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The best video format for website, social media and Co

The best video format for website, social media and Co

While watching a corporate video, the video format usually doesn't matter. But when it comes to promoting the video content and placing it on various channels (such as your own website, YouTube or Instagram), the file format can be crucial. We provide an overview of different video formats and show which formats are best suited for which purpose.

The basics

Technical parameters for videos

Videos consist of many individual images and the corresponding audio track. The following parameters are relevant for recording:

  • Refresh rate: specifies how many images (frames) are played per second
  • Resolution: the number of pixels of each individual image and, based on this, the aspect ratio of the video
  • Color depth: provides information about color and brightness values

The higher the refresh rate and quality or resolution of the video, the more data must be transferred per second. This is called bit rate. The higher the bit rate and the longer the video, the more storage space the file requires.

What is a container?

Video formats are file containers that store the various contents (images and sound). Additional information such as associated subtitles, menu structures, timecodes or notes for further editing can also be stored in these containers.

What is a video codec?

Within the container, the content is compressed using various codecs. This creates a usable video file whose necessary storage capacity is reduced. This can have an impact on the quality of the video. A lossless codec provides the best quality, but then again it takes up a lot of storage space. When the video is played, the content stored separately in the container is decoded again using the codec. Modern file containers can work with different codecs. Therefore, in addition to the video format, the choice of a codec can also be relevant for the result. For example, a frequently used codec for video compression is H.264, which has a low bit rate and enables high quality at the same time.

What are the pros and cons of popular video formats?

MP4 (also MPEG-4) is a widely used video format. It offers a good compromise between very high quality and low storage capacity thanks to high compression. It produces relatively small files that are good to work with. It also offers the option to bundle multiple audio tracks and additional elements. MP4 is supported by all popular browsers and operating systems and is therefore widely used on the web. The format is also used in HD television or on Blu-Ray.

MOV files were designed for easy use in the Apple environment. It stores video in high quality. As a result, the files require a lot of storage space. For further processing in video editing, the files are therefore very suitable due to the low loss of quality. The format is quite widely accepted, but due to the large file size it is rather not recommended for web use.

The WMV format was developed by Microsoft and can be used on devices with the Microsoft operating system. It offers good video quality and allows high compression but is not widely used.

The AVI file format is characterized by high acceptance. The format works in almost every web browser on Windows, Mac and Linux. However, AVI videos lack the ability to use multiple audio tracks which makes editing inflexible.

The Matroska format, developed in Russia, is an open source format. It offers good quality and great functionality, but low compression. In addition, the format cannot be played with every program.

The WebM format developed by Google is designed for use with HTML5 to be embedded on web pages. The file size is quite small, so the videos load quickly, and the quality is good. WebM is supported by most modern web browsers, but older versions have problems displaying it.

Which video format for the website?

Videos can be used to increase the time spent on and the added value of a website. When integrating videos, it is important that the format is supported by every browser and that the loading time is not too long. The MP4 format is a good choice here due to its high acceptance. 
The Google video format WebM is also optimized for embedding in websites and impresses with a small file size and fast loading times. But it cannot be displayed by older browsers. 

The best graphic formats for websites

In this article we will show you what you need to consider when integrating images on your website.

Read article

It is also important to add a poster image that can be used if the video does not load. For marketing purposes, you should also consider adding subtitles, since not every website visitor has the possibility to play the sound at the moment of the visit. 

Which video format for social media?

The MP4 format is also the right all-rounder for social media. The popular video streaming platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo provide information on uploading and accept various formats for uploading (list of supported formats from YouTube and Vimeo). When uploading to the platforms, the providers process the videos again. Therefore, it is important that the videos have a high quality. This requires a high bit rate, for example.

Video is also well liked on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as movement catches the eye of users as they scroll through their feeds. These platforms give similar recommendations as YouTube or Vimeo, but can set restrictions on file size and length of the video. Facebook and Instagram both prefer mp4 and mov files. With large mov files, the file size can be limiting. Especially on Instagram, it is recommended to choose a square or portrait format instead of the classic 16:9 aspect ratio. The short video platform Tiktok also prefers mov or mp4 files and relies on the portrait format. In social media, you should also consider the integration of subtitles.

Store video formats

Compared to text or image files, videos have a large file size and require a lot of storage space, regardless of the format chosen and even with high compression. Especially companies that work a lot with videos and other media files benefit from using a professional digital asset management (DAM) system. With this system, all files can be securely stored in a cloud or on the company's own servers and can be better organized.

All employees and also external partners can have access to the complete system and its content, or only to the information that is relevant to them. This simplifies collaboration on video projects, for example.

Stream and send videos

During video creation, edited video parts are often sent to all participants in the coordination rounds. With a DAM system like Cavok, this is not necessary. Cavok streams the video preview directly in the browser for all authorized user groups. 
With so-called media links, external parties can also stream the file directly in the browser. There is no need to send these large files, especially editing files (which are often too large for email attachments). 
Media links can also be used to integrate videos into the website. Instead of having to store the video separately on the web server, only the medialink to the video file is passed from the DAM system. When someone visits the website, the video is delivered directly in the appropriate size and format. Changes to the video file are automatically transmitted, avoiding the need for time-consuming updates.
If a file should be sent after all, this can be solved via a download link, directly from the DAM system.

Convert videos

In addition to the formats presented here, there are many other formats such as OGG, FLV, MPEG-1 or MPEG-2. Especially if videos are available in less common formats, a conversion is often necessary. For this purpose, there are various online video converters on the web. But DAM users can convert a video to the appropriate video format directly during the download - even automatically.

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