The MovieMasher system that we use for creating your videos needs to Encode, or re-encode, all of the File Assets to be able to use them in the Preview window and in the Timeline. So that is why it’s necessary to run a Micro Encoder Instance to do this.
All assets are encoded to create thumbnails for them (a thumbnail is a MUCH smaller image to represent the full sized image file) and then when you use them in the MovieMasher interface it only uses the thumbnails so the Previews are lightning fast.
To Encode your files you must have at least a Micro Instance server running with the Encode box ticked.
Movie files that you upload and “Encode” have several image thumbnails created per second to make them much smaller than they are originally. So when you move across the timeline you’re actually seeing these individual thumbnail images and NOT the full sized video you uploaded.
Music files have a thumbnail created that shows as a waveform type image for easier editing, and is also encoded to a smaller bitrate wav file.
All image files are encoded to smaller thumbnails for the timeline as well.
This is usually done in the background of some video applications but we have deliberately laid it open to make our system much more powerful and open for our users.
All of this is done so that you can quickly and easily scrub through the timeline, or Preview your Video, without having to download every large sized file you uploaded originally.
When you Render the Mash out to Video ALL of the original sized files are sent along and none of the smaller thumbnail files are used.