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Prepare Your Videos For the Web

Friday, July 13th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Multimedia

Prepare Your Videos For the Web

Do you have some videos you’d like to upload to the Web? If so, keep reading for some basic tips on how you can get the job done easily and quickly!

With Web sites like YouTube being so popular for uploading movies, more and more people want to upload their own funnies to the Web. I mean, the Internet is an ever changing world of shaping technology and to keep up with any trends, one must read about it on the Internet on various Web sites. One week, you could have popular software for preparing your video and for adding effects, while the following week, bugs in the software may have been found or maybe even a new piece of software professes to be easier to use and with more features. This is very true when it comes to uploading videos to the Web.

Compressing and preparing video footage for the Web, after being transferred from the digital camera to the PC, is as seamless as the rest of the process. The new and now very familiar format for the Web is FLV or Flash Video. It is a video format just like any other in terms of playback on the Web, with the exception that it has some overriding characteristics. It is much smaller in size as compared to Windows Media (WMV), QuickTime (MOV) and Real Media (RM). Flash has been around for awhile now. Also, the Shockwave format (SWF) has already transformed graphics on the Web in a big way. Most animated movies playing on Web pages will be presented as SWF files. They will also be FLV files on many sites, particularly YouTube. The FLV format can also be played as a stand alone file on the PC.

Now, the existing video dumped to the PC will always be too large for immediate delivery to the Web. This is where compression comes in to help by reducing the file size so that it can be streamed (played) effortlessly across the Web. This occurs everyday on YouTube, which allows thousands of streams of video playback per day. So, the video that has just been dumped to the PC’s hard drive will need to be converted or compressed to a useable format and honestly, FLV is the best choice for the Web today. The other reason is that the Flash player will only play FLV files anyway, which makes the conversion process for playback on a Web page necessary. If you plan to use YouTube, they have a Video Toolbox section you’ll want to read for tips on compressions and shooting video.

There are some great choices for achieving this: Sorenson Squeeze, ON2 Flix Encoder, Macromedia Flash 8 and the Riva FLV encoder. Due to the utter simplicity in using the software and as it is freeware, the best choice here is the Riva Encoder. It has a very low learning curve, as the interface is very basic and the settings on the initial panel are very easy to tweak, if at all required.

Here is how you can start using the Riva Encoder for yourself:

  • Download the Riva 2 Encoder and Riva FLV player (both free) right from this Web site.

  • Once installed, open the Riva Encoder and you will see the below interface:

  • There are only a few settings here to be concerned about. Note the Movie Size drop down box. Here it shows 640×480, but this is not recommended. You should try a lower resolution setting. Try 320×240 or 400×300, as the file size will be much smaller and the video crisper.

  • Leave the Preset drop down as DSL.xml. This just loads the settings currently seen in the interface, just like your new movie size. You can save any changes by clicking the Save icon to the right of the box.

  • The interface offers quick access to the process of converting the video to FLV. There are three areas to set: Input, Output and Encode. From the Input box, click Browse. Find your movie on your hard drive and open it by selecting the movie and clicking Open.

  • The destination video file will have already been given a name, but that name can be changed, if required, in the Destination Video File box.

  • Click the Browse button next to the Output Directory option in order to choose a folder to store the encoded FLV file. It will initially be set to the same directory as the source video. This may suffice and if so, we can move on.

  • Ensure the Enable Audio checkbox on the right panel is checked.

  • The other drop down boxes, like Frame Rate and Bit Rate should be fine, as the default setting of the frame rate is 25 and the bit rate is 360. There is also the option for Stereo in the Audio section that you can select if you want. Remember, choosing higher frame rates will increase the size of the video and this tutorial is conveying how to maintain a small file size.

When the Riva Encoder has finished, the FLV file will be in your specified directory and it will be ready to upload to YouTube or whatever site you’d like to use. For example, a personal Web site. That’s all there is to it. Happy video publishing!

~ Stephen Davies

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