Online Videos

Do you have an idea that you want to share with a video? Do you have video from an event or program? Please review these best practices to make your video as successful as possible.

Video Quality

The overall quality of your web video will directly affect it’s impact and utility. Choices made during both during and after production will determine the caliber of your presentation. There are some good tutorials on video production at

The college has a Media Commons facility to allow shooting and editing of video and audio productions.


  • Whenever possible, use a tripod or other support.
  • Use a wide-angle lens setting to reduce shakiness and increase depth of focus.
  • Move closer instead of zooming. Zooming is distracting, and being closer to the subject will improve sound quality of on-camera mics.
  • Use an external microphone or lapel mic when recording interviews.
  • Minimizing camera movement (panning, zooming, hand-held) will result in a file that compresses better and looks better online.


Shorter and more concise video is more watchable than raw footage. The optimal length for an online video is no more than 3-5 minutes.  Editing for Content and/or style can be performed with Youtube’s online editor, or Kaltura.Media Commons sites at Penn State. Tutorials on specific editing programs are available through ITS.

Penn State Extension videos should use intro slates, which can be found on the extension branding website.

Video Hosting

External Hosting

Although Youtube and Vimeo will accept almost any type of video file, the preferred formats for video are

  • Frame Size/Resolution: “Native”(as the camera recorded)
    However, using frames sizes other than 1280x720 (16:9, widescreen) or 640x480 (4:3, ntsc) will result in a "Letterboxed" video.
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Video Codec: H.264/WMV3
  • Data Rate:Unchecked/Unlimited
  • Audio Codec: ACC
  • Deinterlace: YES
  • Frame Re-Ordering Unchecked
  • Deinterlaced: Yes
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square
  • (not all options will necessarily be available.)

    Platform-Specific Guides to Compression


  • As of February 1, 2011 all online videos must have screen-reader compatible synchronous text captions. Live or recorded presentations and talks do not currently have to be comply with this accessibility policy.
  • Videos must also provide text descriptions for any segment over 5 seconds length that is without captions.

Benefits of Subtitles

  • Captions make video more accessible for people with hearing disabilities.
  • Translated subtitles make it possible for all of us to watch video in languages that we don't speak.
  • As an educator, storyteller, scientist, or anyone with a message, the potential size of your audience increases exponentially when you have subtitles and translations.

Best Practices

These requirements will be more easily met if taken into account before video production; having a written script and clear sound quality will greatly ease the process. Event recordings, Presentations, Conferences will be very time consuming/expensive to transcribe.

These recordings should be edited to:

  • reduce running time
  • reduce the transcription workload
  • improve impact

Online Transcription

  • Commercial transcription and caption file creation are available through the Automatic Sync service. Current educational rate is $2.70/minute, minimum 5 minutes.