For each video in your content library, you will want to know:
- file size
- length of the video
- aspect ratio
- container and
- video and audio codecs
See the below table for common values of these properties.
|Aspect Ratio||Resolution||Container||Video Codec||Audio Codec|
|16:9 (wide screen)||1920 x 1080||M4V (MP4 - Video)||H.264||AAC|
|4:3 (letter box)||1280 x 720||OGG||H.265 (4K)||MP3|
|640 x 480||FLV||MP4|
What does all this mean?! In the next section, we provide more information for a deeper understanding of video encoding technology and how to take best advantage of it. You can easily provide video content to your learners without this deeper understanding. Feel free to jump down to “Embedding with the HTML Template” if you wish.
Common Formats Used and Video Compatibility
Part of the challenge with video comes down to browser and device compatibility and the flexibility of your chosen formats. In general, you can stick with three formats: M4V (AAC audio), WebM, and FLV. M4V and WebM will cover 90% of your user base for Chrome, IE11 and Firefox users. The other 10% (IE8), will be covered by FLV.
See the table below for further information:
|Column 1||Column 2||Column 3||Column 4||Column 5||Column 6||Column 7||Column 8|
|Internet Explorer 11||Chrome||Firefox||Internet Explorer 8||Safari (OSX)||Safari (iOS)||Android|
|Primary Video Format||M4V||M4V||WebM||FLV||M4V||M4V||M4V|
|Primary Video Codec||H 264||H 264||VP8||H.264||H 264||H 264||H 264|
|Primary Audio Codec||AAC||AAC||Vorbis||MP3||AAC||AAC||AAC|
|Secondary Video Format||WebM||WebM||M4V||N/A||N/A||N/A||WebM|
|Secondary Video Codec||VP8||VP8||H 264||N/A||N/A||N/A||VP8|
|Secondary Audio Codec||Vorbis||Vorbis||AAC||N/A||N/A||N/A||Vorbis|
Sources and further reading: Mozilla Foundation Developer Guide, JPlayer Media Formats, HTML5 Videos: 10 Things Designers Need to Know.
You can use CloudConvert.com or Handbrake for free, simple and reliable video conversion.
What is M4V?
M4V is H.264 video and AAC audio. In general, M4V offers excellent compatibility, performance and quality. However, it's not necessarily the best choice for all scenarios. For example, due to patent issues, Open Source browsers such as Mozilla Firefox rely on applications on the user's system outside of the browser to play M4Vs and not all users will have those applications installed.
What is WebM?
WebM is an open source project backed by Google designed to offer a high quality, cross browser compatible solution that is patent free. Born out of Google nearly dropping MP4 support due to the high royalties cost, WebM has been around since 2010 and was initially slow to catch on. In the last few years, the format's popularity has exploded and has replaced the OGG/OGV format as the open source format of choice due to superior quality and performance.
Many popular video sites, such as YouTube, are using WebM as their primary video formats due to the rising cost of patents. WebM is a very safe format and should be provided in your ICE template in conjunction with M4V for reliable browser support.
What is FLV?
FLV is flash video. Once very popular and the main driver for web interactivity, its use has been greatly diminished by the advent of HTML5 and Apples refusal to support it due to licensing disputes. The only browser still in use that supports FLV video is Internet Explorer 8 and 9.