Recommended Video Encoding

There are two major video formats that produce quality streaming files and are widely supported throughout the web.

  • MPEG4 (.mp4)
  • Quicktime (.mov)

Recommended Pixel Resolution

The balance that is needed for a good video size is something that is not too small that it is hard for viewers to see and not too large that it is hard for users with slower connections to stream.  We recommend the following.

  • 16:9 (widescreen)
    Normal: 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels high
    Larger: 720 pixels wide by 480 pixels high
  • 4:3 (fullscreen)
    Normal: 480 pixels wide by 360 pixels high
    Larger: 640 pixels width by 480 pixels high

Recommended Video Quality

The quality of video is very important. You do not want your video to have much image deterioration but still want it to be small enough in size so it will download/stream quickly.

To achieve a good balance like this, we suggest when you are compressing your video for use on the web you use a preset of Medium to High Quality or at least 512 Kbits/s download rate. Use a the same frame rate as your source, which is usually 29.97 fps. Make sure either "fast start" or "streaming" options are enabled. This will allow the video to play while still downloading. Also compress the file with H.264 encoding if your compressing software has the option. This will help minimize image loss and keep the smallest possible file size.

Be aware that anything smaller will have some noticeable image deterioration, but will load faster for slower connection speeds, and anything larger will have slightly better image quality, but will be harder for users with slow connections to watch the video without pausing to load.

Average File Size

The final video size will depend upon the original video source file's starting size. Videos exported from the program Final Cut Pro, for example, have a very large size and will subsequently be a little larger after web compression than video that was taken from a DVD which already has had some sort of compression applied to it.

Keeping that in mind, a good average file size for video to be streamed on the web should be around 3-6 MB per minute of video. If your video is larger, you may need to modify your compression settings for a slightly lower video quality.

Example

Below is a sample five and a half minute video that was saved at different resolution qualities to showcase the file size, resolution, and download/load time differences:

Low Quality 18.4 MB   |   Medium Quality 30.2 MB   |   High Quality 68.9 MB

MPEG 4 (.mp4) Conversion Software

Listed below are instructions for some encoding software to encode video to MPEG 4 Video (.mp4) for the web.

Quicktime (.mov) Conversion Software

Listed below are instructions for some encoding software to encode video to Quicktime Video (.mov) for the web.

Learn More: Aspect Ratio

There are two standard format aspects that video is filmed. This is simply a ratio of the width of the screen size over the height of the screen. The two most widely used aspect ratios are 16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen) and 4:3 aspect ratio (fullscreen). 16:9 or widescreen format has quickly become the more popular aspect ratio due to the fact that most new TV and computer monitors are being manufactured to this size. Below are examples of each format for your reference:

4:3 aspect 16:9 aspect
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