The multimedia and entertainment video platform (MEVP) market is divided into two parts. The first part, oriented internally, is mainly intended for the creation of multimedia content, the second part being focused on the management and secure distribution of the content.
To help you assess the criteria you should use to compare the different VPDs in the market, this buyer’s guide breaks the two parts down into several different areas.
The content creation part of a MEVP is markedly different from almost any other type of online video platform. For example, most enterprise OVPs offer an option for capturing lectures or rich media, but few offer robust multi-party editing or visual effects (VFX) in the cloud.
For the average video editor, the idea of being able to collaborate with multiple editors in the cloud for a variety of tasks, from signal acquisition and video editing to visual effects and rendering for post-production, may seem impractical. Yet recent advancements on the MEVP front have seen the simple editing options of last year’s MEVP give way to more complex editing and VFX options.
All MEVP offerings allow downloading of original, unaltered content, and most will handle .mov files or .avi files, and a few will handle MXF container formats and simple MP4 files. Several also offer dedicated desktop app options for bulk downloading, with at least on-the-fly content transcoding to specific H.264 resolution and data rate.
For most MEVP offerings, the next step is to create a proxy file, which is a lower resolution, lower bandwidth version of the original content. This way, many assets can be viewed over less robust bandwidth connections to be used for synchronization and logging. Any comments or log data associated with the proxy file are also associated with the original file.
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One of the reasons for this shift to online collaboration during the post-production process is the advent of higher resolution capture formats. While we haven’t seen a significant increase in viewing 4K content, mainly due to the limited number of potential viewers for HEVC (H.265) on mobile devices, the adoption of capture and playback. 4K production is a whole different story.
For traditional post-production facilities serving high-end customers, there is a fairly straightforward balancing path to move to 4K, as primary customers will cover the cost of 4K editing equipment and workflow improvements. . For the rest of the world, however, there is the never-ending question of money. Or, to put it in business terms, capital expenditure (capex).
When it comes to purchasing production hardware for 4K workflows, purchasing equipment on-site comes with significant upfront capital costs. While in the long run, overall operational expenses (opex) may decrease, the initial expense may be significant. Media and entertainment companies would be wise to write down their use case, in other words, how they typically execute a workflow, from acquisition to the final product prepared for delivery, and then extrapolate that use case over a number of months, including capital expenditures. and opex, to truly understand the total cost of ownership (TCO) and costs associated with purchasing a media production platform versus renting an online solution.
Remember to factor in the cost of concurrent users, as online solutions can either charge based on location, company, or the number of concurrent collaborative users of the MEVP.
Once the content is packaged in its final archival-quality format, it’s time to get down to the heavy lifting: repackaging for web or over-the-top (OTT) distribution. There are four key areas to consider here: content management, security, search, and storage.
After the post-production process, but before the content can be delivered to web and OTT users, a series of steps are required to prepare the content. Since the content will go from a single version at very high resolution to potentially hundreds of versions, a content management system is a critical step in the process.
Often the first step is transcoding formats or creating multiple derived resolutions for use in adaptive bit rate (ABR) solutions, followed closely enough by packaging that content for HTTP-based delivery. Transcoding and converting will result in a few dozen different files, one for each delivery codec at a different resolution and bit rate. Packaging for HTTP-based delivery, however, can produce hundreds of thousands of potential files that need to be managed.
Whether it’s Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) or standards-based MPEG-DASH, the concept is the same: Analyze long content into several smaller pieces, called segments, and then stream those pieces of content. sequentially to a browser or OTT device. If the end viewer’s bandwidth fluctuates, segments of a higher or lower bandwidth version of the content will be played instead of the original segment. Segments are typically 2-10 seconds long, and each bandwidth and resolution requires a separate set of segments.
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