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Video for project managers
August 9, 2011 6:33 PM   Subscribe

I've been an interactive producer (web project manager) for a while, and I know a lot about the web, Flash, site functionality, graphics, etc. However, I'm now working with some more video and I don't know anything! Halp.

Where can I learn all the terminology I've been hearing associated with video? Bitrates, compression speeds, resolution...I'm sure I could pick it up somehow along the way, but I'd like a primer. As a producer, I don't need to do any video production myself, but manage the process, understand the timing involved and what the expected output should be, problem solve, etc.

Video for the web is especially what I'm looking for here as well, also what makes web video different than tv spots and stuff like that.
posted by sweetkid to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I teach this. At some level, there isn't an easy answer - and thinking you can just 'pick it up' will likely have you create some major problems. You should employ someone who can solve these problems for you. At many levels, production is as complex as rolling out a dynamic website via ajax and thinking you can just 'pick it all up' including the design. Or learning to play a guitar.

I haven't ever really seen a good primer - I don't think that the field is that simple. That being said, here's the general idea.

In Preproduction you plan out your idea, figure out what you need to deliver, and plan budgets and timing based on your delivery. Good, Fast, Cheap (pick only 2) is the rule. The faster you want to bring professional looking work to market, the more money you have to spend.

In Production, you shoot the video (where should the camera go? lights? good audio is the crux and breaks many novices thinking they can just 'fix it later in post') How many people and for how many days will shooting occur.

In post production all of this is assembled, graphics added (are you doing it? hiring it out? video editors aren't graphic designers) And they're the ones likely to use compression software - which has some decent presets for your web needs.

Video compression software is key for you - it will 'get it right enough' - The four big players are: Apple's Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Episode's telestream.

Video for the web is about getting the video which is huge (figure for HD over a gig a min) to sizes that can fit down a user's real time pipe. Somewhere at around .5mb/s to 8mb/s.

There are fixed sizes for SD (720x480), HD (1280x720 and 1920x1080)- we tend to use 1/2 those sizes for embedding video; html5 makes that quite a bit easier. The web doesn't truly have these contraints, but cameras do.

TV spots are very specialized from the brightness levels they can have to the audio dynamic range - get it wrong, and the work fails QC (with a possible fine!) and has to be brought into specifications.

Expected output for web nowadays is often a flavor of h.264 - as a .mov, as a mp4 or as a f4v file (flash). Those are the big distribution flavors for progressive servers.

Be careful if you want to host video on your own - if you have 20 people connecting expecting a .8 mb/s video, you're talking about 16 mb/s upload stream - do you have that connectivity? If not, you'll have to find hosting for it.

There's some of the basic concepts - feel free to ask specific followups.
posted by filmgeek at 6:54 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am not doing any video production. At all. I said this in my question. I have to manage requests to re encode video from one format to another. I need to understand the differences between them. I just want to understand some basics of web video terminology.
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 PM on August 9, 2011

I might not have been clear enough in my question -- I'm not asking how to manage a film shoot, I know that's very difficult. I just want to understand the terminology. Filmgeek, your comments on SD vs HD sizes and the expected output of h.264 is along exactly the right lines. thank you.
posted by sweetkid at 7:08 PM on August 9, 2011

Yes, you were clear - but you also asked about managing the process, timing involved, and problem solve. 90% of the problems are solved in preproduction - by not letting it become a problem in the first place.

Meanwhile, try never to re-encode if possible from a distribution quality file (dvd, video already on the web.) To best guarantee quality, go back to the original file and re-encode there.
posted by filmgeek at 7:15 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

For other people who might be checking out this question, this Wikipedia link with the basics of video compression was helpful for me.
posted by sweetkid at 3:02 PM on August 10, 2011

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