With the capability of the modern internet expanding exponentially, people can now do things that they could not do even two years ago. For example, the procedure, tips and tricks on how to shoot streaming video have changed just as much as the Internet has. With that said, before you can shoot streaming video, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
What is a Compression Rate?
Video shot with the intention of streaming is done so using a very high compression rate, which is what determines what the quality of the video used for streaming will be, as well as the stream itself. In this case, we are using “lossy video compression,” which is a way to make the size of a digital file smaller while continuing to be able to stream well. The downfall to this is that because it is lossy, it literally loses information when compressed, information that the streaming software will add later when streaming the video using a best, educated guess.
This subtraction and addition of information when using lossy compression is what causes many streaming videos to jump, flicker, or appear to stop the video at one point while the audio is running, and then jump to another point, but the audio is still perfectly in tune with the video when it comes back. This is what people refer to when they say a video is “choppy.” When there is less movement in a video, it will jump less.
When video is streamed on the Internet, the amount of bandwidth used will determine the compression rate that is needed. Bandwidth is measured using a metric called bits, which translates to how fast information transfers or streams on the Internet. This metric is imperative because in the past, most people used dial-up Internet, which could not stream a lot of information at once.
This is why lossy compression was very popular, and it “stuck” as a standard format. However, in recent years, with the expansion of the internet and the bandwidth available from the various ISPs, FLAC formatted videos are becoming more popular, which uses a lossless compression rate, so the file size is larger and requires more bandwidth to use.
Tips to Shooting Video for Streaming
So now you understand the compression rate and about what happens to video as it streams, let us look at some tips to produce the best possible video to use for streaming.
Talking Heads: This means that you should focus only on the people who are talking in the video. This technique will ensure the least amount of movement, which requires the least amount of information to be streamed, and will result in a better, non-choppy streaming video.
Little Movement: Try to move the camera as little as possible while shooting the video, again because when the camera moves, the more the streaming video will jump or appear choppy. Instead, use a tripod to steady the camera.
Lighting: Lighting is also another important point when shooting streaming video. While shadows might make a video look good, they are not good for streaming video or compressing video to stream.
Zooming: Again, movement can make the video choppy because the compression will try to compensate after it has taken away the information of the movements. When shooting video, try to keep it as still as possible, with as little panning or zooming as necessary.
Background Colors: When shooting video for streaming, try to use as little dark colors as possible, as dark colors tend to make the compression more difficult, and the wrong information could be lost in the compression. Try to avoid night shots as much as possible. Another thing to remember is to make the subject of your video contrast as much as possible with the background, for the same reason. Additionally, making the background a solid, plain color with no pattern will stop the compression from losing too much information; make sure the people in the video do not wear patterned clothing either.
Things to Remember
Even though it might seem like you cannot do anything with a video that is intended for streaming, this is not entirely true. The thing about a great videographer is that even with the limiting necessities of streaming video, he or she should still be able to accomplish the tasks intended for the video itself. Additionally, if you have a cable ISP, or a fiber optic provider, you may have more bandwidth, which makes many of these limitations redundant.