lynda.com is a leading online learning company that teaches business, technical and creative skills to help people achieve their personal and professional goals. Our members have access to a comprehensive collection of more than 3,000 courses and 150,000 video tutorials taught by industry experts.
One of our greatest technical challenges is the management of our vast media library. This archive now holds over a quarter million rich media assets, including all of the video courses, more than 150,000 computer screen captures, short movies, and documentaries associated with over 3,000 courses, including English and foreign language versions. Since we are continually updating our tutorials with new content and information—and producing 30 new course tutorials every week—the media library is rapidly expanding.
All of these rich media assets need to be encoded into a variety of formats, bit rates and resolutions to ensure an optimal streaming and viewing experience. This means there could be one million unique files ready for end users to access at any given time.
We realized that to handle this increasing workload, we would need to introduce automation into our transcode workflow to eliminate manpower-intensive tasks and boost productivity. After considering several encoding systems, we chose Telestream’s Vantage Transcode for its advanced automation features, robust performance and quality output.
Before Vantage, our team used to have to spend a lot of time manually identifying and sorting files into different buckets for encoding based on their frame rates, codecs, resolution levels and other criteria. This labor-intensive process weighed us down and hindered us from scaling up to higher volumes of production.
But with Vantage, we have a single watch-folder on our SAN where we drop all the files to be transcoded, regardless of their codec type, frame rate, resolution or other technical specs, and Vantage picks them up from there and takes care of everything as part of an automated workflow.
With its built-in analysis tools and decision-making capabilities, Vantage identifies the technical attributes of each asset, analyzes the technical issues to be addressed (such as letterboxing or upconversion), and then determines the best workflow path to convert the file to the technical specs and formats needed for distribution.
Josh Olenslager, manager of encoding and publication.
As production continues to speed up, it is important that we have systems in place to help with the additional volume. Vantage workflows and Lightspeed servers help us scale with production trends. We’re able to handle the increased workloads without compromising our high production and delivery standards.
One of our business goals is to provide relevant, up-to-date training that our members find valuable. Having automation during the transcoding phase helps us achieve that goal more simply. Vantage helps us to keep up our speed, productivity and agility so we can meet new challenges head-on and adapt to the needs of our online learning content and community.
Josh Olenslager leads the lynda.com team responsible for instructional quality testing, video encoding and content publishing. He also works with cross-functional teams to explore, develop, propose and implement changes necessary in the support of content production, video publication and market growth.