Encode Videos Online: How to Be Sure Your Files Will Always Play

The internet is a powerful tool: It provides us with endless opportunity to share files and collaborate faster. It can also be a harsh mistress, providing us with endless headaches when files won’t open and videos refuse to play. We’ve all experienced the frustration of a failed video upload. Whether it’s browser incompatibility or just good old fashioned quality reduction, it’s often a gamble whether or not your video will play. Even if it does play, you run the risk of your crystal-clear video coming across as a pixelated mess.

Luckily, there is a solution. In order to make sharing videos online simple and easy, we must embrace the world of encoding.

Digital video exists in a variety of formats, such as “.MOV,” “.FLV,” or “.MP4” files. Videos may also have different rates of speed—some videos run on megabits per second, and some on kilobits per second. Then there are videos with different codecs, or software for compression and decompression of the video and audio. At the time of recording, a video is created in a certain format and with particular specifications; however, not all video formats are created equal, and not all platforms and devices can play every format. So, if this video is going to be played on different devices and in different browsers, it will need to be converted to different formats.

This conversion process is called encoding or transcoding. Nearly every Youtube clip, instructional video, or film that people watch on their various devices has been through some sort of encoding. If you want to share videos online, encoding is nearly unavoidable.

However, with all this switching between formats and squeezing videos into new hosting platforms, you run the risk of encoding degradation. When encoding, you must take into account your source format, any encoding that has already been done to the source, and your output format. It takes a delicate balance of factors to perform a high-quality encode. Despite the many encoding programs available online, it’s not as simple as stuffing your video into an encoding machine and pressing a button. No one wants to put their precious video through an encoding process that’s going to make it look worse.

That’s where systems like Wiredrive come in: selective transcoding means that you can upload a video and trust it to play smoothly every time. If you’re not planning to analyze the factors and encode the video yourself, it’s important to find someone who will.

The best kind of encoding is no encoding at all. Keeping a high-quality video in its original format is the easiest way to avoid quality reduction. Many video platforms choose to indiscriminately encode all videos to save time, but that means that every video is given the same encoding once-over, instead of a personalized encoding that will ensure the best possible quality.

That’s why Wiredrive employs selective transcoding: if a video can be played perfectly without being altered, then Wiredrive won’t force it through an unnecessary conversion.

Wiredrive scans all uploaded videos to ensure excellent playback. If the video format does require transcoding, that’s when Wiredrive pinpoints exactly which features need to be converted. Those features are then transcoded, and everything else is left intact. So, if the audio is fine but the video is fuzzy, then the video will be converted to a clearer format and the audio will be untouched.

The new, transcoded file is created as a duplicate, so the original file is unaltered. The result is a brand new video file that can transition seamlessly between devices and platforms, for fast and professional video sharing. That means one less internet headache to worry about, because selectively transcoded videos will alway play with the highest possible quality.

By Charlotte Ahlin