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Methods of delivery

The previous page mentioned some different ways of distributing your digital media. This page describes some of the options in more detail:

DVD - These are easy to create and, as explained above, allow you to distribute high quality video. You can use DVDs either as a data disk, which means you can put video onto the disk in any format to be played back on any computer with the right software to play the file, or you can use it as a DVD-Video disk, in which case the video will be written as MPEG-2. It also means you have can have menus and other features on your disk, and it can be played by a standard DVD player, with no need for a computer.

The disadvantage of DVDs as a method of distribution is that they are time-consuming to create and distribute. If you are going to distribute your material to large numbers this can get very expensive. Also people may lose or break their copy of your DVD.

Web - the way to get round some of the problems of distributing via DVD is to use a computer network, by which we usually mean the Internet. As discussed above it has the disadvantage that the quality of the media you distribute will be more limited. Having said that, it is now common to download high quality feature length films over the Internet, but this requires a fast broadband connection. It also means that your audience will have to wait some time before they can watch your video. So your choice of quality will depend on how much your audience wants to view your material. If for example you were sending a video from your research project to your colleagues they may be happy to download the material overnight, but if you were distributing a public information film you would need something that the general public could start viewing within a few seconds.

The web offers a number of options for hosting media material, mainly:

Your own website

If you have your own website this will give you complete control over the material and you will be less restricted in the amount and quality of material you can make available. However if you want to limit who can access your material then you will have to manage this yourself.

Video hosting web sites

There are now a number of sites which specialise in hosting video clips. The best known of these is YouTube, where you can register for free and upload video clips up to 100MB in size. YouTube will automatically process your video and convert into Flash video (the resulting output will not be very high quality). You can limit who can access your file, and you can also embed your YouTube video clip into your own webpage.