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Video Transcript: Question: We take the view in the Challenge that it’s best to provide people with more than one way to access your content. So we offer the streaming version of our content which we generally do via YouTube, largely because we can get Google to pay for the bandwidth. We offer three versions of a downloadable version of the video, an HD version, an SD version and an iPHone version. Really they’re all MP4files, those downloadable versions.
The only real difference between them is the pixel ratio of the product. So our standard HD is a 1280 x 720 HD video which is known as a 720p video. If you want to have an HD button on YouTube for your content, you must upload a minimum of 720p as your HD upload. If you upload less than that, YouTube does not give you an HD option on your channel.
Our SD version is 960 x 540 and the iPhone version is 540 x 272. The only other thing that we change between those various versions is the video bit rate. Earlier in the day, Ben talked about bit rate and indeed our HD product, I generally have it about 1000k per second, the SD version 500k per second and the iPhone version 250k per second. That pretty much gives us a pretty good version for each of those platforms.
In the past, we used VisualHub to do all those online video conversions and it performed absolutely magnificently. This year we’ve decided to go to an online service called encoding.com. It’s a paid service but I think it’s fairly inexpensive. There are two different pricing platforms for online video conversion service. You can either sign up for a monthly fee and they’ve got various different plans or you can buy credit and pay at the rate of about $2 per Gigabyte in terms of the conversion.
Encoding has a number of different ways of interfacing, so you can either have an API access to the service. They have an AIR client, an Adobe AIR client which works ok, it’s not the option I prefer to use. Or they have a web interface and they have what’s known as a watch folder. It’s the watch folder service that we use. What the watch folder does, it allows you to set up an FTP location somewhere on one of your domains where you can upload a file into that location and I’m generally uploading our HD version, our best quality version.
Then encoding.com will recognize that file is there. It scans that location every five minutes, it does the various encodings and we do those three encodings and then uploads the file back to another location. We’re uploading it to an S3 location. The thing that really benefits with encoding is their server farm is so powerful that it does the encodings way faster than you could ever do on your desktop platforms even if you’ve got Mac Pros. The other thing is their pipe, their online connection between the encoding service and S3 is a massive pipe.
I don’t know if any of you have tried to upload to S3, but it’s usually very slow from your desktop. I’m probably only getting, 50, 60, 70k per second. With encoding.com, virtually as soon as the file is finished encoding, it’s on S3. For every video, I’m saving anywhere from an hour to two hours a time by using that service. If you need any scale, if you’re doing lots of videos, lots of encoding, I highly recommend it.
Ben: That’s fantastic.
David: Thanks for that, and I know that the way that Rob went through that, some of them, when he was talking about bit rates and fie sizes and all that type of thing, it felt like these two were having a conversation between themselves that they could understand. But the good thing to know about encoding is they make it really simple, encoding.com. You go there and you don’t have to worry about any of that. You select what file formats you want it to do and it does the rest. So it’s a really good solution to get started and you don’t have to get bogged down in all of the intricacies of what’s going on behind the scenes.
Ben: Yes, and especially if you’re not putting out a video every five minutes, if it’s once a week or whatever, it sounds like it’s very cost effective as well.
Question: I’ll try and summarize this to see if I’ve understood the best way about the use of online video file converter. So for videos that we want to put out as getting people back to our websites, it’s YouTube, it’s Viddler, Vimeo. For video content where it’s locked away, educational content, our SEO Method courses, then we would run those through encoding.com and have them, it automatically turns them into all the different formats we need. Can it also strip out the mp3s and just give the audio? No, ok, just a thought. AudialHub will do that, awesome.
David: So that gives a way of creating all the content ready and then we would just go and upload to AmazonS3 automatically to S3 and then you would use something like eZs3 to create the player and embed it into your website. What happens when a video gets on Amazon? All it is is like an online FTP service. So you can either access the file or you can repurpose that file and have it embedded into a player. Whatever you want to do, if you just imagine Amazon as like an FTP server you get access to.
Question: One quick question, in encoding.com I can say this is for streaming, versus this is for download? I know the video puts the size at the start or the end to say it’s for streaming.
Answer: When I export out of either ScreenFlow or iMovie I’m always setting the optimized for streaming option on the MP4option. Always do that. Then I push them into encoding to get the various versions. I put the best quality version up to YouTube and because we’re generally offering free content we’re using that for streaming so we don’t have to pay for the band width and file conversion service. Because I’ve optimized for streaming anyway if I had put it on Amazon, I had my own private player, it would still be optimized for streaming.
Ben: Ok. Thank you. So that’s VisualHub. So if you can get it, definitely use it. I’ve tried lots of different encoding software and I’ve found VisualHub is the best. It’s the most consistent.
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