The best video format for a web?

What is the best video format for a web? It’s Quite a confusing question…..How can we select the right video format from a number of formats existing today? With just a little bit of basic knowledge, you can avoid the trouble.

Basically, there are 2 broad categories of video formats. Some formats are meant for your finalized video and are called sharing formats. The second format is called raw video master clips used more in the beginning stages of a video project. You have to evaluate whether a format is the “right” one or not by considering three criteria:

•    Size of the file
•    Resolution and overall appearance of the file
•    Compatibility of the file

Inorder to upload a video to the internet you should use videos of smaller size. A large video file may encounter buffering issues and may drive the viewer crazy. The smaller the size, the greater is the quality, the easier it will stream. Rapid Movement and flashy stuff within the video can add the file size and will be difficult to compress with resulting high-quality.

Common Video file formats

We will give you a brief description about the best video file formats. The last 3 or 4 letters on the end of a video file’s name indicates format or file container.

.AVI (Audio Video Interlaced):

AVI is windows-based and is virtually universal. That is not all AVIs are created equally and you will run into compatibility issues. AVI is what’s known as a container format; which means it contains multiple streams of different type data,; including a control track and separate video and audio streams. Now, what streams inside the container is not necessarily the same from one avi video to the next as the codecs used for compression can vary. .AVI files (particularly when uncompressed) tend to be of large file size, way too big for the internet. AVI is more for the beginning of a video project, not the end. ]

AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition):

AVCHD is fairly new and compatibility with certain video editing programs may be an issue. Some video editing software applications have begun to support this format but many of cannot handle it well yet. Additionally, playback of AVCHD files requires speedy CPUs and a sufficient amount of RAM. That makes this format a little difficult to work with but it maintains high quality. As time goes by, it will no doubt become easier to use. It’s not a sharing format for the web because it is so huge, but it has become very common as a lot of newer HD camcorders record in this format. Video in this format would be for the beginning of your video project and serves as a master clip you would use to edit with.

Windows Media Video (.wmv)

wmv is well-known video file format which is of high quality and with pretty small file size.. The advantage of .wmv is that it’s standard with all Windows PCs and, if shot in low enough resolution, can really be small enough to share via email. If you get an email with an actual video attached instead of just a link to a video, it is probably a wmv file. They are the only ones small enough to attach to an email. . Windows Media Video is used for both streaming and downloading content via the Internet. Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, an application bundled with Windows operating systems, is built for WMV files…

Motion Picture Experts Group MPEG-4 (.mp4)

It has the H-264 compression codec which is considered top drawer, and is quickly becoming the standard output of camcorders and video cameras. For online sharing the .mp4 format is moving toward the universal choice and in fact is recommended by YouTube, the big fish in the platform mark.

Apple Quick Time (.mov)

This format has been around a while and is standard from Apple Quick Time, but is not restricted to Macs. File sizes are big and quality is high. If super-tight quality is your concern, this may be your format.

FLV (Flash Video Format):

Almost all the video sharing sites stream video in flash. You can upload formats other than flash, and those sites will convert it into flash for streaming to the end user. Notable users of the Flash Video format include YouTube, Yahoo! Video, MySpace, and many others. Many television news operations are also using Flash Video on their websites. Most of those sites accept uploads in a handful of formats like QuickTime, mpeg4, or wmv, and then they convert it to flash or MP4 before actually putting it out on the net.

In addition to the nearly universal flash video player, FLV is popular because it gives one of the smallest file sizes after compression yet it retains fairly good quality. If you self-host your own videos, you should convert them to flash for greatest compatibility with the highest number of Internet viewers. Although FLV’s are the most common format found on the web today, the standard is moving towards the use of using MP4 H.264 files within flash players as it is compatible with both online and mobile, not to mention some HTML5 browser support (Safari, Chrome).

Here a question arises,what is the best video format for the iPhone”.

Far as we know, iPhone only supports mp4, .m4v, or .mov. mp4 is good…
But whichever of those 3 you choose, there will be problems in the browsers. Not because of the browser but because the browser may lack the pluggin needed to play the video.

Those 3 formats used on the iPhone are not yet that popular, and a large percentage of the Web browsers out there will not have the required pluggin. By far the most widely used video format for those browsers listed is Flash.. but it doesn’t work in the iPhone. However, depending on how much effort you want to put into making your video available to the widest audiance. You can offer both a Flash version and an mp4 (or mov) version and use javascript to detect if there is a Flash plugin… if not, the mp4 version plays. If the browser has the Flash plugin, then the Flash version plays.
Here is a sample page that does just that using swfobject to detect and play the Flash if plugin is available, if not, plays .mov. So you can, in effect, play Flash on the iPhone.


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