Other reference materials

Content in this category includes off-site resources that can enhance your knowledge of streaming technologies.

Streaming Video Capture Tools

Streaming producers don’t work in a vacuum, and one of the best ways to understand the best practices of other publishers on the web is to download and analyze the streaming files that they produce. I capture streaming videos a lot, exclusively to analyze the video files for research purposes. I use two primary tools to accomplish this, DownloadHelper (www.downloadhelper.net), which is available exclusively as a FireFox plug-in, and RealPlayer (www.RealPlayer.com), which works with any browser.This short article discusses these tools and features.

Video: streaming production: improving your video quality

Here's a 45 minute video on improving streaming video quality from a presentation given by Jan Ozer at Streaming Media East in May, 2009. The video covers common mistakes made by producers in pre-production, encoding and distribution. You can download a PDF file containing the presentation by clicking the "Full Story" link below to visit the web page that contains the video.

Streaming Media East Presentations

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Streaming Media East, where I gave two presentations. The first was a 3 hour session on producing H.264 video, here's the agenda.

In particular, note the comparisons of H.264 codecs, which you'll find helpful if trying to find the best H.264 encoding tool, and the settings for common H.264 encoders, which may help you navigate through your selected program. I also addressed how to set common encoding parameters like Profiles, Levels, Entropy Encoding (CABAC/CAVLC), B-Frame intervals, reference frames and the like.

The second is, a 76 slide, 45-minute look at common mistakes made by video producers, and the agenda is below. This one was actually filmed; I'll add the link to the streaming video file once it becomes available. Note that the encoding section includes lots of useful statistics about the current streaming configurations used by broadcast and corporate sites. Have a look.

I hope you find the presentations useful. Enjoy!

Download free streaming media primer here

Note: The information on this page has been superceded by a Streaming Primer you can download here

Streaminglearningcenter.com is pleased to offer for free download a streaming media primer written by Jan Ozer.

The primer starts by defining commonly used streaming terms like bandwidth, streaming and data rate, and then explains universal encoding parameters like VBR and I, B and P-frames. Then it introduces readers to the big three codecs, H.264, VP6 and VC-1, and briefly compares and contrasts Flash and Silverlight. The primer finishes with a section on how to choose common encoding parameters like data rate and resolution.

The primer is an amalgam of materials already available on streaminglearningcenter.com, along with new content, in a compact, more convenient form for downloading, printing and sharing. The primer is freely downloadable and fully printable.


ProRes on Windows

If you edit on both Mac and Windows workstations using Final Cut Pro and Adobe CS4, running ProRes on Windows can be a great capability. Read all about it here.

Deep Thoughts on Multiple-Camera Projects

I recently shot my 20h multi-camera shoot, a concert by jazz singer René Marie. After you do anything 20 times, you have a good idea what you're doing and why. As it turned out, this experience helped crystallized my thoughts to a level that I hope will benefit others who shoot and edit with multiple cameras.

Working with Multicam in Adobe Premiere Pro

I've produced a number of HDV-source projects in Premiere Pro, with generally good results. Recently, however, working with some multicamera projects, I started to notice some anomalies.

When panning and zooming inside a clip in the multicam sequence, quality wasn't what I expected. As you probably know, one of the benefits of shooting in HDV mode for SD output is the ability to pan and zoom within the higher resolution frame and not lose quality. It's just like zooming into an ultra-high resolution image in an image-editing program; so long as you're still accessing original pixels, the image doesn't get grainy or pixelated.

Designing and Checking DVD Navigation

There's a lot that goes into the perfect DVD, but one of the most fundamental aspects is navigation, or how you control the way the viewer moves through the content on the DVD. In this tutorial, I identify which aspects of the user experience you can control, and how to do so in two leading prosumer authoring tools: Sonic Solutions' DVDit Pro 6 and Apple's DVD Studio Pro 4.

Back when I participated in triathlons, I used to tell folks training for their first race that they would always remember their initial triathlon as the most fun. You trained, you entered, you usually had low expectations, and if you finished, you were both exhausted and exhilarated. Then, of course, you started thinking about how you could shave two minutes off the swim-to-bike transition, 30 seconds per mile off the run, and how you could really do the perfect triathlon. Even if you met your newly minted goals, the fun was never the same, because the cycle simply refreshed and started anew.

Impressing Your Clients: the Ten Wow Theory

I thought up the "Ten Wow" strategy in a previous life on a sales trip to Redmond. I was president of a small software company barely clinging to life and sorely needing a big sale with a trophy client. We were the third of three companies presenting, three days each, and I felt like our presentation and product demonstration needed some serious pop.

So I challenged the engineers a couple of weeks before the trip, saying, "Look, forget about winning the deal, that's assumed. I won't be satisfied unless the 'softies say ‘Wow,' out loud, ten times during our dog-and-pony show." I have to say, the concept put a different spin on both the preparation and the presentation, very much for the better.

Ever since then, with each presentation I give, class I teach, and even article that I write, I think about the Ten Wow strategy, and try to think of ways to earn that highest of praise. And so it was when the Legacy of Mountain Music Association (LOMMA) asked me to film their first annual Stoneman Awards, with the inaugural award being given to the Stonemans themselves, probably the most famous country music group you've never heard of.