Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (1)

A screencast (a video capture of your screen) is a powerful way of explaining how to use an application, or perform a task – just by showing it. Apart from the difficulty of recording a screencast (and editing it into something presentable), there’s the issue of hosting the files. Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting with my del.icio.us mp3 screencast on several video sharing sites. In a following post, I’ll list all of the services I tried I and their evaluation. I found two services to be great, two almost OK, and 10 others not fit for the task… Here’s how I proceeded:

Criteria

What is important if you search a service to host your self-produced screencasts? I scored each of them for the following criteria:

Upload:

  • is uploading fast and easy?
  • can you upload in several formats or just one?
  • are there other ways of uploading, other than a simple web form?
  • how easy is managing, and editing uploads and their metadata?

Quality

  • image and sound quality (whereas in most entertainment videos, it’s sufficient just to get an idea of what’s happening, for a sceencast it’s necessary for at least menus and text to be readable…)
  • size on screen of the embedded video (size does matter, but image sharpness and a sound without hiccups are more important)

Control:

  • is there an rss (vodcast) feed for your videos, or collections of videos you make – so people can subscribe?
  • what are the download options: flv, compressed quicktime, and/or the original format and size?
  • can you monetize your videos?
  • can you embed your video on your own site, in different formats and sizes?

If you use video sharing sites for other purposes (fun, marketing, entertainment) then you might find other criteria more important, such as the social features, viral marketing features, usability and findability from the watcher’s point of view – but that’s not what I concentrated on here.

Results

  • Among the services I tested, Blip.tv and Revver stood out, with Vimeo and Veoh following. See all ratings and short reviews.
  • An ideal setup would be a Feedburner-like service that consumes your vodcast feed (like Veoh does), and transforms the local video file references to (automatically) mirrored versions on a hosting service, giving you view/download stats and optionally ad revenue sharing (what Blip.tv is offering now).
  • I did not compare terms of use and copyright policy of all of the services – but I think you can safely assume that law follows code: the more freedom the hosting platform gives you as a user/contributor, the more your rights as the producer are respected. Openness of the platform doesn’t have to be an ethical choice, BTW – it could be a sound business choice too, see my summarizing remark on Blip.tv (an interesting read: the “Ethics of Web2.0” posting and the ensuing discussion).

Source material

I had used Camtasia Studio (free trial here) to record and edit an 640 by 480 movie (see resources for more tools). That’s too big to make it embeddable in most layouts, so I exported to 480 by 360 movies in the following formats:

  • .avi: too heavy to upload, even for the shortest video.
  • .swf: video quality was just too bad.
  • .mov – 80 MB (download): still a huge file, but for some services .mov was the only format that converted into relatively good quality videos.
  • .flv – 8MB (download): good quality, high compression. Some services don’t accept it as source format however.
  • .wmv – 5.6MB: excellent quality when exported in the orginal 640 by 480 format (download). When produced in the lower 480×360 resolution, quality is a lot worse, and size increases! So I used the 640 by 480 version, however just a few services accept .wmv as source format.

Probably other upload formats/or options could have resulted in different quality scores – few services give instructions on how to optimize the source material for them however – Youtube being a notable exception.

Other video sharing comparisons

Still other Alternatives

  • Self-hosting still is an option. You’ll probably choose for flv (platform-independency, high compression) and the Flash Video Player by Jeroen Wijering.
  • Tubetorial.com is a screencasting portal you might consider if you do not have your own blog.
  • Screencast-O-Matic is a free service with a Java applet that lets you record and upload screencasts – on the other side of the spectrum, there’s Screencast.com by Techsmith (Camtasia!) to host your corporate screencasts for a fee.

Screencasting resources

27 Responses to “Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (1)”

  1. Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (2) Says:

    [...] Notes, links and conversation « Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (1) [...]

  2. BrianWill.net » Blog Archive » Revver is the one Says:

    [...] Much thanks to Pascal VanHecke, who pointed me to his review of the web video services that judges them on their suitability for screencasting. As Pascal discovers, Revver.com and Blip.tv are the only video services with really adequate quality for screencasting. Revver in particular has nice video quality. My only complaint is that it offers no maximize or fullscreen viewing option, but this should be a non-issue shortly when the new flash plug-in with built-in fullscreen support is released. So I’ve decided to use Revver to embed video directly on the wiki. While Revver does use advertising, it’s very unobtrusive (a single picture and link at the end of each video), and of course the videos will be downloadable still from archive.org. I’ve uploaded the MediaWiki videos already. Now I just need to get that MediaWiki plug-in that allows the embedding of flash objects. [...]

  3. Ian Ozsvald Says:

    Thanks for the mention of our ShowMeDo.com. We host 75 tutorial videos at the moment, we’ll have over 100 during December. We’d love to have more tutorials on all sorts of subjects.
    Regards, Ian.

  4. The Distant Librarian Says:

    SirsiDynix Screencasting Links…

    These are the links that I referenced during my Introduction to Screencasting seminar for the SirsiDynix Institute. The archived seminar will soon be available online, and when it is I’ll replace this sentence with a link to it. The examples…

  5. Mixette Says:

    Amazing, extensive research! Thanks for publishing!

  6. eric Says:

    Hi! great information on here.. I have a question.. I am looking for software that will submit my videos to these video service sites.. have you heard of any product you could suggest? thanks!

  7. John Says:

    eric,

    not sure what you mean by software to upload videos to these sites. Most of the sites offer uploading forms on their websites. http://www.nelsok.com has this same feature. Are you looking for a stand alone program that runs from your desktop that you can use to upload your videos?

  8. UserX - הבלוג של עינת ענבל על עיצוב חווית המשתמש ועיצוב ממשק » Blog Archive » קישורים - 6 בדצמבר Says:

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  9. Mark Says:

    Guys,

    You need to check out new video sharing site, http://www.connectfilms.com

    this site looks clean and cool.

  10. Mary Says:

    I just looked at connectfilms.com, and this website is awesome! Love the Bollywood films:-)

  11. Sandeep Says:

    Hey Guys!!

    Heard of http://www.aapkavideo.com ?? If there are Bollywood Fans out there this is the site you must dash right away !!. The best feature about this site is that the users can register themselves in a few simple steps and start uploading videos at once and another unique thing is that Multiple videos can be shared with your near and dear ones by just creating a link. The Videos that One uploads reflects on the site at once.

    AapkaVideo supports almost all the popular video file types like .way, .mpeg, .mpg, avi etc. They have these categories which you can browse through and watch the videos of your choice. The most popular videos and the most recently updated videos are featured on the AapkaVideo home page itself.

    Guys What Are you waiting for ?? Go Grab your Account and start exploring as I have done already !!

  12. Making screencasts with Camtasia Studio effectively » SridhaReena Says:

    [...] Thanks to http://video.techsmith.com/blog/screencasts/tss/dv/30d30d/30_Demos_in_30_Days.html. Finally, here’s a greatly researched blog on which social video sharing site to use for uploading your screencasts. Thank you for reading this post. You can now: Subscribe to the Full RSS Feed , Leave A Comment , or A Trackback [...]

  13. karelschiepers-online- / screencast online Says:

    [...] te zetten en mijn eigen ruimte een beetje op te ruimen. Toevallig kwam ik volgende berichten tegen: Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (1) en Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (2) meer info: video, instructiemateriaal, [...]

  14. khan Says:

    Guys,

    You need to check out new video sharing site, http://www.724video.com

    this site looks clean and cool.

  15. Rick Jones Says:

    I would like to add http://www.jujunation.com. Most African sites never seem to make most list. This is a great site for African music videos and video sharing. It is also a social network site. Check it out to watch great African music videos and other stuff. Everything from pop to the new hottest African craze; Mapouka.

  16. Maria Says:

    Hello.
    We have reviewed your website http://pascal.vanhecke.info and we think it would be perfect for advertising our new product: webplayer. If you change your current webplayer to ours, it will be possible to earn money from every new free installation, and it is the unique thing about our webplayer. We believe that a partnership between us would work out so well that we are willing to offer you an up-front payment to advertise this product.

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  17. Basil Says:

    Interesting read, hey check out my audio-sharing website http://www.SoundLantern.com/ it’s like a “youtube for audios” you can upload all your audio content, check it out when you get the chance.

  18. Screencasting Resources (Part One) « Blog « WordPress.tv Says:

    [...] for the right place to host your screencast (WordPress.com, naturally), check out this handy-dandy two part comparative review of a whole bunch of video hosting sites suitability for [...]

  19. Which CMS » Blog Archive » Screencast hosing test Says:

    [...] Other sites like: http://www.squidoo.com/videohosting mentioned Revver, a good service that matches advertisers to your video material. In order for this thesis to be impartial there will be no advertising. Additionally a general overvier of screencasting and servise providers at http://pascal.vanhecke.info/2006/10/31/screencasting-online-video-sharing-sites-compared-1/ [...]

  20. Maggie Says:

    The attributes with which you have compared the video sites are very relevant. Great post!

  21. Debty Says:

    Ahaan… I will follow.

  22. Digitalmalay Says:

    I already try at Blip.tv and Revver .The results was outstanding..

  23. Aaron Wall Says:

    Great helpful information, Thanks for this nice post, just subscribed your feed, hope you will update new post soon.
    keep it up.

    Aaron.

  24. Mahon Wise Says:

    This is a great post. Another great video sharing website is http://www.directorslive.com

    Directors Live is a internet television network that allows creative and talented people to broadcast their original shows, video content and get paid.

  25. Andrade Says:

    Oh,nice article. Good informations..

  26. ogame Says:

    AapkaVideo supports almost all the popular video file types like .way, .mpeg, .mpg, avi etc. They have these categories which you can browse through and watch the videos of your choice. The most popular videos and the most recently updated videos are featured on the AapkaVideo home page itself

  27. Vanina Says:

    Hello,
    If you are interested, we are have launched a collaborative comparisons sharing website: SocialCompare, and we did a comparison of the screencasting tools here:
    http://socialcompare.com/en/comparison/screencasting-tools-jch1j2w
    You can rate them.