Transcoding Settings and Processing

Transcoding and Processing

When a video is uploaded to the KMC, the video is associated with a conversion profile, also known as a Transcoding Profile. A Transcoding Profile may be comprised of a single flavor or multiple flavors. For each upload session, you should select the Transcoding Profile. You can also set a default Transcoding Profile.

A transcode is made from taking an encoded piece of video and converting it into one or more newly compressed streams that can then be played in a player on a computer or mobile device depending on the settings and methods used.The main purpose of the reconversion is to create a match for the required target platforms and distribution methods.

Kaltura flavors represent the required renditions of the source file with distinct codecs, frame sizes and bitrates. You can select to generate or add multiple flavors to an entry, including flavors geared towards displaying media on mobile devices (low bandwidth, small screens, and/or HTML5 supporting devices). An asset is a single output file with its specific file type, video/audio codecs, bit-rate, GOP size, that may be used for playback, download or editing.

The Kaltura platform supports ingestion of all forms of rich media (including video, images, audio, PDF, and others), and allows you to define different transcoding profiles, depending on your publishing needs. For additional information on Kaltura’s transcoding services, see Kaltura Media Transcoding Services and Technology.

Additional transcoding flavors can easily be added for publishing across different devices, network bandwidths and screen sizes. Kaltura's transcoding decision layer engine supports more than 60 video and image formats as well as 140 video and audio codecs.

When you upload content, you determine what type of flavors you want to associate with your output.

There are three transcoding profiles that are automatically created for new accounts:

  • Default - the flavors included in the default transcoding profile of the account. These flavors appear in the main Transcoding Settings page.
  • Source Only - uploads the source file but does not transcode it; the source is the original file uploaded as is. Other flavors will not be created.
  • All Flavors - transcodes uploaded files into all the flavors defined in the main Transcoding Settings page.

There are four transcoding profiles that are automatically created for Live accounts:

  • Passthrough
  • Cloud transcode - SD
  • Cloud transcode - HD
  • Cloud transcode - HD+

For more information about the Live Transcoding profiles see Transcoding Profiles for Live Streaming.

Converting Videos into Multiple Flavors (Optimized Output Files)

Kaltura’s player provides optimal playback by using adaptive bitrate technology that automatically selects the most appropriate flavor asset for playback, based on the viewer’s specific connection and other parameters.

Getting content onto the platform is the first step and transcoding processing is part of the upload session. For a quick and simple upload, use the default flavors that are provided and that can be enabled/disabled from the transcoding profile you want to use.

To display the transcoding profiles for your content

  • Select the Settings tab and then select Transcoding Settings.
    The Default Transcoding Profiles window is displayed which contains list of the Transcoding Profiles and Live Transcoding profiles.
    Each file uploaded to the system is transcoded into the flavors that are checked in the Transcoding Profile.

Creating/Adding a Transcoding Profile

To create a Transcoding Profile

  1. Select the Settings icon and then select Transcoding Settings.
  2. Click Add Profile.
    The following screen is displayed for all but Live Transcoding Profiles:

    The following screen is displayed for Live:
  3. Enter a Name and Description for the profile.
  4. Enter the Entry ID for the Default Metadata Settings. (optional) See Uploading Content and Setting Metadata.
    The entry’s metadata fields are added to the transcoding profile. Each new entry that is transcoded using the profile will include those metadata fields. (You can create a “Metadata template”.)You can use The Metadata entries as “metadata templates” for adding metadata to multiple files. See Useful Tips for Working with Transcoding Profiles.
  5. Select Ingest from Remote Storage if you have Remote Storage Configured on your account.
  6. Click Save. The Flavors tab is displayed.
  7. In the Flavors tab, select the flavors out (of the available flavors on your account), to apply to the source video you upload.
  8. Click Save.

Actions for Transcoding Profiles

You may:

To edit a Transcoding Profile’s flavors

  1. Select the Settings icon and then select Transcoding Settings.
  2. Select a Transcoding Profile and go to the Flavors tab.
  3. Check the flavors you want to edit.
  4. Use the pencil icon to open the Edit Flavor Settings screen.

    The Edit Flavor Settings window is displayed.  See Editing Options for Flavors in a Transcoding Profile.

    The following screen is displayed for all but Live entries.
  5. For extra fast publishing, set the Impact On Entry Readiness field to Required, for the minimum set of flavors and the rest of the flavors to Optional. (optional)
    Use this option to publish your content even faster. See Quick Publishing.
  6. Select whether and when to use Kaltura Transcoding.
  7. Enter a System Name (Optional)
  8. Select the Flavor Generation Policy.
  9. Select Intermediate-Flavor Handling.
  10. Click Save.
    The flavors you select become active.

To Edit Flavors in a Live Transcoding Profile

  1. Select the Settings icon and then select Transcoding Settings.
  2. Select a Live Transcoding Profile.
  3. Go to the Flavors tab.
  4. Check the flavors you want to edit.
  5. Use the pencil icon to open the Edit Flavor Settings screen.

    The Edit Flavor Settings window is displayed for Live entries.
    The only editable field is the System Name.
  6. Modify the System name and click Save.

Transcoding Profiles for Live Streaming

Live transcoding is only available via “Live Plus” service and is not part of the default live support. Contact your account manager for more information. 

For information and steps to set Transcoding Profiles for Live Streaming see How to Set Transcoding Profiles for Live Streaming.

The following table lists the Kaltura default conversion transcoding profiles' flavors. You can configure additional flavors.

NameTargetVideocodecFramesizeVideobitrateAudiocodecAudiobitrate
Basic/Small - WEB/MBL (H264/400)Web, MobileH264 BP480 x auto400kbpsAAC64kbps
Basic/Small - WEB/MBL (H264/600)Web, MobileH264 BP640 x auto600kbpsAAC64kbps
SD/Small - WEB/MBL (H264/900)Web, MobileH264 MP640 x auto900kbpsAAC64kbps

In addition to these flavors that are generated from the source, the source itself may be streamed through Passthrough mode.

The source should be:

  • H264
  • Bitrate - 1500kbps – 2000kbps
  • Frame size – preferably 720p, and no smaller than 640 x auto

The options for live streaming transcoding profiles include Passthrough and Cloud.

Passthrough

The Passthrough transcoding profile option takes your content’s original source input flavor and passes it through the Kaltura system without any changes. This option uploads the source file but does not transcode it; the source is the original file uploaded as is. Other flavors are not created.

Passthrough Transcoding Profile Features

  • Ideal for multiple SD concurrent sessions
  • All transcoding is done on site (additional H/W is required)
  • Limited renditions
  • Fast uplink required
  • Adaptive playback

Audio is adjusted to AAC format.

Cloud Transcode – Live+

The Cloud transcoding option takes the content’s original source input flavor and generates three additional transcoding flavors that support different resolutions and formats. There are 3 pre-defined cloud transcode packages: SD, HD and HD+, each package offers different # of flavors, resolutions and bitrates.

For further information regarding the HD and HD+ packages, see Kaltura Live+/CloudTranscoding.

You can create and configure additional live transcoding profiles and modify them.

Cloud Transcoding Profile Features

  • Ideal for HD sessions with large audiences
  • Requires only a single HD feed
  • Transcoding is done in the cloud
  • Includes 4 renditions (source +3)
  • Standard uplink required
  • Adaptive playback
  • Support packages available

To edit a Transcoding Profile for Live Steaming

  1. Select the Settings icon and then select Transcoding Settings.
    The Default Transcoding Flavors window is displayed showing the flavors you selected for the Default Transcoding profile and the Live Transcoding Profiles.

    Cloud transcoding is the default profile for live streaming.
  2. Click a Transcoding Profile (Name) to edit or click on the Trash icon to remove a transcoding profile.
  3. Use the checkbox to select flavors to add or remove.
  4. Enter the Default Metadata Settings Entry ID (Optional). This feature is useful if you want to set default metadata settings such as tags/categories to files you ingest. See the Metadata Tab for more information. If your account is used and configured to ingest content from Remote Storage, select the remote storage name from the menu (Optional).
  5. Click Save Changes.

Quick Publishing

A popular requirement for news websites and video publishers is to publish videos as quickly as possible. Kaltura allows you to control video asset readiness speed by allowing you to configure the ingestion process to your needs.

By default, a video entry is not at the ‘Ready’ status (for publishing) until all the required flavors (by default the required set of flavors is the minimal set of flavors required for web playback) are created.If many flavors are included in the transcoding profile, the conversion process may take many minutes, which is often not fast enough for breaking news videos.

You can configure whether a certain flavor’s readiness is required or not, so that you can publish your content quickly.

For example,assuming the source flavor is a web-playable entry created using h264 for web and mobile. You can configure h264 as the required flavor, while all other flavors are optional. The entry will receive the “Ready” state for publishing immediately after the upload is complete. The other flavors will then be processed and added to the entry in the background subsequently, after a short processing period. Failure of a required flavor causes failure for the entire entry.

See http://blog.kaltura.org/extra-fast-publishing for more information.

The same flavor may have different settings in a different transcoding profile, which allows for greater  publishing flexibility).

Editing Options for Flavors in a Transcoding Profile

The following options may be edited for each transcoding flavor selected in a Transcoding Profile:

  • Impact on Entry Readiness –Determines the impact of each specific transcoding flavor on entry readiness for publishing. The options are:
    • Required – The entry will not be set to a Ready state until the processing of the specific transcoding flavor is complete. To expedite video readiness, we recommend applying the ‘Required’ setting to a single flavor that is required for playback on each required environment. For example, if the source file is an MOV that cannot be played on the web, flagging only one lowest quality FLV or MP4 flavor as ‘Required’ will ensure the video will be published as quickly as possible while the other flavors are being prepared.
    • Optional – The entry may be set to a Ready state before the processing of the specific transcoding flavor is complete. When no other Transcoding Flavor within the Transcoding Profile is set as required, completion of the processing of any Optional flavor sets the entry to the Ready state. We recommend using this option for most flavors to increase speed of readiness.
    • No Impact – Determining entry readiness is not affected by the presence of this transcoding flavor. This is usually the default setting for the “Source” transcoding flavor.
  • Use Kaltura Transcoding – Determines whether to use the Kaltura transcoding engine for generating each specific transcoding flavor. This option is enabled only when your account is set to support the ingestion of multiple bit-rate transcoding flavors generated by your local transcoder. If Kaltura performs transcoding of all flavors except the ‘source’ file, this option should be set to Always.  The options are:
    • Always – Kaltura’s transcoding engine always is used for generating the specific Transcoding Flavor.
    • Never – The Kaltura transcoding engine will not generate the specific transcoding flavor. This is a fixed setting for the “Source Flavor” which always is added to the entry with no additional processing. This option should also be used when your account’s content ingestion workflow relies on a local transcoding engine and when the ingestion of the previously transcoded Flavor to Kaltura should always take place, bypassing Kaltura’s conversion processing.
    • As a Fall-back – The system expects to add this transcoding flavor from a local transcoding engine but will use Kaltura’s transcoding engine as a fall-back to convert to this flavor when the flavor is not received as part of the ingestion request. This option adds flexibility when you want to use your local transcoding engine while utilizing Kaltura’s transcoding engine as a fall-back option.
  • System Name (Optional) – The system name is used to identify the flavor in client-side applications. For example, to mark a specific flavor as suitable for playback on iPad devices, the system name was set to iPad.
  • Flavor Generation Policy – You can bypass Kaltura’s transcoding optimization, and force specific flavors to be generated even when they are detected as redundant by the Kaltura transcoding optimization module. The options are:
    • Use Kaltura’s Optimization - Kaltura’s optimization routine decides whether it is worth-while to create a flavor (For example if the source video is of lesser quality than the flavor, the optimization routine will not create the flavor).
    • Force Flavor generation –Select this option to override the Kaltura optimization routine and create a flavor regardless of whether it is redundant quality wise (For example, when a publisher must distribute the video through a broadcast channel that requires specific flavor specifications, the flavor must be created.)

Assigning a Transcoding Profile to a Bulk Upload

A default Transcoding profile is included with the KMC. After you create a Transcoding Profile, an ID is created and listed in the Transcoding Profiles page.

To assign a transcoding profile other than the default profile, to a bulk upload

  • Set the ID from the Transcoding Profiles to the conversionProfileId in your CSV.
  • Set the ID from the Transcoding Profiles List to the conversionProfileId in your XML file.

Useful Tips for Working with Transcoding Profiles

If you want to configure your KMC account to support automated content ingestion workflows, you can optionally add default metadata settings from an existing entry. The default entry metadata setting automatically will populate the new content when using each specific transcoding profile.

For example, you want to target two distinct audiences with your videos, the first is public facing videos and the second is internal company videos.

You can create two transcoding profiles, one for each of your target audiences, even though you might convert them to the same flavors you can use different “default metadata settings” so your public facing videos will have their specific metadata values, while the internal company videos can have different fields or data. All this is done automatically after you prepare one template entry for the process.

To use metadata settings with Transcoding Profiles

  1. Create a “Draft” entry. See Prepare Entry.

  2. Prepare the metadata. See Prepare Entry. For example: Template Entry for Transcoding Profile X”.
  3. If you use custom metadata, edit the entry ID. If you do not use custom metadata, click here to learn more about it.
    You next must set the template entry on the transcoding profile.
  4. Go to the Settings icon and select the Flavors tab.
  5. Select the flavors of your default transcoding profile.
  6. Edit the transcoding profile you want to create a template entry for, by clicking on it.
  7. Click Save.
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