Web Design Basics: Optimizing Your Movies For Download Speed

Looking at making video files available for download from the Internet? Optimize your movies for download speed using these tips!

When making video files available for download from the Internet, there are many things to take into account to optimize the file or files for ease of downloading. You will want to make sure the files express your content without being so large as to be overwhelming to download. Many people these days use broadband internet, but there are still those who use dial-up methods. Reducing the file sizes will ensure that you are able to host and everybody is able to download the files with minimal difficulty.

First, to ensure the file size of your video files is as small as you can make them, you'll want to cut out portions of the file that are not relevant. Anything that is not important to the video should be removed. Whether you are attempting to entertain or educate, there will often be areas, typically in the beginnings and ends of videos that are just dead air. Cut the file down (also known as "cropping") to encompass the most important facets of what you want to show in the video. There are many free programs available that allow you to edit and encode video files, including deleting selected center areas and cropping the beginning and end.

Another way to reduce the size of your video is to cull the animation. This involves removing frames sporadically throughout the video. For example, in a video with 1000 frames, removing 1 frame for every 5 will remove 200 frames. Since one frame is removed and others around it are left in place, the change is effectively unnoticeable. Removing more than one or two sets of frames is not recommended if you want to retain quality, however it will substantially lower the end file size.

The larger your video's dimensions are, the larger the file will be. Try reducing the dimensions to a point where it is still large enough to view, but not unnecessarily large. Resolutions like 640x480 might be tempting, but such dimensions should really only be used for things which require large and detailed quality. Half that size, around 320x240, should be more than adequate for casual needs.

If for whatever reason your video is still a rather large file, you should consider splitting the file into smaller segments. Each can be downloaded and viewed separately, or you may want to try a compression program that will allow you to split the file up and your downloader to then reassemble it with ease.

The audio can also be altered to suit your needs. Given the choice between 8 or 16-bit sound and mono or stereo, the former choices will always be smaller with probably little difference to you. Unless you are encoding something mainly sound-based, it is generally fine to use 16-bit mono. The size can further be lowered by changing the sampling rate, but going below 16000Hz is not recommended.

Video files can be created in many formats and with a variety of codecs which compile them differently. One of the more common file formats is AVI (Audio Video Interleave), which often uses the DivX, XviD, and FFMPEG codecs. MPG/MPEGs can also use these codecs, and is another popular format, often the default on video capture cards and digital video cameras. Some other formats are the MOV format, common on Macintosh computers, and the RM/RAM/RA, which was created by Real Networks. The Real formats lessen the file size immensely at the sacrifice of quality, whereas even a small MPEG is generally far too large to ever upload to a website. AVI is possibly the most oft-used and efficient of these.

All these types and the variety of codecs now available present you with many options in terms of compressing your files. There is no longer any need to encode poor-quality or oversized videos, or keep them to yourself--anyone can optimize their videos for download speed with just a little research and effort.

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