Video Case Study Production Statistics

Useful Stats

Here are some useful stats from the videos that I analyzed.

  • Duration: The average duration was 4:04 (min:sec) with the longest at 8:20 and the shortest at 1:33.
  • Resolution: The average resolution was 413x258, with the largest at 640x480, and the smallest at 220x164.
  • Video data rate: The average video data rate was 466 kbps, with a high of 917 kbps, and a low of 200 kbps.
  • Bits/pixel/frame: The average bits per pixel per frame was .24, with a high of .557 and a low of .061. This is a measure of how much data was applied for each pixel in the video and it lets you compare, for example, the compression applied to a file encoded at 640x360@448 kbps (b/p/f = .065) and a video encoded at 220x164@250 kbps (b/p/f = .577). The easiest way to derive this number is to download the free, cross-platform MediaInfo utility from here and analyze your file within the program. What's the significance of the bits/pixel/frame? My rule of thumb is that any value over .1 is likely to be a waste of bandwidth, though at resolutions below 400x300, .15 is acceptable, since codecs are less efficient at lower resolutions. If you see a value of .557, you can pretty much assume that the data rate is way higher than it needs to be. Click the Figure to see a larger view of MediaInfo, a tool I have installed on all of my computers. 

    • Codec: Six of the ten videos used the VP6 codec, while three used the antiquated H.263 codec, for which there is no explanation if the videos were encoded post 2008. Three others, which the respective web site produced and displayed via YouTube, were encoded with H.264. All the videos were presented in the Flash Player. To be fair, Microsoft and Cisco both presented case studies in the Windows Media Video format, but both were produced prior to 1/1/2009 so missed the cut.
    • Audio data rate: The average audio data rate was 102 kbps, with a low of 16 kbps and high of 256 kbps, with nine of eleven streams produced in stereo, two in mono. My rule of thumb for a case study, which is primarily recorded monoaural speech, is 32 kbps for AAC audio and 64 kbps for MP3 audio. Obviously, my thumb was not familiar to most of these producers.
    • Use of social media: Here's a surprise; if you don't count videos embedded via YouTube (which are all linkable and embeddable), only one of the case studies was linkable and embeddable, and one other offered the ability to email the page into which the video was embedded. None of the other videos offered any social media or sharing links whatsoever. Obviously, some room for improvement here.
    • Call to action: Another surprise was that five of the eleven videos didn't have any special call to action, and several were blank players with no links at all. We learned in Marketing 101 that all marketing documents must have a call to action; it makes no sense to spend thousands on a case study and not make it easy for the inspired viewer to take the next step.

    OK, those are the high level stats, now let's look at the positive attributes I found during my survey.

Comments (4)

Said this on 4-5-2010 At 02:15 pm

I followed the link from Streamingmedia  to have a look at some of the examples worth looking at.

James Wood

HD Productions

Said this on 4-7-2010 At 05:17 am

This is a really interesting piece. I would have preferred to have it all on one page and scrolable rather than split over 5 pages.

Much of your advice runs counter to other articles which recommend the point and shoot approach to corporate video. One notable omission from the article is some discussion of how much these videos may have cost. Without such basic information it's impossible to determine whether companies can expect a return on their investment in video.

Thanks for a fascinating review.

Said this on 4-7-2010 At 06:40 am
Hey Daniel:

Thanks for your note - lots of good input. Would love to see the other articles on point and shoot - can you share some links?

I was surprised at the general high quality of these videos, though they were from big companies. I only tried to contact one who didn't favor me with a return email (sigh) but if I had to guess, I'd say most of these were easily in the $10,000 range or higher range, some very much higher.

I think you can produce them for much less cost, but these are the type of videos that marketing folks/budding videographers need to emulate in terms of style, brevity, composition and the like.

I'll try to minimize the pages going forward - it's a good organization tool for me and does improve those page counts and advertising views.


Thanks again for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note.

Said this on 4-8-2010 At 06:11 pm

This is a really nice analysis, thanks.

You'd be surprised about cost, Turnhere one of the larger online video producers quotes $600 for a "small business video". I think you're right about the big name companies producing their videos in the $10,000 range using a multicrew shoot, professional graphics and high-end post production, but there are online video producers out there doing their thing for much less. 

Another decision would be how to deliver videos, ie. which Content Delivery Network to use. I'd be interested if you ran into any performance issues (i.e. buffering)

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