In order to use a video presentation on a web page, you will need to use a couple of video tools and software, depending on each step you perform.

A) Shooting your footage

Believe me, this is the funniest part of the whole process and also a critical step. Not necessary because of the things you want to spread into your video message, but mainly for the quality of your movie.

If you shoot the footage in the worst conditions, the quality of your movie will decrease. It is critical to perform a shooting at a high level of quality because later, with the compression action, you will lose on movie details.

There are numerous ways to shoot your video presentations. You can use a digital camera, a web camera, or a camcorder.

A digital camera offers you the possibility to shoot a couple of good minutes. Even their main purpose is to take pictures, with today’s highly competitive digital cameras, you can shoot a video presentation at a very good quality for around 10-20 minutes. Their great advantage is the price — a good digital camera is around $200. A digital camera is also portable, so it’s easy to carry. So a digital camera may be a useful solution if you want lots of stills and only a brief video for your site.

A web camera (webcam) is very easy to use and had the greatest advantage of saving your movie right into your hard disk, so you do not need extra connections or capture devices (as we have on cameras). Webcams are cheaper than a digital camera, but in general, the quality of your footage can be poor, of course depending on the kind of model you use. But a medium webcam is around $100. These cameras are usually attached by their USB cable and will take low-quality footage straight into one or more common video file formats.

JSony camcorder to shoot video presentationsFor shooting medium and long movies at higher video quality, I suggest you use a camcorder. I personally use an HD camcorder, actually a Sony Handycam 8.9 MP. I’m very happy with this camcorder because it is very easy to use, very compact, has a great quality of footage and plenty of additional functions — more than enough for an amateur like me!

The biggest disadvantage of camcorders is their price. A medium camcorder starts from $500, a semi-professional one is up to $1,000.

My recommendation: if you want to shoot videos in under 20 minutes, you can invest in a digital camera. But if you want long movies, a camcorder is the best option.

If you want to buy one of these cameras, I suggest visiting and search through BestBuy.com, Target.com. For best prices, you can take a look on Amazon.

If you want more information about what brand mark or type of camcorder to buy, I suggest visiting CamcorderInfo.com (they are the best — I spend here precious time before I bought my Sony camera!), or digitalcamera-hq.com.

B) Capture your footage

Once you end up your shooting session, it’s time to download your movie onto your computer. Like I said, a web camera saves your data into your machine so there are no things to discuss here. With a digital camera or a camcorder, transferring files is an easy process. Every camera has a few extra connections or capture devices in order to perform this action.

Keep in mind one thing: a movie makes it at high resolution and has a great quality. There is almost no compression here, so the size of your footage is very big. For example, an hour of the movie on a miniDV cassette will “eat” almost 14 Gb on your hard disk.

There are other camcorders that save your movie directly into an internal hard disk, DVD, or miniDVD. In this case, the movie is already compressed, but you will lose on image quality — not too much for online video presentations, but sensible if you want higher quality videos.

Most digital cameras have a Digital Video (DV) out or DV in and out socket. This allows you to connect the camera to your PC via a high-speed firewire (IEEE 1394) connection. Many modern PC has these connections fitted as standard. There is no need to convert the image into a digital signal, but the software will be required to edit the movie on your PC.

Some older more basic cameras do not have a DV connection, and you will need to be connected via analog inputs — a USB connection.

So once you transfer the footage into your computer, it is time to prepare it for an online presentation. Since you would not upload and run a 14Gb movie on your hosting server (it will get you right to bankruptcy!) it is necessary to “compress” the size of your video.

If you want to visualize the movie into your computer, you will need a special codec and a video player, depending on the system on your machine and the video format you shoot with the camera.

And this leads me to the next step…

C) Reduce the size of your video footage

So you have now the movie on your computer but has a huge size in terms of Gb. Before we provide with the compressing issue, it is recommended to choose first your future movie video format and “window” size.

If you want to sell your video footage on a DVD, all you have to do is to save it in the right format: mpeg-2. If your video presentation is too long, use a specialized software to split it and copy it 2 or more DVDs — don’t forget to keep the quality as it’s best.

But if you want to put the video presentation on the Internet, here’s what to do next.

A video movie is a shoot of a series of still frames in rapid succession (30 frames per second for NTSC and 25 for PAL) to give the impression of motion. A 15-second video of 320 x 240 resolution at 15 fps shot on a digital camera occupies 4Mb of space.

So in order to reduce the size of the footage, you need first to decrease the size of the clip (either in length or decreasing the resolution). Like images, video clips are often talked about in resolution terms. Most used window formats for Internet are 160×120, 240×180, 320×240.

Next, you can “compress” the video footage so you can later stream the video presentation. The file compression process begins when you take your edited video clip and encode it to a particular video format and compress the file size.

In order to understand video compression, you first need to become familiar with “codecs” and how they work. Codec stands for compression/decompression, and it’s the piece of software you use to compress very large files into much smaller files. Normally, you will choose a codec according to the video format you are interested to use.

Most video file forms allow for some form of compression. The more you compress the more degradation you get. Loss of color and sound can help decrease file size too. DO NOT COMPRESS the video so much that unnatural artifacts such as blocking occur and you will destroy the illusion of a “natural” movie.

Audio in a video file always increases file size, sometimes dramatically. This makes selecting audio options an important factor in keeping file size to a minimum. You need to see if the soundtrack works well at 11 kHz 8 bit Mono (not Stereo). Use this low-quality setting if you can get away with it. Changing from mono to stereo essentially doubles the amount of space needed to store your file’s audio, so stereo should only be used if absolutely necessary. For improved (mono) voice quality, try raising the frequency to 16 or 20 kHz.

You can also drop the frame rate. You can use a 5, 6, 7.5, 10, or 15 fps frame rate depending on your visitor’s online connection type (56k modem, ISDN, DSL/Cable, T1), but under 15 fps the motion starts to appear jerky — that’s bad, right?

You can finish editing your video using software such as Apple’s iMovie or Final Cut Pro, Adobe’s Premiere, Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Microsoft’s Moviemaker, or Sorenson Video.

Obviously, quality is the first cost of the compressing process. You have to make things smaller in memory size so you shrink display size. Or you might cut down on the number of frames per second that are shown. You might throw out the fine details. Or make the audio sound less clear. Or, as is most common, do all of these steps and then some.

At last, you have to stream your video movie. “Streaming” allows the user to begin viewing video presentations stored on your server, without first downloading the entire file. After a brief period of initializing and buffering, the file will begin to stream — or play — in real-time.

Most video editing software is geared for making online presentations and many will also create streaming video files.

 
E) Distribute your video presentation on the Internet

This is the easiest part. Upload your streaming video on your server first. You can use software like CuteFTP Pro or simply use the features from your main control panel provided by your website hosting company.

Once you finished uploading the movie, make the right adjustments to the HTML tags on the web page where you want to insert the presentation. I already explain to you this action step into the video streaming page.

And congratulation… you’re finished!

Now you have a beautiful video presentation on your website. All you have to do is to start applying your best video marketing strategies and get as many targeted visitors as you can to see your FIRST video presentation!

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