Adding a video to your Web site is a great way to introduce your brand, demonstrate your product or comment on an industry trend. Read on to learn what you need to create your video, convert it to the Flash video format and add it to your Web site.
The Flash format (FLV) is relatively standard on the Web. It's supported by all popular browsers, and YouTube and other popular Web sites use the format for their videos. Plus, Adobe Flash Player is available for free download, so anyone can watch your video for free.
Step 1: Record a Video
All you need to get started is a digital video camera. The quality of camera you need depends on the length and quality you need for your video. Many digital cameras include a video mode that allows you to capture and store short videos. If you need longer, higher-quality clips, shop around for the video camera that fits your budget.
Step 2: Select a Delivery Method
When it comes to the user experience, you have a few options for delivering your video:
- Embed the video in a small Web format (SWF) file.
If your video is very short or you want people using older versions of Flash to be able to watch it, you can embed the video right in the page. All you have to do is launch your video program, open your video file, export the movie and give it a name with .swf at the end.
- Use HTTP progressive download.
This is the default delivery mechanism for Adobe Flash. It's simple, and it allows larger video files than embedding. To deliver your video this way, just save the file on your server and point the Flash player to the URL of the video file.
- Stream video from a server.
Streaming video requires a Web hosting plan that supports the service. It basically opens a connection between the server where the video is hosted and the end-user and plays the video as it streams from the server. This is the most high-end delivery option right now, and it makes for a great user experience because the viewer can watch the video as it downloads.
3. Encode the Video into the Correct Format
Depending on the video camera you use to shoot your video, it may not be saved with an .flv extension. If that's the case, you'll need software to encode the video—or changing to the correct format. There are many options available to you for encoding software. Here are just a few:
- Riva FLV Encoder (free)
- AVCWare Video Converter (free trial, $34.95 to buy)
- Adobe Flash CS4 Professional (free trial, $699 to buy)
- Microsoft Expression Encoder (included with Microsoft Expression Studio, free trial or $599-$999 to buy)
4. Add the Video to Your Web Site
Finally, you're ready to add the video to your HTML page. You'll need to add the code using your Web authoring software. The code you use will depend on the delivery method you choose.
Learn more about adding videos to your Web site in this post about simple streaming.