.
    However, just 5 months ago I shifted to MAC OS, I a have a lots of movie project inside the MacBookpro and i am desperately need to export them to play on DVD Player, in windows platform this was easy using NERO DVD burner or any other free DVD maker, burned to disc then play to PC or DVD, but on here it's very difficult to manage.

    Appreciate if anyone can advise to me to do this in the most easiest way.


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