In order to use a video presentation on a web page, you will need to use couple of video tools and software, depending on each step you perform.
A) Shooting your footage
Believe me, this is the funniest part of the whole process and also a critical step. Not necessary because of the things you want to spread into your video message, but mainly for the quality of your movie.
If you shoot the footage on worst conditions, the quality of your movie will decrease. It is critical to perform a shooting at a high level of quality because later, with the compression action, you will lose on movie details.
There are numerous ways of shoot your video presentations. You can use a digital camera, a web camera or a camcorder.
A digital camera offer you the possibility to shoot couple of good minutes. Even their main purpose is to take pictures, with today’s highly competitive digital cameras, you can shoot a video presentation at a very good quality for arround 10-20 minutes. Their great advantage is the price — a good digital camera is around $200. A digital camera is also portable, so it’s easy to carry. So a digital camera may be a useful solution if you want lots of stills and only a brief video for your site.
A web camera (webcam) is very easy to use and had the greatest advantage of saving your movie right into your hard-disk, so you do not need extra connections or capture devices (as we have on cameras). Webcam’s are cheaper than a digital camera, but in general the quality of your footage can be poor, of course depending on the kind of the model you use. But a medium webcam is around $100. These cameras are usually attached by their USB cable and will take low quality footage straight into one or more common video file formats.
For shooting medium and long movies at higher video quality, I suggest you to use a camcorder. I personally use a HD camcorder, actually a Sony Handycam 8.9 MP. I’m very happy with this camcorder because it is very easy to use, very compact, have a great quality of the footage and plenty of additional functions — more than enough for an amateur like me!
The biggest disadvantage of camcorders is their price. A medium camcorder starts from $500, a semi-professional one is up to $1,000.
My recommendation: if you want to shoot videos under 20 minutes, you can invest into a digital camera. But if you want long movies, a camcorder is the best option.
If you want more information about what brand mark or type of camcorder to buy, I suggest to visit online: CamcorderInfo.com (they are the best — I spend here precious time before I bought my Sony camera!), or digitalcamera-hq.com.
B) Capture your footage
Once you end-up your shooting sesion, it’s time to download your movie onto your computer. Like I said, a web camera save your data into your machine so there is no things to discuss here. With a digital camera or a camcorder, trasfering files it is an easy process. Every camera has a few extra connections or capture devices in order to perform this action.
Keep in mind one thing: a movie is make it at high resolution and have a great quality. There is almost no compression here, so the size of your footage is very big. For example, an hour of movie on a miniDV cassete will “eat” almost 14 Gb on your hard-disk.
There are other camcorders which save your movie directly into an internal hard disk, DVD or miniDVD. In this case, the movie it is already compressed, but you will loose on image quality — not too much for online video presentations, but sensible if you want higher quality videos.
Most digital cameras have a Digital Video (DV) out or DV in and out socket. This allows you to connect the camera to your PC via a highspeed firewire (IEEE 1394) connection. Many modern PC have these connections fitted as standard. There is no need to convert the image into digital signal, but software will be required to edit the movie on your PC.
Some older more basic cameras do not have DV connection, and you will need to be connected via analogue inputs — USB connection.
So once you transfer the footage into your computer, it is time to prepare it for online presentation. Since you would not to upload and run a 14Gb movie on your hosting server (it will get you right to the bankruptcy!) it is necessary to “compress” the size of your video.
If you want to visualize the movie into your computer, you will need a special codec and a video player, depending on the system on your machine and the video format you shoot with the camera.
And this lead me to the next step…
C) Reduce the size of your video footage
So you have now the movie on your computer but has a huge size in terms of Gb. Before we provide with the compressing issue, it is recommended to choose first your future movie video format and “window” size.
If you want to sell your video footage on a DVD, all you have to do is to save it with the right format: mpeg-2. If your video presentation is too long, use a specialized software to split it and copy in 2 or more DVD’s — don’t forget to keep the quality as it’s best.
But if you want to put the video presentation on the Internet, here’s what to do next.
A video movie is a shoot of a series of still frames in rapid succession (30 frames per second for NTSC and 25 for PAL) to give the impression of motion. 15 second video of 320 x 240 resolution at 15 fps shot on a digital camera occupies 4Mb of space.
So in order to reduce the size of the footage, you need first to decrease the size of the clip (either in length or decreasing the resolution). Like images, video clips are often talked about in resolution terms. Most used window formats for Internet are 160×120, 240×180, 320×240.
Next, you can “compress” the video footage so you can later stream the video presentation. The file compression process begins when you take your edited video clip and encode to a particular video format and compress the file size.
In order to understand video compression, you first need to become familiar with “codecs” and how they work. Codec stands for compression/decompression, and it’s the piece of software you use to compress very large files into much smaller files. Normally, you will choose a codec according to the video format you are interested to use.
Most video file forms allow for some form of compression. The more you compress the more degradation you get. Loss of colour and sound can help decrease file size too. DO NOT COMPRESS the video so much that unnatural artifacts such as blocking occur and you will destroy the illusion of a “natural” movie.
Audio in a video file always increases file size, sometimes dramatically. This makes selecting audio options an important factor in keeping file size to a minimum. You need to see if the soundtrack works good at 11 KHz 8 bit Mono (not Stereo). Use this low quality setting if you can get away with it. Changing from mono to stereo essentially doubles the amount of space needed to store your file’s audio, so stereo should only be used if absolutely necessary. For improved (mono) voice quality, try raising the frequency to 16 or 20 kHz.
You can also drop the frame rate. You can use a 5, 6, 7.5, 10, or 15 fps frame rate depending on your visitors online connection type (56k modem, ISDN, DSL/Cable, T1), but under 15 fps the motion starts to appear jerky — that’s bad, right?
Obviously, quality is the first cost of the compressing process. You have to make things smaller in memory size so you shrink display size. Or you might cut down on the number of frames per second that are shown. You might throw out the fine details. Or make the audio sound less clear. Or, as is most common, do all of these steps and then some.
At last, you have to stream your video movie. “Streaming” allows the user to begin viewing video presentations stored on your server, without first downloading the entire file. After a brief period of initializing and buffering, the file will begin to stream — or play — in real time.
Most video editing software are geared for making online presentations and many will also create streaming video files.
E) Distribute your video presentation on the Internet
This is the easiest part. Upload your streaming video on your server first. You can use a software like CuteFTP Pro or simply use the features from your main control panel provided by your website hosting company.
Once you finished uploading the movie, make the right adjustments to the HTML tags on the web page where you want to insert the presentation. I already explain you this action step into the video streaming page.
And congratulation… you’re finished!
Now you have a beautiful video presentation on your web site. All you have to do is to start applying your best video marketing strategies and get as many targeted visitors you can to see your FIRST video presentation!
Video tool of the trade -> Instant Video Generator
Perhaps you are not a tech person — you do not have to emabarassed, you’re not the only one. Perhaps all these information about streaming, compression, codecs, and so one is way beyond you. Never mind, there is an easy way now.
And this solution is called InstantVideoGenerator.
Using InstantVideoGenerator you can add streaming video to your web site and emails without expensive equipment or technical know-how. Here are just a few benefits this service gives you:
– Unlimited video clips played instantly
– Works great on dial-up modems or high-speed
– Records with any webcam and microphone
– Technical know-how or experience is NOT necessary
– Makes other video technologies obsolete!
With Instant Video Generator you are witnessing the Net’s fastest, easiest, most economical way to create professional streaming video clips for web sites and email broadcasts!
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