Formatting Your Videos for Presentation

You shot your video, polished it to perfection, but now what? Here's how to get your video in a format for easy sharing and displaying.

July 1, 2008

One of the most confusing aspects of do-it-yourself videos is the variety of file formats available. When you start talking about video files or working with video editing software, you’re going to encounter codes like .wmv, .mpeg, .mp4, .mov, H.264, .avi, and .rm, which identify different formats for digital video.

Keep it simple with Flash, the closest thing to a standard. A Flash file is usually denoted by the .flv, or less frequently by .fla or .swf, tag on the file name. A free Flash player is now installed on almost all computers. So converting your video to the Flash format after editing it all but guarantees that anyone who finds it online will be able to view it.

Your video editing software may be able to save files in the Flash format, but you may need additional software such as Adobe’s Flash CS3. You can also upload your video to a file conversion service; many video producers offer this service even if you shot the video yourself.