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Video File Formats And Codecs.

After producing blues guitar video lessons on disk and for instant download over the past few years, inevitably I've had to address different technical aspects of the work, while also answering questions raised by customers. Of course, this is the key to any activity. the end user is the reason the activity exists, therefore his satisfaction is the most important thing in the universe! Following is a synopsis of the subjects raised in such questions.

What Format Are The Guitar Lessons Video Files?

The basic editing is done in Windows Movie Maker. The process is lengthy, as the presentations includes over dubbing and graphic overlays (for the tablature on-screen displays). Once complete, the edited film, comprising many short clips which may included special effects, is compressed into a video file.  This file is the master for the delivery process and can be viewed with Windows Media Player, Realplayer and most other viewers having the WMV codec.

What's A Codec?

Multimedia files are very large and need to be compressed using a Codec, which is a program used for this purpose. The same codec is also needed to un-compress and allow the video to be viewed. Codec stands for Compression/Decompression. Basically, if you're player doesn't have that certain Codec in it's software library, you won't be able to view the file.

Is That Why I Can't View Some Files?

There could be many reasons, but using a player that doesn't have the right codec is a major reason. More and more, Window Media files can be viewed by many kinds of players.

Why Are The Lessons Not Available on DVD?

A primary interest for all concerned is to keep the cost nice and low. Compressed video files are still quite large, but many files with a size around 200 to 300 Mb can be burned into a disk as data. That means the films can be played by a computer, but not a DVD player.

Video files converted to DVD files are much bigger - the whole course would need 5 or 6 disks, which would push up the cost. Also, the completed video files are further compresses so that over 11 hours of video can be delivered on just 2 data disks. There is a slight loss of quality, but the video is perfectly adequate for learning the blues.

I Have A Mac - Is That A Problem?

The data-disks can be formatted with either Windows media or Mov files for Mac. The instant downloads are delivered only in Windows format.

However, there are a number of ways of overcoming this inconvenience. Some customers use a free utility form the web called 'Flip4Mac', which allows the files to be viewd with the Mac Quicktime Player. Another option is to use Real Player, or another free player called VLC for Mac. The VLC player will view almost any video file.

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