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Video Quality Guide

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I frequently get questions from marketeers related to size, quality and download speed on flash videos. These are tricky questions to answer since video quality is a matter of subjective opinion. In this guide we will take a look at some typical options of online video qualities and you can judge yourself if the quality is acceptable or not.

Before we start

This article will only cover Flash video files. Most likely you have a video file in a different format so you will need to find a program to convert your file to .flv format. During this conversion you can set video and audio quality. I’m using ffmpegX for Mac, but there are a lot of other options both for Windows and Linux.

Audio and Video bitrate

In this article we will be playing with the audio and video bitrates to compare the quality and size difference in the final result. The lower the bitrate is, the poorer the quality will be.

Progressive download

Most Flash videos are delivered with a technique named progressive download. This gives the user the possibility to start watching the movie before it’s fully downloaded in the same way as a regular streaming server, but it doesn’t give you as a publisher any possibility to protect your content.

Low quality video

The two first movies are converted to an extremely low quality both when it comes to video and audio.Try to view the video in fullscreen mode and see how the video quality looks like.

First video in 28kbit/s

  • Video: 28kbit/s
  • Audio: 32kbit/s
  • Size: 1.3 MB

Second video in 64kbit/s

  • Video: 64kbit/s
  • Audio: 56kbit/s
  • Size: 1.5 MB

Medium video quality

To achieve a medium quality video you will need to increase the size of the files with about 25%. A workaround to get better video quality without increasing the file size is to reduce the audio quality.

First video in 128kbit/s with 56kbit/s audio

  • Video: 128kbit/s
  • Audio: 56kbit/s
  • Size: 1.6 MB

Second video in 200kbit/s with 56kbit/s audio

  • Video: 200kbit/s
  • Audio: 56kbit/s
  • Size: 1.9 MB

Third video in 128kbit/s with 24kbit/s audio

  • Video: 128kbit/s
  • Audio: 24kbit/s
  • Size: 1.4 MB

High video quality

To increase the quality even more, you will need to compromise a lot on file size. This can be useful for fullscreen options. Please try the fullscreen button on the video player to experience the quality.

First video in 640kbit/s

  • Video: 640kbit/s
  • Audio: 56kbit/s
  • Size: 4.8 MB

Second video in 1000kbit/s

  • Video: 1000kbit/s
  • Audio: 56kbit/s
  • Size: 7.1 MB

Larger formats

All the previous videos were resized to a 320×240 format which is the most common format used for Flash video. But nothing stops you from choosing another format. Here you have some 640 x 360 examples.

First video in 128kbit/s – File size: 3.5 MB

Second video in 200kbit/s – File size: 3.5 MB

Third video in 640kbit/s – File size 4.8 MB

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