Video Formats

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What Are the Best Formats to Post Video Files In?

Best file format actually depends on where the files are to be mounted. Here are some likely scenarios and recommendations. Once you have your final cut (avi or mov), you can let your video editing program churn out the various formats in background while you are working on other things. The Flash takes a couple of extra steps, but Adobe's Flash software makes it reasonably painless.

On the Press Website

Princeton University Press offers this set of options:


  • High 512K (640 x 480)
  • Medium 256K (320 x 240)
  • Low 56K (160 x 120)

Most people have Flash players on their machines and are accustomed to viewing it on blogs. You can use <object> html to position it on your pages.

Windows Media

  • High 1024K (640 x 480)
  • Medium 256K (320 x 240)
  • Low 56K (160 x 120)

Video iPod (320 x 240)

Audio iPod

MPEG-4 (640 x 480)

Format for PCs

Most PCs have Windows Media player.

Format for Macs

Most Macs have Quicktime, which can play MPEG-4.

Video for Broadcast

Broadcast quality MPEG-2 with titles and credits (for Public Access channels, not the web). For this to work, you need to develop a relationship with the Public Access community. It is probably most worth pursuing in Massachusetts and California, where Public Access has a wide following. More about this below.

iTunes Store Podcast Service

For distribution through the iTunes Store Podcast service, you want to have video iPod .mp4 in 320 x 240 format. For audio, you want .mp3 format. One can reduce bandwidth needs by not setting it up stereo.


For YouTube (this changed in the past year), you want to upload H.264 mp4 at 640 x 480 (or wider).

Note: for university press content, the iTunes store generally gets far more traffic than YouTube. But if you have something with popular appeal, it's worth doing both.

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