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Gaming video - bigger is NOT better - 06-21-2006 , 12:06 AM

I don't do this much, but this mini-rant (or whatever you choose to call it) has been brewing in my noggin for some time now, and while we're in the calm before the (Halo3) storm, I thought now would be a good time to discuss this.

Unlike many other video game website owners, I've not been around this stuff for eons. My time here is only about three years, so I'm still a newbie. That being said, even in the short time I've been lurking about the net checking out game-related 'stuff', I've noticed that the content for most gaming fansites has quickly gone to video. While thinking all of this through, I've realized (yes, I'm a bit slow) that almost everything we do here is video. We are a conduit for gaming videos, with a forum to explain what the heck all the videos are supposed to mean.

An entire little community has developed around this idea, with video hosting becoming as important (if not more) as nearly anything else related to what we (and other fansites) do. Many other thoughts come to mind along this line, but to keep the virtual train on the track, let me finally steer this thing home.


No, I'm not going to use the cliche here, but it would work nicely. When I released my first trick video, it was right around 50 MB (because I had not yet learned to edit out all the meaningless crap that surrounded a few minutes of interesting gameplay). When I searched around for hosting options (which at that time consisted of nice people willing to help out with some bandwidth), most of my 'calls' were returned with "Man, you really need to learn to edit your videos."

Finally, someone reluctantly offered to host the video (COERCE - remember them?), but the point was I heard from nearly everywhere that the thing was monstrous, and would eat bandwidth like an NFL lineman at a steak buffet.

These days...

What's ironic about that whole episode is that by today's standards (just a few years later), that 50 MB size is quite average, and I think that's a problem. I've noticed that the sites that host many of our trick/gamplay videos have steadily increased their filesize allowance to keep up with the need, but it almost seems that when given a 50 or 100 MB limit, people seem to think they must use ALL of it.

In contrast to this new 'huge movie' trend, one of things I liked best about browsing through FrogBlast's website back when I first started searching for trick videos (http://ducain.org/utfoo), was that his videos were very small, showing only the interesting gameplay, and were very quick to download, watch, and then move on.

Why am I saying all this? Partly because I've looked into helping more people distribute their trick vids (HIH providing more hosting help), and I've looked into the issue of HIH hosting or mirroring every video that makes our frontpage (which logically is the sane thing to do), and partly because I help run a site that eats, breathes, and sleeps video content. Considering those two things, I felt it was time to (hopefully) make some changes.

The solution

I really think we need to get back to the days of 10/12 MB trick videos. Keep in mind I'm talking about trick vids here. I could go on another rant about 'montages', with their endless minutes of strewn together gamplay clips that go on, and on, and... but ya, back on topic.

When we first started posting videos here, most trick vids consisted of a couple of minutes (often less than one minute) of footage showing exactly HOW something was accomplished, and WHAT was accomplished. For instance, for a blue beam tower launch, we might show 30-40 seconds of the setup, and then show the completed launch, with a few seconds of credits.

I've seen quite a few trick vids in the recent past whose CREDITS were longer than some of my own trick videos. I'm not kidding.

I think we need to dial it back. It used to be that when a video was released that DIDN'T work like the one I just described (perhaps it contained a bunch of trick clips put together), we called it a 'variety vid'. Those were fairly uncommon, and were bigger in size. These days almost every video we see here is like that. Don't get me wrong - variety vids are good, if edited nicely and kept short and to the point.

Wrapping this up, I think we'd see more interest in what we have to offer if someone didn't have to wade through minute after minute of uninteresting details that have noting to do with enhancing the point of our video. Add to this the fact that now people are having to wait MUCH longer to download videos, and you have a large number of people that simply glance over a title, see nothing really eye-catching, and think "Hm, not worth the download." It used to be that even if the trick wasn't that interesting, wasting 30 seconds downloading a small video wasn't that big of a deal.

Also remember that since there are no bandwith trees, and while you're at it, keep in mind that there are these things called 'hard-drives' that reside on webservers, which don't have unlimited capacity either. If our videos were smaller and better made, hosting would be easier to find (and keep), more people would be interested in our content, and more people would be willing to offer help with bandwidth.

I've got a few more paragraphs in me, but it's late, and this will probably kill the frontpage. :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter, and I think this is something we need to start focusing on.

Cheers. - Duke.

EDIT: A few guys have mentioned how video compression (or the lack of) plays a huge part in this problem, and amaroq sums it up well in his post further down in this thread.


Last edited by Ducain; 06-21-2006 at 03:47 PM. .

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06-21-2006 , 12:18 AM

I agree Duke, I am tired of hearing "The video is only 52megs, nothing bad". Well, it is bad for me. My speeds are poo. This rant was well put, and informing to the masses.


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06-21-2006 , 12:18 AM

I couldn't have said it beter myself. Lets hope we get this all sorted out.

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06-21-2006 , 12:21 AM

nicely put even though i have high speed cable it's still annoying to dowload a 50 meg vid for something that could be put into a minute
now get off your soapbox and into bed:D

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06-21-2006 , 12:23 AM

Wow Ducain, I was thinking this (almost) exact same thing the other day when I made my "Things to change with myself" topic.

Why am I even relevant to this topic? Because when I looked back at my videos. I saw TONS of POINTLESS info. Then I remembered your post about my "Floating QZ SMG's" where you mentioned I had not cut out a VERY long period of pure crap from it. I then looked at what I had on the VHS tapes. Everything was quick, sweet, and kick-***.

So that got me thinking about my "In-the-works" re-makes of my old videos. Why not just to the darn good stuff, add in a TUT, then the credits displaying the music and video name. Simple.

Thank you for speaking up about this Ducain. I wouldn't know where I'd be without your wisdom and guts to speak out to a vast community.

Mythica 4eva!



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06-21-2006 , 12:27 AM

Exactly. I don't get it when people say, "The credits are a bit long, but I wanted to keep the song playing." I just don't get it. It was a good rant. :)

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06-21-2006 , 12:30 AM

I completely agree, lately I have been dealing with outragously slow download speeds, and I see videos that are upwards of 20 megs (and that's small) and I just think "It's not worth the half hour download." Even if it's something I really want to see, I just don't think waiting that long to see it is worth it. And I can't even watch things that are on a streaming site because my internet at home, so when they host large files on those kinds of sties, I get even more outraged because I can't watch it.

I made a video a little while ago (probably 3 months) and it was just a litle jump video on getting to the top of Warlock, and it consisted of one thing: me getting to the top, once. That's all it needed, no extremely credits, no tutorial, no multiple shots, just me getting up there. The file was about 3 megs. Why do we always have to have multpile shots on a simple little trick? "Oh look he got on out of Coag, oh wait, he's gunna do it again, oh no, again... >6 minutes later< and again..."

Alright, I guess I'm done with my mini-rant to agree with a rant. As I said before I agree completely with you Duke, as will most (maybe even DefyLogic *cough*Epidemic*cough*).


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06-21-2006 , 12:39 AM

I completely agree with you on this subject. There are hundreds of great tricks out there that I would love to do or simply see. But the filesizes are annoyingly large that I don't feel like waiting for 5 minutes to see multiple failures and hear a song I probably hate.

Hopefully, what you have said will show people what they are doing is annoying.

Otherwise, people will spend 3 hours to make a vid that takes too long to download for any sane person to watch, and the video will be overlooked, being a complete waste.

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06-21-2006 , 12:40 AM

If you see my reply on the "Epidemic" thread, you will know my position on this matter. When it comes to videos, specifically tricking, I tend to be old school. A quick and dirty WMM title and credts is all that is needed, I just want to see the trick. People these days are making tricknig videos so elaborate and over the top, which is something that needs to be saved for the montages and machinima department.

I have to keep this brief unfortunately, for my time is limited at the moment.


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06-21-2006 , 12:43 AM

Well put. I agree with what you are saying, but lately I have been watching more tricking videos and sometimes it's good to have a video with nice music and editing, I'm not saying it is worth it to have that much of it, but some of it could make the videos more entertaining to watch. All of the editing has probably been the cause of this though. People want to make the best video they can so they add extra things they think will make thier videos better, not that they don't but, it isnt worth a 50mb file to download.

My thoughts, Griffzer.

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06-21-2006 , 12:51 AM

Well put Duke, very well put.

Now, people may realize that they need to cut down on the size of their videos, but they may not know all the ways they can do it. Here are some methods:

1. Edit out any footage that isn't needed (as stated above).
2. Capture footage at a lower quality. Don't set it to the highest quality just because you want the video to "look nice". The way you can make the video look nice is by having a good trick to film.
3. If you convert your movie to .wmv format using Windows Movie Maker, you have an option to set what playback rate you want your movie at. To keep the file size down, make the playback rate 512 kbps. If it's a small file, it should be ok to use a rate of 1.5 mbps.

I hope those methods can help people cut down on file size.

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06-21-2006 , 12:53 AM

Someone laughed at me when I told them that all I had for editing videos was Windows Movie Maker.

That's a sad statement on how much emphasis is put on editing. I hate it too, and not just because you said you hate it. I hate it. I have and I will.

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finally someone speaks up - 06-21-2006 , 01:02 AM

i agree ducain. i was just about to PM a mod or somebody about the increasing sizes of videos.
i miss the old days like back in halo1 when trick videos were a good minute or less.
had 1 trick showed the set up then did it.
and no stupid "teaser" videos.
dont get me wrong they are cool but why waste bandwidth like that when your just going to show the whole thing in the upcoming video anyway.
i say that we all have to stop worrying about being epic and getting credit (lol FP PLZLPZLZLPZ) and just share everything that we have with each other. tricking will progress loads faster that way.
i also think that videos that are split up into sections so they can fit on mythica is kind of sneaking around the point of 50MB limit.
i dont mind crappy quality as long as it shows me how to perform the glitch.

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06-21-2006 , 01:03 AM

You're so right about this. I still remeber FrogBlast and Ms. Man's 30 sec - 2 min videos. They were just short, sweet, and to the point. ( <3 cliches :D ) Iwould really like to see this happen, mainly because downloading 40mb videos with about 1 min of gameplay isnt really worth my time. It is extremely convenient to have the little 10mb files available, especially when it's just a short little trick.

*dreams of the day when he will be able to rant like Ducain

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06-21-2006 , 01:16 AM

Simple editing and needed clips and quick credits > lots of beatiful transitions, high mb videos.

Nice post too.

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06-21-2006 , 01:26 AM

If you're concerned with file size, you might think about laying down a strict video encoding... um, thingy. The main reason most videos around here are so large, is that people don't know how to encode them and compress them properly. Everything around here is either .mov or .wmv. .avi's could be considered, encoded to DivX. But, I've heard that encoding to XviD is much better than DivX. If you encode to XviD, all people around here would need is the h.264 codec, and VLC player. Piece of cake.

I don't know much about it all, so it's kinda weird for me to mention it, but the guys over at speeddemosarchive.com in the Tech Support forum are nuts. They are the pros of encoding. There's one particular thread in "SDA Site News & Suggestions" that's all about improving the encoding of videos. Once again, nuts. If you wanted a pretty indepth description of anything you might need, that'd be the place to go. I read into it awhile ago, and what I gathered from it was: smaller file size, better quality.

I've noticed around here, that most videos take up 3.5/4 of my screen, and those are the LQ ones. So yeah, I think the main problem is encoding and compressing. If a guide was set up, things could go a lot smoother around here. As for "bigger is NOT better", I agree for the most part. Some parts in videos are completely useless, and not needed. But, with most tricks these days, they're right alongside other tricks just like it. For instance, that dude who used 5 nades to get himself up to the skybridge. If FrogBlast were in charge of that department, he would just show one launch, and it'd be done. But to make it more interesting, that dude included like, 4-5 launches or something. Which isn't bad at all, in fact, I welcome that sort of stuff. But if people are editing their vids too much, putting in way too much useless stuff, all it does is add to the file size.

Editing doesn't really matter anyways. Most videos today are edited like they want to be grand movie trailers. If you actually paused and thought about it for a moment, you'd realize that's the most ridiculous thing ever. As GXM said, and I agree with him 100%, all you need is a little intro in WMM, credits, done.

Thanks for speakin' up about this, Duke.

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06-21-2006 , 01:51 AM

What inspired this post? Something must of thrown you into rant mode.

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06-21-2006 , 02:16 AM

Sorry Duke, but I disagree. While the short and to the point style worked for the way HIH used to do things, now, we are looking for something else. Watching an old video, while the trick may blow your mind, you are kind of left sitting there afterwards. With nice titles, clear quality, and good AV sync, the video is just different. I'm willing to download a 212 MB file if it blew me away, besides just the tricks. If the music booms right when you launch, and the transitions add suspense to what will happen, all the better. This editing makes for a truly cinematic experience, and can be enjoyed by non-trickers as well. Although, I do believe there should be a bare-bones version for videos, so some of the people with slower connections can handle it. And people, think about it. If you spend 8 hours doing a trick, 4 hours editing it, and an hour uploading, I'm going to want to appreciate the full efforts of this person. I'm saying, alot of sweat goes into these, and as HIH changes, so must its content.

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Post 06-21-2006 , 02:24 AM

I've never really made a short video (sorry guys) but back in the day (like the V1 forum, and pre 2005) I still was able to keep a 3 minute video under the limit on mythica (which was 8MB I believe) and I felt that there wasnt a lot of useless footage, my style for recording back then, was show how you got from point a to point b, get rid of screwups, pointless (like look I can jump and walk around the outside of the map) and then add a few random things (fast clips like less than 10 sec) of something funny that happened, and then pretty short credits (5-10 sec) and I always thought that was perfectly reasonable.

As this site as grown the standards for a good video have also grown. If you told someone your trick video was 8MB they would just laugh at you. Today we need great editing, music that pleases everyone, really long intro's n credits. And another thing I have a problem with in some video's is the lack of a tutorial, what good is a video if you are the only that can do it? This is a community is it not?

I've always been a fan of topics (posting trick vid's) that had two seperate video's one for the actual trick, and one showing a tutorial incase anyone would like to know how to do this (I wish i did this for my later vid's) Anyways I very much agree with Ducain, the only thing that would really need to change would be organization (people who made varities probably couldn't fit a 8 minute video in 8MB) so that there aren't 5000 new topics documenting 5000 new and old tricks, You're the admin, so it's up to you to figure that one out, if it will even be a real problem.

But the days of 8MB limit vid's is something I really miss. It gives a chance for everyone to make a name for themselves. (Like me back then :D)

Sorry I typed so much, but yeah, in short "I agree with you Duke"


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06-21-2006 , 02:25 AM

Now, Ducain I see your point of view from a web owner's perspective, and your perspective from being an old-school trickster, but what will happen to the quality of videos? I like being able to sit down and watch something that people worked on, and genuinly be entertained. People who make these videos with flashy editing are trying to entertain their audience. Your looking at this from one angle, the trickster angle. I've watched all of your videos, and they are tutorial style, and encourage others to go and try what you have done. Other people, like myself, don't want a tutorial type video. I want to see effort, and be entertained by the film. I don't look at a trick and say, "I want to do that", I say, "That's impessive!" I don't want to recreate something, I'd like to work hard on something else, something new, and document as if I worked hard on it, and then entertain the audience. I don't go and try every trick, jump, or glitch I see. In terms of size, technology is always changing, and by the time you can read the manual for your hard drive, one half the physical size and double the memory size will be out. People whould be allowed to work hard on a trick, and have the film meet the same status as the trick itself. You asked us to discuss this, and I merely disagree.



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