The folks at Kinoma have done the work for you and have packaged it in a simple and attractive program for under $30 bucks. The wealth of presets for myriad portable devices eliminates hours of experimenting to find the right settings. Moreover, the speed and quality were often better compared to other software products we tested using the same codecs and settings.

For one test our source file was a webinar output from Live Meeting. The video was a 12kbps stream at 704 x 528. The audio portion used the WMSpeech codec at 8kbps sampled at 8kHz. Using a chunky 70MB file we created an H.264 iPod MPEG4 by reducing the output size to 320 x 240 and set the frame rate to 4, 1/3 of the original. We matched the already highly compressed audio rates. The result was files 1/10 the size that still readable on an iPod screen. Reducing PowerPoint slides to this size and still being able to read them doesn't make for the most exciting video but it served our client's needs just perfectly.

Over several weeks we tested a variety of retail and shareware programs and when it came to creating files targeted for portable devices Kinoma Producer 4 consistently yielded great results with significantly smaller file sizes than some other programs. Best of all the presets took care of most of the work and very little optimization was necessary because the files sizes were nice and small and looked great.

We found Kinoma Producer 4 to be one of the friendliest and most stable programs to use. It loads fast, does the job and stays out of the way. For that, Kinoma Producer 4 earns our stamp as a funkyfresh essential element. We'd like to see Kinoma develop a more full featured product that goes after encoders such as Autodesk's Cleaner or Canopus' Procoder and brings the same clean and simple approach. We also wouldn't be surprised if the company were acquired by a larger firm as MPEG4 and other formats become ubiquitous on the web, handhelds and delivered to forthcoming IPTVs.

Visit Kinoma for more information.