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Compression Terminology

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Compression 101

Compression Terminology




Cleaner is the industry standard for media compression. It  transforms large (uncompressed) video, audio and images (including animation)  into smaller (compressed) files for distribution on the web, cd or dvd. The files must be in their final format to use Cleaner, once the compression is finished, the file cannot be re-edited (with some rare exceptions, such as deleting frames).

Cleaner is available for both Macintosh and PC platforms and works with QuickTime, RealPlayer and Windows Media Technology in addition to the non-proprietary AVI, MPEG, DV, still images and various audio formats.

The differences between Cleaner and QuickTime Pro

- Cleaner has more codecs available 

- Cleaner can  manipulate the media (cropped, video and noise correction, etc) during the compression process

- For beginners, the Settings Wizard in Cleaner is easier to use. 

 Cleaner 5 has the following categories of codecs:

AVI (1X to 4X CD-Rom speeds)

DV (NTSC or PAL), Loseless-AVI or QT

MP3 (high-end, modem or standard)


QT (CD-Rom, Streaming, web audio or video)

RealVideo  (Web Audio or video)

Still Image (jpeg or gif)

Windows Media (Audio orVideo)


Geting Started 

After you have installed Cleaner (the documentation accompanying the software will step you through this) and registered it, you can get started.  The typical workflow is:

1. Drag files into the process window (or using the File pull-down menu, select new batch. A new dialog box will open and you can select the files for Cleaner to process.
2. Once selected or dragged, the files will appear in the process window with No Setting in the Status column (last column on the right). Select the files to compress by clicking on them, shift + click to select more than one file.


3.  Until you get a feeling for the codecs in Cleaner, you should use the Wizard to help select the best codec for your media.
4. To open the wizard, pull-down the Windows menu and select Settings Wizard.

5. Read the information in the left column to help select among the options presented in the right column. After making a selection within each set of options, click on the Continue button at the right bottom of the Wizard.  This tell the Wizard to advance to the next set of options.  The Wizard will guide you through settings for image size, type of media, auto play and connection speed.

6. After completing the Wizard click the Apply button in the lower right corner.

7. The Process window will re-open.   Before starting the compression, be sure to set a destination for the compressed files using the Batch pull-down menu (Batch -> Set custom destination).


8. Use the arrow in the gray oval in the lower right corner to start the compression process.

Getting More Control Over the Proces  


A novice can use Cleaner using the Settings Wizard to select an appropriate compression method, but the results are not always perfect or even near-perfect.  To fine tune the process, you must use the Advanced Settings feature (under the Windows pull-down menu).

Note: If you don't undertsand the terminology used in this section, please refer to the Compression Terminology and Compression 1o1 wepages.  



  • Kiosk mode is highest quality but it produces very large files.  These are meant to be played directly from a hard drive.  If you want to compress files for storage on your hard drive and use in PowerPoint on a projection screen, this may be your best option.
  • The Settings Wizard will walk you through selecting the best settings for your files and desired outcome, it will make  a codec suggestion based on the information you input. When finished with the Settings Wizard I suggest you click on the Encode tab and remove the check in two boxes: Compare uncompressed frames and Video Data Rate.
  • Cleaner can produce alternate compressions at the same time, but you have to use the alternate option in Advanced Settings.  Draag and drop your media into the process window.  Using the shift key, select the different compressions you wish to use from the list on the left (you should have created these as Wizard presets).  onl 1 format at a time -- QT, WMP, RV
  • AVI & Cinepak will both play in WMP if you change the file extension
  • Sorenson supports variable bit rate. This adapts to spikes in data rate. It will adjust the number of key frames accordingly
  • Key frames trigger refreshing
  • Key frames require a full frame with no loss
  • To change variable bit rate: Advanced Settings-> flatten, cross-platform, fast-start
  • The fewer options selected (crop, changing aspect ratio) the faster the compression.
  • Watermark adds a .jpg file in the background.  


This page last updated:10/12/2005


University of Rhode Island

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