So, you have completed shooting and editing videos for your upcoming social media campaigns. You would think the hardest part is done. But before you can upload the videos, you have to encode them right. You might find yourself stuck thinking about which video format is the best for your chosen social media platform. In this guide, you will learn how to tackle this issue so that you can encode videos in the best quality for your social media networks.
Understanding the Meaning of Video Formats
You don’t have to deal professionally with videos to know that there are plenty of video formats. The primary feature distinguishing them from each other is the video codec used. As a general rule of thumb, a digital video file consists of a container and a codec.
A container is a box that contains different components of a video, including audio, images, etc. By looking at the file extension, you can understand which container was used.
On the other hand, a codec is a program that compresses and encodes multimedia data, especially royalty-free music or video. It reduces the size of the video so it can be stored and played. The most popular video codec is H.264, but there are several others, such as XviD, MPEG, DivX, etc.
Popular Types of Video Formats
Audio Video Interleave or AVI
It is one of the oldest video formats designed by Microsoft. The format was specifically designed for Windows and has a small degree of video compression. Therefore, there’s minimal loss of picture quality. Hence, the video files will be too large to be uploaded and shared on social media platforms.
Most popular browsers support AVI files, and that’s why the format is used even today. But it is losing out on its popularity to the MP4 format. So, if you have AVI files and want to upload them on social media, you can convert to MP4.
Moving Pictures Expert Group 4 or MP4
The MPEG-4 or MP4 video format is perfect for social media because it separately compresses video and audio files. Therefore, the quality remains high, but the video file gets smaller. The file uses MP4 encoding, and audio is saved with AAC compression. The user-friendly and multifunctional format is getting more popular than ever for sharing videos across social media networks. The format is supported by online and web browsers and is compatible with HTML5.
Windows Media Video or WMV
Windows Media Video is a video compression format from Microsoft. Windows Media Player supports the format. The format is known for maintaining good video quality with small file size. In fact, it is the smallest video file on the web. Also, it is probably the only video file format used in email.
Flash Video Format or FLV
Videos based on Adobe Flash can be created using this format. The new Flash plugin utilizes the updated H.264 codec. However, the media container comes with certain limitations. For instance, the Flash format is not compatible with iOS devices, and the videos in this format are not playable on iPhones and iPads.
So, the FLV format isn’t suited for uploading and sharing videos on social media networks. Furthermore, if you are using this format, you are alienating many viewers who won’t be able to watch the video you have uploaded.
Apple QuickTime Format (MOV)
The MOV video file format works brilliantly with Apple QuickTime. It works with Mac and Windows systems. The format is typically used on some websites but is not popular on social media networks. If you have shot a video in this format and edited it in this format, you have to render the video file with the H.264 codec and encode it in the MP4 format. Then, you can post it across websites and social media networks.
How to Choose the Right Video Format for Your Social Media Campaigns?
When it comes to uploading videos across social media networks, you must keep in mind the video formats supported by that particular platform. Each platform has its unique requirements for uploaded video content.
- The preferred video formats for YouTube are WMV, MPEG4, AVI, MOV, etc.
- Facebook prefers these video formats – MP4 and MOV.
- If you are uploading on Instagram, the preferred video format is MP4, and your video content must be rendered with H.264 codec.
- MP4 is also the preferred video file format for Twitter.
The Bottom Line
So, if you go through the specifications of each social media platform before shooting and editing your videos, you will save a lot of time. However, if you have chosen the wrong video format, you can convert them to the desired format using any online video converters. Best of luck!