How To Produce Small Good Quality Videos From a “Mino Flip Cam” Using Adobe Premier CS 4

If you’re like me and you’re working with a slow internet connection, you’ll appreciate the need to keep your YouTube videos as small as possible without losing quality. Especially if you’re including some screencasts with your recorded flipcam video. This is where I have struggled to find the perfect settings that still keep the text readable and unpixelated.

If you’re like me and you’re working with a slow internet connection, you’ll appreciate the need to keep your YouTube videos as small as possible without losing quality. Especially if you’re including some screencasts with your recorded flipcam video. This is where I have struggled to find the perfect settings that still keep the text readable and unpixelated.

In addition, if you prefer the older flipcam which uses square pixels (instead of wide screen format) but want your videos to appear in YouTube without the wide-screen black bars, this method is the best configuration I’ve found. Your video will fill the entire YouTube viewing area.

This tutorial is not the only way to do this. It’s just what has worked best for me.

1. Create a new project in Adobe Premier

Keep the settings default. I use, for example, the DV format. It’s not so important because we’ll be changing this soon.

2. Download a Copy of Kingdia Video Converter

Recommended settings for Kingdia Video Converter when converting your video for Adobe Premiere CS4
Recommended settings for Kingdia Video Converter when converting your video for Adobe Premiere CS4

You can get your copy from the Kingdia Video Converter website. This is an excellent program that quickly converts videos for you from one format to another. We need to do this step because the default format saved by the flipcam actually comes out upside down in Adobe Premier. It also, for one reason or other, fails to preview properly.

3. Use the following settings to convert your video:

Choose: To WMV/ASF
Bitrate: 2500 kbps
Width/Height: 720 x 567
Aspect: 1:1

4. Import your converted video file

In Adobe Premier, you should import the new video file. Hopefully, if you’ve done everything right, it’s a lot smaller than the original. Test it out before inserting it into your timeline.

5. Change the way Adobe Premiere Interprets Your Video

Right-click your video in the assets pane and choose "Interpret Footage". These are the Adobe Premiere settings to use
Right-click your video in the assets pane and choose "Interpret Footage". These are the Adobe Premiere settings to use

Before adding the converted video to your timeline, right-click the file in the assets pane and choose “Interpret Footage”.

Then choose your Aspect Ratio as “square pixels” if it’s not selected already. This would obviously need to match your converted video format.

My method is mostly unconventional because it uses square pixels instead of the typical wide-screen ones to get the right look. However, I don’t understand that much about video and I just like to keep things simple.

If you know a better way, I’d love to hear about it, ok?

6. Insert The Video Into Your Sequence’s Timeline

I usually drag the video file from the assets pane and position it in Video channel 1. The particular channel isn’t important, just make sure to click it and activate it for all future operations so that they apply to your channel.

Also, make sure that the audio track that accompanies the video is also inserted into an Audio channel. The video and audio are linked and any cutting or editing you do will affect both channels. You can change this if you like by right-clicking the video or audio channel and choosing “Unlink”.

7. Transform Your Video

Drag your video file from the assets pane on the left (usually) into "Video #1" channel in your timeline
Drag your video file from the assets pane on the left (usually) into "Video #1" channel in your timeline

Make sure your player head is positioned somewhere on the timeline where the video is playing. Then while the video is stopped, click it once. Click again and a transform box will show up around the video.

This step is critical, because what we’re going to need to do is to scale UP the video and crop it. This is done in the same step by first increasing the size using the little transform handles in the corners of the box and then positioning the video by moving it from the center.

Since we’re dealing with square pixels and positioning them on a widescreen canvas, we’re going to have to lose some of the top and bottom of the video when you reposition it. The top and bottom are going to be cropped.

Scaling up, on the other hand, increases the size of the video with proportional dimensions so that it’s not stretched widthwise but still occupies the entire wide-screen canvas space.

8. Edit your video

At this point, you can edit your video as normal and add any screenshots you need to. You will be allowed to edit like normal. Ensure all the important parts havent been cropped off in your scale operation. If they have, you might want to move the video up or down to include these things.

9. Export Media

Now you’re ready to render your final video file. Click on the video channel you want to export in the timeline to activate it. Then click the “File” menu in Adobe Premier and choose “Export”. Choose “Media” in the sub-menu that appears.

10. Use These Media Export Settings

Use these settings when Exporting and rendering your final video file
Use these settings when Exporting and rendering your final video file

Format: Windows Media

Preset: Custom

Export Video: Checked

Export Audio: Checked

Click The Video Tab. Then choose these settings:

Codec: Windows Media Video 9

Allow interlaced processing: NOT checked

Encoding Passes: One

Bitrate Mode: Constant

Unconstrain Size Ratio by unchecking the box next to the width/height setting

Width & Height: 640 x 360

Frame Rate: 25 fps

Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Pixel (1.0) **VERY IMPORTANT**

Maximum Bitrate: 2,500 or thereabouts (this determines the video quality)

Image Quality: 50 or thereabouts (this determines the individual frame quality)

Decoder Complexity: Auto

Keyframe Interval: 5 (this determines how quickly the video updates. For high motion video you may need a higher setting here)

11. Accept the Export Settings

Check the output looks good in the Output tab above the video preview. Use the down arrow below the video to scroll back and forth to check specific frames. If it looks good, accept the settings you chose and a new program will open called Adobe Media Encoder. Click the button “Start Queue” in the left of the window and your conversion should start.

12. Upload Your New WMV file To YouTube

The resulting file is a small WMV file that your viewers will appreciate. It should also be relatively small for you to upload it compared to using a proper wide-screen video format.

I hope you enjoyed this! If you have better settings you’d like to suggest that result in small output files that have good quality video (especially of screenshots) then I’d love to hear it in the comments below!

Author: Jim Yaghi

Jim Yaghi is an advertising consultant and traffic expert, with a background in Artificial Intelligence.

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