Kenan Doyle Branam
Media Consultant / Coach / Presenter / Producer
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Video for the Web

(Presented at the Media Communications Association-International at the 1997 International Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio - "Producing for the Web" )

Video and audio for the Web is still not ready for "prime time — " that is, "broadcast quality" programs delivered to the public. The technology is still limited in Internet bandwidth, compression standards, modem speeds, and end user playback software and computer power.

In this presentation, I hope to provide the simplest overview of the process — a place for the professional visual communicator to begin to unravel an understanding of the Internet distribution media. I think it's important for us all to understand that we can't afford to wait for the shake-out. There will not be a shake-out. There will not ever be ONE standard distribution format. One size will never fit all the possible distribution opportunities for video and audio programming in the lives of Information Age citizens.

The process of Internet distribution is diverse, expensive, and complicated for the end user. Program providers, producers, and, worst of all, clients (anyone who has to pay the dues) need further education. (Video producers are still investing time educating themselves and their clients about the changes in video production!)

Web Video Formats

There are basically two methods for delivering video and audio to the Web: streaming and download. Both streaming video or downloaded video can be considered "on demand." Preparing video files for the Web involves diverse software formats affecting compression/data rates, file size, frame rate, window size, and audio quality. And there are many considerations about how the stream is supported by video servers (where the files are stored for access) and playback software formats on the user's end.

All of these distribution environments do influence the way video should be acquired and edited. Understanding the final use of the video project predetermines what and how we design the production process from the beginning: objectives, audience, and delivery medium. Basic communication skills are still the most important resource for the professional visual communicator: US!

Download Video

The first option is to post movie files on your Website that will be available for download to your visitor's hard drive for later viewing.

    Advantages:
    1. The user can play back anytime after the download is completed with uninterrupted flow.
    2. The video and audio resolution can be of higher quality than streaming video because
    3. playback is not dependent on modem and line speeds.
    4. Users get to keep the clip they download if they have the storage space to spare.
    Disadvantages:
    1. User satisfaction is delayed for the length of time it takes to download the file.
    2. The user has to have storage space for many megabytes of video information.
    3. File size, therefore, tends to be smaller, more compressed, or playback duration is shorter.

Streaming Video

The second option is to create streaming video that plays on the Web screen while the file is being transferred.

    Advantages:
    1. The user gets immediate satisfaction.
    2. Long duration or even continuous, live video broadcast is possible.
    3. Doesn't require storage space on the user's system. (Some systems do allow store and save — some don't.)
    4. The video screen can be better integrated into the Web page design and presentation — online, rather than offline.
    Disadvantages:
    1. Lack of universal standards for viewing — in most cases, the user must have proprietary playback software or services.
    2. Significantly worse resolution due to limited Internet bandwidth, common modem speeds, and user's system power.
    3. Possible stream interruptions due to Internet traffic and/or server capabilities.
Kenan at Alert Advertising accepting award
Kenan Branam with first Telly Award

Telly Awards for Galveston Parks Board and Marriot Hotel spots
Telly Awards for Galveston Parks Board and Marriot Hotel spots

Board of Directors Award of Excellance 2005 Media Communications Association International
MCA-I Board of Directors Award of Excellance 2005

MCA-I Service Award for Networking Director (web guru)
MCA-I Service Award for Networking Director (web guru)

MCA-I Award for Outstanding Service as Community Listserv Chair
MCA-I Award for Outstanding Service as Community Listserv Chair