Getting Started: A Typical Workflow

 

A typical workflow for publishing your content via the MediaStorm Platform can be broken down into four steps: 1) media ingestion, 2) content preparation, 3) content packaging, and 4) publishing your player.

The purpose of this document is to break these four steps down to help get you from a video file on your desktop to a full-fledged, published video player.

Like a Russian nesting doll, the MediaStorm Platform embraces the philosophy of building up your end product -- an embeddable Player -- through a series of layered compositional steps, each of which builds on top of the previous while also shaping the current layer to fit the next.

While this approach offers a lot in terms of flexibility and re-usability, for the sake of simplicity lets assume that you're starting with a single high-resolution, minimally-compressed video file exported from your choice of video editing software, and your goal is to get this video into a single Player.

1. Media Ingestion

All content presented in the MediaStorm Platform player begins as a piece of Media, which is the smallest unit of re-usable content.

A piece of Media is composed of one or more video files, typically containing at least one file encoded for web compatibility, as well as a much larger file that is minimally-compressed and higher-resolution. We call these larger files Master files, and they are used as the source when creating the smaller web-compatible encoded versions used for playback in the player, which are called Encodes.

In addition to encoding from the Master, there are two other ways you can add Encodes to your Media: encode a file locally and upload it, or -- for those with access to this private beta feature -- link to your existing Vimeo content.

In this case, we'll be starting by uploading your high-resolution video file for use as a Master.

  1. From either the Dashboard (https://player.mediastorm.com/dashboard) or the the Media list page (https://player.mediastorm.com/media), click the 'Upload Files' button to the upper-right. A new window will pop up with the Media Uploader dialog.

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  2. Choose the file you'd like to upload by dragging it into the uploader window, or by clicking the 'Add file' button and selecting the file from your computer.

    You will see an placeholder progress indicator for your file, with a preview thumbnail (when available) and file size. Additionally, you will see a pair of radio buttons to choose how you'd like your file to be used -- as a Master file, or an Encode -- which you must select before you can continue with the upload.

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  3. Select the 'Master' radio button to indicate which type of file this is.

    Upon selecting either of the radio buttons, you'll be given the option to either upload your file immediately, or create a new Title from your uploaded file. You might want to choose the former option if you're doing a bulk upload of files that you're not yet sure how you're going to use, but in this case we're going to go ahead with the latter option of creating a new Title from this uploaded file.



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  4. Click the 'Create Title from upload' checkbox to enable the creation of a Title with your uploaded file, and give your new Title a name.

    One last option will be revealed, allowing you to select which Project you'd like to add this newly-created Title to: a new Project whose name you will supply, or an existing Project you've already created. Since we're treating this as brand new content, we're going to want to create a new Project for this Title to belong to.

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  5. Keep the 'a new Project' radio button selected and give your new Project a name by typing it into the text field below.

    The name of the file you're uploading will be used as the default for both the Project and the Title names, though you're given the opportunity to change the Project's name here before continuing.

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  6. Finally, click the 'Upload' button to start your upload.

    Your upload progress will be indicated, and you will be informed when the upload is complete. Additionally, a link directly to your newly-created Title will be shown, which you can click on at any point while the file is uploading to begin entering your additional metadata or continuing with the process of deploying your content in a player.

    If the file you're uploading was already compressed locally, you could skip ahead to step 11. However, since this file is an uncompressed Master file, you do have to take one additional step of creating an encode from it before it can be viewed on the web in the MediaStorm player. Continue with the following steps to complete this.

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  7. Click the blue link to your newly-created Title. This will take you to the page where you can edit information about your new Title, including its name, images, and additional metadata.

    There is additional documentation on editing a Title, but for now we only want to create an encoded version of the Media it is composed of.

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  8. On the right side, you will see a dropdown to select which Media this Title is created from, which will be set as your newly-uploaded Media. Click the blue 'Edit selected video Media' link just below it to open the page to edit this Media.

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  9. Click the 'add encode' button in the empty Encodes list and select 'Create new encode from Master'. You will be taken to a page where you can choose from some encode settings, but for most cases the default settings are fine. Continue by clicking the 'Encode' button to create your encode, which will return you to the Media item page you were just editing.

    If the option to create an encode from your Master does not exist or is greyed out in the dropdown menu, it is because your Master file is either still uploading or is being processed in the background, indicated by text that reads "Currently processing" next to the entry for your Master file on this page. You may have to wait anywhere between a few seconds or a few minutes or more for the processing to be complete, depending on how large of a file you've uploaded. Refresh the page occasionally to check if the processing is complete before completing this step and continuing.

    Once you've begun your encode, the encoding operation can also take some time depending on the Master file's size and duration, and you will receive an automated email from the Platform once the encode is finished. In the meantime you should see a new item in this Media item's list of Encodes, labeled as "Currently processing".


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  10. Once the encoding is complete, return to the Media item page you started the encode from if you're not already there. In addition to the Master file you added here earlier, you should now see your fresh encode in the Encodes list, complete with its dimensions, duration, and size. You're now ready to start preparing your content for use in the MediaStorm player.

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  11. Click the link on the right side of this page, listing which Titles are using this Media. There should only be one: the Title that was automatically created for you upon upload in the earlier steps, which will bring you back to that Title's edit page.

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  12. From the Title's edit page, click on the Project name in the breadcrumb link above the body to get to that Title's Project > Edit page.

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2. Content Preparation

Now that you've got your Project and Title created using your uploaded Media, your next steps will involve preparing it for playback in the MediaStorm player.

If you've followed the previous steps completely, you should already be at your new Project's edit page, which you can see its Project Name, Publish Date, and a list of Titles within this Project. At the moment, that list should have just one item: the Title you've just created.

Normally, you might want to spend some time here adding the optional supporting metadata that makes up a Project and each of its Titles, but for the sake of simplicity we'll jump ahead toward getting your content into a simple player.

3. Content Packaging

By this point, you've got nearly everything in place to publish your content, but one last step is required before you can use it in a Player: packaging.

Packaging your content takes the form of assembling a Playlist, which is a curated list of ordered Titles that are shown in a Player.

Playlists allow for a lot of flexibility in curating your content for different needs, and can even contain multiple Titles from different Projects if you wish.

Additionally, there are a lot of options enabling you to control precisely how your Titles will be played back, but for now we'll be creating a very simple Playlist consisting of just your single new Title.

  1. Return to the Project you've created previously, if you're not still already there. You can find it at any point in your list of Projects by selecting 'Projects' in the menu on the left.

  2. Select your new Title by clicking on the checkbox to the left of its row in the Titles listing. It's row should highlight, and a button that reads 'create playlist with selection' should get enabled above the list. With your Title still selected, click this button, give your new Playlist a name, and finally click 'create playlist' to continue to the next step.

    Screen_Shot_2015-11-23_at_11.45.19_AM.png

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    There are other ways to create a Playlist -- such as creating one from scratch and then adding content -- but in most cases you will likely be doing so after creating and prepping your Title or Titles within a single Project, so you should get familiar with starting the process from here.

  3. You should now be taken to the Playlist edit page, where you can add additional content to the Playlist, create labels and folders to package your content more granularly, and re-order everything at any point.

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    There's a lot that can be done here, but in most cases you can leave things just as they are and continue from here to create the Player that will use this Playlist.

4. Publishing your Player

The previous step of building a Playlist was the last major step required when creating a new Player. Like many of the steps that have come before this, the Player, too, offers a lot of opportunities for customization, including branding control and rich menu authoring for including supplemental content. The menu is entirely optional, and you'll be automatically provided with a basic branding template, so you can continue ahead to get your Player published.

  1. Return to the Playlist you've created previously, if you're not still already there. Like Projects and many of the other content, you can find it at any point in the list of Playlists by selecting 'Playlists' in the menu on the left.

  2. Click the button that reads 'create player with this playlist'. A new Player will be created for you with the same name as your Playlist, and you will be taken to the page to edit it.

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    Before you continue, take note of the two options in this General tab that are already selected for you: Playlist, and Template. The Playlist selected is the one you were just editing, and the Template -- which determines your Player's branding -- is the automatically-generated Template that is used as the default for all new Players, unless you specify otherwise.

    The rest of the options are optional, though if you know the URL to the page you will be embedding this Player on, you should enter it in the 'Player URL' field on this page. This is the URL that is used when people use the share functionality within the Player. Your Player will still be sharable if this is left blank -- the Platform will just use an automatically-created Platform URL that all Players get anyway.

    Lets skip all of the other options for now and continue ahead to getting the embed snippet for your new Player.

  3. While still editing your new Player, click the 'Embeds' tab at the top-right. This will take you to a page where you can see all of the Embeds that have been created for this Player. You should see a single Embed on this list named 'Default Embed', which has been automatically created for you when you first created this Player. This is the Embed that you should use when embedding this Player on your own web site.

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    The MediaStorm Platform takes a unique approach here in how it treats embeds of your Players. Rather than use the same exact embed snippet for all embeds of your Player, the Platform generates a unique key each and every time someone clicks to embed your Player. Not only does this allow you to track its usage with extreme granularity, but it also allows you to control exactly which Embeds are enabled or disabled, run ads, etc.

  4. To get a quick preview of what your new Player looks like, roll over the 'Default Embed' in the list and click the 'Preview' button. A new window will open showing you your new Player.

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    The preview is rather basic at the moment, but when you get more familiar with the Platform and begin fleshing out your content by adding poster images, subtitles, and menu content, you will begin seeing more options and functionality appear in the Player.

  5. Close this preview window to return to your list of Embeds. Click to edit the 'Default Embed' to see a page revealing more information about your Embed.

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    Note the 'Embed Snippet' text area just a little down the page; this is the embed snippet you'll need to paste on to your website in order to embed your Player.

  6. Click the 'copy code' button just beneath the Embed Snippet text area. Your embed snippet will be copied to your clipboard. Paste this on the page you want your Player to appear on, save it, and your Player has been published!

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I hope this has been helpful in illustrating the basic steps required for publishing your content in the MediaStorm Platform.

Remember, though, that this was a very high-level overview of the Platform; there are a lot of features that were glossed over.From here, you should begin familiarizing yourself with each of the specific components and their features by referencing the Overview of Components documentation.

If you run into any trouble or have any questions anywhere along the way, please get in touch with our support: support@mediastorm.zendesk.com

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