Video advice needed - best format mp4?

by Treece
23 replies
My husband has been asked to do a DIY video for a client (he's a still photographer) and is struggling to find good advice on the optimum output format. From the reading we're doing, it seems that it should be an mp4 but our Windows-based clients are getting an "Install Quicktime" error message. We are mac-based.

What format would be best for the majority of viewers to see?

Can you recommend a mac-based video editing software? (Final Cut Express?)

I read in one thread that I might be missing an htaccess file.

Here's the link to our video and all input would be greatly appreciated. We're happy to do the reading if any one recommends learning links.

Sample video - can you see this?

Thanks in advance.
#advice #format #mp4 #needed #video
  • Profile picture of the author mscherrah
    Final Cut express is a good tool, if you are really getting into video production, you might want to think of final cut pro. But if you are just dabbling, I hear the newest iMovie is pretty beefy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kate Davies
      Hi Treece

      When I click on the link, the page comes up and I am prompted to download a plugin. From your post, I'm guessing that if I accept the Plugin, it will try to install QuickTime. Unfortunately, I loathe and detest QuickTime, so I won't even try to install it. (Sorry about my views on QuickTime - it's purely personal and I can't give any logical reason for it).

      I would recommend that you upload your videos in flv or swf Flash formats. Flash is viewable on >98% of the worlds computers without the need for additional plugins. I would also recommend that your first output is created in an uncompressed high quality format (I'm not a MAC user, but I imagine it would be an MOV file). You can compress for web viewing afterwards, but start with a good quality file.

      A good product to convert your original video file (e.g. MOV file) to swf or flv for Flash, is the Flix encoder. Flix Std is only $39 and comes in MAC and Windows versions. Here's a link (not an affiliate link) to the On2 website for Flix

      I have used iMovie and found it to be pretty good. It would probably be a good editing program to start with and then upgrade if you feel the need.

      Good Luck

      Kate
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  • Profile picture of the author Treece
    Thank you both.

    Kate, this is exactly the feedback we are looking for. I thought mp4 was replacing FLV but clearly I am wrong. Can you see it here? Plaster Repair - Do It Yourself video

    I'm also working on my kid's recruiting videos and need people to be able to see the videos! It's frustrating to do all of this work and not have people be able to view it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marty S
      Final Cut Express is the best option as it is loaded with features and is an industry standard. iMovie is a little thin on effects, and Final Cut Pro is very expensive and you will never use 95% of its features (really its a Television/High-End video producer).
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      • Profile picture of the author Kate Davies
        hi Treece

        Yes, I could see that video and it look great . Is that the one your husband has done? If so, I think it's excellent. To my mind this is the future of the internet, demonstrating products like that, can really make people want to buy the product.

        Yes, you're right to some degree about MP4 replacing flv, but it's early days yet and systems are still catching up. Flv is still going to be around for a good while and there is whole new generation of flv players around. Really the only reason that mp4 features (aside from the good quality) is the fact that they can play in Quicktime and Flash, but it's not easy yet.

        Regards

        Kate
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  • Profile picture of the author Treece
    Thank you! Yes, that's the video he did. Not bad for a first try, so now he needs to upgrade camera, software and get serious. I agree with you that it is the way of the future.

    Looks like we'll start with Final Cut Express, a new camera, and On2 Flix. Maybe I'll upgrade iLife for the fun of it.

    Thanks for taking the time to view and Kate, I look forward to your launch!
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
      I'd have to agree that Final Cut Express is a good choice but if you want to use a windows based program such as Vegas you could always utilize the Bootcamp feature of your MAC.

      I also agree to convert/encode to the FLV format.

      That is a really good video especially for a first try. Give your husband kudos for a job real done.

      What kind of camera are you looking to get and what type of future projects do you want to do?

      Kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author Alp Bozkurt
    Hey Treece!

    MP4 files are very small sized and the best for viewing over internet.

    You just embedded your MP4 video in a wrong way. You should embed your mp4 videos to your html pages using a flash based player.

    Please see my sig how I embedded two MP4 files using a free player and they can be viewed by anyone. Pc, Mac, Windows, Linux it doesn't matter.

    PM me if you still need further instructions.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andy Smith
      I'll throw my vote in for Flix too for converting to FLV and SWF, I've tried a few and this certainly is the best. IMO!
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  • Hi,

    Am not sure how much Video Scraper Plus -- Software for bulk video download/upload/conversion will help you.Nothing wrong to have a look at the webiste.

    If you like you can grab this with WSO offer for just 19$
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  • Profile picture of the author Treece
    Really dumb question - do I need a converter if I already own flash?
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  • Profile picture of the author Alp Bozkurt
    You don't need any converter. MP4 files are great enough. Just embed them with the proper html code. They will be viewed at its best from any browser.
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    I would go for VP6 encoding over Quicktime. VP6 is a flash
    format. If you just want to upload to video sharing sites
    MP4 is fine, but if you want to self-host go with VP6, available
    in the Flix encoder. This will allow you to deliver a high-quality
    and fast-loading on-site video for your client.

    I think Flash has a VP6 encoder in some versions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Treece
    Kate & friends, I followed the advice here and redid my html code. Can you see the video now?

    Second video attempt with new html coding

    We are looking at the Canon Vixia HV30 and possibly the HV40. Any thoughts?

    Thank you all so much.

    Treece
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Moffatt
      Originally Posted by Treece View Post

      Kate & friends, I followed the advice here and redid my html code. Can you see the video now?

      Second video attempt with new html coding

      We are looking at the Canon Vixia HV30 and possibly the HV40. Any thoughts?

      Thank you all so much.

      Treece
      Yes, grab the Canon. You'll be happy with your purchase!
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    That link played fine on my Windows machine.

    Tsnyder
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    If you knew what I know you'd be doing what I do...
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    • Profile picture of the author mscherrah
      Treece,
      If you are going to go for Final Cut Express, there should be an option when exporting the video for ipods. When you export for ipod, the files are mp4 but will show as m4v. These are MUCH higher quality than regular mp4 files. They are also larger files, but I have not had a problem using them before. Of course flv files are nice, but m4v files are, in my opinion are the way to go. I hope this helps!

      Matt
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  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    MP4 is replacing FLV because the codec is far superior and also it will convert to mobiles seamlessly as they have a hard time playing flv files.

    Quentin
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    • Profile picture of the author John Henderson
      I hope nobody minds me tagging onto the end of this thread...

      I've just created a video WSO that demonstrates a certain kind of software app. Although I'm a Mac user, I've recorded screencasts of the Windows version of this type of app (using VMWare Fusion), since it means a bigger audience of potential buyers.

      I've edited the videos together in iMovie and exported using the MP4 file format because I thought it was a universal standard that any customer would be able to play with just a double-click.

      However, it seems that Windows Media Player cannot play MP4s: Information about the Multimedia file types that Windows Media Player supports

      This is disappointing as I've tweaked the export settings to produce good, clear videos in a compact file size.

      What should I do? Sell the videos to Windows users as MP4 files and hope that customers are happy to install VLC Media Player? Or should I find a way to convert them into WMVs? :confused:

      Any advice would be much appreciated,
      John.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Henderson
    So.....

    Is it wise to sell MP4s to Windows users?

    Anybody?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kate Davies
      Hi John

      Yes, it probably is wise, now, but it really depends how you intend to distribute them. Whatever you do DON'T convert them to wmv.

      Sorry to answer your question with a question, but how do you plan to sell them? Are they for download or for viewing online?

      If you want them to be viewable online, then there are several options now (more so than when the thread was first launched 2 years ago).

      I can advise you, but if they are to be viewed online then it would also be useful to know whether you host your own website, whether it's an html website or built in Wordpress or Joomla or some other content management system. Were you thinking of using YouTube (not necessarily recommended but good for some purposes). Are they to be in a paid content area?

      Give me a bit more information and I'm sure I can help you come up with the best solution.

      Kate
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      • Profile picture of the author John Henderson
        Kate, thank you for responding! I was beginning to think that my keyboard had packed up...

        Originally Posted by digileaf View Post

        Sorry to answer your question with a question, but how do you plan to sell them? Are they for download or for viewing online?
        My product consists of five video 'chapters' that have been bundled together as a zip file. I'm hoping to sell that as a download.

        (By dropping the exported frame-rate to 15fps, the audio quality to 80kbps and using the h.264 codec, I managed to get the final zip file down from 283MB to 85MB -- a 70% reduction.)

        I'm glad that you think that it's okay to go with the MP4 format. My attempts at exporting in and converting to other formats haven't gone well -- especially with the 480 x 320 resolution of my video.

        The plan is to upload the zip file to a server, organise a 'Buy Now' button and promote the video set with a link from a WordPress blog. (I'm in the midst of teaching myself WordPress, so the know-how is gradually coming together)

        Anyway, now that you've given me a bit of confidence with this file format, I'll have a go at uploading to... somewhere. At the moment, I'm thinking of selling from Shoply.com (based in London) because it's easy for an inexperienced guy like me to set up.

        Kate, thanks again for responding; any help you can give is much appreciated!
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