Affordable, insightful streaming video consulting from one of the most respected voices in streaming production.
Jan Ozer is a leading expert on H.264, HEVC, and VP9 encoding for live and on-demand production, and as contributing editor to Streaming Media Magazine, has tested most cloud, enterprise and desktop encoding tools, worked with most online video platforms (OVPs) and live streaming services, and many webcast platforms. Skilled in video production and editing, Ozer also produces live events for streaming or on-demand and disc-based distribution.
Leveraging this knowledge and experience, Ozer consults widely on live and on-demand streaming and encoding-related topics, including preset creation, encoder usage and optimization, webcast production, streaming workflow efficiency, and online video platform selection. Ozer also produces streaming and video production training for a range of enterprises, which have included Kroger, Skillsoft, NASA, Lockheed, the Federal Reserve, the US Navy, John Hopkins University, and HBO.
To get started on any projects, please contact Jan Ozer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-Release Testing and Review
Key Benefits: Discover any obvious flaws or competitive disadvantages before the product or service gets in the hands of actual customers or is reviewed by a trade publication. Provide product marketing and development with an objective view of the product or service’s key competitive strengths and weaknesses.
Typical scenario: A company is close to shipping a streaming or encoding-related product or service but wants an objective, third-party review before the launch.
Process: Together with the client, we create and implement a test plan to assess usability and competitive performance.
Deliverables: We deliver a formal report that, at the client’s option, can be distributed to prospects or freely from the client’s website.
Case study: Beamr engaged the Streaming Learning Center to review the company’s video optimization technology. SLC produced a report that Beamr elected to distribute and is available below. Beamr blog post on the subject reads, “Jan Ozer, one of the world’s top experts on video compression and streaming and Contributing Editor of Streaming Media Magazine, has done a thorough evaluation of Beamr Video using test clips that he encoded. The evaluation included analyzing the quality of the resulting clips using objective measures such as PSNR, SSIM and VQM, and conducting extensive viewing of the optimized clips, assessing their subjective quality compared to the original clips. Following this evaluation, Jan Ozer concludes that “for 99.99% of the expert and average viewers, the Beamr-processed clips would be perceptually identical to their source.”
Results: Dror Gill, Beamr CTO (excerpted from LinkedIn). “Jan performed an independent technical evaluation of our product. It was a great pleasure working with Jan, who is one of the world’s top experts on video encoding and streaming workflows. Jan always meets the agreed schedule, and his work has consistently exceeded my expectations. On top of it all, he is a super nice guy to work with.”
Streaming and Production
SLC’s streaming-related consulting typically falls into two main areas; preset creation and testing, and encoder selection and workflow analysis.
Preset Creation and Testing
Key benefits: Lower bandwidth and encoding costs while optimizing video quality, compatibility, and deliverability.
Typical scenario: A company is bringing a new encoder online, creating presets for a new format, or simply wants a third party review of existing presets.
Process: Clients provides multiple representative test clips, all encoding presets, a list of target platforms and access to the encoder. Previous projects have involved working with encoding.com, Elemental Server and Elemental Cloud, Capella Systems Cambria FTC Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze, FFmpeg, and many other encoders. We create and execute a structured test plan using the client’s content and encoder that focuses on multiple components, including:
- Do the presets deliver optimum compatibility, quality, and deliverability
- Is the stream count and configuration in the encoding ladder appropriate for the content and streaming targets
- Are the data rates appropriate for the content; in particular, are expensive, high bitrate presets essential for optimal viewing.
- Are there natural categories that can be encoded using per-category encoding
- Should the client consider per-title encoding
This work involves compatibility testing, objective quality metrics, and subjective comparisons.
Deliverables: The client receives a report documenting our tests and findings, and updated presets. Download anonymous sample report here.
Case study: Cinepolis KLIC is a subscription VOD premium content provider in Mexico that streams to computers, mobile devices, PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, and multiple Smart TVs. Cinepolis engaged Streaming Learning Center to review its presets and encoding ladders.
Results: Marco A. Garcia De La Cruz, Cinepolis KLIC Deputy Director (from LinkedIn). “Jan recently reviewed the streaming presets we use for our online movie service. His examination was very extensive and involved state-of-the-art analysis tools, as well as subjective comparisons. Jan ran his tests using footage we supplied on our current encoding platform, so we knew his results would be relevant to our application. His comprehensive report detailed his findings and made his suggested changes easy to implement. As a result, our updated presets produce better quality at the same data rate, and we dropped the number of streams that we produce, reducing our encoding expense.”
- Encoding presets control both quality and bandwidth costs; these engagements ensure that you’re optimizing both.
- Few companies can afford (or need) experienced compressionists in-house on a full-time basis. You can rent an expert at the fraction of the cost, and achieve the same benefits.
Encoder Selection and Workflow Analysis
Typical scenario: A company needs to update its encoding and packaging workflow, perhaps to manage increased volume, and/or to deliver additional formats to a greater range of devices. The company wants to consider all alternatives, including on-premise or cloud-based encoding, or static vs. dynamic packaging, or whether to create their own streaming encoding and delivery infrastructure or use a third party service provider.
Process: We gather extensive information about current and future encoding and delivery needs, budgets, and related requirements, like captioning and DRM, whether live and VOD encoding are required, and which playback platforms and devices must be supported. With the client, we identify the key features and capabilities of the candidate systems. Then we gather features, performance, and pricing information from products and services to create features and cost comparisons, and a product recommendation.
Deliverables: The client receives a report documenting our research and recommendations.
Case study: Skillsoft engaged us to recommend a delivery technology and encoding tool for its digital courses and to create encoding presets.
Results: Jim Renner, Senior Manager, Product Management (from LinkedIn). “Video is ubiquitous but expertise in the production and distribution of video is not. While researching video streaming I kept running into Jan’s work and realized that his expertise could be invaluable in reinventing our approach to video delivery. During our engagement, Jan demonstrated his breadth of knowledge and an ability to understand both the business drivers and the needs of end users. Ultimately Jan provided us valuable insight into the processes, tools, and encoding approaches we should use to not only delivery a world-class video experience to our clients but to realize substantial cost savings in our production processes. Jan’s expertise was critical in the evolution of our products.”
- Encoding and workflow decisions are costly and have long-term implications on throughput and production efficiency. Through his writing and consulting work, Ozer is knowledgeable about all production alternatives and has an extensive network within provider companies to bypass the sales hype and get fast accurate answers.
Jan Ozer, the owner of the Streaming Learning Center, has taught video encoding to thousands of production professionals over the last 20 years, in public seminars hosted by Streaming Media Magazine annually in Manhattan, London and Huntington Beach, and in custom private workshops for corporations, universities and government agencies. The public seminars are affordable, and available as a component of a much larger event. Please check the Streaming Media site for more information on timing and availability.
Private workshops are customized, and when multiple students attend, can be much more affordable than off-site training.
Private workshops tailor the content to your specific needs and are taught using the encoders and other tools actually utilized by your staff. While creating the instructional materials, we review all encoding presets and workflows. This ensures that your staff learns how to produce the optimal quality file most efficiently using their existing toolset.
Training is typically broken into multiple functional topics, usually lasting one to two hours each. Custom handouts are prepared and distributed to all attendees. You can see multiple samples of these handouts below in the public seminars area.
Topics are selected by the client, but often include:
– Optimizing presets and encoding workflows. This course covers how to create and deploy presets and encoding workflows using the customer’s cloud or on-premise encoder, and often includes an assessment of the customers existing presets for optimal quality, bandwidth, compatibility, and deliverability. This course helps ensure that customers are using their current encoder optimally.
– Producing for Multiple Screen Delivery. Most producers want to produce video for delivery for multiple screens, including desktop, mobile and over the top platforms (OTT) which involves multiple concepts and technologies like the various flavors of adaptive streaming, transmuxing and the differences between app-based and browser-based delivery. In this course, attendees learn the fundamentals necessary to produce the fewest number of streams for delivery to the broadcast number of playback platforms. Click here to download a handout on multiple screen delivery from a talk at Streaming Media East in May, 2017.
– Introduction to Streaming Media. Familiarizes attendees with terms and concepts used in streaming media and how streaming differs from analog, broadcast and disc-based delivery. Explores general encoding concepts like I-, B- and P-frames, constant and variable bitrate encoding, delivery paradigms like streaming vs. progressive download and single file vs. adaptive streaming. Particularly useful to staff with minimal video-related experience or camera operators who are branching into encoding.
– Producing Video for the Web. This introductory class for video production newbies covers topics like factors to consider when choosing a camera, audio system, lighting gear, background, and when and how to choose a video mixer. This class also focuses on the nuts and bolts of production, covering skills like setting exposure, connecting camcorders to microphones and soundboards, setting up lighting, and what kind of clothing you should direct your on-camera subjects to wear. This is a course to get those without formal video production training up to speed quickly. Click here to download the handout from a 2014 public class at Streaming Media East in New York City.
– Live Streaming Production. This course is designed to teach students familiar with camera operation how to produce live events, covering topics like how to choose a webcast platform, alternatives for delivering the encoded stream to the streaming server, and bandwidth requirements. The session will also cover how to choose a live streaming encoder and how to configure the encoder for delivery to your selected platform. This course is useful for experienced video production types with no formal training in live event production. Click here to download the handout from a 2014 public class at Streaming Media East in New York City.
During the initial call, the client identifies the topics to be covered, the available time and the number of attendees. We create an estimate of required course development and on-site days and present that to the client. We agree on the cost and schedule the course.
Typically, clients share their current encoding presets (under NDA if necessary) and provides access to their encoder if it’s not a tool that we have in-house. Clients may also supply sample clips of representative content so that we can test the presets to determine if they produce optimal quality and bandwidth efficiency. We can also prepare equivalent encodes with competitive tools to assess the output quality of current encoder.
We develop the handouts and deliver them to the client two to three days before the event so they can be distributed to attendees.