Video encoding, also known as video transcoding is basically a process of converting a given video input into a digital format that is compatible with most types of Web players and mobile devices.
All the videos people watch via computers, mobile devices, tablets, and set-top boxes have undergone a video encoding process to transform them from the original source format into a format viewable on the said devices. This is because different browsers, video players, and devices support or can play videos in different formats. The most important point to remember is that each video format comes with its own specifications such as video codec with H264 and next H265 and HEVC, WMV, and Webm VP8 (and soon VP9), audio codec with MP3 and WMA, video or audio bitrates and containers such as FLV, MP4, and AVI among others. However, not all computers, tablets, and Smart-phones support the same video format which makes it necessary for a video to be encoded into the required format.
So basically if a video has to meet its precise specifications, or if the video's current format is not the same as the required end format, then it must be encoded into the right format using video encoding technology.
There are many video encoding methods out there but the most important thing to remember is to avoid the entire video encoding process by capturing your videos in the required format. For example, it makes no sense to capture a video in AVI then convert it to MPEG. Get a good capture card or recorder and save your video in high quality MPEG to avoid the re-encoding step. When encoding becomes unavoidable, then start from a high quality source to a lower quality format to avoid encoding degradation. Ideally, start with good quality uncompressed or low-compression formats rather than a low-grade YouTube or similar online download.
You can then edit and encode the video according to your desired DVD, YouTube streaming, or Blu-ray disc settings. One question most people ask is whether to use their in-house video encoding facilities or seek for external cloud video encoding solutions. This is a question that can best be answered by analyzing the benefits and disadvantages each option provides. However, when it comes to scalability, the use of the latest test technology in the industry, and easier and quicker deployment of videos, then cloud video encoding is definitely the way to go.
There are some obvious advantages of using an in-house video encoding solution. For instance, an in-house solution gives you greater control in all your video workflow than you would in a third party cloud video encoding service. Managing all your video encoding in-house also provides you with the capacity to manage and encode large video files that require a lot of bandwidth. Editing and moving large video files in a cloud encoding system may sometimes take longer if you are working with an inferior cloud-based company. However, building an in-house encoding system comes with many constraints. For example, setting up and maintaining the video encoding software and hardware components will require a huge server farm. You will need highly skilled IT professionals to manage all your video encoding tasks since this task can be quite tricky. Your clients may start encoding a huge number of videos at the same time creating delays in processing. The cost of establishing, maintaining, and updating the in-house video encoding system as well as hiring qualified IT staff is in most cases higher than using a third party cloud video encoding service.
With a cloud video encoding service, you are spared the unnecessary task of maintaining a larger encoder farm in case you run into an unexpected huge bandwidth demand. The hassle and high expenses associated with in-house video transcoding is one of the major reasons why most technology companies have shifted to cloud video encoding. Moving to cloud video encoding frees the company from the taxing and expensive task of fixing and updating encoding software and hardware. Cloud video encoding pricing is also quite friendly since in most companies you only pay for exactly what you have used. This is quite flexible and you will not need to pay for any server resources that you do not use. However, one of the major challenges facing cloud video encoding is the ability to handle large files. Fortunately, with the emergence of faster networks, large files will soon cease to be a major challenge for cloud-based encoding services.
In a nutshell, if a video must meet precise specifications, or if the current format and the necessary end format are not the same, then the video must be encoded to the proper format, using video encoders.