Netflix and advanced video encoding

Really interesting article

“Netflix began to break down videos by shots and apply different encoding settings to each individual segment in 2018. Two people talking in front of a plain white wall were encoded with lower bit rates than the same two people taking part in a car chase.”

“ In 2016, Netflix released a 12-minute 4K HDR short film called Meridian that was supposed to remedy this. Meridian looks like a film noir crime story, complete with shots in a dusty office with a fan in the background, a cloudy beach scene with glistening water, and a dark dream sequence that’s full of contrasts. Each of these shots has been crafted for video encoding challenges, and the entire film has been released under a Creative Commons license.”


It was inevitable.
They are one of the few firms that have enough scale, technology and historical data to work on this.
I’m surprised it wasn’t YouTube with a bit of Google ai, but I expect that they don’t manufacture enough long form material.


Another byproduct/objective is that small individual streams are much easier to compartmentalize, categorize and store as objects, meaning global data transfer is even more fault tolerant and able to be multi-threaded.

Extremely useful for streaming services. Meaningless for content creators.

Imagine being able to write an playback EDL of sorts, pulling objects from closest geographic region while waiting for local transfer to finish…

It’s like limewire for grown ups…

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Keep in mind that this serves two masters - clip level encoding can improve quality. But it also reduces traffic cost.

For someone like Netflix the savings will be material. Some less sophisticated shops like Peacock might just turn the global dial down, but then impact experience negatively. And YT while it has more content, doesn’t control the content creators enough and they have a very long tail to content with. So the processing cost to do this at their scale probably negates any savings, and quality is less of a concern for them.

So it all fits.