Creating the right file size

I create 2 types of training. Storyline and straight video (usually software demo). My end users are at my 140+ stores all over the country who sign into my LMS (we use Litmos). My problem is that my IT dept says some of the stores are overloading the network when doing their training. Has anyone else run into this issue? What file size (for my zips) is optimal? Are there ways to reduce size without sacrificing too much quality? Any other suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

 

6 Replies
Jason Reed

Hi Bill,

There's two things we do when building courses to keep filesize down. One is to adjust the quality settings when you're publishing, although I assume you're probably already doing this.

The other thing to consider for videos is to stream them from an external source rather than embedding them in the course. Something like Vimeo or YouTube. Again, you may already be doing this, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Hopefully that helps.

Bill Cohea

Jason,

Thanks for the response.  I'm testing different Storyline publishing settings to see which is optimal. Any suggestion on what settings you found works best?

For videos, I have not looked at Vimeo or YouTube. Can these be kept private? We use proprietary software and procedures, so we would not want the public to be able to view them.

I'm currently, looking at different video sizes for stand alone mp4 and embedded in my SCORM files. Also testing upload sizes on Litmos (LMS).

Any numbers used would be helpful.

Thanks,

Bill

 

Jason Reed

Hi Bill,

 

For publishing settings, I always turn of HTML5 output and turn the image quality down. It's a little bit of trial and error to find what works.

I don't know the numbers on the videos we use, but if you're embedding the files, I'd compress them as much as you can before you noticably lose quality. As long as you can communicate what you need to, it should be okay to have a lower resolution.

Vimeo and Youtube allow you to keep videos private. For example on Youtube, there's a setting that doesn't list a video (so you can't search for it) and only the people with the direct link can access it. 

There are other video streaming services out there too, but these are the most popular/accessible ones.

Bob S

 When facing this in the past, I've found this is more often a bit rate issue rather than a file size issue. Consider downcorverting your video "masters" before you every bring them into your publishing tool.

Lots of articles out there on web video bandwidth. Here is calculator on Flash video where you can mess with the numbers.  There are others out there for different video types but the factors are always the same...

  • Resolution
  • Framerate
  • Bit Rate you allow the Codec to work with

Most people publish final videos with too high of all three.  So shoot in High Def for your masters (better chroma keying, etc), then crush the resolution on publishing down to 1/3 or less typically. In a similar vein, you do NOT need 30fps for most corporate talking head videos.  High frame rates are needed for lots of action / movement only. Try cutting your 30fps master in half to 15fps (thus instantly halving your bandwidth requirement).   And finally, do not use the default Codec bit rates your video editing software offers. That default bit rate is a max rating and typically with a talking head video  (little background movement) you can crush the available bit rate the Codec needs down to 1/4 or less of what the default is.  

In all cases you will have to experiment or course, but you should be able to get the overall video bandwidth down to a fraction of your master video.  Play with your editing software and publish short segments (to save time) in multiple combinations until you pass the "eww, too much" threshold then back off a bit.  Once you have that setting, you can use it for all your similar videos  (that match the same criteria of action, background detail/change, etc).

If you don't have video software already, the swish army knife toolset I recommend is AVS4YOU .  Like $60 and a great little set of tools for all sorts of things including video editing and conversion.

 

Hope this helps and good luck.

Bill Cohea

Bob S,

Thanks this info really helps. I use Adobe Premier for my videos and then run them through Handbrake to bring the file size down. I'm playing with different export settings for videos in Premiere. The problem I'm running into is with software demo training videos making sure the software screen shots/video are still legible. The Codec I have been using is the H264 medium bitrate. I'm now playing with the YouTube codec. What do you use?

Thanks,

Bill

 

Bob S

If these are for software demos, first thing I would do is really crush the frame rate.... a lot.  Leave the resolution a bit higher than you might for talking heads (so you can see the screen details), but there is typically next to zero movement on screen (screen stays static except for one data field at a time), so really kill the bit rate the Codec has available too.

It's been a while since I've produced those, so sorry I don't have settings handy.  But my guess would be you could cut frame rate to 1/3 and bit rate to 1/5 of the defaults as a starting point, just keep resolution medium/high.  See how that looks for you and tweak from there.