We are always listening to our users and much of what they say is discussed in our weekly product meetings. What we think people want is not necessarily what people want, and what people want is not necessarily what they need. So we try and determine what the latter is before we develop the feature.
Today we are officially announcing the release of a feature that should make our customers smile. It’s not totally remarkable but it is I think a small step in the right direction. Multi Size Video Players are here. It’s a pretty straight forward feature and it works like this.
1. Before you upload a video to vzaar select the video player size.
2. That’s it! I said it was straight forward.
What’s really remarkable is that none of the other [Big Gorillas](http://images.google.co.uk/images?q=big%20gorilla&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi) in the video hosting space offer this service. Our customers have been asking for it and at one of our meetings a few weeks back we decided to build the option. We felt it was something our customers needed and now it’s ready. (Thanks to Adrian, Mauricio, Agata, Pawel & co.)
What’s also cool (not remarkable) about this feature is, when you select a size, (Small, Medium, Large or Original) we encode the actual video file to those dimensions (so that we can ensure the best video quality). Sure you can take the video embed code from any video sharing site (like YouTube) and adjust the dimensions in the HTML embed code, but this just stretches the content, and you lose quality. By encoding the actual video file itself at the dimensions you specify , we ensuring the best possible quality.
We also encode the video at the source aspect ratio. Here is what I mean: Video comes in several aspect ratios. The two main ones we see are wide-screen (16:9) and standard (4:3). When you select a player size before you upload, we then encode the video making sure we retain the aspect ratio of your source video. So for example, if you have a video shot on a digital (photo) camera chances are it’s in 4:3, and if you chose the large player, we will create a large 4:3 video player for that video. If however you shot it on say a Mini HD, which shoots in 16:9, we would create a large video at 16:9.
This means the video is using all of the player’s real estate. This avoids playing standard videos in wide-screen players with black bars down the side (or vice-a-versa with black bars on the top of a widescreen player). Remember the days, before you bought your wide-screen TV, watching new wide-screen movies on your old TV. There was all that unused space. Well, you won’t find that on our players. We actually encode all (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio_(image)), not just 4:3 and 16:9. So if you video is in an unusual format (we see a few 5:4s or anamorphic sizes on occasion), don’t worry. We’ll keep the width set to one of our sizes and ensure the height such that your source aspect ratio is preserved.
We offer four sizes to select from one of which is “original”. The original options encodes (and displays) the video in a player size that is equal to the original size of the video shot. So if you upload a video where you particularly want the height and width not to change, this is for you. We have not had a lot of request for this, so we broke the rules a bit when it comes to what users need. However looking around, when we see users hosting videos themselves (very often screencasts) we see them in really large sizes, or unusual sizes. So if you are looking for video where the size is preserved, then this is for you.
Here is a screen shot of the new player sizes we now offer. You can also click here to view some of our [users most recent videos](http://vzaar.com/videos?sort=most_recent).