Thursday, April 15, 2010

Web Video Optimization Techniques

Optimizing web videos has become very important as the use and size of videos has increased on the Web. Here are some practices used prominently by many people.

While streaming-media files make up only a small portion of the total web objects on the average web page. YouTube is responsible for about 10% of all traffic on the Internet (Nowak 2007) and is growing at over 162% a year (see Table 1). Consequently the optimization of streaming media, movies in particular, is important to minimize load times, reduce bandwidth bills, and maximize web page speed.
Unique Visitors (1000s)
(Jan 2010)
Year-over-year growth
1. YouTube
2. Google Video
3. AOL Video
4. Yahoo! Video
6. MSN Video

Video Production Tips

To create highly optimizable videos you've got to have high quality originals videos. Video creation is like a war for your promotion of product. Use a high quality digital video camera to make your video, as there will be less noise in your video content. Minimize pans, zooms, and subject motion and make sure your subject is well oriented and visible and loud for the audiences to catch their attention. Use a simple background and a solid tripod for the camera. Avoid hand-held shots, but if a tripod is not an option use a gyroscopic stabilizer or an image stabilized lens. The lower the noise, movement, and fine detail in the background the smaller the video. Smaller the video the less space it will need on the web server and the faster it will be available to the user.
  • Minimize camera motion with a tripod
  • Minimize subject motion
  • Use a lot of light
  • Use a simple background
  • Avoid camera pans and zooms
  • Use professional equipment
  • Use a digital format

Video Optimization for the Web

Movies optimized for the web should be short in duration, small in dimension, and optimized with the appropriate codec. I have seen movies that are 12 to 20 minutes long auto-loaded on home pages some 90-150MB in file size! People are more accepting of temporal compression (over time) than spatial compression (frame per frame). You can cut the frame rate from 15fps to 10fps or even 8fps, each frame will have 50 percent more data per frame for the same file size, which will increase the quality of the picture. The minimum dimensions should be 320x240 pixels, anything much smaller has less impact and is hard to view. For users with a high speed connection you can offer a 400x300 pixel video. To maintain quality, up the data rate in proportion to the image size. Remember that doubling image size (320x240 to 640x480) requires a 4X (not 2X) increase in data rate.
Use this data rate formula to help target your movie for the right delivery medium (especially with H.264).
Data Rate = (frames per second) X (movie width) X (movie height) divided by 29000
This translates to DR = FPS * W * H / 29000.
For example: A 320x240 movies with 15 frames per second needs to be compressed to about 39.7K of data per second.
After you've captured your video while minimizing noise edit any unnecessary frames and add titles and effects. The key to optimizing movies on the web is to break them up into smaller segments that are a few minutes long at most. Edit out the parts of the movie that aren't essential to your message, crop fuzzy edges, and reduce the dimensions to keep them to a reasonable file size. Use the minimum frame rate that gives an acceptable playback. Finally after editing out nonessential content, reducing dimensions and frame rate, optimize your videos with different codecs to see which creates the smallest acceptable file.
  • Crop the fuzzy edges
  • Reduce video noise (with filters)
  • Adjust contrast
  • Adjust gamma level (for cross-platform viewing)
  • Restore black and white
  • Deinterlace

Compressing Videos for the Web

Now that you've got your video prepared and adjusted it's time to compress it. This is called "encoding" in the jargon of the industry. You must compress the size of your video so it can be successfully streamed (or downloaded) to your target audience. Encoding is the process where this compression happens, and it is full of hard interdependent decisions:
  • Streaming Media Format - QuickTime versus RealMedia versus Windows Media
  • Supported playback platforms - Microsoft Windows versus Macintosh, or both
  • Delivery method - True real-time streaming versus HTTP streaming
  • Overall data rate - Compression versus quality versus bandwidth required
  • Audio quality - Mono versus stereo.
  • Codec - H.264, Sorenson and WMV are the current champs.
  • You'll need to make some decisions here to give the best compromise between quality and size. QuickTime Pro is a fast and convenient way to create optimized videos. For more control you can use Cleaner, a product made by Discreet ( Sorenson Video Pro can sometimes make smaller videos than H.264 at similar quality. Finally Episode Pro offers maximum control over video compression with the ability to compress to H.264, Flash, ipod, and other formats. 
There are many terms which are quite technical here. Need some more Googling on those terms for you to undersatand them clearly as all these things are related to Video Making and many of us are not aware with all these terms. Need not to worry even I understood these things by extensive search on related sited. I have tried to give resources for those things. Hope you will find them usefull as well.

Social Media Optimization

Social Media Optimization

Social Media Optimization (SMO) is a term coined by Rohit BHargava an Indian man. He has related this concept with SEO concepts. He said SMO can bring lots of traffic to your site through new channel or routes as it is not only through Google and Yahho or other search engines that drive traffic to your site. 

SMO is - The online tool and platform that people use to share opinions, thoughts, experiences, and perspectives with each other. Social media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video. Popular social mediums include blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis etc. Example are Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, My Space, etc to count a few.

Social Media Optimization allows to let you populate your links on the web. These links are spread into all your friends and community connections. When sending your links to persons with like interest can give great exposure to your links with your message.   

Rules For SMO Are :- 

1. Increase Your Linkability
2. Make Tagging and Bookmarking easy
3. Reward Inbound Links 
4. Help Your Content Travel
5. Encourage the Mashup
6. Be a User Resource, Even if it Doesn't Help You 
7. Reward Helpful and Valuable Users
8. In way it sounds a whole lot like Marketing 2.0. It is pretty much includes all the new marketing techniques that are becoming popular rolled into one,     techniques such as; Linkbaiting, Usability Design, Buzz Marketing, Community Building, and anything that can be considered "pull marketing".
9. Participate - Join the conversation. Social Media is a two way street, lets not forget that. By conversing with the community you are creating awareness and prolonging your buzz. You are keeping it going and this often results in a snowball effect. Participating helps your message spread further and faster. 
10. Know how to target your audience - If you don't even know your target audience you are in trouble. There is always going to be a certain audience you can appeal to and others that you can't. So know your appeal and who it is appealing to. 
11. Create content - There are certain kinds of content that just naturally spread socially. It does not matter what industry you are in and what boring products you sell, there is always some kind of content that can be created that will be useful for someone. Whether it is creating widgets, making people laugh, or writing a anything, it can be done. Know what type of content can work for you and create it.
12. Be real.

While social media optimization is becoming very important we should not forget about old SEO either. Google and Yahoo still drive mass amounts of traffic and you can not ignore them. It is all about exploring new mediums and riding these waves. But Still these new mediums are a strong way to do good for your site to do better ranking and business in terms of driving traffic to the site.