I get asked the question a lot of how Thinkific built our online video course platform.
To provide a seamless video solution with a custom solution is not as simple as it may seem. At Thinkific, it has taken many iterations to get all the right pieces working. You need to encode the video to many different formats (mp4, webm etc.) and to support all browsers using HTML5, and then support a flash fallback for those that don’t support HTML5. In addition, you need to provide video sizes such as 720p and 360p in all these formats to ensure students are able to watch the video regardless of how fast their internet connection is. This is just a few of the many things you need to get right.
For online video courses, you need to provide a seamless experience that can be viewed ideally with no stuttering. The last thing you want is someone watching your course videos and getting frustrated because the technology is getting in the way of their learning.
- Video Player (this is extremely important and has a big impact on quality of delivery & experience). Options include Sublime Video, MediaElementJS, VideoJS & JW Player (has been unreliable and support isn’t great in my experience). These are just a few.
- Encoding. You will need to encode videos to multiple formats and sizes. Zencoder or AWS Elastic Transcoder are both good from my experience.
- Storage. AWS S3 is definitely one of the cheapest and most reliable options. Hard to beat this.
- Delivery. This can be done by S3 but a CDN is ideal to improve downloading & buffering speeds. AWS Cloudfront is sufficient for most scenarios but there are many others depending on budget and need.
- Uploading. Handling large video uploads can be challenging. At Thinkific.com we rolled our own and has taken a few attempts to make this reliable and simple to use. Our recent bulk video uploader and course creator is just another iteration on this.
If you’re just looking to just host videos, then Wistia or BrightCove are great solutions. If, instead, you’re looking for a complete course hosting solution then Thinkific.com would be what I’d use!
– Matt @ Thinkific