Preparing the Talk-Now demo video which I posted yesterday has been a fascinating odyssey.Â Keeping in mind that I am an utter video neophyte, although I do have some skills as a still photographer, the result turned out pretty alright.
This post, then, is for all the video-noobs out there like me.Â It’ll save you some time…
The original footage was shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, standard definition, on a Sony HDR-SR1 camcorder.Â They were recorded in MPEG2 format, with AC3 audio.Â The lights used were three sets of halogen shop lights, arranged in a key / fill / back combination.Â I recommend Steve Smith’s excellent video lighting tutorial if you don’t know what that means.Â As mentioned previously, the yellowish cast to the video is due to the fact that I didn’t white balance the camera before shooting.Â Next time!
The editing was done using Adobe Premier Elements 3.0.Â Results were output as a 640×480, 30 fpsÂ Windows Media file, 96bit 44Khz stereo audio, and a video bit rate of 3600 kbps.Â I also experimented with MPEG2, but the output files were nearly twice the size, and theÂ results were noticeably less sharp.Â In addition, on YouTube’s recommendation,Â I also triedÂ QuickTime with MPEG4, but there were obvious video artifacts in the output.
Having created a suitable master, where to upload it?Â I sent it to YouTube, GoogleVideo, Revver, Video.ca, Yahoo Video, and MSN Soapbox.Â Each of these sites takes an incoming video, and transcodes it into a format universally playable (Flash), as well as downsampling it.Â I uploaded a variety of different sizes, bitrates, and formats to the different servers before settling on Windows Media.
The results differed, and differed dramatically.Â Without further ado, I present all of the uploaded videos and my comments.
YouTube is by far the most popular video sharing site on the internet today.Â Uploaded media is restricted to 100Mbytes in size.Â YouTube recommends uploading 320×240 MPEG4, which they then transcode to 425×350 Flash.Â However, 320×240 didn’t produce a good result for me, and logically it shouldn’t if you’re upconverting from a lower resolution to a higher resolution.
The results?Â Fuzzy video, with mono audio.Â On a scale of 1 to 5, they earn a 2.0 in my opinion.Â Mediocre at best.
GoogleVideo, while it doesn’t have the pull of YouTube, is slightly different from its sibling service.Â There are no restrictions on uploaded media size, although it’s transcoded to a miniscule 400×326 size.
The results?Â Â Visibly better video quality, although postage-stamp sized.Â Mono audio.Â On aÂ scale of 1Â to 5,Â they earn a 3.0.Â Better lookingÂ and sounding video than YouTube, but way too small.Video.ca
Video.ca is a brand new service, still in beta.Â NiceÂ Video is transcodedÂ from it’s native format to 400×300.Â The results?Â The quality of the video was good, and audio was stereo.Â Still a very small image though.
Soapbox is still in beta, and the service is mostly full of Microsoft generated footage.Â The video is the same small size other services, and reasonably clear. Audio is stereo. Overall, though, this is a terrible experience.Â Audio and video were choppy, with frequent dropouts.Â Of all the services I tested, Soapbox was undoubtedly the worst.Â
Soapbox earns a 1.0 on a scale of 1 to 5. Update: reader BrianD comments that he sees Soapbox video with the same quality as the Google, and it is in stereo. I’ve now tried it on a couple of different PCs, and the results differ widely. It’s clear that on some computers you can get equivalent or superior performance to GoogleVideo, but not all. Depending on your PC, it can be a great experience — a 3.0 or 3.5.
Video: iotum Talk-Now demo
It’s impossible for me to comment on Yahoo Video.Â After uploading the video, and seeing it classified by Yahoo, 5 hours later it still wasn’t available, and Yahoo was providing the helpful message “Sorry! This video is no longer available on Yahoo! Video.”
Sorry Yahooligans.Â That performance earns you a zero.
Revver was the hands down winner in this comparison.Â With beautiful 480×392 resolution, crystal clear picture, and stero sound, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would upload video anywhere else!
Revver earns a 4.0 on a scale of 1 to 5, plus one bonus point for being the only service to share revenue with uploaders.Â Perfect 5.0.Â Congratulations.
Some weeks back I asked, on LinkedIn, how do you promote a video on YouTube.Â The answer was basically “you don’t… at least not the kind of video you’re making”.Â If you’re shooting a video with broad mass appeal (humour, nudity or stupid stunts) then the YouTube community is a great resource.Â But if you’re shooting a business video, then forget about YouTube, and go Revver.Â You’ll have to pull the traffic through anyway, so you might as well have great results!