Posts Tagged ‘pcworld’

Visit ADR Productions at www.adr-productions.com

“Codec” is a technical name for “compression/decompression”. It also stands for “compressor/decompressor” and “code/decode”. All of these variations mean the same thing: a codec is a computer program that both shrinks large movie files, and makes them playable on your computer. Codec programs are required for your media player to play your downloaded music and movies.

“Why do we need codecs?”

Because video and music files are large, they become difficult to transfer across the Internet quickly. To help speed up downloads, mathematical “codecs” were built to encode (“shrink”) a signal for transmission and then decode it for viewing or editing. Without codecs, downloads would take three to five times longer than they do now.

“Is there only one codec I need?”

Sadly, there are hundreds of codecs being used on the Internet, and you will need combinations that specifically play your files. There are codecs for audio and video compression, for streaming media over the Internet, videoconferencing, playing mp3’s, speech, or screen capture. To make matters more confusing, some people who share their files on the Net choose to use very obscure codecs to shrink their files. This makes it very frustrating for users who download these files, but do not know which codecs to get to play these files. If you are a regular downloader, you will probably need ten to twelve codecs to play your music and movies.

“What are the common codecs people use?”

Some codec examples are MP3, WMA, RealVideo, RealAudio, DivX and XviD. There are many other more obscure codecs.

“Isn’t ‘.AVI’ a codec already?”

AVI is not in itself a codec; it is a common “container format” that many different codecs can use. As there are hundreds of codecs out there are compatible with AVI content, it can get very confusing which codec(s) you will need to play your video files.

“How do I know which codec to download and install?”

Your Windows Media Player will often try to communicate to you the 4-character code of the specific codec it needs. Note this code, then visit this website http://www.fourcc.org/fcccodec.htm to obtain the missing codec. For a small FAQ section, follow the link on the left called “Sample Code”.

“What are the codecs I should download and install?”

There is no single best answer to this question. There are so many codec choices. The easiest option is to download “codec packs”. Codec packs are collections of codecs gathered in single large files. There is much debate over whether it is necessary to get a large group of codec files, but it certainly is the easiest and least-frustrating option for new downloaders. Here are the codec packs we recommend at About.com:

  1. CCCP Combined Community Codec Pack is one of the most comprehensive codec packages you can download. CCCP was put together by users who like to share and watch movies online, and the codecs they’ve chosen are designed for 99% of the video formats you will experience as a P2P downloader. It is still virus-free as of February, 2010, so definitely consider CCCP if you think your computer needs updated codecs.
  2. XP Codec Pack XP Codec Pack is a sleek, all-in-one, spyware / adware free codec collection that also offers a good, solid Media Player Classic. Currently just under 6MB in size, XP Codec Pack is truly one of the most complete assemblies of codecs needed to play all major audio and video formats.
  3. K-Lite Codec PackVery user-friendly and well tested, K-Lite Codec Pack is loaded with goodies. It will enable you to play all the popular movie formats. K-Lite comes in 4 flavors: Basic, Standard, Full and Mega. If all you need is to be able to play DivX and XviD formats, Basic will do just fine. Standard pack is probably the most popular – it has everything an average user needs to play the most common file formats. Full pack, designed for power users, has even more codecs plus encoding support.
  4. K-Lite Mega Codec Pack Mega is a very comprehensive bundle…it has everything but a kitchen sink. Mega even contains QuickTime Alternative and Real Alternative.
Advertisements

Visit us on the web at www.adr-productions.com

Reprinted from PCWorld

Why Video?

Video on the Internet is still novel enough to be compelling in its own right. People now routinely use the Web to search for information about products or services that they want to purchase. And if you can dig up a typical Web site’s traffic patterns, you’ll find that an enormous percentage of site visitors click away from the site in less than a few seconds. They scan the text and pictures and make a snap judgment about whether or not the site has anything to offer them. It is extremely difficult to get them to read all the way through the home page, let alone click through to get more information on subsequent pages.

In contrast, once they start, people are more likely to watch video clips through to the end than they are to read a whole Web page. This gives you a better chance to engage them and get your message across.

What’s Your Message?

The most important step is to determine what you want to tell your audience. Maybe you have a novel product or service that customers may not understand. In this case, an “education sell” might be most appropriate, in which you explain the category as a whole and the benefits it offers. If the product or service is familiar to your prospects — such as buying a house — then you want a “comparative sell” that showcases the advantages that your particular product or service has to offer. Or maybe you want to use a “promotional sell” message that makes a special offer such as a discount or bonus item for people who see the video.

Designing Your Video Clip

Keep it short. Four or five minutes long is a good limit for a promotional video. If it runs longer than that, your audience is likely to lose interest and click away. Also, the large size of longer videos makes them more difficult to manage.

If possible, create a widescreen format video in MP4 format. This is the new lingua franca of Internet video, and has efficient compression to keep your files smaller. The widescreen format matches the newer HDTV aspect ratio, and thus immediately gives your video a more current appearance.

Create your video in 720p resolution (1280 by 720 pixels). This is easier to do now that many under-$400 digital still cameras will also record 720p video. Many sites–including YouTube–now support high-definition clips, so the extra resolution will make your video look better.

One note on tone: Be cautious about using humor in your videos. What might be funny to one person can be seriously offensive to another. Unless you’re appealing to a narrow and well-defined audience that you know well, you might want to avoid making a comedy clip and stick to a straightforward approach.

Distribute Your Video

Just as a Web site is not likely to increase business on its own, you need to do more than just post a video. First, you need to put it in lots of places so that more people are likely to find it. Consider using an uploading service for distribution. TubeMogul is a free service that will post your clip to seven or more video sites including MetaCafe and Yahoo Video, as well as YouTube. It will automatically adjust your video if necessary to meet the sites’ requirements (though all will accept widescreen MP4 files). So you just have to upload your file once to TubeMogul, and it will take care of the rest.

TubeMogul--click for full-size image.The TubeMogul service makes it easy to post a video file to many video sharing sites in one easy step.

You also need to keep search optimization in mind when you post. Choose your tag words carefully so that viewers will be more likely to find your clips.

Note that posting your video to these video sharing sites makes it easy to embed the clip on a Web page. YouTube creates HTML code that you can cut and paste to put both a player and your video clip on your Web page. You can even choose the format for the video player that appears on your page. Promote your clip by finding other sites that will link to the video’s location on your site, or that will embed the video right on theirs.

YouTube--click for full-size image.Use YouTube’s “Embed” entry (in the right-hand column) to get HTML code that you can paste into a Web site so that you can play the video right on that page.

If appropriate, consider sending out a press release announcing your video. Send it to local news outlets if you sell to your local markets. Try low-cost services that will deliver electronic press releases to a broad range of media outlets, such as SBWire or PRFree.

Also, take advantage of the social networking sites available on the Web to promote your video. Put it on your Facebook page. Get people to submit it to sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, and Reddit. Just as with a Web site, you need to drive people to your video in order to get them to see it.

Finally, don’t abandon your clip. Nothing dies by itself on the Web, so if your products or services change, or your promotional offer expires, or for some other reason the content of your video clip is no longer current or accurate, remember to take it down from the sites where you posted it. Just like a Web page that is never updated, an out-of-date video can hurt your business rather than help.

But a well-crafted video that gets promoted to your target audience will deliver your message in an efficient and effective way that engages your prospects and boosts your business.