Sharing video has never been easier than it is today.

There are countless avenues from social media to content delivery networks (CDNs).

We are continuing with our series on experience versus not. So far, we’ve touched on planning, pre-production, production, and post-production, which you can read here.Now let's continue with the next stage: Distribute—Captioning, Broadcast, Streaming, and More!

When we started Video Solutions, we worked in S-VHS, 3/4” , 1”, and Betacam SP Broadcast Tape Formats. VHS was the only consumer format. It was the time of the professional tape format battles. Eventually, High Definition won the war and led to tapeless formats. Now it seems there are a zillion digital codecs for the variety of delivery mechanisms ranging from cell phones and tablets to the internet, social media, and broadcast television.

Video is an evolving industry. Technology changes on a near daily basis. It demands attention and a willingness to stay on top of the changes and opportunities available. The one thing that hasn’t changed is distribution - you still need to connect with your end audience.

The most important part of picking a distribution method is to know your audience and how they are going to watch your content. This affects how the project is designed, shot, stored and delivered.

Video has to be designed correctly from the beginning to work. This means taking into account various screen sizes and the multitude of delivery options. Not planning ahead could mean ending up with a video that won’t play where you need it to play, thus rendering it useless.

Of course, you could still deliver the video in a physical way on DVD, Blu-ray or USB Sticks, but duplication and packaging of content is on the decline as more and more audiences are viewing content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The one exception to this is the novelty of a new Video Brochure option that combines print with a built-in LED screen serving up HD quality video instantly without the audience having to scramble for technology or a wifi connection. It is the latest form of personal technology for immediate use.

Providing a device with your video is a great way to impress your audience and eliminates the issue of compression.

Posting videos on the Internet requires compressed files and knowing which compression format will work best for the given delivery mechanism. For example, commercials can be designed regionally for local movie theatre chains that require a fairly high resolution format. To put that video on the web would require the use of a CDN or Content Delivery Network. A CDN hosts your video content and copies it to a network of servers that then delivers the video from the closest sever to your audience member. There are two types of CDNs–public and private. Public CDNs like YouTube and Vimeo are currently free ways to get your content to the masses. They have the added social media benefits, which has it’s advantages. The problem with public CDNs is that you no longer own the copyright to your content. Once you post the video it becomes the property of that public CDN carrier–unless you pay for your own private channel.

The second issue is that without proper, skilled web formatting, most people end up leaving your organization’s website to watch the video on the Public CDN’s website. This means the audience is no longer in your world, but the wide world of YouTube or Vimeo. You lose the connection and your audience’s attention.They are no longer focused on your organization and are immediately bombarded with other viewing options during and after your video plays. It’s common for viewers to go down the rabbit hole of the Internet and never return to your site, unless you have your own channel, which will populate with only your content. Even then, if you don’t have enough content, it shows other recently viewed content.

The third issue with public CDNs is that competitor’s advertising can pop up during various points within your video, again causing a distraction that may take your audience.

A private CDN avoids all of these problems and is ideal for internal corporate communications, like training. Proprietary information and password protected material is best suited to a private CDN that can be set up with enterprise style accounts to accommodate thousands of employees worldwide. Additionally, private CDNs allow you to track your content so you know how many viewers have seen the material, how much of your presentation the audience watched, your audience’s location, and other demographics that can be helpful in developing future content. In addition, a perfect solution for e-learning opportunities where you need to certify or test your audience upon completion.

There is another delivery option beyond CDNs. You could establish a private mobile app that allows people to stream your content like Netflix. This is a good option if you have a significant amount of content. Mobile apps often work with a pay per view or subscription model, depending on the amount of content you have available.

Being 508 compliant is increasingly important, particularly with web-based distribution. Broadcast TV has had it now for years and the specs with HD have presented some challenges initially, but have leveled out. Most CDNs have proprietary video players that will accept a closed captioning file that will allow the user to turn on/off the captions. As a safety measure, we recommend developing an Open Captioned version of your program where the captions are always on. Captions and subtitles need to be presented in easy-to-read phrases of no more than 2-3 lines of text. It’s best not to break ideas and sentences in unnatural spots. This can take time to match to the video and keep the pacing. Some video companies don’t bother correcting the captions, but we like to think of our audience and respect their needs.

Distribution may come at the end of a project, but it is a critical element in pre-planning. It affects everything from how the project is approached, designed, produced, edited and delivered. Experienced video production companies stay on top of new developments and requirements. They understand how changes in technology and requirements affects what their clients are trying to do and can offer expert advice in selecting the right distribution method and approach for every project. Inexperienced companies often use a limited number of options and design their videos for one or two platforms.

To explore your distribution options or any part of the production process, please call us at 703-683-5305 or contact us either through this website, or via Our eMail.

Our next blog will talk about the business side of video