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Advice on Videos Needed

Published by Chris Coyier


That's just a little teaser graphic there for ya'll =)

Here is the scoop. I'm all set up to start doing some Video Screencasts for CSS-Tricks. I actually already sort of shot the first one. I am on a Mac, so I used iShowU to record the video at 1280x800 with the Apple Animation codec at as high of quality as I could. I also have a pretty decent condenser mic so the audio quality is pretty good. Actually, the audio was a little quiet for this first video but I figured that out for next time.

The 10 minute capture from iShowU was about 400MB.

I put it all into Final Cut Pro to do some post production on it. Basically some intro graphics and some pop-up style info-tidbits. Then I exported it uncompressed from FCP, trying to use the same codec. That file was 1.37 GB. Then I threw it in Stomp, again trying to use the same codec, to compress it down and actually pull the dimensions down as well. The best I could do was 51.2MB which looks kinda-sorta decent.

The Problems

  • 50MB is just too much data. I can't release all of you onto them yet without seriously injuring my server. I'm just on the fairly cheapo Media Temple Grid Service. How can I handle distributing this video? Is there some kind of free or cheap service?
  • Does 50MB sound about right for a 10 minute 800x600 video? I bet if I actually shot at 800x600 I could get better compression, I just figured I might want it a bit bigger since there will be code in the videos and and I want it to be big enough and high quality enough to read easily. Can I do better? How much better?

Limited Preview

If anyone really wants to see it, just contact me through the contact form and I'll send you the link. I'm just gonna ask you all to please please please not share the link yet until I work out some of this stuff. Mostly the bandwidth thing.


  1. What format are you saving as?

    If you use quicktime pro, you can export out as a Flash Video. Should be less than 50mb.

    A few options for hosting: Great quality, no time limit, and high res (up to 1280P HD). Easy to post on to any blog. Limit is 500mb weekly. Vimeo is private, so the only way one can see your video, is if you post it, or send a link.

    Google Video. Okay Quality, no limits that i am aware of, and easy to post as well.

    Bonus to using google video, would be tagging your videos, and possibly getting some other search hits you wouldn’t normally get.

  2. Permalink to comment#

    Good idea, I personally like viddler because it has good quiality videos it is not private and the easy to the eye interaction with the video and the viewer, like tagging and commenting, even video-commenting.
    I also like vimeo because of the HD quality.

  3. It costs a little, but maybe Amazon S3 (
    Link has the rates, and check out the calculator.

  4. i know nothing about video really. its not something thats ever interested me to much and after all the articles ive read about freelancers being involved in to many things, i decided to not get attached to it haha. my point is this may be a noob question but im going to ask it anyway just in case..

    can you not upload it to youtube and then just embed it or something of that nature?
    i would assume it would just get it that many more views and traffic to the site.

    just a thought

  5. Permalink to comment#

    I would def. go with flash video, it will be very small. You can export a FLV from FCP and then use YouTube or build (or buy) a custom player skin.

  6. Permalink to comment#

    Create a separate account on your mac, set the display to 800×600 and then record. I think you will get much better results than to record at higher resolutions and the resize in post-processing.

  7. Permalink to comment#

    I would echo Brian’s suggestion that Amazon S3 would be a good place to look if you were willing to spend a little bit of money. For a 50MB video, 1,000 views/downloads per month would cost you around $9. If you can get your video below 50MB, costs would drop significantly from there.

    Otherwise, you could also try to snag a Director’s account on YouTube. I think you have to prove your case, but then you’re allowed to posts higher-quality videos of any length.

  8. Permalink to comment#

    Here is a free player for FLV video files.

    I think for corporate use is does charge a small fee. I have used this a few times, and I think it works great.

  9. Permalink to comment#

    The cheaper thing is to use P2P. Try Bittorrent.

    There’s even a program called Miro, it’s got bittorrent and a good media player integrated – and i’ve seen lots of designer vids and tuts in it.

  10. chris Jangelov
    Permalink to comment#

    I do some screencasts in Camtasia Studio on a PC. I’d say that there are a few parameters you have to concider:

    1. The size you record has a large impact. Since most people have a 1024×768 display and the browser itself takes som screen estate, I second gog and would recommend appr 800×600 since that is the size people actually are being able to watch.

    2. Any movement builds size. When you use a rather small space you might want to zoom to different areas. Try to keep this to a minimum.

    3: Colour depth and sound quality might also be things to watch. A good microphone lets you get away with a harder compression. If you have a choice between mono and stereo, use mono.

    I am in no way a pro but I think these things are important to watch when you make your choice.

  11. Looking forward to it Chris!

  12. You could host the video at Vimeo and retain much of the original quality. Also, people could download the original, HD file.

  13. @Everyone:

    You guys rock! Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I’ve had someone generously offer to host the files on some pretty rocking servers. I also figured out how to get it done on Amazon S3. I think to start things off, I’m going to use S3 just so I can get a feel for how it’s done. I’m going to post on my experience with that soon.

    I think pretty soon I’ll be unleashing these videos and seeing what happens =)

  14. Paul
    Permalink to comment#

    Other solutions that I know of:
    Megaupload Business Accounts: You would need at least a “Bronze” Account in order to enable “Instant premium downloads” for your uploaded files. The account price for “Bronze” is $30 per month, 1TB is included and they say you pay $25 per TB if you need more (you may want to verify that – additional GBs are $.25 each which is in comparison to the TB price 10 times more).

    SendSpace Pro Accounts: All Pro Accounts are designed for your needs, they only vary by the bandwith you get. If you have a Premium Account, you can make your uploads available as direct downloads. You even can protect them to make sure only visitors from your site can download them which I have not tried out so far. They give you 10 GB to test the service, additional bandwith prices are between 8 and 9 €¢ per GB. I did not find any URL where they show this information without a user being logged in.

    Other than the Amazon S3, all of the solutions I listed abouve require an account that you have to pay for first. Amazon S3 may still be the best choice for you because it is more flexible and the total cost depends more on what you actually use and not on account fees.

  15. Thanks for those links Paul, that is awesome. As of this second, I’ve already accumulated about $6.00 in fees for S3. They have only been up about a week and I really don’t think that many people are watching yet. I could see this costing me a lot more money if they get more popular. And since I make nothing as of yet for making them, I may need to investigate potentially cheaper solutions.

    I’ve had a few people offer to host them already, which is cool. Otherwise the Megaupload thing seems like the cheapest.

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