Quick Tips for Making Videos for the Web ...
Joe Kegley | E-Mail | Updated 03-03-09
Making "quality" videos play over the internet is somewhat tricky. One must balance quality with download speed (size). A high quality video produces a large file which requires a high bit rate to play over the internet.
The videos on this site are compressed to "Flash" and use a data rate of 400 - 500 kilobits per second. This compression lowers the quality and sharpness of the video, but ensures they will play over most broadband internet connections (cable and DSL).
Tips for making web videos:
- Always use a tripod. Camera shake does not compress to a web video very well and you will lose sharpness and quality.
- Avoid pans and zooms. Pan and zooms do not compress well either and you will once again lose quality. If you must do a pan or zoom, then do it very very slowly.
- Avoid videoing excessive motion. I realize the whole point of a video is to produce a moving photograph but a lot of motion requires a lot of data and will not compress well for a web video. For instance a songbird which is stationary on a branch and is only turning its head and singing will compress and retain decent quality. While a bear standing and shaking a tree causing all the limbs and leaves to move will produce a black and green blob once compressed. I have some nice footage of a bear shaking a tree, looks good when I view it on my computer. But once I compressed it for the web and viewed it ... yuck. The footage was not usable on the internet.
- Avoid windy days. This really is a continuation of the above bullet. If you are videoing a scene with trees and all the leaves are moving and maybe the grass rustling, your video will lose some quality once compressed for the web.
- Video in good light. Low light footage does not compress as well as properly lit video.
- Use manual focus where possible. Especially important when videoing a subject in crowded areas such as a bird sitting on a limb in a thicket. In this scenario you may find that the auto focus likes the branches, twigs, and foliage, better than your subject.