When you produce business videos, the format that you choose to encode them in is more important than you might realize. Although it is true that you can transcode the video later on, it is always best to encode it in the format that it is going to be used in right from the get go.
In other words you should first figure out how you intend to use the video, and encode it accordingly.
Uploading to Online Platforms
Each online platform will generally have their own preferred formats and video settings. As a rule you should follow those guidelines when you encode your business videos if you intend to upload them to that platform.
Some platforms accept a wide range of formats in addition to their preferred format – but encoding it in the preferred format is still a good idea. In most cases other formats will be internally transcoded by the online platform to that format anyway, which could affect its quality.
As an example if you’re going to upload your video to YouTube you should follow its guidelines and encode in MP4 with H.264. To be perfectly honest right now most online platforms recommend MP4 with H.264 – but that may change in the future.
If you are distributing your video through other means such as file transfers, email, or even manually handing over a USB drive – the most important factor you should consider is compatibility. The format that you choose needs to be one that the recipient will be able to watch without any difficulty.
In short for distribution you should try to encode your video in a widely-supported and popular format. Once again right now the best on that front is MP4 with H.264 – though MP4 with H.265 (HEVC) is starting to be more widely-supported as well, and you may want to consider it.
Burning a Video DVD
Often businesses still prefer to share hardcopies of videos by burning them onto video DVDs. To do that however you will need to specifically encode your videos using MPEG-2 – which is the DVD standard.
While there are some newer DVD players that are able to play video DVDs that are encoded in newer formats (such as H.264) – the majority of them do not. On top of that because DVDs in general are waning in popularity, newer DVD players are not as widespread as older ones.
All in all it is safer to encode videos for a DVD in MPEG-2 – unless you know that you are only going to want to play it on a DVD player that supports other formats.
Compressing the File Size
From time to time you may need to encode your video in a way that compresses its file size. Typically this is done if you are self-hosting the video and want to conserve bandwidth, storing it on a device with limited space, or need to adhere to some file size limitation.
Unfortunately it can be a bit tricky, as your options will be limited. The ‘safe’ option to use is MP4 with H.264 as it is the most compatible. If HEVC (H.265) is supported it will be able to provide better compression and reduce the file size of H.264 videos by 50% or thereabouts.
For now those are the two best options to compress the video file size. In most cases it is best to encode your video in whichever is supported by the device it will be viewed on, and then compress the video further if necessary by reducing the bitrate.
As mentioned it is best to encode your business videos in the right format from the get go – but if for any reason you need to convert them there are lots of ways to do so. In fact nowadays you can even use an online app such as Convertio if you need to change the format that your videos are in.
Try to always store the original video even if you do convert it to a different format however. If you do you can always use it to convert other copies in the future, without the quality being affected to badly.