Why You Should Use the MP4 File Format Instead of FLV
For many years, the preferred file format for sharing video online (whether through a hosting service or on your own website) has been Adobe’s Flash Video format, or FLV. This was once the default video file type for Camtasia Studio productions. In Camtasia Studio 6, the default file format for video production was changed to MPEG-4 (or MP4). Why the change?
Video technology never stops evolving, and Camtasia Studio changes as well to continue to offer the best production options to our customers and their viewers. FLV became a popular choice for video on the Internet due to the ubiquity of the Adobe Flash plug-in, but advances in browser technology and the Flash plug-in itself mean that more traditional video file formats are now commonplace. FLV files themselves are rarely served up by video hosting services anymore. Instead, MP4 has taken its place (often with a Flash controller playing the MP4 file) as the new standard for video on the Web. Other pages use HTML 5 to directly play the MP4 video file.
MP4 is a great way to provide high quality videos along with compression that gives great file size. Specifically, Camtasia Studio (and its Mac OS X counterpart, Camtasia for Mac) create MP4 files that use H.264 encoding. When a video provider like Vimeo, YouTube, or the iTunes store streams a video, they use an MP4 file with H.264 encoding. Additionally, MP4 with H.264 encoding is one of the video codecs that a Blu-Ray player must be able to decode.
Many hosting services, such as Vimeo, now list MP4 as their preferred file format. Additionally, some video distribution platforms, like Vimeo or Apple’s iTunes store, do not support the FLV format.
The rise of video on mobile devices has changed things as well. For the most part, Adobe Flash content on websites isn’t available on mobile devices. For video that can be viewed anywhere, on any device, the MP4 format has become the latest standard.
If you aren’t already making MP4 videos, maybe you should be. For more on how to produce MP4 videos in Camtasia Studio, see Produce and Share an MP4 Video.