The digital age demands versatility. In the realm of video content, this means ensuring your videos are optimized for various platforms. One-size-fits-all no longer cuts it. Enter the world of video repurposing, where the nuances of formats, resolutions, and platform preferences play a pivotal role. This blog will deep dive into these technicalities, offering a comprehensive guide for content creators aiming for maximum reach and engagement.
Videos are packed in what are called containers, which are the files with the familiar extensions like .mp4, or .mov. Inside the containers are video frame data compressed using a video codec, and audio data compressed using an audio codec. We are not going to do into too much details and will abuse the nomenclature a bit and use the term format for containers (with the most common video and audio encoders that go with them).
So for the purpose of this article, a video format refers to the file type in which your video is saved. Each video format has its benefits and setbacks, for example some formats upload easily while others offer very good quality. Examples include MP4, AVI, MOV, MKV, and WebM.
MP4: Arguably the most versatile format, MP4 offers good compression and quality, making it suitable for web playback, including social media and streaming platforms.
MOV: Developed by Apple, it is the default format for QuickTime. While it retains high quality, the file size might be larger compared to MP4.
MKV: A flexible container format that can hold video, audio, and subtitles. It’s often used for storing high-definition videos.
AVI: An older format by Microsoft. It’s less compressed than MP4, leading to bigger file sizes but retains a high quality.
WebM: This is the new container and leads to higher compression at similar quality compared to MP4. It, however, lacks as wide a support as MP4 does, e.g. Safari can not play certain WEBM videos (those encoded by VP9 codec).
Video resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up a video, typically represented as width × height. It correlates with the clarity of the video or the amount of details that will be visible on a large enough screen. Common resolutions include 480p (SD), 720p (HD), 1080p (Full HD), 1440p (2K), and 2160p (4K). Bigger resolution is not always better, for a given screen. Most laptop screens are set to 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080), and on those screen 1080p video will map 1:1 from pixels to screen dots and will be the sharpest. 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) video will need to be stretched and hence it appear to be of lower quality. However, 4k video (3840 x 2160) will need to be downscaled to 1080p, and hence any extra sharpness will not really be very evident. However, if your screen has 4k resolution, which is now popular in desktop screens, then 4k video will be the sharpest and anything lower will look less sharp. 1080p videos still do not look too bad on 4k screens.
So, choosing your video resolution depends on where you estimate your audience will mainly watch them. Most of the videos will usually do fine at 1080p as they will be watched on laptops or mobiles, or on desktop screens up to 27 inches at 2k or 4k resolutions.
However, 4k resolution is getting more popular for videos. The things to keep in mind if you want to go 4k is that the files will be so much larger (3 to 5 times), and the processing during editing and exporting will also be heavier. But if you absolutely want your video to be future proof then 4k is the way to go.
Aspect ratio, the ratio between width and height, plays a role in how a video fits a screen. Common ratios include 16:9 (widescreen) and 4:3 (traditional TV). Newer ratios like 9:16 are becoming popular for mobile-first platforms like Instagram Stories or TikTok.
YouTube: Supports up to 8K but 1080p (16:9) is commonly used and 4k (2160p) is gaining momentum.
Instagram Stories: 1080x1920 pixels (9:16 aspect ratio).
Facebook: 1080p or 720p, bearing in mind both 16:9 (landscape) and 9:16 (portrait) depending on the type of video content.
Twitter: 720p is optimal, with both 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios being common.
LinkedIn: 1080p videos are common choice with the aspect ratios being usually 4:5 vertical, landscape 16:9, vertical 9:16 and 1:1. The vertical format is mostly focused on mobile viewing while the others are more desktop friendly.
Best for longer content, YouTube supports various resolutions and formats. However, MP4 in 1080p (16:9) remains a favorite for most creators due to its universal compatibility.
Instagram is versatile, with IGTV, Stories, and Feed demanding different resolutions. For Stories and IGTV, a 9:16 aspect ratio is essential, while the Feed can accommodate 16:9, 1:1, or even 4:5.
While Facebook is flexible like YouTube, videos auto-play on mute in the feed. Hence, repurposing should consider adding captions. Both landscape and portrait orientations work, but square videos (1:1) often perform best.
TikTok videos are usually 9:16. Given the platform’s nature, repurposing here might also involve cutting content down to fit within the 60-second limit.
Videos are also becoming popular on LinkedIn. Mostly they are short videos, as who does not like to consume bite sized information nuggets. Usually they are more infotainment focused, giving some relevant information about products or events.
Evaluating Your Base Content. Identify the primary content you want to repurpose. It might be a webinar, tutorial, or any long-form content. Understand its core message and value, and then pick out the relevant short bites of content that you want to use.
Deciding on Platforms and Formats. Based on your content and target audience, decide which platforms you are aiming for, and pick the technical specifications (see the next section for our recommendations).
Editing and Adapting. Using tools like CloudStudio.ai, you can edit, trim, resize, and adjust your video to suit different platforms. This step might also involve adding text overlays, captions, or changing audio. CloudStudio.ai also allows you to automatically created short form videos from long videos. It selects the parts which have engaging content and stitches them into multiple short clips that you can post on social media platforms.
Testing and Iterating. Always preview your repurposed content. Check for any cropping issues, audio sync problems, or quality drops. Adjust as needed, and then finally export your videos. If you have created subtitles, then you might also want to download the subtitle (.srt) file from your editor. Upload the video, and the .srt file, to your platform when done. While platforms like YouTube support uploading .srt files, some platforms do not. In such cases you need to burn the subtitles on to the video itself. CloudStudio.ai allows you to create subtitles automatically using speech to text AI, and then either download them as .srt, or burn them directly on to the video frames.
Format: Since we are largely talking about internet and social media videos, we would recommend you stick to MP4 container (with H.264 codec) as that is the most widely supported format and would play on almost every browser (desktop and mobile) as well as would upload without problems to any social media platform.
Resolution: 1080p aka Full HD resolution is usually sufficient for now, but 4k is getting popular fast, with higher resolution screens becoming popular. However, what you can see in a typical 15 inch or so laptop screen is anyway limited. But, If you want to be future proof and care about the quality of your video when watched on bigger screens, say 30 inch or larger, then you might want to consider the extra cost for producing 4k videos.
Aspect ratio: In general, 16:9 for more formal and mainly for desktop content, and 9:16 vertical aspect for videos meant to be mainly watched on mobile are recommended. On some platforms like LinkedIn square, or 4:5 vertical videos might also be considered.
The world of video repurposing is filled with technical intricacies, from understanding the nitty-gritty of formats and resolutions to mastering the preferences of different platforms. However, when done right, it’s a potent strategy to maximize reach and engagement.
Hopefully, after reading this article you would have a better understanding of the technical aspects as well as the whole workflow. Let us know at email@example.com if you have any further questions!
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