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What If…

Video is taking over the world, the amount of video that is uploaded, streamed and viewed is growing every day. More and more companies are using video to communicate their messages and individuals are using video to talk to the world.
At the moment, if you want to stream video live you can easily do it from a mobile phone or by attaching a box to a camera. Your audience can be anywhere in the world and they can watch the stream (almost) live as it goes out. I say “almost” as the latency can be anything up to 2 minutes depending on the stream format.
But if you need to edit your video content, that time to the viewer jumps dramatically. You need to take the video files that have been shot, load them into an editing system, possibly transcode them to a system friendly format, work on the edit and then render to a delivery format and upload it to YouTube, Vimeo or whichever platform you are using to host your video, which needs to re-render the entire video for distribution. This can add hours or even days to the process.
You may also need to go through a “Review and Approval” cycle. The content that was shot at the annual conference may need to be viewed by the Board of directors before the edited highlights can be distributed to the employees or to the public. This might involve rendering a version for them to view, gathering their feedback, making changes to the edit and then rendering the new version. Rinse and repeat. I have seen Review and Approve cycles that have taken weeks before an agreed version is completed!

But why do you need to render before you can send an edit to be viewed?

The player in your editing system can play the edit without rendering, why can’t you just send that? It’s because the player in the editing system is playing the content that makes up your edit from sources that are available locally, your remote viewers don’t have the content on their system, therefore you need to render a version and transfer it to them.
But what if all the content that you are using in the edit was available in the cloud? You could send the edit to the viewer without rendering anything.
You could work with content that is stored in the cloud as lightweight proxies, even growing files arriving from live events. You could create multiple versions of edits for different audiences and when you need someone to view an edit you wouldn’t need to render. You could just send a link to them and they could play back the edit using the content from the cloud in exactly the same way. So, whether your edit was two minutes long or two hours long, you could send it to someone as a link in an email.
The player could play clips or edits, with multiple video and audio tracks, even overlays and subtitles, all without waiting for rendering. Imagine how much time that could save you on your next project!
Even better, by embedding the player in your website or corporate network you could distribute the video to your viewers instantly, and updates could be pushed automatically. Of course, you could also distribute your videos to traditional outlets such as YouTube and Facebook, but they would still need to be rendered.
For private video distribution, security is an important issue, so edits could be password protected and the option of two factor authentication would be good. There could even be a player that runs on the iPad and uses fingerprint recognition or facial recognition to unlock secure content.
Does all this sound a little far fetched? Take a look at the edit below, (hint: it hasn’t been rendered).*desktops only

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