Monday, November 3, 2008

Embedding Video

So you want to put a video on your website...

Well, the easiest way is to upload it to YouTube and then embed it that video onto your website. The benefits of this are:

1) It's free!

2) You aren't paying for any of the bandwidth. So even if a million people visit your website and watch your video, YouTube is paying for the bandwidth instead of you.

3) YouTube gives you the HTML code you need to paste into your webpage, so you don't even have to know how to write HTML to embed your video successfully.

4)You're likely to get more viewers because other people will stumble across your video on YouTube, whereas if you just store the video on your own web server, you have to do all the advertising yourself to make sure people find it.

The problem with services like YouTube is that you don't get much control over the quality or compression of your video. You're also bound by their artificial time and size limits (for example, YouTube limits you to 10-minute videos. If you have a longer one, you need to break it into 10-minute chunks).

If you're using iMovie 08, there's a built-in upload-to-YouTube option. Otherwise, YouTube offers advice on its website at

Vimeo ( ) is still fairly new, and not as familiar, but it offers some distinct advantages over YouTube. Along with the benefits listed above, Vimeo has:

1) Better quality video (including support for HD video!) Check out one person's Vimeo/YouTube comparison at

2) No specific length limitation (although there is still a 500MB per week upload limit)

3) A for-fee service with even more features (see )

Vimeo offers advice on how best to compress your video for upload at and has a short video on how to upload at

For maximum control over your video, you'll want to store the video on your own web server. If you're a student group, you probably already have a web space you can use. Otherwise, you can usually purchase a domain name, storage space, and bandwidth quite cheaply from a web hosting service (just Google it or ask for a recommendation from a computer-saavy friend.) The following advice applies only to people who have access to a web server and the ability to edit or upload webpages to it. If you aren't sure whether you have this access, check with the local service provider (LSP) for your home school, department, or organization.

We recommend using the FLV (Flash Video) file format (which is what YouTube uses) for your video, which gives a good balance between file size and video quality, and ensures it'll be playable on almost everybody's computer, since just about everyone has Flash installed on their machine.

In the lab, you can do this from within iMovie or Quicktime Pro. Open existing video file in Quicktime Pro or open your iMovie project on one of the machines in the lab and export as FLV it at Medium Quality using the "Expert Settings" option, since it will give you a smaller file size, which is friendlier to your viewers, who won't have to wait as long to watch your video and won't have to worry about having a fast enough connection to the internet.

(Note: If you're doing this on your own Mac, you may need to install the free Perian plugin ( ) which enables QuickTime Pro support for FLV along with some additional audio/video file formats.)

Watch the video to make sure it's a high enough quality. If not, export it again, this time with "high" quality.

Next, you'll need a FLV player for your website. Fortunately, there's an excellent player created by Jeroen Wijering, who generously makes it available free of charge for non-commercial use. You can download from his site at You can then upload the player along with your FLV video to your own website.

Jeroen has also provided a setup wizard ( ) which gives you the HTML code you'll need to paste into your webpage. And he has a list at which explains all of the variables you can set to customize the viewer to your needs.

If you need help at any step along the way, just stop into the lab and ask for help!

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