DMI Services: Media Transcoding

One of the more powerful services offered by OIT Digitial Media Initiatives is our automated media transcoder system, which allows users to have media files in a variety of source formats transcoded (i.e. converted) into a standard MP4 format.  OIT uses the MP4 container format with H.264 video and AAC audio encoding, as it is currently the most widely supported media format and works in both Flash and HLS (e.g. Apple iOS devices) players.

Our media transcoding system features the use of offline queuing, which means that you simply upload your original media files and then go off and do other things while the transcoding is handled by our server farm.  Files are processed on a FIFO (First In, First Out) basis, and the transcoded version of a file is automatically stored in the OIT media repository once the process is complete.

Currently, the following video file formats are recognized by our transcoding system.  Others may be added in the future as time and resources permit.

As noted above, our system cannot break any digital rights management (DRM) protections on media files.  If you have a valid fair-use situation where you need to use protected video content, you will have to seek out a means to extract the content on your own, and then upload the unprotected content to your media zone.  See the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for more information on valid fair-use cases.

If you are producing your own video content, we highly recommend using a h.264 codec, though other popular end-user codecs (e.g. Sorenson) will usually work as well.  We don't have a complete list of codecs that our transcoders support, but be aware that you should not use any 'intermediate' codec, like the Apple ProRes codecs.  Intermediate codecs are meant for use while editing only, and are not supported by our transcoders or by most video players.

For those interested in the technical specifications of our system, we are using the free, open-source Handbrake software on our transcoders with the following parameters:

--format mp4 --large-file --encoder x264 --quality 18 --size 700 --vb 1500 --two-pass --turbo --aencoder faac --ab 128 --mixdown dpl2 --drc 0.0 --width 720