Multi-Bitrate Encoding and Adaptive Streaming

Quick guide - creating your encoding recipe.


Video encoding (also known as video transcoding) has always been an integral part of vzaar's service. We've provided highly-customizable control over  encoding settings, allowing you to select a specific frame width and bitrate for your videos, both by default and for all individual uploads.

Our  Dual-Encoding feature added the ability to create two versions (known as 'renditions ') of your videos. The feature is designed to ensure that your viewers receive a video which is the appropriate bit rate for the bandwidth of their internet connection.

Multi-Bitrate Encoding and Adaptive Streaming takes this a step further, giving you even more control over your video encoding and delivery. First, a few definitions:

  • Rendition: a version of your video encoded at a specific frame width (e.g. 1280px wide) and bit rate (e.g. 1600Kbps).
  • Multi-bitrate encoding: the ability to create multiple renditions of your uploaded video with different bit rates.
  • Encoding preset: predetermined settings for a rendition with a specific frame width and bitrate which can be conveniently selected to save you having to constantly specify common widths and bitrates.
  • Ingest recipe: a group of encoding presets at which your videos will be encoded and delivered.
  • Adaptive streaming: also known as "Adaptive bitrate" and "Variable bitrate", means delivering an appropriate rendition of a video to the viewer based on the strength and speed of the internet connection.
  • HLS: "HTTP Live Streaming" is a technology created by Apple for adaptive streaming. It's a core component of iOS, OSX and Safari. HLS is designed for reliability and dynamically adapts to network conditions by optimizing playback for the available speed of wired and wireless connections.

    Simply put, HLS ensures that, regardless of platform, device or internet connection, your viewers see the best possible version of your video.

Multi-Bitrate Encoding

The central feature of our new encoding function is the "Ingest Recipe" which tells us how to encode and deliver your video. You can have multiple ingest recipes and you create them and specify which renditions are used for different ingest recipes in your  encoding settings:

Clicking the "CREATE NEW RECIPE" button will pop out a screen where you define the recipe:

If you scroll down past the Encoding Presets table, you'll find some additional options you can enable for your recipe:

  • Generate Animated Thumbnail: we'll create an animated thumbnail for use in your CMS, website or other application. For example:

  • Generate Scrubbing Thumbnail: if selected, we'll create and display thumbnails ("sprites") as you scrub a video using the control bar. For example:
  • Send to YouTube: specifies whether or not we'll send your uploaded videos to YouTube via YouTube Syndication.
  • Send Email Notification: specifies whether or not we'll send an email once your video is processed.
  • Send API Pingback Notification: specifies whether or not we'll ping your API notification endpoint when video encoding is complete.

As you create additional recipes, they'll appear as a convenient list in your  encoding settings. Click "Recipe Details" to see more detail for a recipe:


To go along with our new video encoding and delivery features, we have a new uploader:

You can add files to the upload queue by dragging and dropping them onto the indicated area in the uploader page or click the "CHOOSE FILES" button and select the files to upload with Mac Finder or Windows File Explorer:

Once you've clicked "+CHOOSE FILES" and added the file(s) you're uploading, you can click "START UPLOADING" to upload using your default ingest recipe:

Or you can " Select an ingest recipe" to choose from your various recipes for this upload:

Here's a ~30-second video demonstration of the uploading steps:

Adaptive Streaming

As with previous delivery mechanisms, most of the underlying technology will be transparent to you and your users. We'll simply deliver the best version of your video - based on the versions we created using your ingest recipe - to your viewer.

It is important to remember that adaptive/variable bitrate streaming requires the use of the vzaar video player so you must be embedding the video in your site, CMS, LMS, etc. using the iframe we provide on your video manage pages:

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