From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats

Video formats have come an incredibly long way in the past few decades.

Technology is ever-advancing; it is constantly changing and being improved upon, a trait that directly impacts and affects the video industry, who in turn are continually having to vary the format of their videos in order to keep up to date with modern technology. The video formats that you have used in the past are greatly dependent upon how old you are. Let’s take a look at the various video formats in more detail:

1975, Betamax: Betamax is considered to have started the home video revolution. Created by Sony, the Betamax system allowed users to record television broadcasts and view movies at home, something that they were unable to do until this point. By the late 1980’s Betamax became obsolete, losing the video format war to its rival VHS.

From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats
Sony C5 Betamax Video Recorder

1976, VHS: VHS is an abbreviation for Video Home System. It was launched in 1976 after being created in Japan by the Victor Company. VHS is an analogue recording videotape cassette, encoded in FM on a magnetic tape. The magnetic oxide particles are rearranged to encode video and audio signals. VHS finally fizzled out in 2007/2008 after a steep decline in sales of both VHS players and individual videos.

From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats

1978, LaserDisc: The LaserDisc was created in North America by Phillips, MCA and Pioneer, which is where it was initially licensed and sold before being released globally. This was the first time optical discs had been used for storage, offering higher quality video and audio than VHS was able to provide and using NTSC/PAL encoding. Though these discs offered many benefits over VHS, they did not gain in popularity due in part to the high costs involved in purchasing the player and the discs, and also because they could playback but not record, and the discs were too large only holding approximately an hour of video content.

1980’s, Video8: Video8 was released as a new format to filming videos, with the audio being of a much higher quality due to Video8 device using audio frequency modulation to record the audio along the same path as the video. In the late 80’s, Video8 was developed into Hi8, which increased the recorded bandwidth of the signal improving the resolution to laserdisc quality. In 1999 Digital8 was introduced, and it is this that rivals MiniDV in our current video format market.

1996, DV Video: DV Video is the ideal format for anyone wanting to edit his or her videos. DV stands for Digital Video. It compresses within every frame rather than between consecutive frames allowing it be edited easier and it uses a Firewire (IEEE 1394) interface to allow the video to be transferred between camera, desktop, editing equipment etc. HD DV is now also available, as are MiniDV’s.

1997, DVD: Launched in 1997, the DVD was set to replace all earlier video formats, including the VHS and Betamax. Due to the advantages DVD had over previous video formats, it quickly became the leading format for the distribution of pre-recorded material, as well as being able to store computer information and data. One DVD can hold up to 4.7GB of data, i.e. 2-3 hours of standard video.

2001, MP4: MP4 (or MPEG-4) was released in 2001, offering a new level of flexibility for video formatting. MP4 format has been backed strongly by Apple, and it is the format used in QuickTime players. MP4 is applied in a number of other formats, for example, 3GP and 3G2 both use P4 as a video container.

2006, Blu-Ray: Blu-ray is an improvement over DVD’s, allowing much higher storage of up to 25GB for standard Blu-ray discs and up to 50GB for double layered Blu-ray discs, which is equivalent to approximately 4.5 of HD video or 20 hours of standard video. Blu-ray is supportive of 1080p resolution, which is considered to be the best high definition format, compressions MPEG-2, AVC MPEG-4, VC-1.

2006, HD DVD: HD DVD was launched at a similar time as Blu-ray, and competed with Blu-ray up until 2008, where it finally lost the battle after Toshiba announced it would stop manufacturing and developing HD DVD players.

About the author: Tom Black, Indie film producer and video marketing expert from Slinky Production in Birmingham, UK.

Freelance Writers and Corporate Video?

How can Freelance Writers use Corporate video?

As a freelance writer at Words by Melissa, I started my business so I could write for a living—not so I could worry about things like online marketing and SEO and multimedia. But in today’s tech-savvy market, it’s impossible to make a big impact or maintain a competitive edge without investing at least some time, energy, and (hopefully not too much) money into building a strong web presence.

One of my goals for this latter half of 2013 is to start dabbling in video marketing. With 89 million people around the United States watching close to 1.2 billion online videos, the reach and power of video simply can’t be denied. At first, I wasn’t sure how this strategy could benefit a freelance writer. But after doing a little research, I’ve found that there are plenty of reasons to add this to my marketing plan.

Reason #1: Video is an attention-getter.
There are countless freelance writer’s websites on the web, many of them with spectacular portfolios and well-crafted promotional copy. But those that feature a video on their home page have an immediate advantage over other sites. Potential customers are immediately drawn to moving images. A prominent, high-quality video could be just the lure you need to reel ‘em in.

Reason #2: It shows off your personality.
There’s only so much you can get across in writing. By combining the trifecta of well-written content, eye-catching graphics, and a well-produced video, you’ll have a much better chance of connecting with your target clients and establishing yourself as an interesting, unique, and approachable freelance writer.

Reason #3: Video is a great way to explain what you do.
Sure, you can write all about the services you offer—web copywriting, case studies, press releases, etc.—but it’s much more effective to explain them verbally. Again, this gives you another opportunity to connect personally with clients and establish a sense of trust and camaraderie.

Reason #4: Case studies are boring to read.
Let’s face it: reading a case study probably doesn’t rank too high on your list of exciting things to do. But when explained in a video, complete with inflection and expression, a client’s success story suddenly sounds much more compelling.
Remember, not all corporate videos are created equal. In fact, an amateur video can actually do more harm than good. To bolster your reputation as a professional, trustworthy copywriter, I highly recommend working with an experienced corporate video specialist like Keywest Video.

Melissa Rudy is a freelance writer with Words by Melissa. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Melissa specializes in web copy, blog articles, case studies, press releases, and other freelance writing.

Freelance Writers and Corporate Video?
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Does corporate video sell your business?

Does Corporate Video really work?

Corporate video offers you a unique opportunity to engage your customers, and increase traffic to your site. It is driven by the three elements of story-telling i.e. audio, images, and text, unlike the other online marketing techniques that use either of these elements separately.

Why is Online Video Popular?

Various factors have led to the rise of online video. First, creating and posting videos online is relatively inexpensive. In addition, videos are much easier to comprehend, as opposed to using text or images only. Other than that, a video is capable of displaying a vast amount of information within a second, compared to reading lines of text. You can get your viewers to respond to your message instantly, even before they can fully appraise the entire content or comprehend the intended meaning.

How to Optimize Online Video

Here are a few tips to enable you create videos that will effectively reach out to your target audience.

1. Create Powerful Video Titles:
Your video titles are an important component in attracting traffic. Just like a blog’s headline, use titles that will grab the attention of viewers. In addition, using the appropriate keyword phrases within your titles will enable your videos to rank favorably on search engines.

2. Provide Valuable Content:
Ever wondered why “How-to” videos are the most successful when it comes to online video marketing? Well, your viewers are likely to view content that they find valuable, whether it is educational, informational or entertaining. Therefore, when creating your videos, think about your typical audience and what they would find valuable. In addition, take the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise in your field.

3. Make Your Videos Short:
Videos require passive participation, as opposed to reading text in which a reader is required to participate actively in order to comprehend. For this reason, viewers are likely to lose interest if your videos are too long. Typically, online videos should be approximately four minutes in length. Therefore, ensure that you record short videos that are straight to the point. If you are unable to pass your message within the four minutes, consider breaking up the video into several parts and direct viewers to the next part in the series at the end of each video.

4. Brand Your Videos Appropriately:
Take the opportunity to let viewers learn about you or your business by placing your logo or other key information such as website URL at a prominent position on the screen such as the upper-left corner. Alternatively, you can display it at set intervals or at the very end of the video. This will enable you to increase traffic to your site, as well as introduce and grow your brand.

5. Call to Action:
Online corporate videos are great at creating a knee-jerk reaction among viewers. As such, your audience is likely to respond to your message after watching your video. Therefore, you should always include a Call-to-action that will encourage your audience, for example contact income support.

6. Post Your Corporate Videos on Multiple Sites:
The greatest mistake that many people make is to rely only on YouTube when posting their corporate videos. The reasoning with most is that, since YouTube is owned by Google, then it is the best way to gain on search engine ranking. However, there are many other corporate video marketing sites that you should upload your videos to including Vimeo, Daily Motion, MetaCafe and many others. You should also embed videos on your own website, as this encourages viewers to spend more time on the site.

Guest Blogger: Leo Josh

Does corporate video sell your business?
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