Transcoding all type of Media Files for on-demand Web Proxy Viewing

The Enterprise File Fabric has a number of features that relate to media file workflows.  Some of the most recent updates are:

M-Stream® Large file transfer acceleration / Content Extraction / Media Asset Player

However, there are two caveats  to using the web player and to explain what they are first let me explain the workflow:

M-Stream enables accelerate file transfer of media files to any of the on-premises / on-cloud storage backends supported by the Enterprise File Fabric.

Once media files land on storage, the File Fabric’s Content Extraction feature  associates metadata such as mediainfo, md5sum, media transcripts, and object recognition for fast and easy searching of a media library.

Finally, the web player allows in browser playback and scrubbing of a video so that a user can verify that the file found in a search is the content that was desired.

Caveats for this workflow are:

  1. The media codecs must be web friendly (like H.264 in an MP4)
  2. Really large media files can consumer a lot of bandwidth on playback

How to solve these problems?

Using transcoding the Enterprise File Fabric can convert unsupported media files into a web compatible form, without altering the original copy.  Additionally, the process of transcoding can also, if required, produce a lower quality (and thus smaller) version of the original.  This is what’s know as a “proxy” file, think of it as the equivalent of a thumbnail, but for a video file.

With transcoding a multi-gigabyte original, can have a proxy associated with it that’s 10-100x smaller (Depending on the codec and resolution).  This allows  end users to quickly preview a large media clip, before downloading, sharing, or sending it to another storage backend.

When many users are working against a library of large video assets creating a proxy can save time, and substantial money, particularly if such assets are stored on cloud storage where each download has an egress charge.

Let’s walk through a typical scenario:

I’ve uploaded the master copy of a video that I’ve been working on to a provider on the Enterprise File Fabric.  It only a few minutes long, but it’s a reasonably large file at nearly 1GB.  This is because it’s encoded with ProRes 422 LT.

Since I’ve run the File Fabric’s Content Extraction feature (as in my video below), I can look at the media info sidecar file (DockerEFF_mediainfo.txt) just to confirm the codec.

The file is nearly 1GB and the codec is not web friendly.  Someone in Marketing looking to preview my work will need to download the entire file, taking both time and bandwidth, and then when someone else again needs to view the file, the same process starts again.

Transcoding to the rescue!

By right clicking on the file in the web view, I can choose to transcode this file, thus creating a smaller, web friendly proxy.

I’m presented with a number of presets, or can choose to customize my export.

For viewing in the web, the “Web – Medium” preset will do just fine.  Also, since I’m not going to be using the web viewer full screen, a 720p resolution will work nicely.

Once my task completes, I’m presented with a new proxy of my video.  It’s under 16MB.  That’s around 60X smaller than the original.

Clicking the media icon allows me to preview the proxy in my browser.

Looks good, so now I can send a permalink off to Marketing.  They will be able to watch it in the web, or download the original and make changes.

See the whole process here:

To know more about the Enterprise File Fabric, contact us.

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Douglas Soltesz

Director Product Solutions at Storage Made Easy
Doug's focus is in Object and Cloud Storage APIs, Data Governance, Virtualization, and Containerization.