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Large Streaming Video Project


jweist
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Let me describe a streaming video project that I am about to undertake. My specific question is: can you direct me to an individual, a firm or book that can provide me with good, solid advice about how to plan and execute this venture?

 

I have a large number of video segments that I would like to make available over the Web on a site-license basis at my university and at other universities. (I teach.) The videos would be assigned selectively by the instructor in a class as part of a day’s assignment. Students would access the videos on their own computers or in a computer lab. Most of the users would likely have fast lines.

 

There are about 250 separate video segments. They have been professional produced. The total amount of video is about 700 minutes. On any given day, segments with 6 to 10 minutes of video are likely to be assigned to a class. Let’s assume that there will be 1000 student users each semester.

 

I have an excellent local company that will do the compression and encoding of the video. But they are less well versed on the actual hosting of streaming video.

 

Here are some of the questions that I would ask the expert you recommend: (1) What type of hosting arrangement do I need?; (2) What is the accepted wisdom about the number of video viewers to “support”? Each viewer (Media Player, QuickTime, etc.) requires a separate encoding, I have been told; (3) How portable is the video once it is compressed? Can it easily be moved to a new server?; (4) What are the most important qualities to look for in a hosting company for streaming video?; (5) Will it be possible for instructors to create a link from a digital syllabus directly to an individual video?; (6) How is a licensee’s period of access to the videos controlled? Where are those controls located? And there about another half-million questions that occur to me.

 

Again, what I am really look for are suggestions of people who are extremely capable and provide consulting services on structuring and managing a large streaming video project.

 

Thank you in advance for your help.

 

John

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(1)  What type of hosting arrangement do I need?

One with lots of bandwidth. :dance:

 

(2)  What is the accepted wisdom about the number of video viewers to “support”?  Each viewer (Media Player, QuickTime, etc.) requires a separate encoding, I have been told

Each viewer does have its own file format (encoding). Most users should be able to play a Windows Media Player or QuickTime video file. I don't know that I would provide files formatted for other players (such as RealPlayer).

 

(3)  How portable is the video once it is compressed?  Can it easily be moved to a new server?

Each video segment should be a single file. You would be able to move them as you would any other file, although moving 250 files that can each be up to 3 to 5 megabytes in size (a guess here) may take some time to move.

 

(4)  What are the most important qualities to look for in a hosting company for streaming video?

I would definitely be looking for these two things: 1) a host that allows large amounts of total bandwidth per month, and 2) a host that can accomodate many users hitting the video files at one time. You (or your expert) would need to estimate what's needed here based on the size of the video files you'll be hosting, and taking a guess about the probable usage patterns of your students (how many students can be expected to view videos at any one time, and how many times each student can be expected to view any particular video).

 

(5)  Will it be possible for instructors to create a link from a digital syllabus directly to an individual video?

Yes - the syllablus would just link to the video file as it would to a regular web page.

 

(6)  How is a licensee’s period of access to the videos controlled?  Where are those controls located?

The videos would not have any access controls unless you put some controls in place. Controlling access looks to me like it would be something that is difficult to set up, control, and manage (probably the most difficult part of your project). A web server provides crude methods to control access, but I don't know that they would be practical to use for your project. You may want to investigate using a script (possibly a custom written one) to manage and control access to your video files. Anyone wanting to view one of your videos would have to go through this script to be authorized, otherwise they are not allowed to view the video file.

 

Again, what I am really look for are suggestions of people who are extremely capable and provide consulting services on structuring and managing a large streaming video project.

Not having any experience in this area, I don't have any suggestions. Sorry! :(

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I would say that a shared environment is not capable of hosting what you are trying to do.  One would be better off looking into dedicated server solutions.  Welcome to the forums.

 

 

Thanks for the welcome, Rob. I should have added that I am assuming that the server will be dedicated. I suspect that nobody would want us as a neighbor anyway.

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