Advice

The Secret to Delivering Online Video That Doesn't Buffer

Throughout 2008 and most of 2010 I was engaged in producing dozens of online videos. These videos were not always posted to websites through Youtube, which simplifies matters greatly–and is FREE. Sometimes, for reasons of control, it was necessary for us to use 3rd party players.

After much trial and error (blood, blood and more blood) and having spent a bunch of cash on “how to” videos, we finally learned the secret to buffer-free video. Here it is:

First of all the process of placing a video on a web page can be seen as stupefyingly simple or stupefyingly stupefying. What complicates matters is when you decide that Youtube doesn’t give you the control you need. My advice for most of you wanting to place video on your webpages, just use Youtube. Their encoders are great. You don’t have to pay for hosting and it just works. The challenges arise when you don’t want Youtube branding on your videos and you want more control over what the players look like and what your viewers are viewing.

If you want to get in touch with your inner masochist by not using Youtube, then you need to consider your video in its parts.

  • Your video
  • A video player you can embed into your web page
  • A host who will allow clean playback of your video w/out costing you lots of $$

When combined properly, the aforementioned components work in concert to deliver your video to your audience. One key ingredient to getting this to work properly is a magic little word we’ll call encoding.

Encoding done right means your video looks great, plays great and delivers to a wide variety of machine processor speeds w/out buffering. Encoding done wrong is unwatchable.

Here is how to do it right:

Get an EZS3.COM account. You will also need an Amazon s3 hosting account. Don’t worry. The EZ site will give you instructions on how to set up and link your EZ to S3. EZS3 is basically your front end to your files. The back end, which you’ll rarely touch, will be your Amazon hosting account.

Now once you have that crap all tied together you’ll need to upload your video. If your video is somewhere in the 3 gig area, then you’re not ready to upload. Your 3 to 5 minute videos should be somewhere in the 10 to 18 MB range. How in the hell do you get your 3 GB  .mov down to a 10 MB .mp4??

That bit of magic happens with Quicktime 7.

Optimum Settings For EZS3.COM using Quicktime 7:

Assuming your original movie is a .mov file here are the Quicktime settings:

.mov to .mp4

Video Format: H.264

Data rate: 450 (anything higher you might get buffering on older machines)

Images size: (same as original)

Frame rate: 24

Keyframe: Automatic

Click on Video Options…

Restrict Profile to: Main

Encoding Mode: Best Quality (Multi-pass)

Click on Audio

Audio format: AAC-LC (Music)

Data Rate:  64bits (or 80kb for really nice soundtrack)

Channels: Stereo

Sample rate: 32.000 khz

Encoding quality: Best

Note, if you do want to encode for Youtube, then you want to bump your data rate from 450 to 2000 kbits/sec. You can also set your audio to 44.1 kHz. By giving Youtube more data to play with you’ll get better video and audio quality.

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