This article profiles Audiovideoweb.com, a company dedicated to providing practical solutions for businesses in creating web-based multimedia content.
It's certainly no secret lately that audio and video are being used on the internet in increasing amounts -- and in a variety of ways. We've all heard the hype over the MP3 format and it's use for music, but the potential of various formats of audio and video on the net have created many new opportunities outside the music industry and that's what this article is about.
This technology can be used for many types of multimedia presentations that previously may not have been considered by corporate and professional clients. From videos showcasing a new product, to doctors explaining a procedure, to archives of interviews, conferences, meetings, etc. The possibilities are almost endless. Once some of these potential uses are embraced, the question arises: How can my company utilise this technology and where can we get the answers and the assistance we need to implement these new ideas?
For the answers to these questions we went to the experts at Audiovideoweb.com, who have created a website for the business and corporate client specifically focused on the creation of audio and video content for the web. The site details the various options in formats for different uses and includes a very handy cost calculator for determining the price of the services desired.
As with any technology field, there is a great deal of complexity to the options available in creating web-based audio and video content. Anyone wanting to make best use of it should seek the advice of an expert for guidance.
We spoke to company president Rick Kolow, who answered a few basic questions about how this technology works, what it takes to use it and some of the differences between formats currently in use.
Q. Putting a band's music online has gotten all the publicity. Who else is using audio and video on the Web?
A. Most of my customers are corporate based. The doctor that has a new procedure, the security company that has a new product to offer, the software company that video'd their employee demoing a new product to Bill Gates.
Q. What are ALL the steps involved in getting a CD converted to music on a Web site; training video converted to a streaming file on an intranet site, etc.? Do customers have to know anything about the technology to get their material posted?
A. No, they do not need to know the technology! They simply send us the material and we encode it, upload it to our servers and send them a link via email. All they need to do is paste the link onto their web site and when someone clicks on it, it plays.
Q. Can companies have Audio and Video appear as if it is on their sites -- without dealing with the technical aspects?
A. Absolutely. The link will appear on their site just like any other local feature, while the material plays from our servers in a manner that is completely transparent to the user.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. The more material to be encoded at once the less it costs per minute. For example: A 20-minute video encoded in RealVideo would cost $24.75 to encode it and $15.80 per month to host it on our servers. For customers who want to encode it themselves they would ony have to pay for the server space with no encoding charge. (There is a $9.95 minimum.)
Q. What is "Bandwidth Negotiation"? Why is it important?
A. Bandwidth Negotiation technology is the process by which we create multiple versions of the same material. In most cases we create three versions of each audio/video piece. Each version is set up to best suit either a 28.8k modem, a 56k modem or a cable/T1/DSL connection. When someone wants to view and/or listen they will see and hear the version that is best suited to their system. Therefore, if you have a 28.8 modem you will get the version that best suits a 28.8 modem (which minimizes your wait time). If you have the fastest connection available you will see and hear the best quality audio and video available -- with NO download time!
Q. What are the advantages/disadvantages of MP3 vs. RealAudio vs. Quicktime, etc.?
A. The advantage that RealAudio has over the others is the Bandwidth Negotiation technology. It's also important that the Real player now comes within all the current browsers, whereas with MP3 or Quicktime the customer would need to download a player.
Q. How about live and/or archived "Netcasting?"
A. Live online broadcasts, or "Netcasts," have become more and more popular for radio shows, trade shows, conferences, Intranet training sessions -- the uses are endless. The price varies according to the length and frequency of the material, speed(s) at which it is broadcast, and the number of listeners/viewers who can receive the material simultaneously. (Any one who tried to tune into the Victoria's Secret commercial or the Paul McCartney concert knows the limits!)
Any live Netcast program can be archived as well. The advantage to archiving a Netcast is that the user can listen to it and/or view it at their convenience, rather than only at a specific time.
For answers to your company's specific needs or perhaps a little inspiration as to the possibilities of multimedia content for your business, stop by the Audiovideoweb.com Web site or email them at:
Digital recording column author Stewart Meredith has worked on the road and in the studio with the likes of Leon Russell and played on sessions in Nashville, Houston and Los Angeles. He was a content developer and beta tester for inovative software company Hotz Interactive in Los Angeles and has worked as assistant engineer in studios as well as session singer and keyboard player/programmer. He is available on a limited basis for freelance consulting in the London area.