What Is Transcoding and Why Is It Important to Video Streaming?
Video is people’s preferred content medium. One of the most recent statistics for 2023 shows that 82% of all internet content is video. Furthermore, 85% of all internet users view online videos monthly. Savvy businesses, organizations and creators have picked up on this and use it to their advantage. By sharing video content, they can connect with their audience, gain more exposure and elevate their brand authority.
But with big gains possible, there’s also stiff competition to sift through. Viewers expect video quality to be excellent, live video streaming, HD video and more. To deliver high-quality video that viewers will gravitate to, it’s crucial to understand the video transcoding process. Getting to grips with the technical aspects will enable video content producers to deliver successful streaming that viewers will eat up.
In this article, we’re going to cover video transcoding. We’ll detail what the transcoding process is, how it works, why it’s important and more. Finally, we’ll go into what muxing is and how it can help unify and improve your video and audio files. By the end, you’ll have a stronger understanding of how transcoding audio and video content elevates your strategy, quality and reach.
What is Transcoding?
Transcoding is the process of a digital-to-digital conversion of one encoding format to another.
If you’re seeking a transcoding definition online, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with technical jargon that isn’t relevant to your search. To make your life a bit easier, let’s introduce transcoding in simple terms.
Transcoding is essentially any process that’s undertaken to convert a file into a different format. Your videos must be transcoded correctly if they’re to be accessible to a wide range of users. Transcoding takes account of user differences to deliver a consistent viewing experience across the board. If your videos are transcoded correctly you can rest assured your content will be playable in many contexts.
During the transcoding process, you’ll have opportunities to make multiple changes. For streaming workflow for example, you could change the bitrate of your video in line with its resolution. Higher bitrates are preferable for better-quality streaming, but it’s important to be wary of large file sizes. If you’re looking to reduce the bitrate of a file the process is known as transrating.
What is Video Transcoding?
Transcoding centres around transsizing, which involves resizing the video frame of a piece of content. High frame rates like 1080p are great for viewers who have the bandwidth to consume media this way. Higher frame rates generate higher-quality videos, but not everyone can view high-resolution still media files without experiencing playback issues.
That’s why it’s often best to transcode videos into multiple formats so the viewer can select a frame rate that’s suitable for them. Video can also be transcoded so that the viewer automatically receives the best quality video that’s available to them at a given moment.
Video transcoding involves taking compressed/encoded content, and decompressing, altering and recompressing it.
Video transcoding is different from video encoding, which involves compressing raw video files into smaller sizes. Transcoding involves unpacking and encoding a file from one codec into another one.
Video transcoding always involves changing a file from one format to another.
How Does Transcoding Work?
Transcoding can be accomplished via the software of your choice. It can be executed on a computer, dedicated, media file server, or SaaS platform.
It is a process that often takes significant time to complete, even with the most powerful computers. With that being said, it’s better to take advantage of significant hardware and computer resources. You’ll benefit from working on a computer with a high-performance processor, high RAM, and graphics acceleration.
There are many different video transcoders in the ecosystem, Dacast being one of them. Most video converters allow you to accomplish more than transcoding, but all have the overarching objective of helping you create a file format that’s conducive to a better all-around experience.
Videos can be transcoded via local open-source software or in the cloud.
Local transcoding is done via video editing or converter software. Let’s address the commonly asked ‘what is transcoding in video editing?’ question in the simplest way possible. Transcoding can be coordinated during the video editing process.
However, transcoding can also be performed BEFOREHAND in converter software to format a file so it’s appropriate for editing. This is done to prepare a file for better compatibility during editing.
You may also have an option to upload a file to the cloud and select a suitable format for it. The file can then be re-encoded into different available versions.
Though transcoding can be accomplished for free, the chances are you’ll have to pay for either a cloud storage space subscription fee or the premium edition of your editing software.
What Are Some Video Transcoding Examples?
For example, you might convert a huge 3K video attempting to play on a mobile device.
Video transcoding can be difficult to conceptualise. When overviewing the concept, the theory behind it can make sense but be more challenging to visualise in reality. With this being said, let’s take a look at some simple transcoding examples so you can get a better understanding of how it’s used in practice:
Let’s say you shoot a high-resolution video on a 4K camera. It would be important to consider whether the content could be streamed by most of your viewers. You’d need to think about whether the file is in a suitable format for editing. Smaller files are easier to manipulate and edit in software. Transcoding into the right file format will ensure the video is compressed in a way that better suits the editing and later viewing experience.
You’ve just done a live broadcast. If you have a copy of your broadcast you could transcode it into different formats so it can be enjoyed by a wider audience pool on a wider range of devices.
The WMV video file format is only really compatible with Windows. However, you can transcode a WMV file into MP4 format so it’s more accessible across different devices, apps, and browsers.
You’ve just shot a video on your smartphone. It will probably be in the HEVC or H264 format. These are both very intensive and require high-end processors for seamless editing. Since not all of us are privy to this level of processing, you could transcode your smartphone video files into ProRes or DNx. These formats make it easier to edit your content quickly.
Why is Transcoding Important?
Transcoding enables you to deliver video content in formats that generate exceptional playback for your audience. It is delivery format that’s designed to overcome the large nature of video files, which are often this big due to the desire to create an exceptional streaming experience for viewers.
By transcoding, you can compress the size of a video file to guarantee the same exceptional playback regardless of who’s clicking on it. By executing transcoding correctly you can enhance the user experience and also improve your own workflow via better performance within your editing software.
Transcoding will ensure you have a common, file size and type that all collaborators can work with. It’s faster to transcode than it is to contend with multiple file formats.
Let’s say you have a fast internet connection and a device that permits you to play the highest-quality videos in existence. However, you visit a site to find a video that can only be played in limited resolution.
You’d be left wondering why you even bothered getting the best of the best. One of the biggest incentives for having the best possible technology at your fingertips is the ability to stream the highest quality content.
If you transcode your videos correctly, people will have a chance to view your content in the highest possible quality that’s available to them. Finally, they’ll be able to capitalize on having the best technology and will be positioned for an optimal experience.
What’s great about transcoding is that the same video can be offered up to viewers with slower internet connections. They’ll also have an opportunity to view content at a quality their device can handle.
Therefore, transcoding is crucial if you’re keen to meet your audience on their terms. Consumer demands are evolving by the second, so keeping up with the competition means delivering customisable content that covers all bases.
What is Muxing?
Muxing is an abbreviation of multiplexing. The process involves combining various video and audio inputs into a single container, incorporating elements like subtitles and metadata. Containers come in forms like AVI, MOV, MP4, etc.
The muxing process involves uniting the individual inputs of your audio or video file back together. It is achieved when you export a video from your editing software. When you save your file, the muxing process will combine the individual elements of your video into a single output like MP4 or MOV. All the individual components will be compiled together in a single file format. If you’ve entered this section wondering ‘what is transmuxing?’, you’ll be pleased to learn this term is used interchangeably with muxing.
In summary, transmuxing involves repackaging and packetizing the individual elements of a video into different delivery formats. This is achieved without altering the state of the audio, video, and text content within your video.
Transcoding plays a vital role in the quality of your video strategies and ability to video stream. For widely compatible video formats that are better for collaborating and editing, a transcoding software is the best solution.
Transcoding videos will make a positive impression on your audience. They’ll appreciate the high-quality video streaming they expect. It’ll build your brand authority, boost viewership and increase viewer trust. What’s more, they’ll be more likely to share your video content. Ultimately, happy viewers are easier to convert into paying customers.
The best way to achieve all this is to have a professional video streaming solution at your fingertips. Fortunately, Dacast is one such adaptive streaming solution. Dacast’s feature-rich platform will execute video transcoding and produce the appropriate video files. With Dacast, your video content will be better than ever. And you can try Dacast free for a full 14 days when you sign up.