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November 3, 2009

Basic Techniques For Creating Quality Video For Your Website

Video has immediate impact and you don’t need to be an expert to create your own mini-movies. It is a very simple way to connect with, and market to, your customers and prospects.

There are a number of factors that affect how you are going to encode your video so you can publish it on the web. These include the efficiency of the encoder and, ultimately, how it looks to the end user. Two key factors play a significant role in the encoding process: source quality and frame motion, so let’s take a closer look at them.

1 Source Quality

Once you have pressed record on your camera, you have determined the source quality of your video. What you want to achieve is the best quality video possible so here are some basic guidelines to help you get great source video quality and achieve maximum quality in your final compressed video. Use a tripod to reduce camera movement.

You must get this right, because any camera movement means that the picture moves as well. This means that a high percentage of pixels in the video are changing from frame to frame. This results in worse quality at lower compression rates and although camcorders are fitted with an anti-shake device, the more you can do to keep your camera steady the better will be the result.

2 Use good lighting techniques.

Even with a tripod and a high-end camera you can still produce a low-quality image if there is not enough light. Low-light or light-gain filters produce video noise on the image; this is different for each frame of video and so it is more difficult for the codec (compressor/decompressor) to compress the file and give a good quality result.

Use the best camera possible. If you have a secure, steady, camera – and the lighting is right – you will get a reasonable result from even an inexpensive camera. BUT, it is best to have one that can capture your footage in digital format, and personally my business partner Neil Travers and I prefer using miniDV to capture our footage.

3 Starting out

When you start out you don’t always have access to professional equipment, like high end consumer camcorders, a tripod, and excellent lighting conditions. Do the best you can with what’s available and always remember: the higher the quality of your video source, and the less noise in that source, the lower the data rate required to render a good playback file. Whenever possible, always encode a file from its uncompressed form.

If you convert a pre-compressed digital video format into the FLV format, the previous encoder can introduce video noise. This can occur because the first compressor has already performed its encoding algorithm on the video and has already reduced its quality, frame size, and rate. Digital “effects” or noise can be added. This additional noise affects the FLV encoding process and may require a higher data rate to play back a good quality file.

4 Frame Motion

This is another important factor to consider in your encoding formula and refers to the percentage of the pixels that change from one frame to another. There are a variety of things that can affect this, from people or objects moving, camera effects or even post-production effects.

So watch out for the following points as they can all have an impact on frame motion:

  • Moving objects includs people and things you may not consider like traffic or the wind moving he leaves of a tree.
  • You can get nearly 100% pixel change from frame to frame from camera effects like panning, zooming, and having a hand-held result in almost There is also a high percentage of pixel changes from frame to frame when you use postproduction effects like dissolves, fades, wipes, or complex video effects. Clips with a lot of motion in them mean the encoder has more information to compress than with static clips like one person talking to camera.
  • An interview or conversation with two people works best if it is fairly static, like our own ‘kitchencasts’ where we are seated at a table while talking.
  • Encoding works by the video codec using a method of dropping frames and then encoding a series of fully uncompressed frames. These are called key frames and are used to calculate and “rebuild” the missing frames during playback.

So I hope you can see that video is a great tool to use in your marketing, and it can be simple and cost effective. Just take your time, experiment, and enjoy yourself.

Neil Stafford – The Internet Marketing Reviewi s is the UK’s longest running PRINTED Internet Marketing Newsletter. ‘Test drive’ it for FREE – Visit this special web page for more information: Internet Marketing Review Newsletter