Highlights from POLYV Video Geek Seminar Guangzhou

Held by POLYV, Video Geek Seminar is a monthly seminar that mainly focus on the industry of video and other industries that are related to video, or the crossovers of both sides.

The previous 5 Video Geek Seminars were held in Beijing. This time, we had the seminar moved to Betaspace, Guangzhou, to meet new audience and learn more about the needs from potential clients.

The audience of Video Geek Seminar

The theme of this seminar is “Technical innovation for online education”. Shibiao Lv from China Net Center, Johnson Zhou from POLYV, and Xiang Lan from Xingshuai Education gave their lecture about the change and transition of traditional education, as well as innovation of online education, with their different perspectives and thoughts.

Shibiao Lv: How video technology drives online education

A veteran on media streaming and video architecture, Mr. Lv talked about the evolution of video technology, the combination of video and online education and how video support the industry. Also, he shared his thoughts and opinions about the technological innovation on this industry.

Mr. Shibiao Lv lecturing on video technology

Mr. Shibiao Lv lecturing on video technology

In his opinion, “The technology of video has changed significantly over the last two decades, the application of video or how we use it doesn’t change much. It just follows the trend, like VOD, live streaming, VR and AR.”

Johnson Zhou: Video application for online education

Started his career as technical support in Baidu, Senior Director Zhou demonstrated examples of POLYV’s clients, and showed practical acts of how to gain potential students and engagement between students and lecturers with the help of POLYV’s service and components.

Mr. Johnson Zhou in his speech about marketing with videos

Mr. Johnson Zhou in his speech about marketing with videos

He stated, “Compared to logistics, the industry of education is more suitable to go online, as knowledge should be spread beyond the boundaries of time and space.”

Xiang Lan: Video application for online education

With over 7 years of product and operation, Mr. Lan showed the audience the key points of running a service to the best, including the content, the service platform and operation procedures.

Mr. Xiang Lan talking about the innovation of video technologies

Mr. Xiang Lan talking about the innovation of video technologies

“Every little step of innovation and improvement counts,” He says, “The key for Xingshuai’s success is to produce excellent content, high efficiency and take the service to the next level.”

Round Table session & Conclusion

In the Round Table session, Lv, Zhou and Lan discussed about phenomena and current trend of video technology and the issues encountered in the online education industry.

Round Table session

Round Table session

They also answered questions from the audience, from their actual experience of gaining students, their different perspectives on online education to the extent of the lectures they had made.

With the ideas and opinions shared by the lecturers and the audience, everyone had new conceptions on the video technologies, the industry of online educations and how to operate a product/service with higher efficiency and effectiveness.

And last but not least, we would like you to participate in our next Video Geek Seminar, in the afternoon of July 8th (Saturday) in Beijing. You can click here for detail if you’re interested.

[POLYV Insight] A brief introduction to interactive videos

We all know that videos are more attractive than texts or images, and can be more engaged to the audience. Yet it is somehow lack of interactions with the audience since most of the time they can only watch and comprehend the content that videos provide, not feedback or even change the plot.

But what if we can actually do something to the video we are watching? That’s what we are talking about today – interactive videos.

One of the first interactive videos dates back to 2010. It is called Last Call, a horror film made by 13th Street that allowed the audience talk and send commands to the protagonist by their cellphones. It is a good attempt to build connections between the plot of the video and the audience.

“Last Call” is considered one of the earliest attempt for interactive videos.

“Last Call” is considered one of the earliest attempt for interactive videos.

To say it strictly, the audience were not really interacted with the film, but in fact a part of the live action. Still, it was a good attempt to connect the audience and the videos.

Later, with the evolution of mobile video and interactive scripts, it is more likely to make online interactive videos that are available for the audience to click and make their choice for the plot, no matter if you are watching it on PC, mobile browsers or video apps.

A viral example is a web series called Virtual Morality. Consisting of three episodes, Virtual Morality discusses about the influence of social network nowadays and how people use it when bad things (in this case, group murder) hit.

With new interaction ways for mobile and web, “Virtual Morality” gets viral once it is released.

With new interaction ways for mobile and web, “Virtual Morality” gets viral once it is released.

There are a few “checkpoints” which allow you to click on and make your choices that changes the plot of the episode. The protagonist can be killed, reveal the truth or stop the crime, all depends on your decisions in your clicks.

Another example is A Date with Markiplier, an interactive video story made by famous YouTuber and game commentator Mark Fischbach (a.k.a. Markiplier) based on YouTube’s annotation system. At the end of the entry video, you will face two different options, and once clicking on the annotation above the option, you will be redirected to the next video (set as “restricted”, for the sake of “Spoiler alert”) that continues the plot based on your choice.

“A Date with Markiplier” has made good use of YouTube's closed captions and annotations within the system.

“A Date with Markiplier” has made good use of YouTube’s closed captions and annotations within the system.

As Mark reveals, it takes more than two weeks filming and finishing the project, and gains widely positive responses from the audience. He says, not only the plot and the content is good, the way to present it is very engaging, and gives a chance to the audience to interact with the content.

If Mark’s project is just an experiment, then Late Shift – a thriller movie/game that literally brings interactions to the audience.

Developed by CtrlMovie, Late Shift tells a story of a man gets involved with a crime syndicate when he starts his late shift in the parking lot. Throughout the whole movie, you need to make at least 10 decisions, which will lead to different plots and endings.

Game commentator Jacksepticeye (top left corner) playing “Late Shift”.

Game commentator Jacksepticeye (top left corner) playing “Late Shift”.

It is reviewed by lots of players in Steam, as well as professional gamers like Jacksepticeye and PewDiePie, who give positive ratings on the concept and how it is presented.

Besides the setting of the plot, the cinematography is pretty good as well – the transition for making different choices (or even not doing anything) is very smooth, and there’s no abrupt changes when your decision is made; also the grading is well done, in which you can see by the cool tone of the whole movie.

As we have the technique of filming, and different ways for interactions between the screen and the audience, we can see there will be more well-made interactive videos in the near future, and make great changes in the way we entertain and learn.

Concise tutorial: Batch video migration to Video Cloud

We have lots of users who choose Video Cloud as their first video service. Besides, we have some users who previously using free or other paid video hosting service, and need to migrate the old videos to Video Cloud. Some of them may have up to thousands of videos and take up to hundreds of gigabytes.

It sounds like a mission impossible to migrate these videos one by one, if using the old methods. But don’t worry! POLYV provides a much simpler way to migrate your videos to Video Cloud, with just a few steps.

1. Generate a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file for migration. The CSV file contains multiple lines of your file, and each line consists of two elements – the origin URL and the title of the video, separated by comma.

You can either use text editing applications (like Notepad, Editplus, UltraEdit, Atom, etc.) or spreadsheets processing applications (like Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, Google Sheets, etc.) to do the job.

Using Notepad for editing the CSV file

Using Notepad for editing the CSV file

Using Excel to generate the CSV file

Using Excel to generate the CSV file

Note that the CSV file should be saved using UTF-8 encoding, especially when it contains CJK characters. If not, the file will not be recognized and processed.

The CSV file should be using UTF-8 encoding

The CSV file should be using UTF-8 encoding

2. Sign in your POLYV account, then select “Videos” to enter the admin page of Video Cloud.

3. Click “Video sync” on the left panel, then click the blue “Import task” button.

Click the “Import task” button to select the designated CSV file

4. In the popup window, choose the destination category in the dropdown list, then click the blue “Upload CSV file” button to submit the CSV file prepared in Step 1. After that, click the “Save” button.

Select the destination category first before importing the CSV file

5. Now Video Cloud will automatically process the file. All you need is to do the waiting game…

And when it is finished, click the “Export to CSV” button to save the result.

The result of the batch migration, showing numbers of successful and failed number of videos and time used

If you open the CSV file, you can see each line contains the URL, the title and the VID (Video ID) of the video, with the datetime of completing the process following.

The detailed information of the batch migration

So that’s a wrap for how to batch migrating your video to Video Cloud. Now with this feature, you don’t need to worry about migrating your existed videos to our system, because we will take good care of them and keep them unharmed.

If you to know more about the features of Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud, check out our blog or visit our official website http://www.polyv.net/ for more information. Happy video hosting!

Service Announcement for Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu) Holiday 2017

Greetings! As Dragon Boat Festival (also known as Duanwu) holiday is coming, some of our customer services will be altered during the holiday. Here are the detailed information for our service during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

1. Our office will be available on May 27th (Saturday) as usual time, then closed from May 28th (Sunday) through May 30th (Tuesday), and will be back into service on May 31st (Wednesday).

2. Invoice and document delivery will not be available during the holiday.

3. Online support and customer service will still be available during the holiday. If you have any issues on our service and need help, you can send e-mail (service@polyv.net), contact via our hotline (+86 400-158-8816) or Business QQ (800009268) for one-on-one aid, or look through our FAQs in our Developer Center in case the answer is there.

We apologize for the delays during the holiday. Thank you for your patience and enjoy your holiday.

Cordially from your POLYV Support & Customer Service Team.

[POLYV Insight] Some thoughts on Qianliao Scandal

Earlier this week, our office was shocked by the following news –

Lycheer (literally Lychee WeChat Course, www.lizhiweike.com) accused Qianliao (www.qlchat.com) of hacking and attacking their WeChat live streaming classroom service several times between October 2016 and May 2017.

Reports say Qianliao trashed Lycheer with porn media or rebellious videos on forbidden political issues, as well as hiring trolls and “zombie users” to flag the service, causing students affected by the inappropriate content or service interruption, and WeChat to block the domain of lizhiweike.com for 7 days due to the misguiding by the false flags.

Lycheer have provided the data and evidence during the period of hack and attack to Guangzhou Police for investigation. GZP charges Qianliao for breaching production and business operation, and one individual is in detention.

Source: Jiemodui, Weibo

Lycheer accused Qianliao of hacking and attacking their WeChat live streaming classroom service

Qianliao is one of our competitors in the domestic market, and is one of the biggest live streaming services with millions of users here as it proclaims itself “a free platform for open classes and interviews”.

What really shocks us is that Qianliao would beat competitors in such ways that against laws. They only think about poaching tutors from the competitors, but never think about the consequences that brought to the lecturers and students.

These acts actually do significant harm to the tutors who provide useful courses that help us think and practice, as well as the innocent students who just want to learn practical skills through Lychee WeChat Course. As reputation is important in the online education industry, what Qianliao did does not promote any benefits to the tutors and students – which are also their potential users, but in fact damaging their own reputation and setting up a bad example for them instead.

What’s more, if these “hack and attack” acts continue, every other fellow platforms will ultimately get involved, and takes a lot of time to recover from the financial loss and the damage of reputation – and more importantly, the time of tutors and students, which are invaluable.

We never promote being evil in the competition, as it only brings lose-lose situations for both sides. We believe that by providing good services, keeping listening to the users and using proper ways of marketing and promotion, can we gain true growth for ourselves as well as the industry.

After all, the Qianliao Scandal brings us an alarm of unfair competition, and reminds us how important the users and product are to us. We hope there will be a just judgment for this case, and the affected users of Lycheer are going back on their track of learning and inspirations.

[Questions from You] The suitable live streaming service for online education scenario

We have received many requests from our audience over the last two months, asking about our Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud service.

First, we really appreciate for your replies and support for our articles and updates, because your feedbacks always matters and help us improve our products and services.

What’s more important, your feedbacks also raise new needs and demands for us to research. If we find them useful through the research and necessary to add to our service, we will do it in no time.

Here we start the new series “Questions from You”, which we pick some typical or valuable questions and requests from you guys, and we will discuss the issue throughout the articles. We hope you enjoy this series, and keep sending us feedbacks.


Question:

I want to set up an online education platform for live streaming my course. There will be about 50 to 60 students attending, Q&A should be available and the latency should be within 1 second.

Live streaming is getting popular in online education industry

We received quite a lot of requests from the audience as well as the potential users of choosing the right service to set up their e-classroom and give courses through livestream. The question listed above is one of the most typical request we have seen.

We can extract three main demand from this question –

  1. For online education use (Purpose)
  2. 50 to 60 students online at the same time (Scale)
  3. Latency within 1 second (Low latency)

Let’s take a look for the first demand – purpose.

There are a lot of video cloud services available, yet not all of them are dedicated for online education. For big corporations like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, even they provide “education solutions”, the video service is not a major part of their cloud computing, which means the functionalities can be limited and the technical support team may not respond in time.

We recommend you consulting online video services which dedicate in education and business fields, such as Qiniu, POLYV, Kaltura and Panopto. They have accumulated online education clients and keep improving their products and services from their feedbacks, and you can directly use their service for building your e-classroom or live streaming courses just like real-life classrooms.

It's not a heavy load for video service to hold a classroom of 60.

For the scale of students, a capacity of 60 students is not a heavy load for the cloud videos services above at all, thanks to the development of CDN. And if the audience capacity keeps growing, most of the services can still work perfectly, or you can add some more CDN nodes for some sudden high-concurrent scenarios just in case, or balancing the distribution load and make the latency within reasonable range.

The problem for this demand may be the cost of extra CDN nodes. It varies among different video services, so we recommend you asking the customer service team for detailed pricings and plans.

And now the last one – latency.

Almost every video services use HLS or RTMP protocol for pushing or pulling live video streams. The latency of HLS is quite long, which varies from 10 to 35 seconds and is unusable for e-classroom. The latency of RTMP is about 3 to 5 seconds, which is acceptable for most of the live streaming scenarios.

For your latency demand in the question, it is a little too harsh for live streaming services because currently RTMP is not able to reduce latency within 1 second (yes, not even YouTube is able to achieve that so far). If you insist with that, the livestreams have to be transferred through UDP protocol, which is very common in intercom applications where a lot of people can communicate through their microphone at the same time. And of course, these applications are really expensive, and may not be suitable for actual use.

A latency of about 3 to 5 seconds is very common and acceptable for live streaming courses.

So we have a compromising solution – the course lecturing session can be delivered through ordinary RTMP live streaming, and when student asks or answers questions, you can activate the microphone for the designated student and start conversation with microphone (through UDP protocol) like in an intercom system, while other students remain in RTMP streaming. This is what we known as “Microphone streaming”.

For these features, POLYV, Tencent QCloud, Panopto and a few other live streaming services have integrated Microphone streaming. It is proved useful for e-classroom scenarios, cost less compared to intercom applications, and the actual latency is within fair and acceptable range.

We hope the answer above can satisfy your demands. And if you want to try our service for your live streaming classroom, check out our Streaming Cloud website http://www.polyv.net/live to register your account, and then visit our Download Center http://www.polyv.net/download for our live streaming clients.

And if you want to learn more about our Video Cloud or Streaming Cloud service, check out our blog for our previous articles or visit our official website http://www.polyv.net for more information.

Last but not least, we are looking forward to your next questions, so stay tuned everyone! 🙂

Concise Tutorial: Tips & Tricks for Batch Management

Imagine you have used Video Cloud for quite a long time, there are a lot of videos in your account and counting. At this point you need to find a way to manage your videos more efficiently, to categorize them, to put them in different playlist or to export the information of selected videos.

Here we will show you some useful tips and tricks for managing massive amount of videos in your account with just a few clicks or simple moves.

I. Batch Categorizing

The uploaded videos are in “Default category”, and it would get messy if you keep uploading without categorizing them. To solve this, you can create different category folders for different types of video, and then put your videos in the right place.

And here’s how –

1. Sign in your POLYV account, then select “Videos” to enter the admin page of Video Cloud.

2. Select the videos you need to move to new category, then click “Move to folder” button on top of the list.

Select the videos you want for a new category, then click "Move to folder" button.

Note that if you don’t have any category folder, please click “Manage folder” on the left panel and create a new one.

3. In the popup window, select the category you want.

Select the category you want in the popup window.

Now you can see the selected videos are in the designated category. You can create more different category folder to categorize your uploaded videos.

The selected videos are now in the designated category.

With the batch categorizing tricks, you can sort your videos faster, and use it for later uploads as well. Now you get it, right?

II. Playlist

Categories are useful, with only one issue – each uploaded video can only have one category. What should we do if the videos meet two or even more different categories or criteria?

Don’t panic! You can use playlist for showing different types of content to your audience, and one video can be in more than one playlists.

Now let’s get started with the playlist setup –

1. Sign in your POLYV account, then select “Videos” to enter the admin page of Video Cloud.

2. Select the videos you need to add to playlist, then click “Playlist” button on top of the list.

Select the videos to be added to the playlist.

3. In the popup window, you can add the videos to existed playlist, or click “Add new playlist” to create a new one.

Select the playlist you want, or create a new one for your videos.

4. Now click “Playlist” on the left panel, click name of the playlist to see if all the videos needed are in. You can edit the information of these videos, or remove them if you don’t want them in the playlist.

Click the name of the playlist for editing it.

You can edit the information of the video, or delete the video you don't want.

Additionally, after you finish setting up the playlist, you can preview the playlist, edit the playlist or copy the code for embedding it to your website, by clicking the buttons on the right.

You can generate a Flash playlist or embedding code from the icons on the right.

III. Export Video Information

If you want to sort your videos more thoroughly, you can export the information of designated videos, and sort them through Microsoft Excel or equivalent spreadsheet software.

And here’s how to export the video information –

1. Sign in your POLYV account, then select “Videos” to enter the admin page of Video Cloud.

2. Select the videos you need to add to playlist, then click “Export” button on top of the list and select “Export the selected videos”.

Select the videos you need, then click "Export" button.

3. Select the export location and rename the file (if you need), then click “Save”.

Export the information to a single CSV file to your destination folder.

4. Now you can open the exported CSV file in Excel or other equivalent spreadsheet software. The fields (from left to right) are –

VID, Title, Flash player URL, Video length, Thumbnail URL, Source file size, Smooth rate file size, High-definition rate file size, Ultra-definition rate file size, Status, Uploader, Category, Last update time, Tag, Description, MD5.

You can use Excel or other software to open the CSV file and for further actions.

You can sort your videos with one or more of these fields, and then take actions for further categorizing.

So this is three of the tips and tricks for the video batch management in Video Cloud. We hope you can take benefit of them and make your video management more efficient.

If you have any questions or want to share your way to manage the videos, just feel free to leave the comment down below. And don’t forget to check out or blog or our official website http://www.polyv.net for more information and useful tips!

See you in the next article, and happy video hosting!