Flickr: PLEASE Improve your Video Compression Codec!

December 20, 2012 2 By Tad Reeves

Ever since Flickr rolled out the feature to upload videos as well as photos, Flickr has been the first place I put up videos. Why? Most videos I take are part of the same stream as my photos – part of a set of vacation shots, or are usual daily uploads like this one – and I love being able to view them in the same context as the rest of my photos – instead of telling people to go to YouTube if they want to see video.

But, at this point, the video codec that Flickr is using is a straight-up embarrassment and due to the distractingly-bad compression artifacts, is so utterly contrary to the whole reason Flickr stated that they rolled out video to begin with.

See the above video. Now, granted, it is basically a worst-case scenario for a video compression codec, as with the leaves and trees and movement, you basically have 95% of the pixels of the frame changing from frame to frame. But still, the video quality is so bad that it’s painful to watch. It’s like it was compressed with Sorenson Spark, circa 2005, and made to be streamed to a first-generation color-screen cell phone.

I’m no stranger to the compute requirements of implementing a proper codec, the storage requirements of such, and the banks of new equipment that will probably have to be added in order to make it a reality.

But it’s the price to play in today’s market – and encoding on YouTube looks a million times better, even if it still has some distracting blurring.

Photo quality is most of the reason why I still have all of my photos here on Flickr. But with the fact that Picasa/G+ encodes all its video on Youtube, it basically starts tipping the scales away from my favorite platform.

Can someone please help?