Enable transcoding of all XenForo video to ensure best video upload user experience

RobinHood

Well-known member
Please enable the option of transcoding all or just incompatible videos uploaded to threads to ensure maximum compatibility and the best user experience for those wanting to upload and view videos on their websites.

This is how many of the other big social media sites tackle the issue, and if we're to promote our forums as video friendly, and sell the platform to our users against the competing options, we need to be able to show them we can crunch video too.

There are currently issues with certain video codecs, such as the Apple HEVC which many iPhones record in to save space. If these video are uploaded to our sites, they are only playable in Safari mobile and desktop, and therefore come across as buggy and unplayable in Chrome, Firefox etc.

This results in confused members who see the video player controls, but can only hear audio when they hit play.

As experienced in this thread: https://xenforo.com/community/threads/iphone-video-upload-wont-playback-on-desktop.160565

It's very difficult to get members to change settings on their devices to ensure the video is compatible, and if they've already recorded a video they want to share in an incompatible format it's even more difficult to convert that video into a compatible format for sharing, resulting in frustrated users and unposted content.


Some downsides are that the video will not go live immediately, and it may cost the admin more in hosting in order to be able to crunch the video, but for those of us that really want to offer it to our users, it's a cost we will have to bear to be competitive and should be worth it to ensure a great user experience. Processing power cost declines every year, so the cost of offering this should become more affordable and accessible to independent communities as time goes on.

The delay might not be ideal, but users on the other platforms don't seem to mind and the continued increase in the sharing and posting of video among online communities continues to explode across the board, even with this constraint.

Both facebook and reddit process the video in this way, putting placeholders for the uploader, and only make it live once the video is available to view in a universal format for all members.

Facebook:

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Reddit:

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RobinHood

Well-known member
Q: But Robin, how are we supposed to pay for all this fancy extra transcoding?

A: I'm glad you asked, as someone who is experienced in extracting money from the rich, and giving it to the poor, we must apply the same principles to our video sharing endeavours.

We make the premium video features only available to the rich VIP, Premium, Platinum, Supporting, whatever you want to call them elite members of our websites, and take their cash in order to pay for all these fancy features and offer a basic core experience to everyone.

More and more high end phones are offering incredibly premium video options, including 4k and high FPS (slow motion) video options. These formats are very data heavy and will require more processing power to crunch.

One option is to enable 720 and 1080 uploading to everyone, but restrict 4k and high fps footage to those in premium user groups, to help subsidise the cost of the transcoding. Or some variation of that.


Another option is to offer pre and post roll video ads.

At its simplest form, we could have admin options to upload a short (5-30 second) video from a site sponsor (or our own ad) to play before, after, or both on any videos, tracking view counts in site stats.

This way we could enable a 'View Videos' permission for guests and sell some pre-roll ad spots to site sponsors, or just run our own ad to encourage users to sign up after watching.

We could even add a custom CTA link or button below the video from the sponsor or ourselves, definable from within the ACP.

The current guest attachment situation for videos is not great, you get presented with a simple text link, and cannot view it unless you register.

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There's no pretty thumbnail, no big play button. And even if you're already a member and you log in, it doesn't always automatically play once logged in (at least on a mobile test I did a while back)

I imagine many guests will not bother to watch certain videos if linked to a website they've never heard of if they have to register to do so. However enabling the viewing of videos for guests, but with a pre or post roll ad we can get revenue from site sponsors to run their ads, making your forums thread links and videos much more desirable links to share, helping drive traffic to your site. (Thus allowing us to buy more and more XF licences ;) )

If guests discover high quality content within that video, it may prove a highly effective driver to get them to become fully registered members in order to engage with the video thread and content creator, perhaps even converting to paying supporting members down the line.

I'm sure there are probably other ways of monetising this kind of content to help make it an affordable and competitive feature.
 
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tonmo

Well-known member
I'm not sure I want to charge users specifically to enjoy high end video formats (keeping with the theme, FB doesn't impose such restrictions), but I do think the seed post here expresses important core functionality.

This results in confused members who see the video player controls, but can only hear audio when they hit play.
At a minimum, or as a precursor, it would be great if XF could detect the anomaly upon upload and give the user meaningful feedback that the format isn't supported, please check your video settings, etc., to avoid the confusion.
 

tonmo

Well-known member
Thanks @Infopro, please "like" the seed post as well to register your vote for this feature! (XF works on features based on popularity as indicated by # of Likes for the seed posts in this forum).
 

Infopro

Active member
I don't specifically agree with it, sorry. I do agree with your comment about providing some meaningful feedback to the user attempting to upload an unsupported file format would be useful.

The op cracks me up, tbh. Such a long well-written post to help the "confused members" make a turn into a money-making opportunity that neither FB or reddit do. Which, I think, adds yet another layer of unneeded complexity to those "confused users" that he mentions wanting to assist.
 

RobinHood

Well-known member
They don’t haves to have pre rolls because they’re making money hand over fist on other types of ad impressions site wide from massive traffic and other avenues.

Smaller forums that want to host and transcode video need to make money somehow too, and I’m just throwing ideas out there.

I’m not sure how an ad can confuse users in this context? The confusion is I want to address is making sure the user doen’t have to worry about video upload formats. The ad situation is between the site owner and any publisher that may want to buy inventory. The user just watches it before getting to the content to help the site owner pay for the extra costs associated with video.

YouTube have ad pre rolls, and they’ve even stated forcing double ads in front of their videos. Anyone can make and edit a video on a smartphone these days or get someone on fiver to do it. It wouldn’t be hard for advertisers in small or large niches to create video ads if a forum has a lot of video content.
 

doublespaces

Well-known member
I don't even allow videos on my forum. I'm sure many forums have a reason for it but I doubt those reason will be good in the long term. There are companies who specialize in internet streaming and are incredibly reliable. Video footage makes backups incredibly bulky and on top of that, bandwidth isn't free(eventually). Transcoding large amounts of video data is also incredibly inefficient when you think about scaling this up. This is a niche, custom development request and hardly something that should be brought into the core.
 

RobinHood

Well-known member
It's already in the core via media gallery, just not video uploaded to posts.

XF have already addressed the backup issue with the ability to offload storage to 3rd party file storage companies.

They've done most of the work already, it's just not quite there yet and user generated video content will continue to explode over the coming years. Not having a smooth experience beginning to end will just drive them straight back to facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, what'sApp, messenger, wechat, tik tok, reddit, snapchat and any other social media and communication platforms that do handle it right. Having to ask users to change settings on their devices prior to creating and uploading their videos isn't an option.
 
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AzzidReign

Well-known member
I'm with you on this. My website is business so making money by offering premium services giving those premium members added benefit is only a plus to sites that offer such. Add to that pre-roll and post-roll ads for non-premium users would also be helpful! I'm not even sure if that's possible with the current media gallery and if it isn't, we need to be able to apply ad codes to do such. I haven't looked into it but we are doing our migrations to xf2.1 from 1.5 in the next month or 2 and media integration is a big part of this upgrade so it is something on my todo list and what you are suggesting would help add another piece to the site :)
 
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