Why One Size Does NOT Fit All
We’re always happy to provide a digital copy of your video, but in order to assure smooth playback on your end, we really need some more information to help us help you. That’s because there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” video in the digital world. In the old days, VHS tape was a “universal” consumer format. But today, there are a huge variety of formats and file sizes, and what’s perfect for one use may be completely useless for a different platform.
For example, a video for use in a PowerPoint presentation needs to be a small file size, and probably a WMV file if you’re playing the presentation on a PC; a larger file size or a different format may not play at all. On the other hand, if you want to play that same video on a large screen in a convention hall or arena, you’ll need a completely uncompressed, high-quality video – most likely in an MP4 or MOV format – a smaller file looks ‘grainy’ and low-quality on a big screen.
So, how do you know what you need?
If you have an IT department or a company that is handling the showing of the video or putting it online, ask them to give us detailed video specs. They can call us directly, and we’ll be happy to have a technical conversation with them to work out all the details.
If you don’t have a tech department or company that handles this for you, then here’s the sort of information you need to provide:
· What’s the intended use of the video? How and where will it be used or shown? If you plan to use the video in multiple ways or on multiple platforms, then tell us about each one. Do you want to email it? Put it in a PowerPoint? Put it on your website? You Tube? Play it from a computer? Play it from a DVD player? Send it to a TV station? Show it in a convention hall or arena?
· What kind of equipment are you using for playback or deployment? Are you playing it on a computer? If so, is it a PC or a Mac?
· Do you need to be able to view the video on an iPhone, iPad or other “smartphone” or tablet device?
And here are a couple of other key questions you should consider before asking for digital copies:
· Does your company have any sort of “firewall” that may prevent others from seeing the video on your network?
· Do you have the necessary software on your computer for playing the video in the format you’ve requested? (For example, to play a MOV file on a PC, you may need to install Apple’s QuickTime player or similar software. To play a WMV file on a Mac, you may need to install Flip4Mac or similar software.)
· If you’re going to show the video on a TV screen, is the screen a “widescreen” (16:9) or “standard” screen (4:3), and does the format of the video match the screen format? A 4:3 video on a 16:9 screen may look “stretched”, while a 16:9 video on a 4:3 screen may looked “squeezed” or have the sides cut off.