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Creating Flash Video for Sharing on the Web

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Flash Video is the most popular file format for video played over the internet.  It is used by YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo Video and MySpace.  Flash Video is supported by most operating systems and web browsers.  Flash Video is a video file format specifically designed to be streamed from servers on the web.  FLV files are played using a player embedded in a web page.  High quality video can be stored in Flash format with reasonable file sizes.

This article will discuss how to properly encode audio and video for sharing using Video Desk.

Selecting the Correct Encoding Settings

When creating a Flash video file, the size of the file and the quality of the image and sound are both controlled by the bit rate used.  The higher the bit rate, the better the potential quality and the larger the file.  Generally, you will need a higher bit rate if your video has either a high frame rate, or a large frame size.

Most video sharing services limit their customers to very small frame sizes and a single bit rate, which produces a low quality.  Video Desk does not restrict the size or quality of your video clips.  For instance, you can use your account to share a video recorded in true HDTV resolution, such as 1280x720 pixels.  This is a reasonable guideline to choose your bit rate setting:

Video Characteristics FLV video bit rate
320x240, 5 fps 48 kbps
320x240, 30 fps 64 kbps
640x480, 30 fps 128 kbps
1280x720, 24 fps (HDTV 720p) 384 kbps

Remember, if your video has more action and fast motion, you should increase the bit rate if you want good quality without blurring or jumpiness.

Audio is also encoded with a set bit rate.  Generally, you can follow these guidelines:

Audio Type Required Bit Rate
Speech 48 kbps
Music (standard quality) 64-128bs

Always use a high total bit rate for good quality, but not higher than the bandwidth that most of your viewers have available.

The fastest dial-up modems can handle about 100 kbps, so any video encoded with a higher bit rate risks pauses and dropped frames.  Standard "basic DSL" should be about 256 kbps, but it is often shared between several computers on a network.  You can't necessarily count on your viewer being able to use the total bandwidth to watch your clip.  Consider what you know about your audience when selecting a bit rate.

Today most people are using DSL or faster connections, so a good limit is 128 kbps, which is the setting used by Video Desk's automatic conversion.

Flash Video Encoding Tools

The first rule of achieving a high-quality encoded file is to record at the highest possible quality.

There are many encoding applications available today, such as Digital Media Converter Pro and Adobe Flash Video Encoder. Let us look at the procedures you need to follow for encoding using Digital Media Converter Pro.

  1. Add the file or files you intend to convert to the Conversion List.  Digital Media Converter Pro can batch convert as many files as you choose in one operation, using the same settings.
  2. Click Formats >> Select Standard Formats >> FLV >> Configure.

    Digital Media Converter Pro - Settings
  3. Select audio and video bit rates and other settings.  Generally, we recommend that you Keep source file dimensions. You can decrease the frame rate if the video is mostly slow-moving or static.  For audio settings, we strongly recommend using the MP3 Compressor.

    Digital Media Converter Pro - Effects

Once you have done with your settings, click OK, then File >> Start Conversion.

Digital Media Converter Pro will convert all the selected files using the settings you selected.

Online Conversion Versus Encoding Applications

Video Desk will automatically convert any uploaded video and audio files to FLV format.  Why should you use a stand-alone conversion program instead of the server-based conversion?

Video Desk's online conversion is intended to let people quickly upload and share video, without worrying about technical details.  The online conversion works very well, and there are no charges for converting.  All files converted online will have the same dimensions.  Using a conversion application gives you more control over the size and quality of the video.  Conversion tools also give you the option to change certain properties of the video, such as brightness, contrast, and audio volume.

Where to Go Next

Encoding your files correctly will help to ensure that people watch your videos.  The next step is to publish your media files.  Now you are ready to share your videos with your friends and associates, you can sign up for your free Video Desk account.