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How to add video to your site

A few people have asked how video is used on this site. So here's an overview of how it is done and the options available to you.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Table of contents

The [insert video site] revolution

Video on the web has changed. I remember a few years ago where clients would have to pay specialist companies to optimise and stream their videos. Streaming servers were expensive and even then bandwidth issues meant that users often had to sit and wait for videos to come through.

What has changed is the usage of the .flv format. This is a file type that makes use of the Flash player and gives streaming-like experience with no need for streaming. It also removes many of the headaches of users not having the correct player to view videos. Adobe put the penetration of their Flash player at 96%, and whilst it may not be entirely true you are on a pretty safe bet that most people will have it.

We’ll optimise and host for you

The great thing about video sites is that they will optimise and host video for you, most of the time for free. No need for expensive encoders or software. You will probably find that the quality of videos is not great but if you are not paying for it you can’t really complain. Some well known free sites are

Once you’ve uploaded the video these sites will provide you with a line of code you can drop into your own site. Job done!

Doing it yourself

You can do all of this yourself which is what I do. The software I use is:

Of course you need your own web server and knowledge of how to create and upload web pages. I use video for tutorials, as an addition to manuals for clients and even to show my eBay items.

Content - the really hard part of the web

Just like web pages the hardest part is producing good content. Filming is not an easy job and if you are producing a corporate video it is worth employing a TV professional with editing experience. The barriers to entry are low, which is a great thing, but that doesn’t mean that people will watch what you produce if it doesn’t have something to interest them!

Have an update or suggestion for this article? You can edit it here and send me a pull request.


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