Video on the Web: A Resource Guide
Note: This page is no longer current and a lot of the information is now stale. It’s still here only for historical reasons. It may get an update in 2013.
Table of Contents
- Recipes for Better Web Video
- Embedding Video on Your Web Site
- Inexpensive Compression Tools (under $100)
- Professional Compression Tools
1. Recipes for Better Web Video
Uploading movies to YouTube
Uploading Movies for YouTube with maximum quality by Philip Hodgetts is an excellent article describing how to prepare your movies for upload to YouTube in order to achieve the best quality possible. Basically YouTube recompresses your video using the older Sorenson Spark Codec, so videos don’t look good on YouTube unless you upload the best quality you can within their size limitations. [Important Note: YouTube now offers a high quality option, this guide is no longer up-to-date. Is there a better guide on the net for this? Please let me know and I will update this page.]
2. Embedding Video on Your Web Site
blip.tv provides videobloggers and producers of episodic web shows the perfect platform for hosting their videos. They have a very nice show player you can embed in your site. They take the high quality video you upload and automatically transcode the video to FLV and M4V versions. You can have many formats of your video available in order to support multiple devices and viewing contexts, yet all the statistics are kept together as one video. They offer revenue generation opportunities through various advertising options and high-traffic shows stand a chance to work out sponsorship deals. What YouTube is to viral video, blip.tv is to episodic video. There are lots of video sharing sites out there, and each has a unique personality, community, and set of capabilities. I use blip.tv for hosting my videos on this site.
JW FLV Media Player
If you use WordPress, the Shadowbox JS WordPress Plugin provides a clean way to integrate video into pages and posts. It is based on Shadowbox.js and can play video in all the major browsers without navigating away from the linking page. When the user clicks on the link, it darkens the screen and plays the movie centered on the screen. By default it uses the JW FLV Player. You can see an example of Shadowbox in action on my reel page.
Bandwidth Place Speed Test
The Bandwidth Place Speed Test site provides a way of testing the speed of your internet connection. This can help you decide the optimum video data rate for a given network environment.
Show In A Box
The Show In A Box bundle consists of WordPress, K2 (an advanced theme for WordPress), Vlogsplosion (a video-centric style for the K2 WordPress theme), and vPIP (videos Playing In Place) and more. This package turns the popular open-source WordPress blogging tool into a complete videoblogging platform.
3. Inexpensive Compression Tools (under $100)
[Update: VisualHub, AudialHub, and iSquint have been discontinued and are no longer for sale.] If you are a Macintosh user and looking for an inexpensive video conversion tool, Visual Hub is your answer, bridging the gap between the many video format and just wanting to get the job done with Macintosh elegance and simplicity. It supports most of the video formats you are likely to encounter, including iPod, PSP, DV, DVD, Tivo, AVI, MP4, WMV, MPEG and Flash 7. Batch Processing of multiple files is supported and it comes with a very readable Users Guide.
On2′s own Flix Standard provides a good inexpensive video conversion tool for both Mac and PC users who want to encode video using the Flash 8 (On2 VP6) codec and don’t need the professional settings and batch features of Flix Pro. Flix Standard is easy to use and can output an HTML page to play your video with a click of the mouse.
4. Professional Compression Tools
If you need more versatility than Visual Hub can provide, Episode is an excellent media encoding applications for the Mac. It offers extensive customized options, a large preset collection, batch processing up to 25 files, and a Compressor plug-in and Dashboard Widget. Episode with Flash 8 adds an optimized On2 VP6 (Flash 8) encoder to the mix, providing superior video quality (compared to the Sorenson Spark codec used in Flash 7).
If you need maximum flexibility in a professional environments, Episode Pro has all the features of Episode (including the ability to add Flash 8 encoding) and adds support for formats like MXF, GXF, H.264, and High Profile DVCPRO HD (with Final Cut Pro) along with unlimited batch processing. Episode Pro is currently my favorite tool and I use it to handle all of my video conversion and encoding needs. I highly recommend it if you do lots of conversion and encoding.
Apple’s Compressor is the media encoding applications that comes bundled with Final Cut Studio (not available separately). It provides an elegant desktop video encoding tool with good batch capabilities and support for a wide range of formats for broadcast, web and DVD. Some of the formats that Compressor does not support out of the box can be added with the Episode plug-in (this is how you can encode Flash 8 in your Compressor workflow).
On2′s own Flix Pro provides a versatile professional option for both Mac and PC users who want to encode video using the Flash 8 (On2 VP6) codec. It inlcudes support for batch processing and encoding features like two pass encoding, cue points, and the ability to automatically output Flash Players and HTML pages for your video. It also supports chroma keying which is made possible in the Flash 8 player by the alpha channel features of On2 VP6 codec for Flash.
Squeeze for Flash
Sorenson’s Sorenson Squeeze for Flash provides an economical option for users who only want to encode video compatible with Flash. It inlcudes support for H.264, AAC, HE-AAC, and MP4. An On2 VP6 Pro Encoder plugin is also available.
Squeeze Compression Suite
Sorenson’s Squeeze Compression Suite provides both Mac and PC users with a versatile video encoding tool with support for a range of codecs including Sorenson Video 3 Pro, Sorenson Spark Pro, Sorenson MPEG-4 Pro and Sorenson AVC Pro video codecs. Support for the On2 VP6 Pro Encoder is sold separately. VP6 is included as part of the Squeeze Compression Suite PowerPack. The software limits you to 1,500 encodes per month, if you require more then you have to pay more for Squeeze Unlimited.
For PC users, Autodesk’s Cleaner XL provides a reasonable equivalent of Episode Pro. I once had a nightmare experience with their software activation system, and wasted a lot of time troubleshooting the problem, and I was not at all pleased with their technical support during the ordeal, so I have to say I’m not in any way recommending this solution unless you’re on a PC, don’t like Sorenson Squeeze for some reason, and don’t have the option of using Episode Pro on a Mac, which currently gets my highest recommendation.
Are there resources I should add to this page? Do you have questions about delivering video on the web? Feel free to contact me.