Outlook 2019: Managing resources with cloud computing
Dan Germain
Issue: December 1, 2018

Outlook 2019: Managing resources with cloud computing

For post and broadcast professionals, the onramp to harnessing cloud compute power for video transcoding seemed daunting in the past. However, as the industry evolves, and as new services become available, more video pros have realized that the cost and time savings of working in the cloud can change the future of post production.

As part of AWS, AWS Elemental is able to address the innovation and speed required by our customers in terms of added functionality, while offering the most cost-effective access to massive compute power in the cloud. To that end, with native services in the AWS console, we deliver the scale, power and security developed for the largest enterprise customers, to customers of any size — from the smallest networks to boutique post houses, social media networks, gaming, government organizations and major content delivery networks (CDNs). These services allow customers to automatically scale up or down as their business demands fluctuate over time without major infrastructure investment.

In 2019, we anticipate that video professionals will leverage a wide range of options for transitioning to the cloud. Customers typically have video workloads that include a consistent volume of expected transcoding as well as spikes. AWS Elemental MediaConvert, our on-demand cloud transcoding service, now offers a service deployment called Reserved Transcoding Slots (RTS) allowing customers access to a much lower cost model for the constant workload portion. As a pricing option, RTS includes the features available via MediaConvert with pricing set by volume thresholds, making it much more cost-effective and robust than building a DIY Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) -based cloud transcoding solution. Moving to an RTS model gives video and post professionals the flexibility to experiment with cloud computing within a simple, streamlined web-accessible interface. 

Building a transcoding service requires a skilled engineering team. Job queue management, job retry mechanisms, alerting, monitoring metrics, job metering, load balancing and optimizing storage throughput are all challenges that come with building a service with off-the-shelf components. MediaConvert solves these challenges and keeps track of any associated codec licensing fees related to content creation automatically on the back end, which is often difficult to track in the fast-paced OTT delivery world.  

AWS Elemental encoders and video processing technology are built by our engineers to optimize for quality and speed, with the corresponding ability to quickly add support for the latest new trends like high dynamic range (HDR) or Interoperable Master Format (IMF). Advanced video transcoding capabilities, including Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate (QVBR), captioning, DRM and logo burn-in, are also all available via RTS. These features improve video quality and optimize the customer experience. QVBR is a rate control mode for video that is designed to deliver consistently high-quality video viewing while keeping bit budgets as low as possible, saving storage and delivery costs. By adopting AWS Elemental cloud solutions, your skilled engineers will be able to focus on more pressing tasks to deliver valuable content and optimize end-user experiences.

Dan Germain is the senior product manager for compression/VOD at AWS Elemental (www.elemental.com).