This week we’re rolling out ‘Selective Transcoding’—an exciting new feature that enables nearly all your media files to playback consistently and smoothly in Wiredrive, no matter the format or resolution.
So, what is selective transcoding?
Wiredrive will play most audio and video files in their original format. So, instead of transcoding every file that is uploaded into Wiredrive, we scan every video and audio file uploaded into the system to identify and anticipate which files need our help to ensure they playback smoothly.
If Wiredrive will play the source file smoothly, we leave it alone. This is the case for nine out of ten files in Wiredrive.
For files that won’t play in their original format, we go the extra mile to identify exactly what is wrong. Then we create an alternate version of the file, transcoding only that parts that need it. For example, if the video is fine, but the audio needs to change, then the video stream remains untouched. This keeps the transcoded version as close to the original as possible, and enables it to play in the browser without a problem.
Why not just transcode everything?
First, let’s talk about why video files fail to play and why blindly transcoding everything isn’t the silver bullet.
The reason high resolution media files suffer during playback is based on how the files are played in the browser. If you are using a plugin, the plugin doesn’t have access to the computer’s video card so it has to decode the video in the CPU. At the end of the day this means that you get choppy playback and degraded video quality.
The broadest consumer solution is to transcode every video file and create many versions to ensure that the video will play on as many browsers, OSes, and devices as possible. This is just fine for watching Frozen™ on your iPad but when you are in marketing or production and you share professional-grade video files, this isn’t so awesome. Colors matter, quick frames matter, you get it.
Don’t transcode before you upload
With Wiredrive, there’s no need to add extra steps to the process. Since we selectively transcode for you, you don’t need to transcode video or audio files before you upload. Video and audio files will just play. Even very large, high resolution files, like ProRes, playback with the highest possible resolution (even with high bitrates!).
We keep your original file, so you can still download or send it just as easily as always. Just make sure you think about your system capacity before you go wild with uploads.
We never alter original files
We’ll say it just one more time because it is extremely important for us to maintain the original file, and we go to great lengths to make sure you always maintain access. In all cases, the original file is never altered; we will never change the file you upload. If a file is selectively transcoded, we make an alternate version for playback in Wiredrive only. You can feel confident that every file that’s downloaded is always the exact same file that was uploaded.
It’s already happening!
All newly uploaded files are going through the selective transcode process now. We are currently working in the background to convert all existing files. This will take a few weeks to finish. If you would like to prioritize any files please contact Wiredrive Support.
If you would like to read more technical details, check out our support blog post.