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Techy Tip

The final part of the production process can be the most satisfying – you finally get to see the results. It can also be the most confusing. Do you need a Quicktime file? Windows Media? How big? Is it for download? Streaming? Standard Definition? High Definition?

See? Told you. Confusing! Luckily, we’re on top of all the latest file formats and compression techniques to make sure you get the file type that is best suited to your project. Here are some tips to get the highest quality results.


  1. File Format: There are two basic standards here – Windows Media and Quicktime. If you’re going to be playing your file in a Mac environment, then Quicktime is your answer. If you’re on a PC, then a Windows Media file is likely your best bet. However, many PCs do have the Quicktime player installed, so the Quicktime is also an option.


  1. Bitrate: This can be a confusing concept, but it’s crucial. Basically, the higher the bitrate, the higher the video quality, but the larger the file size. Here are some examples of settings that we use, with the bitrate and the resulting file size for 1 minute of video:

    1. Web Preview – 600 Kb/s – 4.57 MB

    2. Medium Res – 2 MB/s – 15.8 MB

    3. High Res (DVD) – 6 MB/s – 44.6 MB

    4. HD – 25 MB/s – 174 MB


  1. Compression: This is the final piece of the puzzle. The one thing in common from our bitrate examples? They all used the Windows Media compression. There are lots of options. The key is to find a balance between size and quality. We tend to use a compression format called H.264 – common throughout the industry.


Finally, when it comes to putting your video on the web, it’s best to check with your webmaster or web design team. They may request MP4, AVI, or something newer like WebM or Ogg Theora. No matter what the format, follow our 3 tips. And, if you need some guidance we’re happy to make a recommendation.