By Philip Bloom
In general, uploading videos to websites is a fairly easy process but there are a few steps you should take to ensure your videos are uploaded properly and offer the best quality possible. Personally, I use Vimeo for sharing my video content and their process for uploading videos is quite easy.
There are many formats you can use to upload your videos, but it is always a good idea to compress your videos before uploading them to the web. Uploading raw, uncompressed files will take a long time and eat up a lot of bandwidth, and the quality will not be that much better than a wel-compressed file. For me, the ideal combination of quality and speed are .MP4 or .MOV files using the h.264 codec. Although Flash streaming is a good compromise of quality and speed, H.264 QuickTime MP4s is a great alternative for great quality.
I have outlined a video upload workflow based on the Mac computer platform, but you can easily apply it to a PC as well. While my own personal workflow is based around Final Cut Pro— and that process is very specific— the following steps will work with most systems.
STEP 1: Secure a free piece of software called MPEG Streamclip from Squared5.com. Once you’ve downloaded it to your computer, open the software and drag-and-drop your finished edit into its main window.
STEP 2: From the top menu of the software, choose Export as MP4 and click.
STEP 3: The next step is to determine which file format and resolution you’d like to use for your video. This depends on whether your video footage is in SD (standard definition), 720p (720 pixels vertical resolution) or 1080p HD (high definition).
My suggestion when using MPEG Streamclip is:
• Go to File, then Export to mp4.
• Select the codec you want the MP4 to be. MP4 is purely a “wrapper” for the video, allowing it to be compressed in all sorts of ways. Personally, I recommend you select H.264.
STEP 4: Select the resolution size you want the video to be. You can select Current if you want to keep the resolution at its current size, or select a lower resolution if you want to upload a smaller file size.
For example, if the finished film is 1080p, but you want to upload a smaller, 720p version, select 1280x720. I highly recommend unchecking the "interlaced scaling option" for all videos. Interlaced video looks awful on the web, so always deselect this. For audio, I normally select AAC 160kbps, but you can choose whatever you’d like.
STEP 5: Video Quality is where we determine the right balance of size versus quality. For most applications, 75% is fine. You can select “multi-pass” for a slightly higher quality video, but it will add some time to the process. If you have the time, this will further enhance the quality of your video online.
STEP 6: Simply click Make Movie, and away you go! Take a look at the finished conversion and if the file is too big for you or the quality isn't good enough, adjust the quality percentage (75% in our example here) to whatever suits you.
This is a pretty simple way to create a version of your video to upload to the Internet. If you upload your video to Vimeo, you don't have to worry about converting the video to Flash. Vimeo will automatically take care of that for you.
I host most of my videos on Vimeo.com because the quality is outstanding and it saves me a fortune on additional bandwidth costs on my website, especially when many of my videos are viewed thousands of times each month. I also registered for Vimeo's Plus option ($59.95 per year), which provides me with 5GB of storage space each week and allows me to embed HD videos. Vimeo also has free memberships with limited video storage, but it will give you a sense of Vimeo’s offerings and help you determine if it’s right for you.
About Phil Bloom
I consider myself as one of the new breed of cinematographers. Over the past 3 years I have embraced the 35mm film adaptor market, shooting on HD video but making it look close to 35mm film. I also have recently embraced the video DSLR cameras, in particular the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS 7D. Please visit my DSLR films section to see just how beautiful they look. I have used these DSLRs on all sorts of projects including recently some work for Lucasfilm. I am also director of “Some Like It Shot Productions” and co-founder of online training resource, F-Stop Academy.