Encoding Quality is Everything

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Live events are a blur. Once the pre-production is all done and the content is set, it is a lot like flying, you follow the flight plan and only change it to execute emergency procedures. That’s how you avoid mistakes, but a lot of little things really impact the overall feel and appeal of the show. The end quality of the show is important from a content standpoint and while appreciation is a subjective concept there are very objective technical qualities which make a show better. Talent has to give a good performance, cameras have to create a pretty image, audio equipment has to produce clean discernable sound and your encoding is as important as anything on the front end of things. In fact, I believe it is an honorary front end player while many folks think of it as mostly a back of house kind of thing.


Video from day 2.  A good example of gameplay starts at 1:30:00 you might also catch a glimpse of Bill Trinen’s “Villager Eye”.

Recently we developed a new process that uses shockingly low-end equipment and produces a 720P 60Fps stream of unparalleled quality. I have used encoders from high end manufacturers and have so far never seen anything as clean as this. We used it for the first time on a stream for our client, Nintendo, and the viewers were in awe. Fans of fast moving video games love it when every frame is in bright, clear, HD.

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 You can’t pay for this kind of testimonial.  Well, you can now, by hiring The AV Society.

In this case, we sent a 5Mbps stream from the hotel we were shooting in, upstream to the AV Society video servers. From there, we pushed the stream out to Twitch and to YouTube Live. We didn’t do any manipulation at our server, only sent it along to two different video services. This way we didn’t change the quality in any way and the video hosts only re-encoded once, if at all. On the Twitch side of things they didn’t re-encode at all, it was straight from our encoder to the end user at source quality.  Fast moving video with tons of little bits of moving objects, like video games, can end up a blur of macroblocking when compressed to h.264.  This can make a dramatic moment in a game or video look like a muddy cloud and ruin the moment for many of the online viewers (confetti canons during awards ceremonies at esports events are outrageously effective at ruining encodes).   This process keeps the macroblocking to a minimum and gives us a super high quality, high framerate feed for our viewers.

What the viewers said about our stream was genuinely the best compliment anyone could have given us in this particular space. Having a stream quality that made them crave the game even more was our goal and we surpassed it. I am very proud of The AV Society’s techniques and as a gamer I am glad the viewers appreciate it.

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