Aside from dealing with IE 8 and earlier, the major issue with embedding HTML5 audio and video in web pages is the variety of formats / codecs that must be supported. Conversion between these can be a little tricky if you don’t have the right tools to hand; fortunately, all the applications you need are free.

The first and primary rule before doing any format conversion of any media file – image, audio, or video – is to use the best quality version of the media file as the source from which compressed versions will be derived. (See the article on video workflow tips for more information on this process).

Video Encoders

  • Amazon has just announced Elastic Transcoder, a cloud-based service that offers format conversion starting at $0.015 per minute, with the first 20 minutes of conversion free every month. Features an API and management console.
  • Online-convert creates free transformations of your video (and audio) files into other formats
  • Handbrake, excellent free video conversion application for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • Miro Video ConverterMiro Video Converter is a free, open source application for Windows and Mac OS X that encodes video in all of the codecs we are interested in for HTML5, and then some.
  • Easy HTML5 Video is a web-based drag-and-drop application that converts video into HTML5 formats.
  • Free Studio 5 is a collection of 45 freeware tools for Windows for conversion of audio and video files to and from a variety of formats. The conversion applications are also available as separate downloads.

Audio Encoders

  • media.io is an online audio format converter, the audio equivalent to Easy HTML5 Video.
  • Audacity, probably the best free audio editor available for Mac, Windows and GNU/Linux.
  • Ogg Drop Mac only, somewhat older simpler software
  • Firefogg is a Firefox extension that allows in-browser conversion of audio to .ogg format.