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How To Do Streaming Video? What's A Reasonable File Size?

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#1 RisaBB


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Posted 04 November 2009 - 08:55 AM


I have a client that wants to put a 4 GB - 1 hour video on his site. I told him he'd have to upgrade his web hosting plan for more space - besides it taking a user too long to load.

The client said he'd use some program to reduce the size. How small should the file size be to be reasonable? And is there something I'd need to do to make it a streaming video or do mpg's do this automatically?



#2 adriang


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Posted 04 November 2009 - 12:55 PM

With video there's various factors that affect the file size...frame rate, picture resolution, picture quality (compression ratio), audio quality (mono/stereo, bit rate).

I'm not sure what the ideal size is but would suggest it's dependent upon who your target audience is (and the likely connection speed/screen res they use).

A 1 hour streaming video on a website is kinda long though regardless of size - how about making it 6 lots of ten minutes and then host on youtube and embed that way? (interestingly their limit is 10 mins and 2GB!!).

If that's not an option then I'd suggest looking at .flv and embedding via a flash widget.

#3 RisaBB


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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:56 PM

Thanks, Adrian. Is there something I need to do to make a video stream, or it does this automatically?

#4 adriang


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Posted 04 November 2009 - 04:32 PM

You don't need to do anything specific on the server for the common streaming video formats. They steam because of how the file format is structured rather than any jiggery-pockery on the server.

If you use a format such as windows media video (.wmv) then simply putting a link to the file on a webpage will stream the video for a user who clicks a link to the file (Windows Media will open and away they go). However this won't be embedded in a web page.

.mpg isn't really intended to be streamed - if they're small enough and the user has a quick enough connection then they may give the appearance of being streamed but it wasn't intended for streaming over the web and so you probably don't want to use that format.

Another streaming format other than .wmv is the real player format, although I really wouldn't recommend using it purely because I dislike the software and the proprietary nature of it...but that's a different story.

.flv (flash video) is perhaps the easiest/most reliable format if you're particularly wanting to embed the video into a web page. To use this, what I'd do is get a flash widget from activeden.net, use swfobject to embed the widget on the webpage, then all that's left to do is convert the .mpg to .flv (I have video software I purchased a while ago that would do this but checking google seems to throw up a load of free utils to do this as well) and away you go.

The other thing about .flv is that it's a little harder for people to pinch the video (if that is a concern). With .wmv a user can simply right click and hit save as. Saying that, .flv isn't full proof in this respect but stops the non-techie from pinching the file.

Edited by adriang, 11 November 2009 - 05:21 AM.

#5 RisaBB


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Posted 04 November 2009 - 05:13 PM

Thanks for that detailed reply, Adrian. I will copy it practically verbatim to my client.

#6 TheManBehindTheCurtain


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Posted 05 November 2009 - 08:36 PM

Concur w/ Adrian's good advice.

An alternative: Break it into segments of 10 minutes or less. Create your client a channel on YouTube, and deploy them them all there. YouTube has a fairly new feature -- playlists. Add all of the videos to a playlist, and they will play in order w/o the visitor having to find and play them individually. Then embed a link to the playlist on your client's web site.

A couple of advantages:

- No bandwidth issues at your own host.
- More visibility for the client's videos.
- Ability to "syndicate" content to partners.

We actually keep our videos whole on our web site and create separate ones split into 10-minute segments for YouTube. Our description of the video on YouTube gives them a link to watch it "uninterrupted" on our site.

A huge advantage for us of Flash video is that it is platform agnostic and plays in all of the major browsers. With Windows video or QuickTime, you've always got some class of site visitor chewing you out for going to the Dark Side (whichever one that is). We routinely deploy 45-minute technical videos and 60-minute webinars on our site as Flash video. Depending on a lot of circumstances, the file sizes range from 75MB to 225MB; Flash video is very compact.

Our target audience can just about be guaranteed to have a high-speed internet connection, and we get no complaints about the video stalling.

#7 litmusonline


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Posted 11 June 2010 - 07:34 AM


It's glad to be here to get something knowledge about video streaming.

Anyway, thank for sharing it and all credit goes to Moderators for enhance our knowledge. :)

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