Tips & Tutorials

Get the latest streaming video tips and read in-depth tutorials on broadcasting, live streaming, VODs, asset security and video content delivery strategies.

White Label Video Platform: Live Streaming & VOD

White Label Video Platform

Looking for a white label video player solution? Broadcasters can spend hundreds if not thousands on their setups, from top of the line cameras to hardware encoders that can allow for camera switching, only to have the end product touting another company’s brand which can cheapen the viewer experience.

IBM Cloud Video offers a wealth of features to help customize and allow content owners to control a viewer’s experience. This is presented as part of a white label video platform, allowing the removal of the IBM Cloud Video branding and also allowing content owners to insert their own. This article covers these features in more depth. It looks at where and how content owners can remove IBM Cloud Video branding and insert their own and also how content access can be restricted. This includes insight into how content owners can manage elements of the video player, embedding, viewer access, and also the channel page experience.

If you would prefer to see these features demonstrated over video, feel free to watch our on-demand Streaming Manager Demo.


Interlaced Video & Deinterlacing for Streaming

Interlace video example before deinterlacing

Have you ever seen video content that looks like the image above, but weren’t sure of the cause? These overt horizontal lines, appearing as pixelation around movement like out of an old school Atari game, are an artifact created from presenting an interlaced source in a progressive format.

This article explains what is interlaced video content and which sources, such as analogue cameras, can produce this type of video content on live streams. It then goes over deinterlacing techniques to remove this artifact and how to easily enable it on the encoder side… and why you wouldn’t want to use deinterlacing on content that is already progressive. If you, however, are familiar with deinterlacing and are looking to upgrade your equipment to avoid this issue instead, please reference our Video Studio Recommendations white paper.


Keyframes, InterFrame & Video Compression

Keyframes, InterFrame & Video Compression

The default mental image of video compression involves unwanted video artifacts, like pixelation and blockiness in the image. This sells short, though, the complexity that actually goes into compressing video content. In particular, it overlooks a fascinating process called interframe, which involves keyframes and delta frames to intelligently compress content in a manner that is intended to go unnoticed.

This article describes this process in detail, while also giving best practices and ideal encoder settings that you can apply to your live streaming at IBM Cloud Video. Much of this specific advice relates to streaming due to adaptive bitrates. To learn more about that technology, reference our How Adaptive Streaming Solves Viewer Bandwidth Issues white paper.


A Brief History of Streaming Video

Video is everywhere, and by 2017 80% of all the world data will be video. It feels like the world suddenly discovered live streaming, which is something we’ve been doing here at Ustream since 2007. In fact, don’t tell Periscope or Meercat, but live streaming on mobile devices isn’t even new. We introduced our first broadcast-capable apps for iOS and Android all the way back in 2009 (really!) and since then we’ve helped Fortune 500 companies launch new products, broadcast concerts from famous recording artists, help citizen journalists document events, and family members share special moment via live, on-the-scenes broadcasts.

Now don’t get us wrong … we’re very happy that live streaming is getting a lot of buzz and that everyone decided to join the party. We’d like to take a step back and show you a brief history of streaming video and how we got to where we are now!

A Brief History of Streaming Video

 


Live Demo: Getting Started with Ustream

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No matter what size your company is, it’s a no brainer that integrating live and recorded video into your communication strategy is the key to success. But where do you start? Luckily our technical Sales Engineer, Adam Pastana, is here to save the day and will walk you through getting started with Ustream, and cover the basics on how to quickly get up and running with the Ustream platform. This live demo will include:

  • Uploading and managing videos
  • Creating live streams
  • Scheduling events
  • Embedding the video player on your site
  • Understanding your viewership analytics

Leveraging Ustream as your all in one video solution is easier than you think! Join us live on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 @ 11am PST | 2pm EST

REGISTER NOW


Content Delivery And The Demand for Scale

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There is no denying that the internet has ushered in a new age of media and forever changed the way we consume content. We have all felt the effects. Gone are the days that we turned on the television and flipped the dial to the rolling guide channel to see if there is anything to good to watch on TV, and instead we grab our tablets and connected home devices to check out what new movies or shows have been added to one of many OTT (Over-the-Top) subscription services. But as the platforms that audiences use to consume media expands, a new challenge also arises, which is the problem of delivering that content reliably and at scale.

As an individual Internet user, I expect the whole Internet ecosystem to adapt to the changing demand and follow the changes in the industry. As a business person running a company that uses the Internet, I expect my team and myself to constantly monitor our ecosystem, assess changes in demand, and adapt as quickly as possible. If I am responsible for governing the Internet, I have to try to understand the whole ecosystem end-to-end, big and small, and try to keep the interests of the public and businesses in mind when drafting rules. – Arpad Kun

What we are seeing now is tremendous pressure between the pace of change in how we are interacting with digital media in our everyday lives, coupled with the high expectations of reliability in the internet services we use daily. All this, while also navigating the existing ecosystem of players with special interests and a drive toward stricter governance (ISPs, legacy networks, content providers, aggregators, etc.). The issue of content delivery at scale is a larger problem that needs to be addressed at a fundamental level for the long term.

Arpad Kun, Senior Director of Network Operations at Ustream breaks down this issue in detail and offers solutions in his Medium post Content Delivery at the Crossroads: The Ever-increasing Demand for Scale“.


Guarantee Live Streaming Success from Anywhere

Today’s wireless networks are faster and our mobile devices are more powerful, which means we are no longer limited to the recording studio, and advanced professional looking live streaming including multi-camera production can happen anywhere! Join us as we show you how to combine the powerful technology from Teradek and Ustream to deliver HD live broadcasts in minutes using wireless cameras, Teradek ShareLink bonded cellular technology & mobile devices to guarantee live streaming success from anywhere. Learn more about:

  • Setting up your player and embedding on your site
  • How to stream wirelessly from any camera
  • Switching a live show from your iPad or iPhone
  • Using cellular bonding technology to get a powerful internet connection from anywhere
  • Utilizing interactive features so your audience can participate in the live show

Join us on Thursday January 14th 2016 at 2:00pm EST / 11:00am PST for this live, interactive webinar.

REGISTER NOW


Amplify Your Event Marketing Strategy with Video

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There is a lot that goes into planning a major conference, and event marketing is the key to success. Before you kick off the planning process and start touring venues, sampling catering options and lining up speakers, you should also be crafting a corresponding event marketing strategy that promotes the conference from the time you start planning all the way through to the weeks following the show. Just like how reading the lyrics does not have the same feeling as listening to a song, still images and text do not do justice to the excitement of attending your conference in person. Let us share with you a couple of tips on how to integrate engaging video content into your event marketing strategy before, during and after your conference.

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Pre Show

  • After you set up your event hosting page, whether it be a dedicated microsite or one of many ticket hosting services available, your first piece of event marketing content should be to send out a Save the Date reminder to attendees who joined you last year, letting them know this years show is just around the corner. Including a highlight reel from the year prior is a great way to remind guests how much fun they had at your event, and get them excited to participate again this year.
  • As you start to confirm speakers, you should also announce their upcoming appearance by sharing videos of their past talks and give attendees a preview of what is to come. Your event marketing message may also reach some guests who are on the fence, and knowing that a personality is scheduled to be on your stage will motivate them to purchase a ticket.
  • By this time you should be designing the decor and collateral concepts that create the look and feel you want for your event and attendee experience. During this transformation process, broadcast an exclusive behind the scenes look into the planning stages and give guests a sneak peek at what is in store.

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During the Conference

  • At this point it should be obvious that you will be live streaming the onstage experience. After all, you didn’t just put together this extravaganza to only reach the couple thousand people in the seats! With Ustream’s white label solutions you can embed the stream on wherever you please, and as an extra bonus, you can include a watermark for additional branding or sponsor recognition.
  • Since you have already captured the leads from your in person audience, how about learning more about your viewers who are joining you remotely? Fully leverage your online event marketing by integrating Ustream’s Pro Broadcasting Video Marketing Module to collect valuable lead information from your remote viewers.  
  • The fun doesn’t stop after the stage content is over! Hosting an after party? Use live video to interview guests, get testimonials, and broadcast the networking activities.

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Post Event

  • After the festivities have ended, keep the inspiration alive by creating a highlight reel that reminds your audience of what they learned during their time at your conference, and entice people who missed the opportunity to engage at the time of the event. Edit together footage of the testimonials you gathered from guests, clips of your keynote speaker and even behind the scenes backstage moments to create a video that will make them count down the days until they can attend next year!
  • Now that you have an archive of the recorded sessions and presentations, it’s time to leverage some of that video content. Try to compose different kinds of videos for multiple situations, such as a short teaser to share on social media, as well as longer uncut recordings of the talks to embed to your website. Leverage Ustream Pro Broadcasting with the Video Marketing Module to manage what content you would like to share freely and what video you would like to require viewers to provide information in order to access.
  • Now you have gathered a ton of actionable data about both the guests that attended in person as well as those that joined virtually. This, in addition to the geographical, referral domain and device statistics that can be found in your Ustream dashboard, will help you craft your sponsorship prospectus, secure bigger and better speakers, and grow your conference next year.

Even if it’s a small gathering of 100 guests or 10,000 attendees each and every person should feel connected with the community, your brand and with speakers on a more personal level. Are you ready to create more feelings of intimacy, energy and enthusiasm among your attendees and get people coming back for more year after year? Contact us and find out how Ustream can help!


The Secret to a Positive Company Culture

Company culture has become an emerging incentive to join a new organization. However, employee empowerment is the true secret factor in creating a positive company culture. Without employees feeling appreciated for their dedication to their role, a healthy company culture cannot be cultivated.

Here are 3 ways employee empowerment results in a positive company culture:

1. Consistent communication is practiced.

70% of US employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged, according to a Gallup study. Communication plays a major role in inspiring your team towards achieving common goals. You can communicate using multiple mediums, such as: email, slack, phone conferencing, meetings, video, and more.

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Just this month in our office, we used our Ustream Align platform to broadcast our townhall for our employees located in Hungary. We have a townhall every Thursday to clarify company objectives, reveal achievements, and introduce our new employees.

2. Managers trust their employees expertise.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 11.41.30 AM(Cameron Robert, The Chronicle)

The perk of hiring qualified employees is trusting them to fulfill their tasks without hindering their decision making. Some managers are known to micro-manage their team, rather than encouraging them to utilize their skillset that initially granted them their employment. Modifications can always be applied but it is critical to enable your workforce to produce their assigned projects freely. Employees that perform to the best of their abilities are the ones that feel valued and respected.

3. Project progress and deadlines are reviewed.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 11.31.57 AM(Asana)

In order to maintain company productivity, management must keep track of the progress of their workforce and deadlines. In our office, we use Asana for our weekly Marketing meetings to go over upcoming tasks and check-off finished projects. It is also a great method of aligning our workforce to be aware of how a particular task is essential for the completion of another. By reviewing responsibilities, employees are motivated to finish assignments on-time and deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion.

All employees want to be appreciated for their efforts. Frequent communication plays an important factor in motivating your workforce. Management should enforce structure while providing employees the freedom of accomplishing their tasks as they deem necessary. In order to have a positive company culture, employees need to be appreciated.


Are You Ready for the Future of Video Marketing?

We’ve all seen the statistics about video’s value for marketers: how response rates and engagement rise when video is employed and how website conversions increase when video is used on a site to provide information about products or explain how they work. But we’ve just scratched the surface of how marketers can use video to grab an audience’s attention, capture leads, and drive sales.

Let’s look at 5 ways video marketing will evolve in future and how it will affect our marketing strategies and tactics.

1) The Death of Death-by-PowerPoint

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We’ll break away from boring slide presentations with a disembodied voice droning on, minimal audience interaction, and audience limits in the hundreds, replacing them with high-definition video events that can scale to reach massive audiences. We’ll use seamless transitions from full-screen, high resolution views of the presenters to slide content to recorded video clips to keep viewers engage, combining all three elements with green-screen effects that are commonplace on television news and entertainment shows. And we’ll have robust integrated tools that will enable each attendee to pose questions, offer comments, and take polls and tests as if they were in the room with the presenter.

Check out CreativeLive’s live online workshops for creative professionals or Brandlive’s use of live video, social interaction, and conversion mechanisms to create immersive product experiences for brands and retailers.  Another great example is Salesforce’s use of video for their Dreamforce keynotes.

2) Video-on-Demand Gets Interactive

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The vast majority of marketing video-on-demand (VOD) assets are linear and static, but a new class of interactive video tools allow marketers to add interactive elements to videos, offering viewers the ability to engage directly with the content and even follow different paths. Marketers can define branches and embed links, hotspots, and overlays into videos that can display contextual information about products, places, or people when the user clicks or mouses over them, and add quizzes and calls to action to collect information. Interactions like these are proven to boost engagement and increase conversions and they enhance the value and impact of long-form video by making it a more versatile storytelling mechanism.

YouTube Annotations provides some basic interactions, while more sophisticated solutions like Hapyak, Raptmedia, and Interlude offer a wider variety of interactions and more control over the viewing experience. HapYak’s SaaS platform works with a wide variety of video platforms, including Ustream. Raptmedia, like Hapyak, offers a straightforward environment for adding interactions that is easily adopted by novices, while Interlude’s powerful Treehouse application is probably better suited to users with more experience in video production techniques. All of these tools collect detailed data on their interactions so marketers can analyze viewer engagement and the asset’s performance. Take a moment to look at these examples from Hapyak, Interlude, and Raptmedia to see how to take your marketing videos to the next level.

3) Social Trumps Email

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Forget about those tired email campaigns. The future of video marketing depends upon integrating your video platform with your social network account to reach your audience in a matter of seconds with short, impactful videos that outperform print content in open rates, engagement, and click through. But beware… social video requires a different design-mindset than video we’ve used in more traditional channels.

In a CEABlog post titled “5 Digital Innovations Changing Advertising and Marketing in 2015”, Matt Rednor, CEO of Decode Advertising, points out that “As brands shift their spend to online video this year, they’re going to see that just running TV commercials online won’t work as well and will start designing for the flick, creating short-form video ads that people consume in their feeds without sound.” This is particularly true if you use autoplay video on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social channels as these videos are typically muted when they launch.

Want some great examples of short-form video?

  • GE’s Instagram videos make mundane industrial products cool
  • HP launched its Pavillion X360 laptop with a series of 5 six-second Vines
  • Lowes uses stop-motion Vines to educate its customers and promote its brand.  

4) Finding the Unusual Suspects

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We’re pretty good at reaching the people in our databases, but what about all those people we haven’t yet reached? New tools like Ustream LiveAd make it possible to place video ad units on the websites that your target audiences frequent and pull live viewers directly into your live video events, scaling far beyond our normal audiences.

Watch your audience grow exponentially as viewers see your live feed positioned prominently on their homepage or on a blog that they regularly read and then click through to join your live event. Sony Entertainment used this tactic to drive massive audiences for its live broadcast of the PS4 launch (link to PS4 video) and Salesforce used it to boost views of its keynote sessions for its annual Dreamforce conference, reaching 8.9 million viewers in 2014.

5) Viewing the World from Different Perspectives

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Drones are capturing live video feeds from new perspectives during sporting events, concerts, and rallies while wearable cameras are flipping the camera to share what players/participants in sporting events and performers in concerts see and experience. Savvy marketers like Red Bull are branding these broadcasts to drive visibility and create an “edgy” market persona.

While commercial drone use is still in its infancy, realtors across the U.S. are using drones to market high-end properties. And agencies are embracing drones to create interesting, offbeat videos like Cup Noodles Brasil’s combination of drone, wearable, and traditional video footage to present a unique approach to food delivery. By the way, where can I get a chicken head for my drone?

Wearables cameras like GoPro are helping marketers engage viewers with powerful, immersive experiences. For example, the National Hockey League partnered with GoPro to show the speed and artistry of hockey through the eyes of the players. Red Bull’s video of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking free-fall jump gave viewers an astounding first-hand perspective of the feat. The low cost and high video quality of these devices enables thousands of people to record and post amazing videos from their wearables every day, showing the power of user-generated content and the ingenuity (and weirdness) of people who have a story to tell and a vision to share. And isn’t that the essence of marketing?

Conclusion

Innovative marketers are already stretching the boundaries of what is possible and vendors of video platforms and tools, social applications, mobile networks and the other technologies mentioned here are watching and listening to consumers and business users to spot trends and tackle problems yet unsolved. We’re willing to bet that you’ll employ some of these tools and techniques in the near future. And we hope that you’ll share what you learn with other video marketers.


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