CASE STUDY: VIDEO ON DEMAND - TRANSCODING, HOSTING, PLAYOUT

FotoTV as e-learning provider for photography revitalises core offering and brand

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The initial situation

Modern photo knowledge, outdated video technology

fototv.de is an e-learning platform for photography with more than 3,000 film contributions on photography and image processing, as well as approx. 700 hours of film material for its registered 90,000 users. In addition, fototv.de contains the world’s largest collection of photographer interviews with around 750 interviews. Every month, the registered users of fototv.de generate about 7 terabytes of traffic. As fototv.de has grown as an e-learning platform over the course of 10+ years, the video content has been made available in different forms. On the one hand, there were old FLV files that had to be converted into new formats. On the other hand, the outdated Flash player was in use, which no longer represented a contemporary solution for the viewing habits of the target group.

fototv.de wanted to find a solution to make the extensive video content no longer viewable just via the Flash player – but to make the films consumable on as many browsers and devices as possible. In addition, the video content was to be offered with appropriate protection. Additional objectives included offering the content in FullHD, as well as via automatic bandwidth, which always ensures an optimal viewing experience for the registered member, even if he or she accesses the video content via different devices. For an e-learning provider or a video content portal like fototv.de, the future of the company depends in no small way on the quality of the playouts and the playability of the video content. The video player made available to registered, paying users, therefore, had to guarantee flawless functioning, on the one hand, and deliver a winning performance through future-proofing, on the other.

 

The challenge

Automatic transcoding, storage and video playout for all terminal scenarios

The challenge was to establish an end-to-end process for the existing video content that would be reliably automated from the re-transcoding to the playout. First of all, the entire video content of the portal – some of which was still in the outdated FLV format – had to be converted into a new format. In addition, each individual video had to be transcoded in different data rates so that users could then play it back depending on their currently available bandwidth.

Due to the accumulation of video content spanning a period of 10 years – during which it was shot, edited and streamed in a wide variety of resolutions and data rates – the optimal transcoding settings had to be found for each individual video: in an automation process that had little to no potential for error.

G&L Geissendörfer & Leschinsky was able to put together a complete solution for the e-learning provider fototv.de with a holistic package consisting of the products Akamai Adaptive Media Delivery, Akamai NetStorage and Bitmovin Transcoding. The new transcoding and storage of the video content were ensured just as reliably as the high-performance video playouts on all user devices, at different bit rates.

 

The Solutions

Bitmovin Transcoding – automated transcoding for all scenarios

Video content should be able to be processed by as many networks and devices as possible – so a provider like fototv.de has to consider a variety of playback scenarios. Especially if the streaming for users is to be done with adaptive bitrate, several optimised renditions have to be generated for one and the same video content.


In the transcoding process, this requires a master with high resolution that serves as a template for the different screen sizes, bit rates and quality levels. Bitmovin Transcoding was able to meet these requirements – and offer a solution for fototv.de that served the following parameters:

  • Optimal reach: by supporting the most widely used streaming formats, as well as expanding further formats on a monthly basis – for greater future-proofing

  • Reliable integration into existing systems: video transcoding functions via APIs
  • Secure deployment: easy integration into the workflow - so that the performance, scalability and reliability of Akamai as a globally distributed CDN can be utilised.

The key advantages

  • Elimination of the limiting Flash player
  • Automated transcoding

 

 

fototv.de – Video content on photography at the highest level

Apart from a few exceptions – concerning outdated devices – fototv.de has mastered the challenges: the entirity of its video content can now be watched from any device of the registered end customer after the project’s completion.

Akamai NetStorage – Cloud storage with maximum performance

Akamai’s NetStorage is the world’s most widely distributed cloud storage solution on the market – providing a comprehensive solution to manage and deliver large collections of on-demand digital content online with high performance. Akamai NetStorage is built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ and offers on-demand capacity and geographic replication, as well as proven server allocation and routing technology. The secure, cloud-based service is specifically designed to meet the demands of online content delivery and content workflows, thereby providing constant availability. NetStorage is designed to work in conjunction with Akamai provisioning for the highest possible level of performance, reliability and availability. For fototv.de, this meant optimal storage performance.

Akamai Adaptive Media Delivery – optimal viewing experience for dynamic network environments

The assessment of video quality by the target group is critical to the success of e-learning providers such as fototv.de, as the optimal delivery of video content is at the core of the company’s services. Akamai Adaptive Media Delivery ensured first-class video playback for fototv.de across the various networks – right down to the user’s device.

Akamai Adaptive Media Delivery is built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ – offering the highest scalability, reliability, availability and reach. This includes minimising the impact of network congestion, which can affect the quality of video content. This is where Akamai’s vast network of Edge Servers scores highly, with 20-100 times more points of presence than other global CDN providers. Thanks to partnerships with the world’s leading providers, these Edge Servers have been integrated into more than 1,200 service provider networks – for optimal user proximity, the lowest latency and highest quality.

The key advantages

  • Distributed cloud storage solution
  • Reliability and high video quality and performance

Objectives

fototv.de pursued several objectives with the modernisation strategy for its video content:

  • Elimination of the Flash player: The player, which was considered outdated, led to problems and thus damaged the brand.
  • Automated playout in different qualities: For an enhanced user experience by way of optimally adapted video qualities during playout and thereby the driven revitalisation of the brand’s perception as a market-leading e-learning portal for photography.

  • Automated transcoding of the entire inventory: More than 3,000 film contributions, spread over approximately 700 hours.

Why Akamai + G&L?

Fototv.de tested several providers – the technical requirements were the same for several providers.

Especially when moving the large video inventory, the cooperation with the new partner should trigger as little friction as possible – everything should work like a well-oiled machine: from transcoding to the provision of video with the new cloud solution, as well as the delivery in adaptive bit rates. The interlinking products from Akamai really stole the show in terms of detail – and the project implementation by G&L as its experienced partner led to the improved performance and new perception of the e-learning platform as a brand for photography, and to sustainable success.

The company

https://www.fototv.de/

 

Sector: e-learning, photografie

FotoTV is an e-learning platform for all things photography.

FotoTV in numbers: more than 3,000 film contributions on photography and image processing for full members. 3 to 4 new films are added every week. The world’s largest online collection of international photographer interviews, totalling roughly 750.

About 700 hours of footage available for 90,000 registered users who generate about 7 terabytes of data volume per month.

 

Stellar Attractions GmbH & Co KG; Cologne, Germany

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