AOL Inc. is a global media corporation that develops, grows, and invests in web sites and content networks. The home of a world-class collection of premium brands, AOL creates original content that engages audiences on a local and global scale. Under their umbrella, amongst a host of other properties, are the Huffington Post Media Group, Techcrunch and Engadget.
With so many properties delivering video, AOL needed to find a way to seamlessly and succinctly manage and distribute their 400,000+ videos aggregated from both third parties and AOL original content. The videos needed not only encoding but distribution to thousands of sites. An essential aspect was the ability to easily and rapidly have their transcoding workflow completed in a faster then real-time fashion.
Encoding.com came on board to save the day, and managed to successfully ingest, transcode and deliver over 20,000 original videos/uploads a month (which amounts to over 1,000 hours of video/month). AOL has leveraged our API to enable a seamless transcoding workflow. In our two year relationship, they have experienced high turnaround, availability, and a consistently easy encoding process…even using Encoding.com for their MTV Video Awards coverage!
Autodesk has over 10 million professionals in 185 countries using its products to save time and money, gain competitive advantage, and change the way ideas are brought to life. It ain’t just about AutoCAD anymore. Whether you’re designing a building, prototyping new products or producing movies, Autodesk has software to help you design more efficiently, sustainably and with more innovation.
With powerful tools such as Autodesk products, it’s often easier and more useful to show video screen casts to help users better utilize the software than just writing out best practices and tips. And, for end users requiring specific help, it’s easier to capture the steps leading to issues via a screen capture tool so they can upload to the community for help, rather than trying to describe the issues in text. With this in mind, Autodesk recently launched the Autodesk WikiHelp site to leverage the community and resident experts to help end users better utilize Autodesk software. Currently, the site offers support for 20 products with plans to grow to 120 products in multiple languages over the next year.
Autodesk has a multitude of encoding needs. One of their many use cases is to facilitate the uploading of videos to the wiki community. The goal is to make it very easy for anyone (expert or novice) to be able to upload videos. Since the videos come from many different sources (heterogeneous content), the video platform must be able to ingest a variety of popular and not-so-popular video formats. Autodesk has big plans to expand the WikiHelp to many countries across all its products.
Another use for encoding comes from their marketing team and the urgent necessity to encode bulk long-form assets with no time for programming or for integrating a large workflow from time-to-time.
With the instant popularity of the WikiHelp along with user-generated video content, the support for thousands of videos in many different flavors each month and the new formats that appear every quarter (new mobile phones, new cameras, etc…), an encoding expert was essential. Encoding.com came to the rescue and managed the process.
The WikiHelp video workflow is as follows: end users upload video to the AWS S3 cloud storage location, Autodesk then pings the Encoding.com API to initiate the download and transcode, Encoding.com converts each source into a Flash 9 ready format, and then delivers the output videos back to an S3 directory for streaming. The great news is that all this video never has to touch an Autodesk server, and by utilizing S3 for storage, Encoding.com is able to process these videos in the same data center removing any latency or additional bandwidth costs. It’s a win-win for everyone.
For the urgent marketing needs, Encoding created watch folders which are accessed by multiple users to upload videos at any time. This helped with easy upload/ingress and effective transcoding in an extremely timely manner. For more information on our watch folder and Autodesk click here.
Craftsy was founded in the spring of 2010 by four tech guys (John Levisay, Josh Scott, Todd Tobin, Bret Hanna) who wanted to create a new high-quality approach to online learning, and it launched in May of 2011. Their founders hoped to create a convenient education platform that captured the magic of a live classroom, including interaction with an expert instructor and fellow students.
Some of the first months were spent building a video player that would deliver the kind of in-class experience they dreamed of. After the founders first gave wine tasting and economics classes a whirl, John Levisay’s mother-in-law, an avid quilter, suggested trying quilting instruction, and from there, it was history!
When they first started using Encoding.com, they were 50 employees and have now grown to over 250 employees. This growth is in support of their user-base and content library, both of which are expanding exponentially.
In Craftsy’s early days, they turned to Encoding.com to provide the media processing muscle they needed to automate their media workflows at scale. As a startup, the cost and complexity of an in-house transcoding solution is daunting. Encoding.com gave Craftsy the agility and scale with a relatively low cost of entry, and enabled us to focus on differentiating our content, instead of maintaining systems.
As the company has grown so has their audience in size, complexity, and geographic distribution. On mobile along they are serving content to over 200,000 iOS users and 75,000 Android users. The challenge for Craftsy has been to maintain the highest level of playback quality across every device and every location as they continue their rapid growth trajectory.
Encoding.com has been able to support Craftsy’s video delivery requirements in every way. The burden of media processing was alleviated by automating the Craftsy workflow using the Encoding.com API. Once Craftsy got their video out profiles dialed in, it’s been a ‘set it and forget it’ scenario. Encoding.com’s Encoding Intelligence allows Craftsy’s jobs to queue up and process automatically without further monitoring or oversight. To address the global distribution of Craftsy’s audience, Encoding.com supports multiple CDN’s including CloudFront, S3, Akamai, and Edgecast.
As mobile content consumption has taken over, Craftsy developed apps for content delivery. Delivering content across a broad mobile device landscape can be tricky. Craftsy leveraged Encoding.com’s HLS Pro feature set to create an adaptive bitrate packaging profile to accommodate the broadest range of mobile handsets and tablet. With a single .m3u8 their content is viewed on almost every device imaginable. Most browsers and devices that don’t support http-live-streaming are still served a static mp4 file. As new devices have been released, Craftsy has been able to update their content libraries automatically. This has allowed them to ensure content delivery to new devices as they are released. Broad device control has been critical to their growth, as mobile devices now consume 50% of the content they deliver.
Encoding.com provides Craftsy with the speed, scale, power, and flexibility, to deliver content to a global audience while keeping up an evolving video technology landscape. This allows Craftsy to focus on what they do best, create world-class crafting content.
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 209 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through 149 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, The Hub and 3net, the first 24-hour 3D network. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools and owns and operates a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including Revision3. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
With popular TV series like Gold Rush and Long Island Medium, and dozens of original online web series, video is at the heart of Discovery’s digital offerings. Enabling this content for web and mobile consumption, along with user-generated video, requires massive computing resources and high-speed processing. The problem for Discovery to date has been that most of those different channels and divisions had their own distribution and encoding media workflows. Since that can be pretty inefficient, the company is looking to consolidate under one content management platform and distribution system. Of course, one of the pieces of that is encoding — making certain that it can make future episodes of its network shows, as well as all its ad-supported short-form content available on as many devices as possible.
Encoding.com’s powerful cloud platform provides instant, elastic capacity to easily scale support for Discovery’s expanding video volume requirements. Multi-core, high-speed processing capabilities eliminate long video queues, ensuring that high-quality videos are instantly available to view across all devices and browsers. In addition, a comprehensive suite of editing and customization features, universal closed captioning support and content packaging options enable Discovery to automate its entire media workflow. By utilizing Encoding.com’s cloud-based, automated processing platform, Discovery is able to focus on its core competencies of producing engaging content while assuring that its videos are reaching a vast audience across all web and mobile platforms.
“Preparing and delivering large volumes of video programming for a broad range of web and mobile platforms presents its challenges,” explains Titus Bicknell, Vice President of Digital Platforms & Chief Engineer for Discovery Communications. “Encoding.com’s dynamic transcoding, captioning and universal delivery capabilities have helped us eliminate bottlenecks to scaling our digital video systems by offloading to Encoding.com.”
In conjunction with ESPN and Weiden+Kennedy, Encoding.com launched an innovative campaign the utilizes several of our playout graphics and editing features. Split Screen, Video Overlay, Text Overlay, and Concatenation are all used in this sophisticated workflow. The application emulates a live interview between the participant and John Anderson, ESPN sportscaster. The details of this workflow are outlined below.
1. First, ESPN captures three separate video assets recorded from the participant’s web cam. Next a series of API calls are generated to transcode each of them into the proper resolution and format. Then the participant’s answers are merged with the announcers pre recorded prompts through the use of our split-screen feature. Finally, text overlay, video overlay, and image overlay are all used to add the participant’s name, the ESPN nameplate, and ESPN Sportcenters’s background to the finished video.
Here is how split-screen was executed via the Encoding.com API:
Image & Text Overlay were executed with this API Call:
2. ESPN takes the video created from step 2 and stitches the segments together using the concatenation feature to append the pre-recorded Sports Center intro, outro, and other prompts.
Below is the API call used to concatenate the video segments:
3. The compiled output is delivered via Encoding.com’s YouTube syndication feature to the YouTube Fantasy Football channel along with associated title and description. The finished video is delivered to YouTube via Encoding.com’s YouTube Syndication feature. It is also simultaneously sent to the ESPN’s cloud storage location for backup, supported by Encoding.com’s multi-destination feature.
Here’s what simultaneous YouTube and S3 cloud storage delivery look like as a component of the API call:
<destination>http://youtube.com/?title=2013 FFL Toolkit Test League Commissioner ESPN Interview</destination>
Here’s how the video overlay feature is used to add a live ESPN ticker, “the bottom line” to the footer of the video:
4. The final asset is created in only four API calls and the total job time (ingest, processing, egress) is less than four minutes. That’s fast!
Google Inc. is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include search, cloud computing, software and online advertising technologies. Google is the largest and most popular web search engine in the world. Google is one of the world’s five most popular websites.Every day Google answers more than one billion questions from people around the globe in 181 countries and 146 languages.
Google came to Encoding.com to promote their new Google Hangouts tool presented by Wallace and Gromit. The custom Google Hangouts invitation process was to be 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.
Encoding.com utilized our Dyanamic Text Overlay editing feature to complete the task. Google gathered data from users and passed the custom text along with style and placement instructions via a single API call to Encoding.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.
Hurley is a cutting-edge and trend setting clothing and accessories designer. Hurley is a lifestyle company influenced by surfing, fashion, skating, snow sports, music and art.
Hurley recently launched their new iPhone application, U.S. Open of Surfing, including tons of longer and higher MB videos. With Apple’s new requirements for in-app videos, HLS was required which can be a complex task for any company.
Encoding.com made the complex process of converting video to HTTP Live Streaming incredibly simple. Apple requires that videos be segmented into 10 second chunks with each segment encoded into four different bit rates. And, the lowest bit rate rendition must be audio only with still images. Hurley is able to leverage the Encoding.com iPhone Streaming preset to pull videos from their Rackspace cloud storage, encode into the Apple recommended multiple bit rates, and deliver the full package (encoded segments and .m3u8 stream instruction file) directly to their CDN for streaming.
For more information on HLS and Encoding.com click here.
Macmillan is the new face of a company with a rich history in the publishing industry. Since 1843, they have published works from Lewis Carroll, William Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, and Henry James. Its prominence in trade publishing continues to this day, but it also has great strengths in the educational and scholarly fields including Nature magazine, widely considered the world’s leading scientific journal. A main focus today is on educating leaders and thinkers of tomorrow with its college and academic titles, and magazines and journals.
When a college student buys a textbook published by Macmillan, they also get a subscription to additional content and services online. The Macmillan team decided to take it further and launch a video annotation service where professors could add text comments to informational and user-generated video content. With the source video content coming from many different sources, managing all the various formats was a steep hurdle to overcome. In addition, Macmillan wants to role the service out to over 1,500 courses.
With this project it’s necessary to manage the ingest and conversion of thousands of videos in many different flavors. That’s where Encoding.com came into the picture. Macmillan integrated our API using the following workflow: end-users upload videos to a Macmillan storage location, Encoding.com then downloads and encodes the videos, we deliver them to a Limelight (CDN) directory and Macmillan then adds the specific annotations which are attached to keyframes. Since video quality is important, all encodes utilize a 1600k bit rate and the x264 library for H.264 output.
MTV introduced us to the world of music videos and reality TV. Everything they do is video.
With 150 channels worldwide, MTV Networks owns and operates favorites including MTV: Music Television, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Tr3s, VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, CMT, Logo, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Noggin, The N, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV Land, Spike TV, Atom, AddictingGames.com, Shockwave.com, GameTrailers.com, Harmonix, Neopets, Quizilla, Xfire, Y2M as well as MTVN International.
Let’s be real, MTV has one of the largest encoding farms on the planet. Why would they use Encoding.com? In one specific use case, MTV must ingest music video content from music labels around the world. However, MTV’s workflow is designed for content produced in-house. Not only were they looking for a solution to manage the various formats they receive from the labels, their preference was that content coming from outside never “land” on their servers.
Encoding.com enables MTV to manage all the crazy video formats thrown at them by its label partners — and never has to touch these videos. MTV has integrated the Encoding.com API into its workflow. The record labels send us high-resolution videos in MPEG2 format. Using a single API call, MTV creates 6 .mp4 renditions at multiple bit rates and frame sizes, and generates thumbnails in 3 different sizes every ten seconds. Encoding.com delivers the encoded videos directly to Akamai for streaming. Very cool!
Revision3, an Internet video pioneer and leading special interest video network, creates and produces all-original weekly and daily episodic video programs for over 23 million viewers per month. All of its video content is 100% HD and can run from a minute to over an hour. Focused originally on content targeting a techie base, Revision3 has recently expanded into the gaming, political and entertainment verticals. Owned by parent company Discovery Communications, popular shows include Diggnation, the Young Turks and Tekzilla.
Producing high-quality HD video across the web and mobile platforms is an imperative for the production team at Revision3. The team is responsible for 28 shows each with one or more episodes per week. To maximize viewership, Revision3 generates multiple output renditions per source video so fans can watch their favorite Revision3 content anytime from any device: web, mobile or set-top box. And, as new distribution channels and formats become available, Revision3 needs an encoding solution that can adapt quickly as the technologies continue to evolve.
Revision3 generates seven output renditions for each source video: four .mp4 files ranging from 1280 x 720 down to 160 x 90, a .wmv rendition, a custom MPEG2 rendition for TiVo, and one audio only. With output quality a critical requirement, Revision3 takes advantage of our advanced MPEG2 settings including closed GOPs, inserting b-frames and other geeky controls that only video production guys could love. Speed is also important and Revision3 is able to meet their time requirements by utilizing our Turbo feature to light up multi-core, multi-threaded servers.
“Working with Encoding.com has enabled our Production team to focus its energies on generating superb quality output while eliminating the cost and headache of managing encoding infrastructure in-house,” said Jim Louderback, CEO at Revision3. “Their team has been very responsive to our needs and continues to build out new features to meet our evolving requirements.”
Vzaar, an online video-hosting platform, provides an end-to-end professional online video service for media companies, marketing agencies, corporate communications, e-commerce and web applications.
Vzaar offers a robust video platform that enables its customers to create their own video players, deliver video in any size, and drive and convert online sales with a suite of e-commerce features. Vzaar customers expect their videos to look good and don’t want to concern themselves with properly formatting them. As vzaar’s business is growing quickly, the engineering and operations team clearly has a lot on their plate to manage. Scaling a video platform is expensive, disruptive and complex — especially because video encoding usurps so much of the available computing resources.
By utilizing Encoding.com to do all of its video encoding, vzaar can not only focus on providing amazing video player and e-commerce functionality, it can also offer a more robust video format feature set.
Vzaar has fully integrated the Encoding.com API into its hosted video platform. vzaar customers upload their video to an Amazon S3 cloud-based storage location, and then vzaar sends an XML request to our API. The files are then encoded into multiple formats based on the customer’s desired output parameters and delivered to another S3 bucket.. This cloud-based solution gives vzaar total automated scalability. During this process, vzaar requests (via the API) progress updates which it then caches locally and publishes for its customers to view.
“Integrating our video platform application with Encoding.com was made easy by the robust and well documented API. Before we settled on Encoding.com we thoroughly tested their service and other leading services and Encoding.com came out on top in terms of encoding speed, video quality, customer service and their commitment to emerging formats. As a video hosting platform the encoding process is a critical part of our solution. The integration with Encoding.com gives us peace of mind and the confidence to focus on the front end of our business,” said Ian J. Snead, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, vzaar.
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