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Getting Video Online

If a picture paints a thousand words - well then video must paint a million.  Incorporating video and audio into your website can help you sell your product more effectively, or alternatively help explain complex problems.  But how do you get video into your website?

Firstly, don't use video for video's sake.  I am sure a lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I don't like it when I visit a website and a person "walks out" and starts talking to me.  Not only does it make the site slower to download, but in my opinion it is just downright annoying.

Secondly, don't make the video too long.  Users are unlikely to wait around for a 30 minute video to download and playback.  If you are demonstrating a product, try to keep your demonstration to 3 - 4 minutes.

Ways to get video online:
  1. Upload your video to YouTube.  Once the video has been uploaded to YouTube you can then embed this video into your site using a couple lines of code.  There are a number of benefits of this:
    • Your site is not storing the video, hence it won't affect your download limit
    • Users may find your video whilst searching on YouTube
  2. Encode your Video using the Flash Video Encoder.  This will allow your video to be played back via Flash.  To encode your video you can send your video file to your web developer for encoding.
  3. Encode your video using Windows Media encoder.  This will then produce a Windows Media Video (WMV) file. Once uploaded you can create a link directly to this file from your web site.  Depending on how it is integrated this will be either streamed to the browser or display as a clickable link which will start Windows Media Player.  Windows Media Player will download and playback this file.  However there are disadvantages to using this method:
    • It will not deploy correctly on Macintosh based systems as Windows Media is not supported natively.
    • If a user does not have the correct player, they may not be able to playback the video.
    • File size is generally larger when compared to YouTube and Flash Video - however video and audio quality is superior against these two formats.
  4. Upload your file as a QuickTime file - similar to a WMV file, Quicktime is considered by many to be the de facto standard when delivering video content via the web.  It allows seamless playback over a wide variety of operating systems.  That being said it still suffers in much the same way that Windows Media:
    • If a user does not have a correct player, they may not be able to playback the video.
    • File size is generally larger when compared to YouTube and Flash Video however video and audio quality is superior against these two formats.

Overall the best way to get video online is to use option 1 or 2.  Most users have flash installed and either of these options will allow quick and easy playback.