The following is a guide to the right settings to use, and some key definitions, to help clarify and improve the process. Use these tips, and your videos look the way you want every time.
1. Capturing the Video
Believe it or not, optimizing your videos to be uploaded online begins with the filming process. Capturing the highest quality footage you can will ensure that the end result is displayed in sharp HD online.
The gear you choose is critically important. Using a camera with a large sensor and high pixel density, such as a Canon Mark III 5D, has benefits beyond a high quality HD result. It will also enable you to reframe certain shots when editing, creating more flexibility overall.
If you’re using an iPhone, make sure you film it for the platform on which you intend to share it. If your aim is to embed it on a website, you’ll want to ensure you film with a horizontal orientation. You’ll probably also want a mic or external sound recorder, since the built-in option just isn’t that great yet. Here are more tips for capturing great videos on the go.
There is no way to upgrade the resolution of footage during the editing or encoding process. The bottom line is: you can’t upload HD video if you don’t record HD video.
2. Timeline Settings for Editing the Footage
When selecting the timeline settings for the editing process, be sure to match them to the aspect ratio of the footage.
Aspect ratio is simply defined as the dimensions of the video (width x height), usually measured in pixels. Some of the most common are 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720 and 720 x 480. Anything lower than 1280 x 720 will not be HD.
Your source video files will indicate their aspect ratio once imported to your computer from your phone or camera. Simply navigate to the footage, click on it, and details about the file will be displayed.
3. The Best Video Codec for Encoding Your Video
When you export a video from editing software, you are compressing the video and audio information to a manageable amount of data, and writing a self-contained video file. To write that video file, you need to select something known as a codec, which defines how the information your video file contains will be presented and read by different players and applications.
There are many, many video codecs available in this day and age, yet H.264 has become popular in the last few years, and for good reason. It compresses video to very small file sizes while retaining high image quality, making it an excellent choice for streaming video online.
4. How to Pick a Frame Rate
Frame rates refer to the number of frames displayed per second of video. You need to select this setting when recording, editing, and exporting your video.
A higher frame rate packs less information into each frame, but more frames into each second. Consequently, a high frame rate (e.g. 60 fps) delivers less motion blur or “strobing” effects commonly seen at lower frame rates.
A high frame rate is required for ultra smooth slow-motion video. At the other end of the spectrum, a subject filmed at a very low frame rate may not be perceived as being in motion, and instead appears to be a series of individual images instead.
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