Video Membership Site

Does anybody know the best solution for streaming videos on membership sites?
I'm asking because I'm planning my to have a video membership site with online lessons. I need to find out some information about average sizes of good quailty videos, and ways to stream them. Is it good to use web hosting like hostgator, what about amazon s3 and it's pricing? This is crusial to see if it's worth to even start building such a service..If anybody has some experince with video membership sites or has one, I'll be grateful for any kind of feedback here.

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings szymonfortuna,

    There are many programs available for producing and rendering video of the type that you mentioned including Camtasia which is one of the well known products.

    Personally I use Instant Video Suite and Quick Time Pro for editing.

    In any event these may all be used to setup streaming though Quick Time Pro tends to squeeze my videos down to 10% of the original without loss of quality - suitable for many reasons to include Amazon S3 or You Tube to include less for the end user to download giving the illusion of faster downloading.

    No matter which hosting you choose for your videos, the smaller they are the better.

    Anyone else have some helpful advice for szymonfortuna regarding Video Membership sites?

    Cheers, Joe

  • teckyhead
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I've written many custom membership sites over the past few years (including memberships that have video). I'd definitely go with S3 for the storage. From their pricing page:

    New AWS customers receive 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, 2,000 Put Requests, 15GB of data transfer in, and 15GB of data transfer out each month for one year.

    That's quite a lot of storage (5GB) and I'm fairly sure there would only be a few 'GET' request each time someone viewed a video - so you have plenty there. I had a look at the size of a couple of Camtasia videos I've done myself - both were tutorials using screen capture and audio. A 5min30sec video was 6.7MB and a 14min30sec video was 42MB.

    My experience has been that it's best to create videos that are no more than 15 minutes long. Any longer than that and the people who don't take notes (i.e. most people) will start to get bored, fidgety or overwhelmed :slight_smile:.

    With Amazon, 1TB (i.e. 1000 GB) of transfer during a month costs around $120 (it's charged at 12c per MB). If we do the math on that:

    1TB = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes
    42MB = 44,040,192 bytes

    So ... 1TB/42MB = 24,966

    That's a very (very) rough estimate of how many 15 minute videos could be viewed per month with a download bandwidth of around 1TB. You only pay for the download bandwidth that you use, so you might find (especially early on) that the download is only a few GB in which case it would only be costing you a few bucks.

    Regarding the hosting... HostGator is an excellent service and would be fine for a video membership as long as your content was on S3. If you hit the big time and needed to upsize the server you could always move to a dedicated server later on. HostGator is CPanel based which makes it very easy to move the account to a dedicated server running WHM/CPanel.

    Hope that helps.

  • szymonfortuna
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Thank both of you for your very helpful feedback !!!
    For my video site I will need good quality videos. It's gonna be a music lesson were it's important to see details nicely.
    I do plan to have videos 8min long. What quality you were using for your videos teckyhead? My videos are gonna be recorded with hd camera what output could i have if converted with quick time or some other program to get flv file or whichever is best.
    And lets say i plan to have around 40 videos for premium members. Lets say a person has got mothly membership. How would you more less asses (per user) what that would cost me with amazon. I think there's no way a person can watch instructional video for more then our a day...what do you think, although i know that it's very hard to predict what can happen in reality....

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings szymonfortuna,

    For great quality video and compression to lower the cost of bandwidth I personally stick be Quick Time Pro. I have tried several others including Camtasia but I always edit them in the end and saving them with Quick Times Pro because of the quality and the size.

    Anyone else out there with input for szymonfortuna relative to this thread?

    Cheers, Joe

  • teckyhead
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    There's an article here which gives an outline of the most popular formats and why you would use them:

    I generally use MP4 as it's a bit smaller in size than Quicktime but still retains good quality. I'd suggest you do a test video and save it in both formats. View the videos and make your decision based on the quality.


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