Web Site Video: Which Format is Right for You?

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As high-speed bandwidth becomes more popular and the cost of storage goes down, it’s not surprising that more and more Web site owners are looking to add audio and video to their Web sites.

The question we often get is what format should a site owner use? QuickTime? Windows Media? Real Player? Right now I’d argue that Flash is the way to go for most people. It’s got 97% market penetration, the quality is good enough (I’ve seen better QuickTime movies and Windows Media videos) and it’s easy to set up.

Even if you don’t own Flash, or don’t feel comfortable working with it, there are some nice 3rd party applications that will create the movies for you. I’ve been playing around with Video2SWF which works for the Mac and the PC.

For the purpose of this experiment I recorded myself using my MacBook Pro’s built-in video camera and Conference Recorder 2 by eCamm. I then dragged-and-dropped the file Conference Recorder created into a Video2SWF window, made a couple of changes to the default settings, and hit "export." It created the Flash movie and the html page (which gave me the code I needed to put it in the blog post.)

In any case, I’d love to hear some feedback on the quality of the video, or if you have some other options for both Flash conversion or alternatives to Flash you feel work better.

Rich Brooks
Not Quite Ready for My Close Up

  • http://www.webcontempo.com Web Design Minneapolis

    It looked great to me! The only suggestion I have is to maybe move the Spiderman memorabilia out of view, as it was a tiny bit distracting. Otherwise, great job for the first try! :)

  • http://www.webcontempo.com Web Design Minneapolis

    It looked great to me! The only suggestion I have is to maybe move the Spiderman memorabilia out of view, as it was a tiny bit distracting. Otherwise, great job for the first try! :)

  • http://www.taramcgillicuddy.com Tara McGillicuddy

    I thought that both the sound and video quality were excellent. Spiderman was very distracting for me too…lol

  • http://www.taramcgillicuddy.com Tara McGillicuddy

    I thought that both the sound and video quality were excellent. Spiderman was very distracting for me too…lol

  • http://www.flyte.biz Jonathan

    Looking good Rich! I thought your hair looked a little extra "groomed" this morning!

    The familiar controls and absence of the YouTube logo is refreshing. I'm curious to see how well the software can compress higher quality video, as this is often where I've run into stability and performance issues with similar such tools.

  • http://www.flyte.biz Jonathan

    Looking good Rich! I thought your hair looked a little extra "groomed" this morning!

    The familiar controls and absence of the YouTube logo is refreshing. I'm curious to see how well the software can compress higher quality video, as this is often where I've run into stability and performance issues with similar such tools.

  • http://www.flyteblog.com Rich Brooks

    What?!? I purposely moved Spidey INTO the frame.

  • http://www.flyteblog.com Rich Brooks

    What?!? I purposely moved Spidey INTO the frame.

  • http://www.bobbyfirestone.com Bobby Firestone

    For me the video was choppy. The still images are clear but the audio doesn't seem to sync right. Considering it is the lowest common denominator it works.
    Looking for quality quicktime is the best. Product support is excellent across all platforms. Like other products from apple it does its job and looks good while doing it.
    Windows Media like IE not the best in breed and fails to provide universal access.

    I vote for more Spiderman.

  • http://www.bobbyfirestone.com Bobby Firestone

    For me the video was choppy. The still images are clear but the audio doesn't seem to sync right. Considering it is the lowest common denominator it works.
    Looking for quality quicktime is the best. Product support is excellent across all platforms. Like other products from apple it does its job and looks good while doing it.
    Windows Media like IE not the best in breed and fails to provide universal access.

    I vote for more Spiderman.

  • Adam Flaherty

    I'd say you nailed it, Rich – There are formats which are better quality overall, but for a quick-loading, easy, universal format, Flash is the way to go. Also consider that you were recording audio into your built-in mic, and do you know what the frame rate is on your conference cam? Another benefit of Flash is that you can easily craft your own player interface to match your website. Check out my colleague Roy's online portfolio at http://www.metlep.com for a good example of that.

  • Adam Flaherty

    I'd say you nailed it, Rich – There are formats which are better quality overall, but for a quick-loading, easy, universal format, Flash is the way to go. Also consider that you were recording audio into your built-in mic, and do you know what the frame rate is on your conference cam? Another benefit of Flash is that you can easily craft your own player interface to match your website. Check out my colleague Roy's online portfolio at http://www.metlep.com for a good example of that.