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Web Style Guide


Video is the most challenging multimedia content to deliver via the Web. One second of uncompressed NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) video, the international standard for television and video, requires approximately 27 megabytes of disk storage space. The amount of scaling and compression required to turn this quantity of data into something that can be used on a network is significant, sometimes so much so as to render the material useless. If at all possible, tailor your video content for the Web.

  • Shoot original video; that way you can take steps to create video that will compress efficiently and still look good at low resolution and frame rates.
  • Shoot close-ups. Wide shots have too much detail to make sense at low resolution.
  • Illustration: Comparison of video stills, wide shot and close shot
  • Shoot against a simple monochromatic background whenever possible. This will make small video images easier to understand and will increase the efficiency of compression.
  • Use a tripod to minimize camera movement. A camera locked in one position will minimize the differences between frames and greatly improve video compression.
  • Avoid zooming and panning. These can make low frame-rate movies confusing to view and interpret and can cause them to compress poorly.
  • When editing your video, use hard cuts between shots. Don't use the transitional effects offered by video editing software, such as dissolves or elaborate wipes, because they will not compress efficiently and will not play smoothly on the Web.
  • If you are digitizing material that was originally recorded for video or film, choose your material carefully. Look for clips that contain minimal motion and lack essential but small details. Motion and detail are the most obvious shortcomings of low-resolution video.