Preparing video for the web

Once you've finished editing your video you'll need to compress it – or reduce its file site – and encode it into a format that is viewable online. File from your editing application are far too large for transport on the web or place on a DVD. It is necessary to compress these video files to make them smaller so they can easily be uploaded and downloaded.

Video shot on mobile phones or digital stills cameras will be much smaller than video shot on a DV camcorder however depending on the camera settings you may still need to compress the footage for distribution online.

In this section we look at applications you can use to prepare your video for online distribution, specifically looking at Avidemux for Windows and Linux and iSquint for Mac. If you are using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie you can also do simple web exports using those applications.

Features to look for in these application include "batch encoding" so you can line up many files to encode at once, settings you can save and re-use, and the more support for various codecs and formats the better. A great resource containing guides for encoding is

How you compress your video is really a question of who your audience is, how you intend them to watch it or what you hope they might do with it. If your audience has a good internet connection you might choose to make a large, high quality version available for download. If your audience has a more limited net connection you should probably consider making a lower quality version that is easier to access.

Compression is always a compromise between the size of the file and the quality of the video. High quality = large file size and vice versa.

If you have multiple audiences you should consider a variety of types of delivery, this again will entail compressing your video in different ways: a large version for screenings, a Flash version for distributing online, another version of distribution of DVD etc.

The page is based on the Guide to Digital Video Distribution.