When A Worktanker Plays Hooky (Kind of): Streaming Media West Report Part 2

Day 2: Don’t Yell At Me

Video Encoding For Producers

One of my favorite sessions started off the next day, focusing on how to encode live and on-demand for the widest range of devices.  The summation was that h.264 inside an mp4 wrapper is your best bet for on-demand, and HLS is the current state of the art for reaching all devices with a live stream.  JW Player allows for HLS playback in Flash, which means one format can be fed to most all devices. Pretty slick.

He covered a lot of compatibility charts that I won’t take the time to try to re-hash, but will refer you to the PPT deck he used. The speaker was Jan Ozer, who speaks/consults on these topics for a living.

Making The HTML5 Video Element Interactive

This talk was the only one I attended that had code involved. It was an overview of how to use the HTML5 video element’s features to add interactivity such as video “hot-spots”, captions, and anything else you’d want to dynamically add.

It showed some great standards-based technology, but the downside was that browsers only partially support it. That leads to a work-around that was very similar to how the WITT works, so it felt good to know we are on the right track with that.  It was very inspiring though to think about how (for on demand) the ability to script against the player timeline opens up a ton of creative possibilities.

Using AWS To Create An End-To-End HLS Streaming Stack

This session paid off the earlier discussion around HLS as the primary live transport, and showed how AWS services could be spun-up to provide the workflow.  It was done with a rep from JW Player to talk about how to tie all the streams together with a single player. Very slick stuff, and very cost-effective as all of the components are pay-per-use.  If it weren’t for our work with Microsoft, this would be the way to go.

Mini, Mobile, Or Modular: Which Flypack Is Best For You?

This session was mostly a guy yelling at everyone for not using scopes and proc-amps in their streaming set-ups.   It was the last session of the conference, and at 2 min before it started, I was the only one in the room.  Fortunately more people showed up so I didn’t have to catch hell on my own.

The speaker was from a company called DVEO that builds flypacks, and my only take-away was that they might be worth talking to as we build out our gear upgrades. Their tag is “Disruptive digital video products for innovators” which is absolutely a buzzword bingo winner, although they still might know what they are talking about.

It’s A Long Way Home

The conference wrapped up and I went off to the John Wayne airport, surrounded by tired families who were leaving Disneyland — which is what my last two trips through that airport had consisted of, so I felt ok smiling at the meltdowns and yelling parents.

Overall the conference was good. It’s an industry of change, and it was a great check-in to where things stand. The core tracks were ok, but the addition of the “Producer” track made it very worthwhile and provided a great forum for discussion with other folks who do this for a living too.