Videos are a great asset to a webcast – especially if they are interesting and pertinent to your content. It breaks up the presentation, and allows your speakers a little break as well. However, if you are going to incorporate videos into your webcast, there are a few key technical items you should consider first.
You want to make sure that the videos are in the best file format recommended by the webcasting platform that you are using. We typically recommend an .mp4, it’s a pretty universal format on most platforms from WebEx to ON24. You also want to make sure that the files size and bitrate of the video are small enough to play and be consumed by your attendees without causing issues. The best way to do this is to look at the bitrate of your file and compress it down to as small as possible without impacting the quality of the video. What exactly is the bitrate you ask? You’ve probably heard the term but let’s break it down to the different “pieces.”
In all video files, you have the video data, audio data, and “Overhead Container” which has the data about the video and the codec type – these are basically the instructions that a computer would use to play the file. The Bitrate is the number of “bits per second” (bps) at which data in a video is being delivered. The size of the file and the quality of the image and sound are both controlled by the bit rate used. The higher the bit rate, the better the potential quality and the larger the file size. Lower bit rates should be used for international audience or events with a large number of people accessing the webcast from the same network. Higher overall bit rates may be utilized, but when exceeding 800 Kbps, many attendees may experience latency, buffering or playback issues.
If you are looking at the details of a file, you will also notice a Frame Per second rate or (fps). For low movement videos, such as instructional videos and live webcams, a 15fps frame rate will provide a clear and quality stream to the audience. Higher frame rates are permissible but do consider that 24+ fps is utilized for HD video and broadcast television; 15 fps will greatly reduce the file size without noticeably affecting quality. If a cursor is the only constant motion, 1 fps may be sufficient.
For most webinar platforms, video clips are displayed in the slide viewing area, so to keep things consistent, we recommend matching the video frame size to the same aspect ratio as your slides. So if you are using slides that are 16:9 (widescreen), you would ideally want your video to be 16:9. If your slides are 4:3, then your video frame should also be 4:3 so it fits in the space without being stretched or resized. Dimensions for videos – for 16:9 ratio you would want 640 x 360, 480 x 270 and 320 x 180. For 4:3, you would want 640 x 480, 440 x 330, 400 x 300 and 320 x240 pixels.
Audio Format and Specs
AAC Audio format is preferred if using H.264, with MP3 the mobile stream might encounter issues. 32 Kbps audio is sufficient and will allow the video to be encoded at a higher bit rate. Anything over 96 Kbps for the mono audio stream is superfluous unless the audio was recorded in a studio.
So next time you are creating a video for your webinar or webcast, keep the specifications and tips above in mind to ensure your video will shine without the risk of streaming issues for your attendees. V2 is happy to assist with any file compression or clean up needed to ensure your videos play flawlessly.
The HTML5 versus Flash debate has been a hot topic among Web developers for years – and even more in recent years. In fact, the main reason that iOS devices do not support Flash, is because of Steve Jobs’ ardent belief that HTML5 was the future, and Flash was “no longer necessary” as he stated in an open letter in 2010. But no matter what side of the fence you are on, there is no denying the impact of HTML5 on video and the web.
For online video, HTML5 has several things that Flash does not: mobile capabilities and semantic markup. For those of you non tech nerds out there, Wikipedia defines Semantic HTML, as “the use of HTML markup to reinforce the semantics, or meaning, of the information in webpages and web applications rather than merely to define its presentation or look. Semantic HTML is processed by traditional web browsers as well as by many other user agents.” The growth of mobile engagement with interactive video and HTML5’s open structure all combine to create the future of an HTML5-based Web, leaving the player based Flash program in the past.
Since the first version of HTML5 was published back in 2008, mobile has been slated as one of the publishing language’s largest advantages. And since iOS and many Android devices don’t support Flash, Flash is bound to PCs – which, according to Forbes , is a market that has been steadily declining since 2007 – the year the iPhone was launched. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone, and 19% of Americans relied to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information for staying connected, because they lack internet at home, or because they have few options for online access other than their cell phones.”
Those numbers will continue to increase, and companies making Flash-based Videos are missing out on a huge audience by not enabling their videos to run on mobile devices. Now, what does this mean for the world of online events and webcasting you ask? A lot of big name webcasting providers such as INXPO and ON24 are already delivering Cross-Platform HTML5 Based Webcasting. What does that mean? For ON24, it means that regardless of device, all users will have access to the same features in the webcast and it will work across all devices and platforms with no application downloads or installations. With the new INXPO STUDIO, the HTML5 based platform allows responsive interaction for mobile users, simple switching between speakers and locations, and no flash plugin necessary, for greater security and browser coverage.
The future is already here in the world of webcasting and HTML5 and we believe will continue to grow with the high demand for mobile integration, the need to increase security, and to do away with plugins and players.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
It is an exciting time to realize that the broadcasting of a live video feed can be converted affordably to be consumed by viewers through computers, laptops, and now even mobile devices. You no longer need a TV channel or broadcast station to be “live on-air” to reach the masses. Your message can reach those live in your office, while webcasting through an online platform to other employees and offices around the world in HD video quality for a fraction of what it used to cost just a few years ago.