HPA Day #2: YouTube’s Video Flow

INDIAN WELLS, CALIF.— The first YouTube video? “Me at the Zoo,” posted I 2005 and streamed at 320 kbps. Now, more than 1 billion people visit YouTube per month, according to Google’s Doug Stallard.

“People upload more than 100 hours of video per minute to YouTube every day,” he said. “YouTube has more than 6 billion hours of video.. in 61 countries in 61 languages.”

YouTube has won three technical Emmys for technology developed specifically for the platform. All content goes through YouTube’s Viper video processing platform, for which they won one of their Emmys. Stallard described Viper as a media processing pipeline spread across data centers on nearly every continent. The extensible framework allows not only transcoding but all other related services, but all other related services, he said.

Video and metadata files arrive via Aspera. Video is archived immediately, and transferred to Viper for a universal transcode to H.264 AAC audio. From there, the content ID system is engaged so clips can be tracked as well as monitored for popularity. At that point, it’s sent to a master transcoder. From there, YouTube’s “Hydra” is engaged, splitting the video by files at known segment boundaries. Discrete chunks are sent to dedicated slave transcoders. Each encoded chunk is then stitched back together and sent to an appropriate digital rights management packager, Stallard said.

Google’s Anil Kokaram talked about the process of compressing the video for the site while maintaining quality. YouTube is preparing to use Google’s own VP9 compression for 4K content otherwise known as “UltraHD.” He brought up a slide comparing VP9 to H.264 and H.265, in which the VP9 image had superior contrast and sharpness. The image drew criticism from an audience member who asked which encoder was used for H.265, and said it was the worst one on the market.