Streaming Video Answers

Streaming Video coach Manuel Viloria answers your questions about how to put streaming video on your web site.

First of all, what is streaming video?

It's simply video that people can watch while it is downloading. Before streaming video, people had to patiently wait for the entire (huge) video file to completely download before they could view it. With streaming video, the images and sound play as the download progresses, thus minimizing your viewers' thumb-twiddling time.

What kind of equipment do I need?

The simplest to use would be a digital camera that supports video, because the camera will most likely save the video as an AVI file. Most of the video editing software available make use of AVI files.

How do I stream the video file on my web site?

You will need software that converts the AVI into an FLV file. There are free FLV converters available online. You will also need software to automatically generate the html code needed to display the FLV video on your web site.

For example, Webmaster Media Maker has a tool that converts your AVI files to FLV, as well as software that generates the code needed for your web site.

Why does my video appear choppy on the screen?

Video files are quite large. If your visitor is using a slow internet connection, the video stops every now and then as the data tries to catch up.

How do I make my streaming video files smaller?

You can either take videos of simple scenes (i.e. person standing in front of a motionless background such as a wall), put your video files on fast webservers (so that people can download them quickly), or compress the video.

For example, there are programs like Wildform's Flix Pro that allow you to specify the size of the FLV file to fit different audiences (i.e., dial-up users vs internet broadband subscribers).

The smaller the size, the better for your dial-up internet viewers. The trade-off is that you lose some detail and frames in your video. Here are examples of Mang Medik singing the Bohol Welcome Song video in different sizes. Please click on the PLAY arrow.

(56Kbps, for dial-up users)

To make this video appear on your site, simply copy/paste the following:
<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CbndZRd6B1E" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="160" height="120"></embed>

(300Kbps, for DSL/Broadband)

To make this video appear on your site, simply copy/paste the following:
<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/tmIe1S9g1-c" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="240" height="180"></embed>

Why put video on a web site?

It helps you connect with your readers/viewers. It does not have to be an overly long video. A one-minute video, for example, will allow your customers to hear your voice, see your facial expression, and connect with you on a deeper level.

You can also display your own TV commercials, memorable vacation moments, breaking news footage you took yourself, a pep talk for your team, a class lecture, or simply a way of sharing with distant relatives.

In addition, it will also help unleash your creativity as you think of other ways of communicating with others. Besides, it's a lot of fun!

Do you have an unanswered question about streaming video?

Please send in your questions or comments using the form below, or contact me. Thanks!

[ First posted on 10/25/2005 by Manuel Viloria ]



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