Stream High-quality Video Content, Not Visual Mush

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By: Steve Vonder Haar

Streaming video technology platforms are handling tougher tasks than ever before – a positive development given the demands companies are making of solutions that help to create, manage and distribute online video content.

High-quality systems today can help organizations capture video, package it in accessible content portals, shepherd the distribution of the content on corporate networks and track exactly when and how users are watching specific video programming. Sometimes it seems that the only gee-whiz feature not supported by today’s streaming technology platforms is the far-out notion of “time travel.”

If offered, though, few videographers would skip their chance to hop into a time machine. After all, more than one video production pro has looked at the video captured from a webcast event and wished he could go back in time and do it all over again.

One of the main reasons for this is that we no longer live in a “one-size-fits-all” world for video production. Video shots that look perfectly fine when displayed on a PC monitor can look absolutely horrid when shown on the smaller screen of a smartphone.

Unfortunately, all the nifty transcoding solutions in the world can do nothing to turn back the hands of time when we get video that’s not ready for prime time in the mobile environment. Traditional transcoding solutions can only convert a finished video into digital formats compatible with alternative devices. What you see in the first finished video is pretty much what you’ll get when you display the transcoded version of that video on the mobile device.

So, tough luck if you get some hard-to-read graphics splashed across your video. On the larger screen of the desktop PC, all that text might be quite readable. On the smaller, mobile screen, all that text can turn into visual mush.

The only alternative for videographers facing this situation is to put themselves ahead of the curve and think about their options for mobile distribution before the cameras start rolling. For some, the right answer to this challenge may come in embracing the capabilities of “real-time encoding.”

Systems that support real-time encoding can take all the inputs available in a webcast presentation and package them together in appropriate ways to create multiple versions of the online event suited for specific delivery environments. Essentially, streaming video capture solutions can be programmed ahead of time to capture and encode several different versions of multiple webcast inputs simultaneously.

As a result, the video created for desktop use can include multiple elements, including video shots and PowerPoint inputs, while similar versions of the same event destined for mobile distribution are packaged and presented using only video inputs that create a high-quality experience on smaller screens.

Certainly, real-time encoding will never have the pizzazz of time travel. But, for videographers dealing with the vagaries of distributing content in today’s multi-device world, it might be just as useful.

Steve Vonder Haar is a Senior Analyst at Wainhouse Research and can be reached at


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