Okay, ultimate FLV/MP4 question

Hey everyone.  I think I'm narrowing down most of my video stuff.  I still have a big question, though.  I don't know whether I should encode my .mov movies to FLV or MP4.  I've had some help on this before, but I didn't really get any definitive opinions from a large group of people.  I was hoping we could get a lengthy discussion going on this because it's a pretty hot topic right now in video creation.  I'm hearing opinions all across the boards for both options.

For me, this video will be seen from so many people all across the country, some with older computers, some with newer.  The company wants to keep up with current technology, but we also want our content to be accessible by everyone.

MP4 is quite a bit smaller, but s someone told me on here today, file size isn't the most important thing, it's quality.  So, quality-wise and as far as accessibility for everyone goes, which file is better, at least for Presenter?

4 Replies
David Anderson

Hi Tammi-

I think the challenge in choosing formats is that both formats are valid. A lot of times preferred formats are based on available video encoding software. I've found .flvs to compress very well with commercial products like ON2 and Sorenson Squeeze. The new Flash CS5 video tools are a big improvement over previous versions but that's not something everyone has access to. What are you using to create .flv and .mp4 files?

Do you have an option for testing both formats with a sample audience? What are you most concerned with: quality, download speed, editability?

Just curious, how are your videos created as .mov files? Are those your source files? output files? or just what you've been given to work with?

And finally, what is the nature of the video content? Screencasts? Talking heads? Sometimes the types of content will help influence the format.

Dave Lucas

Hi Tammy,

I've just worked through the process of using some existing video clips in an e Learning course-  Here's what worked best for me.

I needed the video to be "seamless" in the slides / course, so calling an external player (Windows media) was not an option.  In order to embed the video, I needed a Flash object to import which left me with the .FLV format that would be recognized by Articulate.  At 6 or 8mb each (I had 3 clips), importing them in to the a Flash time line and outputting to SWFs would not be ideal-  Doing this, the video and audio may begin to have sync issues after a minute or so, and the file sizes, while compressed, are still too much to download for a worldwide audience.

So-  I ended up linking to the FLVs on a (free) Drop Box account (the info is not proprietary) and rely on progressive download to play the files in the course.  I set up a "blank" audio file in the slide timed to the video so the progress bar reads properly, and the interface controls do pause / play the video as well.

It's not perfect, but it works.  My question to the folks at Articulate is when will the tool support streaming media or the RTMP protocol???  (I actually set the files with a streaming service before I discovered Articulate doesn't recognize the protocol)

I've posed the question via support, but haven't had a response yet.  I'm sure there's LOTS I don't know about progressive / streaming video, so If anyone reading this has a better solution, I'd love to know about it.