Screencasts can be a really amazing way to convey concepts quickly and easily. When trying to show people how to use a piece of software nothing beats having them watch a demo showing just where to click and what to do.


Screencasts only work well if they’re clear. You don’t want a fuzzy video that leaves viewers more confused than they were in the first place.

So how do you get crystal clear video playback?

It’s all about getting the encoding settings right.

When you click to upload a video in vzaar you’ll see various different encoding options.

If it’s a screencast you’re uploading the HD preset is best – it will mean that should your viewer choose to view in full screen the video quality won’t degrade.

If you don’t encode at a high enough bitrate you’ll get something like this video which was encoding using the small preset.

Think of it like painting a blank canvas. The larger the canvas the more paint you need – and it’s the same with your video. The larger the screen the higher the bitrate you need, otherwise you don’t have enough pixels (or paint) to fill the frame which is what causes that fuzzy effect.

Now as with most things in life there is a but I should mention here. HD videos are larger than SD videos. This isn’t a problem for high speed internet connections, but if you have viewers on low speed internet connections you might find the file size is simply too large for them to handle.

You may also find that if you’re original video has a low bitrate, choosing the HD preset won’t really work; your video will remain at the same quality as the source file but you’ll just wind up making the file size bigger, again not great for those on slow speed Internet connections (read more on this here).

If this is the case you’ve got two options.

      1. Turn on dual encoding.

Dual encoding will give you two versions of your video file – one at HD and one at SD. Those on slow connections will get the SD, while those with fast connections will still enjoy the full HD quality. The video explains a bit more about how it works.

Dual encoding works with the flash video player only so it’s a good option if your viewers tune into your videos on their desktop.

What if you’ve got mobile viewers, though?

        2. Turn on magic encoding with HD preset

Magic encoding will make sure you never encode your video at a higher bitrate than its source. This means your output file will not be bigger than your source file. Used with the HD profile selected your screencast will have the highest possible quality – without adding unnecessary weight to your video that makes it harder for viewers to play the video back smoothly.

The encoding settings you choose can have a big impact on your video quality and speed of playback. That’s why we’re always on hand to help you work out what is the best option for you. Contact our support team on live chat, give us a call or drop us a line – happy to help. All the contact details you need here.

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