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  #1  
08-29-2011, 09:18 AM
Dorian Rain Dorian Rain is offline
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Hello - this is my first post

I'd like to set up a website to sell short films my friends from Uni made a while back. Most are crap, but a couple are actually pretty good. They've agreed to let me sell their videos and will give me DVD copies of their films, but I'm not sure if I need to convert these to any special format to ensure customers can enjoy them after downloading from our website.

Do I even need to convert the DVD or should I just upload it? Are there preferred formats? Considerations for video and audio quality?

Thanks,

Dorian
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  #2  
08-30-2011, 01:24 AM
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Hi Dorian, welcome to the site.

If you want to sell downloads, then it's really hard to beat the quality from the original DVD, which can be ripped as an ISO file, and stored online. People can then download that ISO file. Your only concern here is having a good host, with adequate storage and bandwidth to meet your traffic needs. That's actually true of any website, and any sort of video content (streamed or downloaded). And then you have to be very careful that you don't break the "terms of service" of the host, meaning they don't allow "downloadable" content (i.e., file storage). The big stupid unlimited hosts like Godaddy, 1&1, and anything owned by EIG are infamous for that.

I would provide an ISO, if it's truly "for sale".

For example, thanks to the donation of one of our forum members, this very minute I'm actually uploading a 2GB DVD ISO to the server. It's the demo disc for the Elite Video BVP-4, and this site wishes to share it with any who want it (seeing how it's rare, as an include with a long-ago discontinued product). This site is on a dedicated server, so space/bandwidth isn't a large concern.

See this for a list of good hosts: List of Best Web Hosts - Shared, reseller, VPS, cloud, dedicated

Now, if you wanted to provide a video somebody could watch in their web browser, like you do a Youtube, then you'll be forced to convert it to a streaming format. At the current time, H.264 is most suggested. But there's a catch. It's easy to make bad quality video (as evidenced by Youtube), and difficult to create high quality videos. You'll need to worry about proper 1:1 aspects, pre-filtering, and using high quality H.264 encoders (all of which are payware; the freeware is rather blah in quality). If you'll be selling these, then it's in your best interest to get it professionally converted for viewing. Not to spam my own post, but note that H.264/streaming conversion is a service offered by The Digital FAQ, and done professionally for several studios -- Contact Us if you'd like to know more.

Of course, you could also use the crappy quality "free web versions" as incentive to buy the high quality DVDs. Assuming you think it's just that good, and that others would want to buy the disc to see it again.

Yet another option is a subscription service -- pay one price to view and download videos. Watch in browser at a "standard" quality, and then download a high quality "computer version" or even the original DVD ISO file. Of course, that will require a subscription-based website setup.

This is more of a website planning topic, so I've moved it out of the video forums.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

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  #3  
08-30-2011, 02:42 AM
Dorian Rain Dorian Rain is offline
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Thanks for the information - this is really good stuff!

If we upload the DVD's as ISO files, we're concerned that most people simply won't have the bandwidth to download such large files.

We thought of converting or compressing them into smaller files, but are unsure of the quality we would get. We don't want to stream the content (yet) - we're only going to have customers download them for viewing later. And in terms of viewing, we imagined most would enjoy the films via computers, mobile devices, and networked TV's. Standard def would work, but HD options are always welcome.

We're open to buying software to do this ourselves, but will also look at options where we can have this done for us (by The Digital FAQ, for example). Would you be able to offer quotes?

Thanks,

Dorian
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08-30-2011, 03:58 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Quote:
If we upload the DVD's as ISO files, we're concerned that most people simply won't have the bandwidth to download such large files.
For some audiences/demographics, that is a valid concern. You have to ask yourself who your audience is, and what sort of broadband or dial-up type connection they're liable to be using. This also assumes butt-in-chair at a computer somewhere, and not mobile or semi-mobile (i.e., iPad) type devices. Provide the kind of service/product expected by the audience.

Quote:
Standard def would work, but HD options are always welcome.
It's possible to provide multiple levels of quality, for the buyer to choose the one best suited to his/her connection. For example, a "mobile quality" SD video. Then a "computer quality" SD or HD video. Maybe even a "HDTV quality" high definition video encode. There's no rule that you can only have one version -- unless you're prohibited by budget, of course (bandwidth, online storage, cost for conversion service).

Quote:
We're open to buying software to do this ourselves
Starting costs for this kind of software is $2,000 USD minimum per seat, and there's still a learning curve. Not to dissuade you in any way, but for many people in smaller organizations, that tends to carry a sticker shock, as well as cause a long delay in getting the product out there. There's a chance time/budget is better spent with a service that has both of those items already (the software, and the experience).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Rain View Post
(by The Digital FAQ, for example). Would you be able to offer quotes?
By email, yes, definitely. Contact us with the contact form.

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  #5  
08-30-2011, 04:49 AM
Dorian Rain Dorian Rain is offline
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Kpmedia,

You're right - the $2K+ price for the software alone is a bit of a shock.

We had envisioned offering only SD video playback quality, but your point is well taken - if people are willing to pay for it, they should have an option for HD. Now it's a matter of how much it will cost to convert the initial titles to get the service going.

I'll be sure to complete the contact form for more details.

Thanks again,

Dorian
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  #6  
09-01-2011, 07:40 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Rain View Post
I'll be sure to complete the contact form for more details.
Sounds great. I look forward to it.
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