Put video on your website with
Pros & Cons, and Recommended Quality
Updated September 2009
To put Flash video on your website, you have two choices: use an
online service like YouTube or Google Video, or run
standalone software on your computer like Riva
FLV Encoder (Windows) or ffmpegX (Mac). The advantages of
using an online service are that it's easy, they host the
video for you, and your video will have a wider audience.
The advantage of using standalone software are that you can
pick which video player you want to use (more control), and
you won't have to have links in the video player that can
take visitors away from your site. If you're using YouTube,
then people can easily click off your video from your site
and on over to YouTube's site, which is what YouTube wants,
which is why they're willing to help you get that video onto
your site in the first place. You get free video for your
visitors, and YouTube gets free advertising.
Since YouTube is the most popular online service, I
have this special page about it. A big advantage of
using YouTube vs. a competing site is that YouTube is
incredibly popular, so it can give your video a large
audience. This article as about YouTube, so that's what
I'm going to cover. But the concepts are the same as
with the other online video services: You upload your video
to them, and they convert it and host it, showing it on
their site, and letting you embed it into your own site.
Here's how going the YouTube route works:
- You register for a free account. (Non-registered
users can watch videos but not upload them.)
- You upload your video to them via their website (in
just about any format -- .wmv, .avi, .mov, .mpg).
- They'll convert the file and give you the code to put
on your website.
- You put the code on your site and ta-da! -- your
visitors can now see the video.
YouTube is actually hosting the video; the code on your
page just calls on YouTube's server to show the player and
provide the video to your site users.
If you do go with YouTube, then remember to give
YouTube a very high quality video to work with. Don't
compress it first, because YouTube is going to compress it,
and if you send them a compressed version then it'll just be
double-compressed, and look like crap. YouTube doesn't give
much guidance on the settings you should use, recommending
only H.264, MPEG-4, or MPEG-2 format, and 640x80 or higher
resolution, and not giving specific recommendations for
framerate or bitrate. So combining their recommendations for the
former and mine to supply the bits they left out, we have
settings for uploading videos to
Standard & HQ
H.264, MPEG-4, or MPEG-2
29.97 or 30 fps
320x240 min.; 640x480 max
AAC or MP3
Music: 44.1 kHz Stereo, 256 kbps
Speech: 22.05 kHz, Mono, 192 kbps
YouTube does a have limit of 2Gb per file, but that will
be plenty. A 10-minute video (YouTube's limit) at the
maximum quality listed above of 8000 Kbps for video and 44.1
kHz stereo for audio takes up only about 0.6 Gb.
Of course, no matter how good the video you send them
is, YouTube is going to apply some pretty heavy compression
to it, so it won't look as good as what you could do
yourself with a different Flash player, because you can
choose less drastic compression if you like. YouTube will
compress the standard/HQ video down to about 250-500
Kbps, and HD
to about 2000 Kbps.
Also, note that the less movement and the less
detail in your videos, the less they'll suffer from
the effects of compression. Make your videos without lots of
motion (use a tripod) and with plain backgrounds, and
they'll look better once they're on YouTube.
My other web video
Basics of web video. Which format to use, and how to ensure a small filesize plus compatibility with all browsers.