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First little background - working on a e-learning startup. We are going to have recorded video lectures from professors ranging from 30-45 minutes long which are going to be accessible to students once they register and pay for the course. Hence these are private videos. I have a couple of questions which I'll appreciate if you can throw some light

1) What is the best format to save these videos in - FLV or MP4 or ??? - I'm leaning towards MP4 as FLV videos wont play on Ipad and iphones

2) Most importantly where do I host these video files. Should we host them on our servers or use 3rd party video hosting. I'm inclined towards 3rd party cos that will reduce the load on our servers and video streaming experience would be better for users.

3) If I go for video hosting - what are my options? I can't use youtube cos they don't offer domain control. Vimeo does offer privacy of domain control but I don't think I can use that for commercial purpose. Someone mentioned bitgravity but I havent checked that out. Any good suggestions that will be good for my usage.

Thanks a lot

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Thanks Nick - the 3rd link answers two of my questions. Regarding the FLV or Mp4 , does it make any difference at all - Thanks –  Gublooo Aug 12 '11 at 18:27
    
Glad they helped. Use MPEG-4 for video compression. (More detailed answer below.) –  Nick Aug 13 '11 at 10:44
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

What is the best format to save these videos in?

YouTube and Vimeo both currently recommend H264 (MPEG-4 AVC) video compression and AAC audio at 24, 25, or 30fps. You can find compression how-tos from YouTube and from Vimeo.

If you are planning to serve the video yourself (instead of from a third-party service such as YouTube), you will likely have to compress and serve multiple versions of the same video in different formats, depending on what codecs the visitor's browser supports. Mark Pilgrim's 'Video on the Web' tutorial goes into much more detail, and reading it will probably encourage you to use a third-party video hosting service who will handle the technicalities for you.

My advice with Web video is almost always to use a third-party video hosting service so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel, and so that you can spend time producing content instead of working out how to serve it.

(You say your other questions were answered in my comment above, but let me know if you need any more information.)

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Thanks Nick - appreciate your input and the links you provided –  Gublooo Aug 13 '11 at 15:03
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  1. The codec you choose should not be a problem at all regarding web streaming, just use whatever format suits you for storing backup, high-quality copies of your videos. When you upload them to services like Youtube or Vimeo, they are converted to a format that is compatible with most browsers anyway.

  2. You should definitely use a third party service if you do not want to deal with transfer limits or things like Content Delivery Networks to be sure that your videos are always available.

  3. Vimeo does offer a "Pro" option, which includes commercial video hosting: http://vimeo.com/pro. I have not used it but it seems fine, especially for less than 200 dollars a year.

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Thanks Michal for your valuable feedback –  Gublooo Aug 13 '11 at 15:03
    
No problem! :-) –  Michał Gancarski Aug 13 '11 at 15:19
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