Encoding your video

Optimizing upload quality to YouTube

Got a question from an acquaintance on the best strategy for uploading files to YouTube, and I thought it might have broader interest, so here's the Q & A. Question: I was wondering, since YouTube doesn't appear to be using B-Frames in its encod...

Streaming Producton - Improving Video Quality - the Video

janhead.jpgThis is a video from a session at Streaming Media West. In addition to the production/pre-processing and encoding tips, it's a unique opportunity to see me - Jan Ozer - as a blonde, which I was for roughly 6 weeks last year (a Halloween thing).

Click through to the main article to watch the video.

YouTube's "New" HD Formats

Last Friday, I produced a concert for old time band Allegheny Blue to test out the NewTek TriCaster TCXD300.  I uploaded a 720p file to YouTube to present to the band, and when I went to view the file, I noticed that the Google subsidiary had subtly changed the playback interface.

Though the update turned out more to be interface related than plumbing, there are still some interesting takeaways relating to what data rate to use for your video, and which H.264 encoding parameters. Read all about it by clicking through to the full article.

Review: Microsoft Expression Encoder 3

Expression Encoder 3 is the encoding component of Microsoft’s Expression Studio, a five-product suite ($599 retail/$399 upgrade), and of Expression Web, a three-product suite that also contains Expression Web and Expression Design ($149/$79). Microsoft is also selling Expression Encoder 3 as a stand-alone product with a list price of $49. Seems like a good decision, because although there were some rough edges, Expression Encoder 3 proved very capable and functional in my tests.

Tips on ScreenCam Production

Just got off the phone with Jay Simons from Atlassian, an Australian software company specializing in collaboration and development tool like Jira, Confluence and FishEye. Atlassian has produced hundreds of screencam videos to illustrate new features of their programs and provide quick training tips, producing the screencams with Telestream ScreenFlow (click here to watch some excellent tutorials on Screencam production with ScreenFlow from Atlassian employee Mark Halvorson).

I was chatting about Atlassian's choice of Episodic as their Online Video Platform (OVP) for an article I'm writing for AV Technology, and Jay mentioned that the analytics that Episodic provided - like drop off statistics, how and when people rewind, how many people embed and forward the videos -  helped them fine-tune their screeencam production for clarity, retention and engagement. I asked for some tips, which he graciously provided. Here they are:

  • Limit screencams to 90 seconds, which typically means one topic.
  • Don't waste time with introductions, logos and the like. Jump in and start presenting.
  • Summarize key points with text to aid retention, but pause the video when displaying text. Otherwise, folks can get distracted (as evidenced by lots of rewinds).
  • Use background music to fill in the "white spaces." Make sure the mix is right - if music is too loud, viewers exit quickly. 
  • Voice quality matters - buy a good microphone and pre-amp, and learn skills like pop and click elimination and noise reduction.

I produce a lot of screencams, and I'll keep these in mind going forward. Thanks to Jay for sharing, and I hope you find the tips useful.

YouTube's SD Upload Options

Few things in life are as opaque as working with YouTube—a black box with irresistible appeal to most video producers. Trying to discern how to produce the absolute best quality has consumed boatloads of my time in the past. Recently, however, a concert event client asked me to post six videos to YouTube, and I dove in again.

Sorenson Squeeze 6 - A New Feature Overview

Squeeze6fig1We've all heard about Sorenson Squeeze 6, this article contains an overview of the new features, which include the new review and approval workflow, new filters, faster H.264 encoding and superior integration with Sorenson 360, Sorenson's online video platform.

Encoding for the iPod

Many videographers are creating iPod-compatible files for clients or for posting as demo files on their websites. You would think that with a gazillion iPods sold, the process of getting video onto an iPod would be very straightforward.

Well, there's straightforward, and then there's straightforward. If you're a soccer mom showing off vacation videos, your audience will be impressed that you got the videos on the dang thing in the first place. On the other hand, if you're a bride showing off the four-minute montage that you paid top-dollar for, you expect perfection, and you might get a bit miffed if you see interlacing artifacts or if your mother-in-law looks a bit squeezed. In this column, I'll identify some of the fundamental issues involved in converting video to iPod format, and discuss how to produce optimal quality results.