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Old October 21st, 2008, 04:11 PM   #1
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Any suggestions how to stream this please?

I've made a 55 minute film on sailing and a sailing magazine is interested in streaming it and writing an article around the theme of the film in their print magazine.
It's a good promotional opportunity. I'm hoping that I may be able to sell copies of the film on DVD off the back of it.
However their website is not set up for video so I'm looking at the alternatives.
I would consider Vimeo but they take your rights away and apparently their Vimeo Plus operation isn't available in Europe. Only the USA.
I really don't know anything about hosting streaming video but what was a rather abstract notion on my wish list of business endeavours has suddenly become a lot more real now that the editor has given this the green light.
Can anyone suggest how/where I might stream this video from and what the costs might be?
It doesn't need to be High Definition. Just reasonable quality. Preferably stereo sound. The circulation of the magazine is 30,000. They claim 50,000 readers. So the loading on the server could be quite high I suppose?
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Old October 21st, 2008, 05:22 PM   #2
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Richard... I don't think you really need streaming in the classic definition. What should work would be "progressive download". From the user perspective it functions in very much the same way. Nothing special is needed on the Web server for this to work.

You could encode it in QT or Flash and embed the player in a Web page. Even at standard SD res, a Flash file wouldn't be that big. If you get a 1:10 hit rate from the mag subscribers (and that's really optimistic) the load on the server shouldn't be that great.

BTW... if you put the entire video on the Web, no one will buy your DVD. And, as former ocean racer I'd be interested your video.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 12:28 AM   #3
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[QUOTE=Tripp Woelfel;953937]What should work would be "progressive download".[ /QUOTE]

I agree with Tripp. You don't need a particularly hardcore server environment to run video. I would definitely embed the video in flash and test different encoding settings to see how it effects the playback ability on such a long video.

However, if you are really sure that tons of people are going to the site to watch the video at the same time then maybe Amazon S3 might be an option. Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)) is a high speed online data storage system. Vimeo uses it for its videos and photos (side note: I think it was about two months ago when the Amazon S3 servers went down for the first time, which resulted in a lot of broken sites like Vimeo). I never actually used it, but you pay for what you use and it appears to be fairly affordable (I would believe you could upload your video file to Amazon S3 and then use that link as your video source for your video embed code).

But depending on the demographics that read the magazine, maybe only 2% of readers will go to the website to watch the video, which in this case a cheap shared hosting environment would probably be more than enough.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 10:15 AM   #4
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Tripp
Many thanks. I will look into progressive download. It's interesting to learn that it's not such a big deal. The last time I costed this kind of thing was five years ago and it worked out at something like USD3 for someone to download half an hour of video.
Thanks for you kind words. It's nice to know that I might have at least one customer for a DVD ;-) I'll email you when it's done.
Wes
That's very helpful too. I will check out the Amazon service. Have never heard of that one and had no idea that Vimeo uses a third party.
In response to the general point that you both make. I really don't have a clue how many people will watch the film. Or whether I can make any money out of it. I shot it in HDV thinking that I could release on high def DVD but the way it's gone with Blueray it doesn't seem like this is viable for smaller runs.
It's mostly finished. I've got to sort the music out. I used a load of stuff off one album and hope that the record company will let me use it for free in return for a plug. Otherwise I will have to re-record (the compositions are traditional tunes and therefore copyright free).
The magazine editor likes it and was talking about an article in the magazine based upon the theme of the film.
So the article and film would complement each other and because of that I'd hope to get quite a high audience for the film from the readership.
But of course they will want to see all of the film. So maybe that won't be any good for selling DVDs off the back of it. I thought that there might be a market for them as gifts.
The other alternative might be to try to find a sponsor (not so easy right now I don't suppose) or to show part of the film for free and the rest as a paid-for download.
I'm moving off the topic of this section of the site so I won't go on. I haven't a clue what I'm doing really but hopefully I'll learn!
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 10:56 AM   #5
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PBS and History Channel always plug buying a DVD of what they just aired so DVD sales of an entire film someone just watched on TV or online seems like it works.

55 minutes is a long video to watch online though. I would suggest cutting it into mulitple chapters much like a DVD. The auidence would have more control on watching only chapters they are interested in.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:41 AM   #6
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Thanks.
Hmmm... interesting about people buying DVDs of shows that have just aired. It's a good point. Difficult to know what direction to take in this respect ie does the airing make the DVD obsolete or will the promotional value drive sales. There seem to be different opinions about this.
The film is continuous, like a movie, but I might be able to cut it into chapters. Will think about that one.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 08:51 AM   #7
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In a moment of fleeting clarity over morning coffee, I think the PBS example points out a different distribution model than what Richard might be using. To figure this out, all you have to do is follow the money.

Producers who create programming for a network get paid when a program is aired. PBS, A&E and other networks promote DVD sales as an add-on sales opportunity. So the primary revenue comes from the broadcast with some extra gelt in the DVD sales.

If Richard airs his video on the Web he is potentially sacrificing the fat part of any revenue opportunity he may have with this project. Now, money is not always the top priority and Web airing may offer benefits, such as exposure, that may offer more value in this case.

FWIW.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:02 AM   #8
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As others have said, Progressive download is the way to do it cheap but with some PHP or a Lighty web-server you can have most of the benefits of a true streaming server without the cost. You can even do some very basic DRM. If you want to put it all online I suggest getting some sponsors that you can put before and after the videos, short 15-30 second clips of "This video is brought to you in portion by:" You can then also have some light google adwords and such on the page, Text versions only so there is not other videos fighting yours. The google adwords will provide a little revenue but most will come from the primary sponsors and DVD sales. To help get sponsors you will need some visitor numbers that can help project how many people could potentially see the ads. As for the magazine not having a site setup for video, once you have your video on a server you can setup a flash embed link they can use which will pull the video from your server to their site.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:57 AM   #9
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I must admit that I'd really like to get the film seen because I have some leads that may give me more work in this area and this would help to get me established.
I've also spent a huge amount of time making it and I'd like to get some money back.
The magazine is pressing me to put the film on You Tube because that is their preferred provider (it's a group of magazines and that's their policy).
I may have made a mistake in that I've been trying to persuade them to go for better quality.
I'm now thinking that if the readers have the choice to watch the film on YouTube ie not good quality, but are first given the opportunity to download a couple of minutes of good quality video.
Then if they are given the option watching the video in higher quality instead of watching it on YouTube but they have to pay for that.
And if they want to buy it as a present for a friend or loved one they could buy the DVD. (the film is about something that many people dream of doing so it has potential as a gift).
Perhaps a limited edition, personally-signed, gold-wrapped blue ray version too for a premium price (I'm joking now but it illustrates the approach).
How does that sound as a strategy?
Or would everyone take the cheap option and watch it on YouTube for free?
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 11:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Chesarek View Post
To help get sponsors you will need some visitor numbers that can help project how many people could potentially see the ads.
Thanks Josh. I know what the readership is but I don't know how many of them will watch the film. I suspect that a lot of them will if the film is effectively the other half of an article in the magazine. But that's just a hunch so it could be difficult to sell? It's an affluent readership but I reckon sponsorship could be an uphill struggle at the moment?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Chesarek View Post
As for the magazine not having a site setup for video, once you have your video on a server you can setup a flash embed link they can use which will pull the video from your server to their site.
Thanks. I'm thinking of setting up a website around the film too.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:43 PM   #11
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While wordpress is over kill for just a solo page but it can hold the video and other pages around it and such and make it easy for updates and such.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 02:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Chesarek View Post
While wordpress is over kill for just a solo page but it can hold the video and other pages around it and such and make it easy for updates and such.
Thanks. I will check that out because it's possible that it may run to more than one page and more than one film in the longer term. And a forum is a possibility as well.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 03:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
The magazine is pressing me to put the film on You Tube because that is their preferred provider (it's a group of magazines and that's their policy).[Emphasis added]
This means they are:
  1. Cheap
  2. Maybe have some (advertising)revenue sharing with youtube/google
  3. All of the above

Now let me tell you what to do ;-)

Only agree to put a trailer on youtube, no more that 5-7 minutes. Then set up a simple site (can be as little as 1 page) to which they should link to from their site(s) and mention in the magazine.

On the front page of this site, embed the youtube video trailer. Make sure the rest of the page looks nice and put some Google adwords on so you get some revenue (don't overdo this).

Add links to view the whole movie, buy a DVD or some other revenue generating 'thing' to the site (maybe view for free and donate fits your bill).

Negotiate on adding links back to the magazine and if they can add the video trailer to their site and/or youtube page. If they want your video they believe it/the story will generate (more) revenue for them. You cannot pay the rent from 'exposure'. If they also want to offer the whole video to their subscibers make them pay per download (from your hosted link).

Come up with some figure they should pay you for using the story and video. Probably relate this to the number of magazine copies/subscriptions. This can be a little or a lot, but should at least be something.

Make sure that when you intend to make the whole movie available for download, you:
  • Encode it as h.264 with Optimal Frame Dimensions and suitable bitrate
  • Use a good player to embed the video, like Jeroen Weijerings player or Flowplayer; these can be easily configured (JW even has a 'setup wizard' for you).
  • Get a hosting account with "GB" monthly transfer (bandwidth)
  • Stay away from "95th percentile" (a.k.a. 95%) bandwidth accounts
  • Know what happens when your GB are used up, generally one of these things will happen
    1. You pay some, often rediculously high, rate for 'overusage'
    2. Your site goes 'black'
    3. Your bandwith is reduced to an unusable 'drizzle'
  • Use some form of file (access) protection if you're expecting/accepting payment. Players can offer some protection here.
  • Use Paypal for donations or payment (it's really easy). You can also consider Google checkout or other options, but PP is pretty much the norm.
If you have high aspirations check out real streaming solutions like Wowza. This will however increase the effort needed to get things up and running a lot. The same goes for other 'custom' solutions like one based on "lighty".

HTH,

George/
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 03:14 PM   #14
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In light of your latest comment might I add that you may consider starting off "good" but with the things you need "now" and then add in other things/video's/forums afterwards, not as an afterthought though.

You determine if that is days, weeks or months later...

George/
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 07:09 PM   #15
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I really should let this subject drop but the thing that sticks in my craw is the magazine's leaning on you to do it their way. Unless they hold some rights to the film, the decisions made on how and where to distribute the film should be yours, and yours alone.

Clearly this work is something you've put a lot of yourself into and as such you should keep your goals paramount relative to decisions about its distribution. While those at the magazine might like you, it's their interests they hold most dear, not yours. I may be overstating the obvious but you should do what you think's best.
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