How to fix video stutter and buffering problems. Where do you host non-public videos?

(Note: If you're looking for the "Best Video Screen Capture Software Comparison Series," we're still on it!  I'm just taking a few diversions like this post along the way to help answer other questions that come up from my subscribers.)

Where do I host non-YouTube videos?

In the 2-part video above I answer a question that has come up several times in both the VTA members only group and also recently via email from my cool subscribers on this site.

The short story is: I use Amazon's Web Services for both storage (via Amazon S3) and streaming video delivery (via Amazon Cloudfront).  And, I use Easy Video Player (EVP) to configure the player for presentation purposes and embedding.  (EVP also has the advantage of adding call-to-action interactivity like buy buttons and sign-up forms in the video player.)

It's important to point out that you really need a minimum of all three of the solution types above if you're looking to pull off a video and screencast content distribution model that optimizes your viewers' experience.    I explain in the video what each of the components do -- together, they effectively and efficiently stream video to your audience while minimizing their frustrations.

How to fix buffering problems or video stutter in your self-hosted web video

One of the big problems with self-hosted videos is that, unless they're served with the use of a streaming video service, they could increase your viewers' frustrations.  Video buffering problems or video stuttter are common issues with self-hosted / non-streaming videos and will likely make your visitors click away.

To fix it, you need to make sure that your web video content distribution model includes a streaming video service.  Amazon Cloudfront that is configured for streaming (along with Amazon S3 for video storage) will do that for you.  (So will a hosting site like YouTube, for that matter, which is another reason why it's such a popular storage and delivery medium.  But, for private, or otherwise non-public video, you'll obviously need another solution.)

Another advantage of Cloudfront is that, in addition to the option of configuring it for streaming video, it also acts as a content distribution network (CDN).  That is, it attempts to store copies of your video at access points closest to where it senses your audience is.  That further increases delivery efficiency.

The video above (via YouTube) is an example of streaming video.  (I explain what that is in the video.  Watch it.)  For the sake of comparison, I said, in the video, I'd show an example of the (potential) pain with video that's served up as http-type progressive download.  (I explain, too, in the video what that is.  Watch it.)  :)

So, here it is: below is an example of self-hosted video that isn't configured as streaming video.

(Sample video.  Self-hosted, non-streaming.)

You Still Need a Video Player

Finally, it's worth saying that, in addition to having a place to physically store your video files and distribute them as streaming video and via a content distribution network, your audience still needs a way to interact with your video.  That is, to allow them to issue commands to play, pause, rewind, etc. your video.  That's the role of a video player.  You need this also.

The thing is, admittedly, configuring a video player to work with Amazon's Web Services requires a bit of gymnasitcs.  Not a lot, but enough to make it a barrier for some of us.  And, that's why it's important to consider the features of your chosen video player.

Some video player software systems will actually take care of the Amazon-side configuration for you if you just provide a couple of pieces of information.  And, that's why I use Easy Video Player.  It makes that part of the configuration very easy.

But, rather than get into it here, I'll reserve that discussion for another blog post.


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About Mel

Mel is the online training architect and screencasting wizard at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He's also the creator of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development. Mel is also the chief blogger of ScreencastingWizard.com; Mel's personal blog. The comments and opinions you read here are Mel's and not associated with any other company.
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