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Discussion on: Creating a VOD (Video On Demand) Platform with Rails & FFMPEG

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phawk profile image
Pete Hawkins

Hi Adam, thanks for sharing, this is great!

I had looked at doing something similar a while back, I was doing some website work for my church who needed to upload weekly videos and have them transcoded to a couple of different resolutions for streaming.

I ran into a few issues and just thought I’d share them if they are in any way useful...

  • Using ffmeg on a CPU is quite slow compared to what some of the cloud services offer you, if the videos are large this might be an issue.
  • Using AWS transcode was great, fast and made all the formats for you, although was quite expensive per video for the clients needs. If I was building something for a businees I'd look at this, or the likes of dacast.com
  • I had issues streaming mp4 files from S3/cloudfront because of the size, I'm not sure if this was some kind of bug on my end, or if cloudfront doesn't like large files.
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Adam Katora Author

Pete, thanks for taking the time to give this a read and sharing your feedback.

You bring up some good points in regards to transcoding speed & cloud services. The service I have on the docket to play around with next is AWS Elemental MediaConvert, AWS’s successor to eleastictranscoder that you mentioned. I believe MediaConvert’s pricing is cheaper than elastictranscoder, but even with cheaper pricing I've seen the costs run up pretty quickly with an internal tool I help to maintain that uses MediaConvert.

That being said, I have no baseline here for what you’d need to pay in terms of EC2 compute instances to get similar speed and performance to MediaConvert, so it’s possible those prices are better than I realize.

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Pete Hawkins

Ah nice, I didn't even know there was a successor, that’s cool. Look forward to seeing if you do a follow up post using it!

On a side note, I have shifted some principles over the years in regards to video and even more recently images. Used to think thirdy party services where a waste of money and now I'm very grateful for what they provide.

Have been using imgix for image CDN / transformations on a couple projects now and wouldn't go back to doing that on my application servers. Even though the code side of it is pretty straightforward, imagemagick chewing through memory, or the weird edge cases you run into with certain file formats just isn't worth maintaining.