This is peripherally relevant to GA, for flying videos
The basic problem is that both Youtube and Vimeo downsample the bit rate to a point where the video is seriously downgraded.
It was OK in the old days of “little videos” (probably about 300 pixels high) which is how YT ran for years, but these days one wants to play 1080P (with a reasonably good client device) or 720P (with just about any low spec client).
But more importantly Vimeo (I have not tested YT on this since I stopped using it years ago) downsamples the video to about 5mbits/sec. If you watch a 720P or 1080P video at 5mbits/sec, and watch the original at say 25-50mbits/sec which is what standard action cameras generate, the difference is massive.
The alternative is self hosting the mp4 files, possibly (but not necessarily, since e.g. Handbrake can generate an mp4 file which starts playing immediately you click on the URL) with the usual sort of player interface.
The problem is that the hosting deals I have seen offer huge bit rates and monthly traffic budgets, but not much storage. For example I pay $25/month for a Linode server which is 200mbits/sec (great), 3TB/month (great), but only 40GB storage (useless for videos). It’s great for personal websites e.g. my peter2000.co.uk which is 100GB/month traffic and about 30GB in size. Linode is a really high quality company but their bigger storage packages are too pricey. I would want something for $10.
I found one site in the USA which offered 500GB and was cheap but when I contacted them it turned out they would not give me anything like a fixed IP…
Self hosting at home solves the storage issue of course but would need full speed FTTC ADSL which in the UK is 20-30mbits/sec UP speed. In the countryside we get “FTTC” with 3mbits/sec UP…
If you really want to do this then I’d suggest something where you’re not buying any computing power, just online storage. The most obvious example is Amazon Simple Storage Service (“S3”). This will allow you to upload files, of any size, and have them available via a public URL. Giving that URL to someone will mean they download the file in all its original one and zero glory. If you want you could then create a webpage, on your existing site, which contains the player which references that file, like this. With a suitable modern browser that can play whatever format the video is in, that will play before it’s downloaded, even without a streaming video server.
You pay a (small) amount for the storage and a (very small) amount for the download each time it’s played. But the good thing is the storage is limitless and you only pay for what you actually use.
It’s a bit of a can of worms though. You’ll need to generate the video in a bunch of different formats to get full browser coverage (though MPEG-4/H.264 will get you there in any modern browser), plus watchers will need plenty of bandwidth to enjoy it. And if it becomes super popular or someone embeds it in a Facebook post that goes viral, you’ll get a fat bill.
If Vimeo is good enough for professional video showreels it’s good enough for me.
There’s a lot of buzz about Wistia at the moment – might be worth a try.
I note you’re on a Vimeo Plus package – do you not get better quality with Vimeo Pro?
You really don’t want to go down the path of hosting this stuff yourself unless you are happy for people to simply download the videos and watch them offline. To stream and support all different browsers and devices is extremely complicated as you know.
Incidentally, I downloaded the ‘original’ version of your Oban video from Vimeo and there were stacks of compression artefacts. It was miles better than the streamed version, but still not great.
What’s wrong with buying a bunch of big slow disks and configuring them in RAID? With of course a second set for a backup. After all, that’s only what the big boys are doing too, though they have the obvious advantage of scale. Perhaps the worst consequence would be that you need to provide the required bandwidth too.
You can upload full HD to Youtube if you want to. The whole slow disks thing clearly is a thing of the past and we store all of our stuff digitally and in the cloud. PM me Peter if you want me to put you in touch with my CTO here (we produce 100K plus hours of content annually) I am sure he’ll be happy to talk you through all the options.
Thanks David. I would indeed be concerned about getting a big bill, though looking at the stats on my Vimeo stuff it is probably not likely. That is a nice video you put there But here at work, 30mbits/sec DOWN, the player paused about 10 times during the play, to catch up, so it is probably a jolly good bitrate. BTW I think the professionals are paying more for their top Vimeo packages (I pay $55 or so per year) and they are no doubt faster. Some stuff I have seen there is really very good. But those cost a lot more and I don’t want to throw yet more money at this than I already do… I don’t make a penny out of it and am just doing this to promote GA
Thanks Steve. I think Vimeo compress on the upload. After each upload, there is a “video being converted” period, about the same length as the video, so I am not surprised the downloaded version was rubbish too. I did self-host one video for test purposes, and you can see both the Vimeo version and the hosted one here: vimeo.com/159066379 (the 25mbits/sec – incorrectly given as 50mbits/sec – hosted URL is in the comments). Funnily enough Vimeo’s 5GB/week upload limit is based on the full uploaded size before they hack it Wistia looks really expensive.
LFHNflightstudent – yes but Vimeo still downsamples 1080P to about 5mbits/sec. It’s good enough for the usual thing of a dog chasing a cat, etc. Indeed disk speed is a non-issue today, even for really fast 4K.
But here at work, 30mbits/sec DOWN, the player paused about 10 times during the play, to catch up,
Doesn’t that suggest that the whole thing is futile? My video is straight out of my phone and VLC says the bit rate is only about 17Mbps. So even at that level you can’t realistically stream it without some pauses on a typical decent (am guessing 30Mbps is pretty “typical decent”) ADSL connection.
Doesn’t that suggest that the whole thing is futile?
Probably not. There is a lot of really crappy ADSL in the UK, sold as “fibre”. I think things are improving generally. And one could render two versions – a 5 mbit one and a 25 mbit one.
Just tried your video at home, same BT exchange but a different ISP, and the video downloaded fully in 50% of the play time so the download speed was about 35mbits/sec which is what it is supposed to be.
David’s video played back beautifully for me with no buffering and the quality was superb.
Rather unconventional setup here – two ADSL lines bonded together giving me approx 35mbps down and 1.5mbps up, via a proper ISP (aa.net.uk) which makes all the difference.
You might want to change your ISP at work ;)
I know you don’t want to throw more dosh at this, but Vimeo Pro may well be the answer. Why don’t you speak to them and see if they will let you trial it?