Cloud Storage: How To Stop Paying Ridiculous Margins

Overcast MAX #2: Max Storage

Why use video?

The popularity of video consumption continues to explode and not just for marketing or brand building purposes. Video can also be used in-house for employee training and dissemination of information — this is even more valid in the current era of enforced remote working. 

The possibilities that video offers your business are endless: connecting with your audience through live streaming, creating interactive videos to engage your followers, explainer videos/tutorials, product demonstrations, communicating with stakeholders, promotional videos, broadcasting live events, vlogging and much more.

Size matters

Video files are large — but how big is big? 

  • 1 bit (b) = only capable of storing a single binary digit: either a 1 or 0.
  • 1 byte (B) = 8 bits … about what you need to store a single character of text. 
  • 1 kilobyte (KB) = 1,024 bytes … it takes around 10 KB to store a single page of plain text.
  • 1 megabyte (MB) = 1,024 KB … the equivalent of a 400-page book.
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1,024 MB … streaming Netflix Ultra HD video uses about 7 GB per hour.
  • 1 terabyte (TB) = 1,024 GB … equivalent to 500 hours worth of movies.
  • 1 petabyte (PB) = 1,024 TB … one year of CCTV video for an average police department amounts to 1.5 PB.
  • 1 exabyte (EB) = 1,024 PB … 5 EB is equivalent to all the words ever spoken by humankind.

How To Geek

So, the more videos you create, the more storage you’ll need (although you don’t need to worry about exabytes unless you are Amazon, Google or Facebook).

Max Storage

In light of these unwieldy sizes of video files, the traditional method of handling them on premise is no longer viable. So, if you want to make your teams’ video management and collaboration much more efficient, you can either manage your workflows in the cloud or use a hybrid solution that conforms to your workflows.

Benefits of Max Storage

Cost Optimisation

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post outlining Overcast MAX, Max Storage is like a BYOB (bring your own bottle) party. BYO Storage means you keep your unique account with AWS and our software will help you to manage your content! 

Our hybrid solutions will sync with your on-premise servers: you can automatically upload your content to your account and be guaranteed secure cloud workflows.

Intelligent tiering also allows you optimise your costs based on your user actual activities, so you’ll save oodles of spondoolicks!

Metadata Enrichment

Artificial intelligence is the new sliced bread…although you can’t put chocolate spread on it! 

But you can benefit from AI functions such as Transcribe and Image Recognition to add metadata — this will ensure you can search your content quickly and accurately using time-based parameters.

Future-proofed content

Technology is changing so fast these days that it’s hard to keep up and even harder to future-proof your content. But Max Storage is on the case. We will store your originals and create proxies that can be viewed on any device. 

No problem with codecs either: your content will be available over any network.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about storage, live streaming or any of the Overcast MAX solutions, please do get in touch. Philippe would be happy to chat through your video collaboration and management needs — you can reach him on info@overcasthq.com or you can click here to contact us.

Why Invest In Corporate Video Technology?

Enterprise Video Explosion

The use of video as a business tool is exploding in popularity, but what’s also constantly expanding is the range of ways in which video can serve a business to foster more engaging communication with workers and share business intelligence with co-workers, customers, partners, prospects, vendors and shareholders. 

However, as enterprises scale up their video production, many find it very difficult to manage, particularly in terms of making it easier for teams to collaborate and speeding up reviews and approvals.

“Killer Application”

Enterprises using video are all searching for that single “killer application”. In order to find a video management solution that matches your company’s needs; you need to take an honest look at the uses of the technology that will be most meaningful to your day-to-day business activities.

A recent study by Wainhouse Research entitled ‘Preparing Your Enterprise For The Intelligent Video Era’ identified the most common use cases for one-to-many video in the workplace.

What Do People Watch?

Figure 1: Viewership of Specific Online Business Video Applications

Employee training ranks as the most frequent application of online video viewed in a business setting. More than half of respondents (55%) reported they’d watched an online training video at some point in the year leading up to the survey. Another 51% of all respondents reported viewership of education courses supplied by outside providers. 

The second most popular type of business video was executive presentations, viewed by 52% of all respondents. Marketing applications were also widely consumed with marketing webinars (48%), descriptions of products for sale (47%) and product launch events (44%) all drawing widespread viewership in the workplace. 

Investment = Results

The increasing consumption of live video by business professionals illustrates the need to invest in top class streaming technology. The survey found that 19% of respondents watch live business video via their PC on a daily basis, while another 28% watch at least weekly.

Figure 2: Frequency of Viewership of Live Business Video via PC — Segmented by Organization’s Annual Streaming Technology Budget

It emerged that the higher an enterprise’s investment in video streaming technology, the greater the number of people who viewed live business video on a daily or weekly basis. That figure was a cumulative 25% at companies whose annual spend was less than $10,000. But these viewership totals proliferate at organisations spending more than $100,000; 33% of respondents reported daily viewership of live business video via their PC with another 36% saying they watch live video at work at least weekly.

What To Invest In?

Wainhouse Research concludes that those seeking to champion the implementation of video within their organisation should pay specific attention to the communications priorities of top management and implement technology solutions best-suited to address the key issues they have identified.

Future-proofing video technology investments needs to be a key consideration. Therefore look for solutions that feature an “open” architecture for integrating with other technology solutions.

When To Invest?

But when is the right time to make this investment? Enterprises may procrastinate on this decision for any number of reasons, including fear workers aren’t skilled enough in video production or because they’re waiting for the “perfect technology”.

However, any delays in deploying streaming solutions mean losing chances to enhance corporate communications and build a competitive advantage. The video revolution is here and the time to invest is now!

Get Your Head Out Of The Cloud And Your Video Files Into It

Size matters. And when it comes to video file sizes — things are just getting bigger.

Over the last decade, we’ve graduated from standard definition to high definition, 2K, 4K and now 8K. Combine that with image enhancement technologies and we are talking about file sizes ballooning. 

The media and entertainment industries are driving the changes, hoping that the better quality will drive more viewership and lead to more revenue. But it’s not just the M&E industries that are chasing higher quality; businesses and brands are jumping on the bandwagon too. So just what are the implications for businesses?

Do video file sizes matter?

Size certainly does matter if you find you don’t have enough storage space for your large video files and it takes absolutely ages to transfer or share it with stakeholders or collaborators. This will slow down your production workflow and delay time to market. A recent Adobe survey revealed it takes brands on average 27 hours to create a single piece of long form content such as video and it takes companies on average 12 days to take a single piece of content to market. We think this is crazy!

How big is Big Video?

So let’s break down the problem: how big is Big Video? 1 hour of 4K (cinema resolution) video shot for a 30-second TV ad is equal to 300GB — that’s larger than the hard drive storage on an average computer! The next step up from that is 8K, which is 16 times bigger than HD (high definition) video. The graphic below by Signiant shows that one hour of 8K RedCode Raw 75 amounts to 7.29 TB (terabytes). That’s 121.5 GB per minute for raw 8K.

It’s not just the resolution either. There are also other factors which drive larger file sizes, in particular, image enhancement technologies such as Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), improved colour depth, and High Dynamic Range (HDR) — which, in simple terms, means the whites are brighter and the blacks are darker.

So what’s the solution?

Even if you’re not working with 4K or 8K files, if you are producing a lot of videos, you will need a workflow that can store your large files and allow your team to collaborate on them efficiently and effectively. The cloud is the obvious frontrunner by a mile. Overcast HQ is a cloud platform built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) using the most advanced technologies for automating video processes and making it possible to send and share large video files quickly. It’s simply changing the way media content is managed. You can request a demo by clicking here.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning = Faster Video Creation?

Can you really use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create video content faster?

To be honest, the more I hear and read about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning the more I think people are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. I honestly don’t believe most people know what they are talking about or what AI and ML actually are. So I set about setting myself a task to define them and then explain why Overcast is investing so much in them.

One of our advisors Hugh O’Byrne (a former senior IBM head of Digital Sales) started by telling me that everyone has actually got it wrong. What most people are talking about is “augmented” intelligence — i.e. they are talking about machines that can help (not replace) humans in the workplace. Machines might be able to learn and get better at doing manual tasks, but ultimately the work being done still needs a guiding human hand so it is augmented.

Understanding AI and ML

So if we keep that in mind, here is how we define AI: “Artificial Intelligence” is the science of making computers good at doing tasks that were previously done by people.

It’s pretty broad and probably covers what so many people claim as their “AI solution”. So, perhaps what is far more interesting is “Machine Learning”, which is a subset of AI and focuses on the ability of computers to use large sets of data to “learn” about a task and improve the performance of those tasks over time.

If you take these two statements for what they are, it’s actually machine learning that is far more interesting and far more powerful. AI has been talked about pretty much since the beginning of computers — but machine learning has only been possible since the introduction of large data sets that can lead to machines being “trained” or, in fact, “training themselves” according to a set of rules.

With video we are at the early stages. Up until now, very little data existed about a video that was not inputted manually. Sure, you could get technical details like length, file size, codec and things like that, but anything descriptive about the story had to be entered manually. That’s the metadata.

It’s all about business needs

Recent advances in AI and machine learning have enabled all of this to change. We can now extract a considerable amount of “descriptive” data that in turn can be used for a number of different content solutions.

A short list of what data we can extract from a video includes:

  • Voice to text
  • Image recognition
  • Scene recognition
  • Facial recognition
  • Sentiment recognition

This is just a short list of the information that can make it easier to do a number of tasks. Caption creation, search, archiving, metadata enhancement and compliance are just a number of tasks that machines are getting better at doing without the need for human intervention.

Ultimately these advances in AI and Machine Learning should help to solve problems for creatives who waste much of their time on mundane tasks like searching for content, wondering if brand guidelines are being adhered to and even putting captions with the right punctuation on their content. You know, real business needs.

The result: yes, AI and Machine Learning can help make video content faster but it takes time for the machines to learn so it is taking time for the accuracy of these solutions to be able to be deployed at scale.

Does Size Matter?

“Video consumption grows 100%+ every year” — YouTube.

The global online video platform in media and entertainment market is projected to grow at an annual rate (CAGR) of 17.5% from 2018 to 2025 (— Allied Market Research). Businesses will ignore it at their peril.

In our last two blog posts, we explored search and collaboration, as well as management and video production. Once created, video needs a home to live in (storage) and a destination to go to (distribution). Today we are talking about one of the fundamental challenges — size of video files.

Size matters

How big is Big Video?

1 hour of 4k (cinema-resolution) video shot for a 30-second TV ad is equal to 300GB — this is more than can fit on the average computer! To put it in further perspective, 1 year of CCTV video for an average police department amounts to 1.5PB (which is approximately 80,000 Harry Potter movies in HD)! 

PB? What on earth is a PB? Well, a petabyte — or PB — is a crazy large chunk of data. You’re on first name terms with a gigabyte (GB), right? And you may have been introduced to the terabyte (TB). A TB is 1,024 times bigger than a GB. Sounds like a lot? Think about this: the Hubble Space Telescope generates about 10 terabytes of new data every year.

So, getting back to the question: what is a petabyte? A single PB is 1,024 TB — or more than 1 quadrillion bytes! That’s a heck of a lot of data. 

“1 PB is equivalent to over 4,000 digital photos per day over your entire life.” — Lifewire.

So if you’re generating a lot of video content, it’s easy to work out that you’re going to need a lot of storage space and the cloud might be your best option.

Cloud is the champion

Using a cloud-based platform provides more advantages than just storage. It facilitates you to share media across projects, groups or channels and to respond quickly to partners, distributors or clients.

No doubt you’ll be channeling a particular promotional campaign though your social profiles, website, email marketing software and you’ll want it to look amazing on mobile. So you need all of these to work off the same set of base assets for that campaign.

Getting your video out there

And then there’s outputting. How many versions of your video do you need? Disney has to create 234 versions of every film it produces to accommodate the aspect ratios of the various distribution channels (cinema, broadcast and streaming) and to supply versions in different languages for worldwide distribution.

Once you’ve decided on the number of versions you’d like to create, then there’s the quandary of formatting each one. How do you export your video file in formats optimised for YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and all of the other different platforms without a degree in transcoding or bribing a highly-skilled technician? The secret is (shhh, don’t tell anyone): choose a platform that does all of this heavy lifting for you. And preferably one that automates it.

“81% of businesses say video increases sales.” — Optinmonster

Saving $$$

With the time saved on collaboration, reviews, approvals and outputting of your video assets — not to mention the cost savings on sending “urgent” DVDs/drives via FedEx or UPS — it’s a no-brainer to use a streamlined platform to manage your video projects. One login, one solution, one happy you!

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