Video Quality Revisited

Video is everywhere and our team is using more video intros and short SME clips.   However, I still struggle with getting the best quality in our Storyline modules.   The video we shoot in its raw form is great and we have been converting to .FLV but when publishing from Storyline, the videos loose much of their crispness.   I fully realize everyone is used to HD and that is not what I'm shooting for, just curious about other's best practices when using video in Storyline.   I've read through some of the archives but perhaps I'm still overlooking something.

Our shots tend to be  30 to 90 seconds, displayed in Storyline generally at 180 by 320 in a slide.  The publish settings are set up to 90% quality.

Thanks.

6 Replies
Nancy Woinoski

Hi Neil, there is a workaround for this but, spoiler alert, it is cumbersome.

Storyline takes whatever video you add and compresses it to make the file size smaller. When you publish your course, Storyline renames the video puts it in the story_content folder.  In the example below I added one video called timing.mp4 and in the published output it is called video_ 6bdy07G2 etc.

 If your original video is in MP4 format (so don't convert to flv) then you can replace the video that Storyline created with original one. You just have to make sure to rename your video so that it has the same name as the published output.

This is pretty easy to do if you only have one video in your course but it you have more than one the only way you can tell which video is which is to click on it in the published file and play it.  You also have to be careful because each time you republish the course you will have to do this all over again.  And lastly, doing this will increase the size of your video and the overall published course so you want to make sure that doing this swap does hurt performance on your target platforms.

Bruce Graham

This is a workaround that, frankly...we all need in the same way that a fish needs a bicycle.

The option to not compress should be OOTB, not one we have to reverse engineer each time we publish. For a multiple review session of a multi-video course it is certainly, as Nancy says..."cumbersome"...  

It's been requested as a Feature Request many times.

Bruce

Neil Stadlman

Thanks Nancy for the advice.  I tried that on a current module and it greatly enhanced the quality of the video.  Of course it did increase the size of the project, but that is manageable.   However, it did seem to take longer for the slide with the video which is about 45 seconds long to load.  I was using MP4 files.   By using the larger files, does the Storyline player buffer the videos before they are loaded and is that a consideration to keep in mind - quality vs. loading time?   This could be our network and any number of other factors.

As far as video overall, I can appreciate that it's a slippery slope.  Video can easily become a resource issue and then there's video for the sake of presentation vs. for learning.   I know there are numerous formats, codecs, platforms, etc. to consider as well.   All that aside, we're able to produce good video, just want a quality playback experience for the learner.

Storyline is a great product but video is where it's at right now so finding the right mix of quality and compatability shouldn't be to far off.  I'll add my thoughts to the feature request.

Nancy Woinoski

Hi Neil, my understanding is that the video should progressively download; however, some people have been experiencing issues with video not progressively downloading.

Here is what Phil Mayor said about this in another forum...

"Often mp4s have the information (moov atom) that tells the player how long it is etc at the end of the file instead of the beginning without this information the player cannot start  playing until it receives that information, and therefore progressive download will not work.

You can use programs to move this information to the beginning of the file and normally this will fix the issue.  It depends on which software was used to create the file for where the moov atom was placed."

He also suggested that if you edit an MP4 and do a "save as" in most programs  the atom will be put in the correct place.  Sometimes doing a save means it gets moved to the end.

Not sure if this helps your situation or not. So far I have been lucky and my videos work correctly.