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Video: Best Practices for Live Encoding

Learn more about live encoding at Streaming Media West.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Matt Smith, Brightcove: When you select your components, and you line them up, test it, confirm it, test it again, lock it down, put police tape around it. What I mean by that is, live events happen once, there are no do-overs. So, get your components lined up, and even if it's just someone standing in front of a camera, dancing or being goofy, you know, for a 15- or 30-minute type of scenario, heck, even five minutes. Confirm that everything works. Make sure that you've got confidence in your line up.

Go take a break. Have a coffee. Go have lunch. Come back, you know, re-rack, and shut it all down, stand it back up, and do it again. Make sure everything works. Once you've confirmed that, then I'm jokingly saying put police tape around it, but lock it down. Too often, I've seen successful tests fail in the last five or ten minutes, when someone decides to twist a knob, or flip a switch. That's number one. Number one take away, if you take anything away from this, is the whole test and lock down configuration.

Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth. Again, with the migration of workflows in this space from hardware encoders that created all of your streams, pushing them into a CDN for delivery, the notion of a cloud doing more work today, is where a lot of organizations are moving. So, account for the bandwidth that you need. Not only in the facility on a day-to-day basis, and then the additive bandwidth that you'll need to deliver what I jokingly call, a fat stream to the cloud.

If your top-end rendition is going to be 5 or 7 Mbps, that should be at a minimum what your contribution stream from the facility, or the event is, into the cloud. When you can, obtain a dedicated circuit. If you're in a building, and a facility, that's easier to do, than if you're at a venue. However, many of today's concert venues, stadiums, are wired with fiber, and can deliver pretty good conductivity.

If you're out, and you're remote, and you’ve got mountains all around you, and there's not a network cable, that looks like one of these guys to be found, look at bonded modem solutions. There are some really good solutions out there that take different network's modems, kind of bond them together to give you a decent signal, so that you can get something off site from there.

Understand the various devices, and native screen sizes of your audience. So, if you're programming and planning for an Apple TV or a ROKU, a smart TV, understand those resolutions relative to the data set, and the renditions that you're going to need to produce. Conversely, if you're going to iOS, an Android, other devices, understand their characteristics, what the video they can render. You know, just a general rule of thumb is, you're not going to push a 5 Mbps stream, you know, at a 1080 or a 720 resolution to a tablet that's only capable of delivering a much lower resolution, you're wasting your bits. So understand the consumption environment.

And then consider resolution. I was out in the hallway talking about this. A lot of folks don't realize that some of the highest-trafficked live events in the last 18 months, have been delivered at 720p. We all hear numbers: 4K, and 8K, and HDR. And we think, "Okay. I got to have that." Right? "My event's got to have that. Certainly, I got to have that TV at home." That could be true, but for your live streaming event, 4K and HDR are a ways away. At least that's my opinion. We'll get there, but today's most pristine beautiful live streaming events are being done at 720p. So consider that, because not only will it look visually compelling, but it's going to reduce your cost of transmission, your cost of bandwidth, your cost of storage.

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