Video dimensions (important!)

You need to know what the aspect ratio of your video is. If no one has changed the settings on your camera, your aspect ratio in this class is 16:9 (widescreen). I set these myself, so I know all of the HV20 cameras started out with that setting.

The first time we captured with Windows Movie Maker, I told you which settings to select — BEFORE you captured — so that your video would have the correct aspect ratio. The default setting in WMM is not 16:9! (So you must change it! Change it every time — because the lab computers reset themselves.)

Six of you did not set the aspect ratio correctly when you captured the second video. As a result, your videos look a bit squished, as if someone pressed the left and right sides toward the middle. Not really what you want.

I expect you to select the WMM settings correctly for your final video!

Aspect Ratios

16:9 (widescreen) is 720 x about 400* pixels; however, WMM will output a file that is 720 x 480 pixels with black bars (letterbox) at top and bottom to make this right (if you selected the correct settings).

4:3 (old style TV) is 720 x 480 pixels.

*For a scary level of detail, see History of Aspect Ratio.

Settings in Flash Video Encoder

Because the output from WMM will be 720 x 480 no matter what (well, if you selected the proper output settings, that is …), you will use 720 x 480 in the Flash Video Encoder when you are converting the .wmv file to an .flv file.

THEN you will CROP the video’s black bars, as I demonstrated in class on April 3.

Download the notes from class about how to select the Flash Video Encoder settings (PDF file, 100 KB).

Making an FLV If You Do Not Have Flash

The image and sound quality might NOT be as good, but there are several Web sites where you can upload a .wmv file and have it converted to the FLV format, free. One is Zamzar. Another is YouConvertIt. If you find others that work well, please add a link in the comments to this post.

If you have access to the Flash Video Encoder (as all UF students do, in the labs), then please use that — and NOT the online converters.

Resources

All the stuff about the FLV Media Player and SWFObject is linked on the Week 13 syllabus page!

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About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

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