7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2008 8:16 AM by (Shannon_Burch)

    What's the best way to export video for the web?

      I'd like to have as small file size/quickest load as possible (this is a 2 min video, currently in 640 x360, 25fps), but my AfterEffects book and help is not giving me much advice. I've just been trying exporting as various file types/frame rates/sizes and seeing which ones end up smaller, but I'm hoping someone here with more experience has some advice for me. Can anyone help?
        • 1. Re: What's the best way to export video for the web?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
          Entirely depends on the tolerance of your target audience. Obviously you can go a long way by creating Flash video, but depending on the abilities of your hosting site it may require you to build your own player SWF around it which in turn means you will have to have a copy Flash to embed the video. The second best thing you can do is to simply create an H.264 or Sorenson 3 encoded Quicktime file. However, due to how it works, AE is not the ideal tool for this in terms of getting optimum data rates, so you may at least wish to use Quicktime Pro and export the compressed formats from there. For Windows users, you may wish to provide a WMV file. If you have audio, you should not use more than 48 or 64kbps. For the video you will get acceptable quality with settings of about 300kbps to 450 kbps. This is dependent on the footage, though. Fast moving imagery requires higher data rates because the differences between frames are more pronounced and thus allow less temporal compression. I also recommend you lower the framerate. 15 to 17fps is fast enough to not look jerky and will retain enough fluidity in your motion, but the less frames will notably cut down file size.

          Mylenium
          • 2. Re: What's the best way to export video for the web?
            Level 1
            Thanks Mylenium. Flash video will really save that much on file size? I thought it was only really good for vector video.
            • 3. Re: What's the best way to export video for the web?
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
              You're mistaking the old Flash export for the Flash video export, I think. They are not related to each other. The SWF export is still useful if you only have vector animation in AE (e.g. animated masks on solids or imported vector art from illustrator), but as soon as you apply effects the output needs to be rasterized and converted to pixels, which wil lbe embeded as a sequence of JPEG images, which will rapidly make your SWF rather heavy. In such situations FLV export would be advisable, but with the disadvantage that you need to take a detour to actually use it on your website.

              Mylenium
              • 4. Re: What's the best way to export video for the web?
                Todd_Kopriva Level 8
                There's some information about FLV format and how it differs from SWF in the "Working with Flash and After Effects" section of After Effects CS3 Help on the Web. At the bottom of that page, I've provided some links to more in-depth articles about FLV.
                • 5. Re: What's the best way to export video for the web?
                  Level 1
                  Thanks Todd. Ok, so I have created an flv file (which is a much more reasonable file size), and embedded it in an html page with Dreamweaver's insert>media thing. It shows up fine, but it's very blurry, even encoded at super-high quality. Especially any text. Is it supposed to be like that or am I doing something wrong?

                  It is sized correctly, or I'd almost think it looks like a flash file full of bitmaps made to run bigger than the native size.
                  • 6. Re: What's the best way to export video for the web?
                    Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                    Is the blurriness also visible when playing it in the browser? DW's preview functions are a bit unreliable. If it persists, simply increase the data rates. There is no shame in deviating from the initial, very low settings.

                    Mylenium
                    • 7. Re: What's the best way to export video for the web?
                      Level 1
                      Thanks much for everyone's input; I've got a nice-looking, quick loading flv video now. I can read the books and the help files but sometimes nothing beats talking to someone who knows what they're doing!