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Top Tips To Encode Your Video

In order to enable your video to be viewable on the internet – whether it’s a family video you’ve captured, or a corporate event – you’ll need to encode your video ready for the web.

The delivery method can vary: you can stream your video or have it downloaded as an on-demand version.

There are two different ways of playing your video online: streaming and progressive download. We believe streaming is better and the advantages of streaming over progressive download are:

– the ability to skip to a particular time in a video (Important if you have very long footage)
– the ability to watch a live video stream
– clips are never saved on your hard-disk after you’ve watched them

The following article will give you the top tips for encoding your video and to get the best out of it.

Source
The magic trick to encode your video is the source. You need to have a good, noise free source with good lighting and stable shots in order to get the best output. Fast shot changes, with fast camera movement means the encoder works harder, but with some simple techniques you can eliminate this.

Camera
In order to get the best video from the camera you’ll need to ensure that you have a good composition of your videos and high resolution video. As you encode your video, it will lose quality as you compress it to your needs, so it’s always advisable to encode from the highest quality possible.

Tripod
Ensuring your camera is still will eliminate shaking of the camera. Encoders usually have difficulty with shots which have a lot of fast camera action, so ensuring your camera is stable and on a tripod with slow zooms will get the best output when you encode your video.

Lighting
To produce a good quality image, you’ll need to have enough light entering the camera. Low light will mean that the video that you’re producing will be grainy and also darker than usual. Once you’ve encoded the file, there is a small chance for the encoder (depending on what you use) to change its brightness/contrast levels.

Filters
Filters – applying crops, de-noise filters, etc – can enhance the user experience. But it is important to remember that any type of filter you add to your video will mean that the time it takes to encode will be slightly more than the time it would take to encode your video directly without any filters.

Cropping
Cropping is an essential part when you encode your video and enables the user to have a better experience of the video footage. Also when you have letter bars within your video, there is unnecessary bit rate being assigned to it, meaning the quality of your video can drop.

Uncropped Image: Extra bitrate is being used for un-neccesary black bars.

 

Cropped Image: Black bars have been removed ensuring the bit rate is used in actual video & also there’s better viewing experience now with a full aspect of 16:9.

 

De-Interlacing
When you make a movie with your digital camcorder it is usually interlaced – it records 50 pictures (fields) per second, intermixing every 2 consecutive pictures (with half the height) into 1 frame. So 2 fields are mixed into 1 frame – this mixing is called interlacing.

Before De-Interlacing
One second of a movie consists of 25 frames = 50 interlaced images.

When you create a video which is to be shown on progressive devices such as monitors, it is important that your source is de-interlaced.

After De-Interlacing
One second of a movie consists of 25 frames = 25 images.

Interlaced Footage: Interlacing will affect any sort of movement captured, as you can see on the woman’s hand.

 

De-Interlaced: The scan lines have now been eliminated due to de-interlacing.

An important note is that if you have footage which is de-interlaced and you de-interlace this again you will lose video quality. Mainly you will be able to tell whether a video is de-interlaced by watching it through and checking parts of it which are fast past, or with action.

Normalising Audio
It is essential to make sure that the audio you encode is set at a correct level. Ensuring that your audio is normalised will mean that the encoded file will have a peak level of audio which is normalised throughout your video. If you have parts of the video which are louder than other parts, the audio will be maintained throughout the video once you normalize the audio.

How To Encode Your Video-Encoding Glossary:

Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio of the video you produce is important. In order to have a good viewing experience of the footage, you’ll need to give the encoders the correct parameters for the source file which you’ve imported.

Aspect ratios are typically 4:3 (Square) or 16:9 (Widescreen), other aspects can include 2:2.1:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) which are generally used in cinemas and trailers which you might find online.

Video Bit rate
Video bit rate is the amount of data which is inserted into the video. Typically all encoding software will require a set amount of bit rate for your encoded video.

Depending on your audience, you need to specify a reasonable bit rate – but optimal bitrates can change for different types of content. i.e. a football match will require a higher video bit rate than a talking head as the videos more complex. Bit rate is typically measured in kbps.

Audio Bit rate
Likewise, audio bit rate is the amount of data transferred per second just for the audio track of the video. CD quality audio is generally set between 128Kbps to 160Kbps. Typically radio quality can vary between 48Kbps to 64Kbps.

Frame rate
The frame rate of a video is the amount of pictures there are in a one second video. There are different standards such as NTSC and PAL: NTSC uses up to 30fps and PAL which uses 25fps.

How does this come into encoding? If you want to produce an encoded video of optimal quality then you’ll need to select the right amount of frames per second that you want to use in your video. The more fps there are in your video the smoother the content will be. But the frame rate, along with the bit rate, will influence the quality and the video file size. Therefore you’ll need to look at your source and decide what will be suitable.

For example, with a talking head at 200kbps video bit rate, you might decide to use 15fps rather than 25fps. This will produce better picture quality as the amount of frames that the bit rate is being divided into is less than 25, hence a higher bit rate for each picture.

These tips will help you encode your files to a better quality, however, if you want great results, a quick turnaround and fuss-free encoding, contact us for a competitive quote.