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The Ecncoding.com team is excited to announce our new Dynamic Text Overlay feature as the latest addition to our suite of automated editing features. We believe that this new feature will be a catalyst to power an important new trend in producing high volume, personalized video experiences based on stored user data.
Dynamic Text Overlay enables publishers to programmatically (via an API workflow) integrate custom text into different queue points and frame positions within a source video. Utilizing granular controls such as live fonts, colors, rotations, positions, size, start and duration points, the custom text appears to be integrated directly within the video.
To give this feature a proper test run, we partnered with Google to power a high volume custom workflow to promote Google Hangouts presented by Wallace and Gromit. The custom Google Hangouts invitation process was open to the public and promoted globally on the google.com home page, CNN, ESPN and other high-traffic sites. Speed and massive scalability were critical requirements for their desired customer experience. Total video job upload, transcoding, text overlay, and delivery needed to be accomplished in less than 30 seconds with peak volume reaching 50 new videos per second.
Google gathered data from users and passed the custom text along with style and placement instructions via a single API call to Enocding.com.
During the encoding process, the custom invitation text was placed at a specific start point and followed specific duration and style instructions to create the illusion that the text appeared as if integrated during the original editing process.
The possibilities to use Dynamic Text Overlays programmatically are virtually endless. Imagine pulling data from user profiles to create on-the-fly, personalized commercials or integrating user data or images into the storyline of a short film to create a unique viewing experience. Encoding.com provides massive cloud computing scale and an API based workflow with Dynamic Text Overlays to automate what used to be unreachable – unique, personalized video experiences.
At Encoding.com, we all agree that building the world's most powerful private cloud transcoding platform is a good time. Even more fun is watching our resident stunt goat Clive take it for a test drive. Unfortunately, even the great Clive went from goat to chicken when he overheard the roar of 32 core multi-threading servers and 1Gbps ingest/egress using Aspera fasp 3™ technology.
Therefore, we are offering a reward of $1,000 in free encoding credit to the Encoding.com community member willing to brave unprecedented speed, put the pedal to the metal, and encode the largest volume of video in December using Encoding.com private cloud!
Using the Encoding.com Private Cloud is easy, you can keep all of your encoding settings the same and simply specify a new region in your API request. Click here for complete instructions.
The rules are simple:
- Only one winner will be selected
- Encoding credit will be awarded to the primary account holder
- Encoding credit may only be redeemed by the primary account holder
- Encoding credit must be used by 1/1/2014
- Encoding credit is not applicable for discounts on existing contracts
At Encoding.com, we have cloud-based video transcoding on our minds round-the-clock. However, we also recognize that not everyone is an expert on the topic. For those interested, we put together this handy Encoding 101 guide to answer 5 common introductory questions about cloud-based video transcoding. Enjoy!
What is Cloud-Based Video Transcoding?
Cloud-based video transcoding converts video for playback across a broad spectrum of media players, operating systems, devices and browsers using the infinitely scaleable, parallel processing capabilities of cloud computing. Users only pay for the transcoding volume they use as-a-service avoiding unnecessary infrastructure investments, development resources and ongoing R&D. Robust cloud-based encoding solutions provide value added services including editing and customization features, packaging options (e.g. digital rights management), closed captioning and more.
How do I use Cloud-Based Video Transcoding?
In the case of Encoding.com, the simplest solution is often Vid.ly Universal URL for enterprise-grade, hosted video delivery as-a-service. Users upload video via our browser-based interface or API and receive a universal embed code and URL for universal playback. Any time the hosted video is viewed, Vid.ly runs device detection to stream an optimized video format tailored to the viewer's unique playback environment. In addition, our easy-to-use browser based UI, well documented XML API, Watch Folder tool, and high-speed Desktop Uploader integrate seamlessly into any video workflow. Interested in some use cases? Check out how AOL and Revision3 are using cloud-based video transcoding.
Why do I need to transcode video in the Cloud?
You need to be profitable. Utilizing a transcoding solution that maximizes your audience and delivers superior quality is an imperative. Also, you need to minimize R&D costs required to remain current with the latest and greatest formats, bit rates, codecs, etc… while reducing your CAPEX and in-house management costs. Achieving profitability and self-sustainability are two key reasons why broadcasters, production houses, digital agency’s, VOD services and key players throughout the “video eco-system” often utilize cloud video transcoding to address their daily workflow requirements.
What opportunities does transcoding video in the cloud create?
You are in the business of providing engaging video programming and delivering a seamless user experience. A robust cloud-based encoding solution can further automate your workflow and free up valuable resources to focus on feature and performance enhancements: video player customization, content targeting, social media and community-building tools, language localization, and so much more.
What if I have already invested in on-site transcoding infrastructure?
Cloud-based encoding vs. investment in on-site encoding infrastructure is NOT a mutually exclusive decision. In fact, many businesses implement a hybrid model in which cloud transcoding is used to manage jobs that exceed the capacity of on-site infrastructure. Also, cloud-based encoding is popular for specific use cases such as transcoding a massive file library without bogging down on-site infrastructure.
Since launching our Universal Closed Captioning solution for delivery
to all devices, we have received many great questions from the
Encoding.com community. Here are answers to three frequent
questions. Thanks for all the interest and Keep asking questions!
What's the difference between closed captions and subtitles?
Closed captions as a concept is unique to the States; Europeans refer to them as “subtitles for the hard of hearing” and deliver them as such. There are some technical differences. The practical difference in North America (or Region 1 for all you DVD watchers) is viewers use their TV remote to turn on closed captions and use the remote for their DVD player to switch on subtitles. Most digital TVs make it dead simple to turn on the closed caption decoders. You will need to use the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad to turn on closed captions (ex: this is great for watching Breaking Bad on a noisy train). Your Android device probably depends on subtitles instead of closed captions.
How does player and authoring software create, store and read closed captions?
With two competitive mechanisms. Closed captions may be:
1. Stored in a video file: closed captions are either CEA-608 (analog) or CEA-708 (digital) tracks in a video file. 3GPP Timed Text is the standard for subtitles stored in MP4 and 3GP files. These formats are either stored as a data track or encoded in a video stream itself. Most DVDs distributed in America contain analog closed captions. Broadcasters use digital closed captions for all their programming. The HTTP Live Streaming format supports analog and digital closed captions. The most recent FCC regulations require closed captions stored in a video file.
2. Stored in a text file: SCC, SRT, DFXP, and SAMI files may contain closed captions. These formats provide timed textual information outside the video file. SCC is frequently used in authoring environments (ex: Avid, Premiere, Final Cut Pro). Browser-based video players (ex: Flash, Silverlight, HTML5) generally rely on sidecars to deliver closed captions. Video players native to Android generally require sidecars. (We’ve encountered no Android device that has a closed caption decoder.) Apple’s mobile devices can decode both analog and digital captions. Subtitles for the hard of hearing (and other users) are stored in a text file.
How do closed captions impact the bottom line directly?
Adding closed captions increases the value of a given video file by vastly increasing its addressable audience. Let’s review 4 ways that closed captions can expand your reach:
1. They are commonly used by the over 38 million Americans who are hard of hearing
2. They are commonly used in workplaces, in public or wherever it gets loud
3. As the Boomers age, more Americans will need closed captions
4. They are a popular learning tool for people studying to achieve advanced proficiency in American English
Encoding.com is the first and only encoding service to offer universal closed captioning support for delivery to all devices. Our powerful, reliable, scalable feature set for closed caption workflows enables digital video distributors to achieve critical business objectives such as:
Assure compliance with impending Video Accessibility Act deadlines
Expand the size and demographic of their audience
Deliver support for popular learning tools
Eliminate the hassle of implementing complex or limited closed captioning workflows. Encoding.com’s full-featured closed captioning solution makes it simple to:
Seamlessly integrate with any existing digital video authoring and distribution workflow
Extract, inject, copy and mux closed captions tracks into sidecar (text) files or digital video
Extract standard closed caption tracks from source files and convert them into sidecar files
Copy closed caption or timed text tracks from source videos to output videos
Mux a sidecar file with a source video to encode closed caption tracks into output videos.
Flexible and Scalable Workflow
By offering a complete suite of closed captioning features, Encoding.com enables customers to ingest and output closed captions in useful ways. For example:
MP4 with caption track in CEA-608 format
MP4 with a SCC sidecar file
MP4 with caption track in CEA-708 format
MP4 with a SRT sidecar file
MP4 with caption track in MPEG-4 Part 17 format
MP4 with CEA-608 caption track
3GP with caption track in 3GPP Timed Text format
MP4 with MPEG-4 TT subtitle track
MPEG-2 with caption track in CEA-608 format
3GP with 3GPP TT subtitle track
ASF with caption track in CEA-608 format
HLS with CEA-608 caption track
MOV with a sidecar file in SCC format
MPEG-2 with CEA-608 caption track
FLV with a caption track in SRT MP4 with a sidecar file in DFXP format
MOV with a SCC sidecar file
MP4 with a sidecar file in DFXP format
MP4 with a sidecar file in SAMI format
MP4 with a sidecar file in SCC format
We want to integrate our captioning feature set with your existing workflow seamlessly. That is why our closed caption feature set is turned off by default. You can fully specify your closed caption workflow in the instructions you send to our system, so you have complete flexibility.. Other software packages and services make assumptions about closed caption workflows. The problem with this approach is you run the risk of making inaccurate assumptions. For example, one cloud-based service currently on the market will automatically copy analog captions (if present in the source video) into an MP4 output file. This output is useless in the real world for several reasons:
Most mobile devices (laptops, tablets and phones) don’t have the decoder all flat screens use to display closed caption tracks.
MPEG-4 standard specifies subtitles instead of closed captions. That’s why iOS devices expect the standard MPEG-4 Part 17 subtitles in an MP4 file.
Video players in Android devices require sidecars (SRT files, mostly).
Browser-based players generally require sidecar files to display closed captions for the same reason. It is possible to add analog closed captions to an MP4, but it is also pointless.
Automating such an irregular workflow wastes resources, confuses customers, slows things down and can upset project managers. That’s why we decided to enable customers to specify how to process their closed captions workflow with our API.
Processing Closed Captions with Encoding.com’s API
The Closed Caption feature set is available within our API to rapidly upgrade our customers’ digital video authoring and distribution workflows. The new feature set permits customers to extract closed captions from source files stored somewhere on the Internet and convert them into sidecar files. Customers can also copy a closed caption or timed text track from a source video into an output video. And we allow customers to mux a sidecar file (in SRT or SCC format) with a source video to encode a valid closed caption track into their output videos. The idea is to use the cloud to empower customers to easily increase their addressable audience while saving money and obeying the law.
Here is a complete summary of the XML required to process closed captions in a valid HTTP POST with parameter (xml) submitted to the Encoding.com API:
<?xml version="1.0"?> <query> <action>AddMedia</action> <userid>[UserID]</userid> <userkey>[UserKey]</userkey> <source>[SourceURL]</source> <format> <output>[preset_profile_name]</output> <closed_captions> <source>[closed_caption_source_file_url]</source> <copy>[yes|no]</copy> <extract>[srt|scc]</extract> <mux_type>[cea-608|timed-text]</mux_type> <language>[LanguageCode]</language> </closed_captions> <destination>[OutputURL]</destination> <format> </query>
Let’s review the three new features in a little more detail: extract, mux and copy:
Extraction of a closed caption sidecar file is often necessary. Browser-based video players can’t read closed caption tracks in digital videos. Android video players mostly require sidecar files as well. Editing and authoring suites depend on sidecar files to make it easier for video editors to do their jobs.
Encoding.com is the only cloud transcoding provider to support extraction of closed caption "sidecar" files from the most common closed caption tracks in HD television (CEA-708) and SD television (CEA-608) programming. We also extract the closed captions from 3GPP TT or MPEG-4 Part 17 tracks in a video file. You can produce output video in any format while extracting a caption track as a SCC or SRT sidecar.
Muxing a sidecar with a video file is a common requirement. Editors often use SCC sidecars to exchange timed text information among authoring tools, files and/or colleagues. DVD publishers convert SCC files into analog closed captions to encode into their MPEG-2 creations. Digital captions have to become analog captions before they can be inserted into HTTP Live Streaming files for delivery to iOS apps. There are other common workflows. It makes sense to do this work using a SaaS like the Encoding.com platform
Do you have analog captions in a library of ASF, MOV, MXF, MPEG-2, or some other kind of files? Do you need HTTP Live Streaming output but don’t want to waste time extracting and muxing pesky sidecar files? Do you have 3GPP Timed Text captions in 3GP files and need them in MP4 files instead? Customers have both these problems. <copy> solves them. It rocks.
Create Closed Caption Output From Source File and Sidecar File
Example: NBC might need to mux subtitles into video files for a new iPhone app.
<format> <output>iPhone_stream</output> <closed_captions> <source>ftp://files.nbc.com/Grimm/episode_1.srt</source> <mux_type>cea-608</mux_type> </closed_captions> </format>
Extract Sidecar Files from Source Files for Browsers
Amazon Instant Video might need to extract sidecars for browser-based players.
<format> <output>mp4</output> <closed_captions> <extract>srt</extract> </closed_captions> </format>
Create Video for iOS with Closed Captions from the Edit Bay
Example: NBA might need SCC files muxed with ASF files to play in iOS apps.
<format> <output>iPad_stream</output> <closed_captions> <source>ftp://files.nba.com/publish/game_upc.scc</source> <mux_type>cea-608</mux_type> </closed_captions> </format> <format> <output>mp4</output> <closed_captions> <source>ftp://files.nba.com/publish/game_upc.scc</source> <mux_type>timed text</mux_type> </closed_captions> </format>
Create iPhone and HTML5 closed captions from Legacy Video Library
Example: MTV might need to extract captions from MPEG-2s for iPad and a Flash player.
<format> <output>iPad_stream</output> <closed_captions> <copy>yes</copy> </closed_captions> </format> <format> <output>mp4</output> <closed_captions> <extract>scc</extract> </closed_captions> </format>
Closed Captions Q&A
The Encoding.com API makes it really simple to extract, inject, mux or copy closed captions of any kind for distribution to most mobile digital video platforms. As we work together, please feel free to reach out to us through our helpdesk or via live chat to get answers to questions. You can also get direct access to these features for free on our introductory developer accounts. Just sign up for a free 1GB account
API Documentation for Closed Captions
Allowed values: closed captions in [SCC|SRT|DFXP|SAMI] format ---> NOTE: For DFXP and SAMI, all stylization would be removed.
Allowed values: yes, no
Default value: no
Supported source tracks: [CEA-608|CEA-708|3GPP TT|MPEG-4 TT]
Supported output tracks: [CEA-608|3GPP TT|MPEG-4 TT]
NOTE: If <mux_type></mux_type> is not referenced, <copy>yes</copy> will literally copy the source track in the source format to the output video file. It is important to determine whether closed captions in your source format can be read successfully in your output video format.
Allowed values: timed-text, cea-608
Default value: none
Required values: URL for subtitle file & URL for source video
Captions may be muxed into video files as either:
3GPP Timed Text track (MPEG-4 Part 17 track): <mux_type>timed-text</mux_type>
CEA-608 (A/53) track: <mux_type>cea-608</mux_type>
NOTE: The CEA-608 mux type may only be used with output profiles that use the x264 video codec. This feature cannot support any other video codec in output with this caption track format selected.
Allowed values: srt, scc
Default value: none
Captions may be extracted from 3GPP TT or CEA-608/708 tracks into either:
Scenarist Closed Caption
Sidecar will be named source_file_name.scc
Sidecar will be delivered to the same destination location as output file.
Sidecar will be named source_file_name.srt
Sidecar will be delivered to the same destination location as output file.
Learn how AOL On Network and Revision3 use cloud encoding
to acheive their business objectives.
AOL On Network
The benefits of video encoding in the cloud are clear and have been widely adopted by leading media publishers, agencies, video platforms and just about everyone who manages video. And in 2012, we can add Hollywood to the list. With cloud scalability, parallel processing and support for the ever-changing video technology landscape, the benefits of video transcoding-as-a-service have finally attracted long-form premium content providers.
The case for Hollywood to utilize cloud transcoding is undeniably strong. VOD providers and Studios have previously been limited to either enlisting the high priced services of old-school media service providers such as Technicolor, Deluxe and Rovi, or investing millions in transcoding infrastructure and internal resources to manage in-house. Moreover, it’s increasingly complex for Hollywood to navigate the growing multitude of online distribution channels including “Over-The-Top” VOD providers (Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu), mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows), cable/satellite services and physical format media (Blu-ray, DVD, etc). So, why has Hollywood avoided partnering with cloud transcoding solution providers?
In the past, cloud video transcoding has failed to address several key checkboxes essential to supporting the specific requirements of Hollywood content providers such as high-speed transfer of large “long-form” video files to off-site cloud processing centers, secure transcoding over private vs. public cloud architecture to mitigate piracy concerns, and several critical features such as support for DRM and UltraViolet.
Encoding.com’s recent launch of the EDC Private Cloud represents a potential game changer for Hollywood and is quickly winning the attention and business of several key players. Perhaps the most notable benefits to Hollywood include:
• High Speed file ingest and processing with 1Gbps ingest/egress and “faster than real-time” HD video processing over 32 core multi-threading processors. As a result, Hollywood studios can reduce project time cycles and accelerate time-to-market.
• Privately managed file transfer and cloud processing infrastructure for maximum security. Studios can even deliver their content to Encoding.com’s front door to ensure every aspect of the project is securely managed.
• A full-suite of required Hollywood features including support for edit codecs, Ultraviolet Common File Format, subtitling, Widevine Digital Rights Management and more.
Whether you are a long-form, premium content provider, or a high-volume web content publisher, you can leverage Encoding.com’s automated, powerful platform to reduce your transcoding costs while accelerating your time-to-market.
The good folks over at RED do a fantastic thing every summer. With an eye on the future filmmakers of the world, they open up their Hollywood, CA studio to children of all ages and conduct a summer camp based on the most advanced digital cinema equipment in the market place. For 5 straight days kids romp around the historic RED Studio (where I Love Lucy, Seinfeild, and many other hit shows were filmed) and get their hands on with the exact same production equipment that Spiderman, The Hobbit and Criminal Minds are shot on. An entire army of film students serve as counselors for the week and teach everything from camera set up, lightning, 3D, post production, editing and digital workflow. At the end of the week, parents gather in RED's 4K digital theatre for a film festival to screen all their children's hard work. Other than really stoked kids, there is another bi product of the week, hundreds of TBs of 4K RED RAW footage. Since Encoding.com is the only cloud encoding provider to decode RED's proprietary RAW video format (.R3D) we thought we would stop by and help them transcode all this super high definition content for web and mobile delivery. Utilizing our integration with Aspera we uploaded source content from the RED Studio to Encoding.com at 600Mbps and in a matter of hours quickly transcoded all the kid's movies in paralell into 24 output renditions for all major HTML5, Flash, mobile and tablet devices on the market. Check out this great video made by one of the older kids that shows what camp life is all about.
Encoding.com is happy to announce that The Aol On Network selected its cloud-based video platfrom as their video encoding solution. After several months of testing, we're already processing tens of thousands of videos each day for Aol ensuring its videos are available immediately for Web and Mobile devices. A key reason for their selection of Encoding.com is our ability to provide dynamic, elastic capacity to support Aol's varying and growing video volume requirements.
Encoding.com collaborates with The Aol On Network for scalable, cloud-based encoding of massive volumes of video.
The newly launched Aol On Network offers a super-slick interface and a collection of very high-quality videos across News, Entertainment, Sports, Video Games and other categories. It's a very inviting viewing experience.
A new era in home and mobile entertainment has arrived!
Encoding.com is thrilled to announce our partnership with the great folks over at Dolby Labratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB). Together, Encoding.com and Dolby are bringing true theater experiences to mobile devices, web browsers, STBs and connected TVs.
So, what does this announcement mean for you?
Using Dolby technologies via the Encoding.com platform, you will be able to do the following via the API and UI:
- Utilize HE AAC and HE AAC+ audio codecs for superior audio quality… even at low bitrates. You'll be blown away with the improvements on mobile and laptop devices.
- Utilize the Dolby Digital Plus EAC3 audio codec for multi-channel audio which is great for speakers connected to computers or STBs connected to home theater systems.
- Detect and repair audio features… even poor sounding source content can be improved.
- Utilize Audio Normalization features to control loudness and to maximize audio levels for specific mobile devices.
Encoding.com is the first cloud-based encoding provider to enable Dolby audio for all video content providers. Customers can utilize Dolby Digital Plus to deliver a studio-quality HD audio experience to a huge array of mobile devices, STBs, game consoles, Blu-ray players and connected TVs. There are more than 640 million devices which support Dolby Digital.
"Dolby Digital Plus is a key part of high-definition entertainment and delivers a cinematic sound experience to consumers across a wide range of devices," said Jean-Christophe Morizur, Senior Director, Professional Solutions at Dolby Laboratories. "Encoding.com is a leader in Cloud encoding services and our collaboration enables service providers to deliver high-quality, multi-channel audio entertainment for services, devices and applications."