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Vimeo quietly embraces 48 kHz audio; documents non-integer framerates

Unexpectedly and without any press release, Vimeo has resolved two of my few criticisms.

By Allan Tépper | January 11, 2013

Since I published the article 11 things I love about Vimeo Pro (Pro Video Coalition, November 2012), I have had at least two pending articles about Vimeo’s general service and their upcoming Pay-Per-Vew service, about which I wrote briefly in December. It has taken a while, but Vimeo has finally contacted me to arrange an interview. However, in the meantime, two of my few criticisms have quietly been resolved! It happened without any press release or bulletin.

Proper documentation of non-integer framerates on Vimeo

image

The above graphic illustrates my recent article Why I pardon rounding of shutter speeds in camera menus, but not framerates! (ProVideo Coalition, July 2012). In that article, I scolded manufacturers for using rounded framerates in camera menus… and continue to warn editors not to believe a camera menu (without verification) when it says something like “24p” or “30p”.

Up until very recently, Vimeo’s online documentation recommended encoding H.264 for upload at 24, 25, or 30 fps, depending upon the source. There was no mention of non-integer framerates like 23.976 or 29.97. Fortunately, Vimeo’s related only flaw was in the documentation, and non-integer framerates like 23.976p and 29.97p have (at least in recent years) always been accepted as “same as source”, so if you uploaded a video at 23.976p, all re-encodes done by Vimeo would remain at 23.976p. Likewise, if you uploaded a video at 29.97p, all re-encodes done by Vimeo would remain at 29.97p. So the only fault was in the online documentation, not in the actual behavior of the Vimeo service. Fortunately, this has been corrected, as seen at Vimeo.com/help/compression. So this will prevent anyone from forcibly retiming a video from 23.976 fps to 24.000 fps… or 29.97fps to 30fps unnecessarily based upon literal interpretation of incomplete documentation. Thank you Vimeo for fixing that!

48 kHz audio now recommended by Vimeo!

Up until very recently, Vimeo has strangely recommended the use of 44.1 kHz audio, despite the fact the 48 kHz is the absolute standard for digital audio for digital video in all current production and distribution formats. At first, I had hoped that Vimeo’s recommendation for 44.1 kHz was (like the non-integer framerate explained above) just a question of mis-documentation, but in the case of the audio sampling, that was not the case. Vimeo was unnecessarily resampling 48 kHz down to 44.1 kHz, which made me cringe. I had planned to bring it up during our interview, together with the mis-documentation of the non-integer framerates covered above. Fortunately both issues were quietly fixed just prior to our interview. Now Vimeo is recommending 48 kHz, and only recommends uploading a lower sampling rate in case the original source is (for some reason) lower. Thank you Vimeo!

Now my upcoming Vimeo articles fortunately will be free of these two issues!

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Allan Tépper’s books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programs

Contact Allan Tépper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his TecnoTur program, which is now available both in Castilian (aka "Spanish") and in English, free of charge. Search for TecnoTur in iTunes or visit TecnoTur.us for more information.

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s rules

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. However, IK Multimedia (maker of the iRig Pre) has not as of the publication date of this article. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.

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The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalition magazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!
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Comments

Robert Reinhardt: | January, 28, 2013

As a computer book author who researched and wrote about web video, I can point to the likely reason why Vimeo down samples to 44.1kHz: the Adobe Flash Player. According to tech notes from Adobe (links to which I do not have handy, but were applicable to Flash Player 9 r115 and higher, perhaps changed in recent versions), Flash Player downsamples 48kHz or higher audio sampling to 44.1kHz. So, the thinking was to generally downsample in a better audio compression suite than rely on Flash Player’s built-in downsampling on the fly. Also, speed shifts were common in earlier releases of the Flash Player—-MP3’s, for example, that were encoded at higher sampling rates would be played back at a 44.1kHz sampling rate, resulting in a shift pitch.

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