This past November, for the fifth year, the team at Evia headed to Las Vegas to produce media at a 30,000+ person conference for one of our biggest clients, a major electronic commerce and cloud computing company based in Seattle.
What some might call impossible, we describe as routine – the day after Thanksgiving a crew of 34 Project Managers, Media Producers and In-Room Technicians hopped flights to LAS to manage production across 3 venues. Over 7 long days (and into the nights), Team Evia recorded 863 sessions, then trimmed and posted the files to the client’s YouTube channel less than 24 hours after capturing them.
We’ve had plenty of experience over the 25 years Evia has been in business. While we’ve gotten the event capture process down to essentially a science, our Research and Development (R&D) team is always testing the limits of precision and process.
During pre-production for the conference, Software Development Manager and R&D team member Jiju John identified an opportunity for improvement in the session upload process. Considering the typically time-consuming set of manual tasks, Jiju, along with Digital Asset Manager Abel Tovar developed a tool specifically to streamline the entire uploading process.
He explains the usual method, “Our Media Production Producers manually upload files to the client’s YouTube channel one by one. The next day they manually enter all the meta data (title, tags, etc.) and then someone reviews it and chooses the setting, public or private.”
If you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube or Facebook and experienced the time it takes to load, process, and then the information and settings you must input, imagine doing it 222 times, like we did for this client’s 2016 event.
Jiju explains, “Besides the time-consuming uploading and entry workflow, this method requires multiple security verifications. The client shares the YouTube password with 10 of our Evia contractors or one Media Manager who must log in for each of them. Then at the end of the day, the password resets, and the process starts again.”
With these limitations in mind, Jiju created a proof of concept for a bulk uploading tool. The application would act as a wrapper to YouTube, virtually sitting on top of the platform, able to upload files on behalf of YouTube. The tool bypasses the security issue where the client needs to share the new password each evening.
YouTube Integrator UI
To enhance functionality, our R&D and Innovation teams enlisted our offshore development crew to develop the User Interface. After spending about $4,000 to have a prototype built in less than a month (including the time for testing), they had created “the YouTube Integrator.”
Jiju explains the YouTube Integrator at work, “Our contractors receive, say, 10 files. Instead of manually uploading them, with the tool, all they have to do is copy the file to a designated folder. The tool finds the files and starts a multipart upload to YouTube. The user can bulk upload or cherry pick. This gives the Media Producers control to stage the upload process.”
You can have these files transferred to a designated playlist, or if there isn’t one, the tool automatically creates one. There are no manual operations. The tool reads the metadata to automatically populate the necessary fields. If any problem crops up, the system sends an email notification.
The YouTube Integrator is platform agnostic, which means it did not matter which CDN the client is using, from Blob Storage to S3 to Limelight, the user can upload files without logging into the portal. Once the application is connected to YouTube the first time, it will continue to work, without further verifications required.
Of course, some bugs cropped up in the first execution, but they were resolved quickly. From a cost perspective, the YouTube Integrator has saved 100’s of hours of work, since no Q/A process is needed. When Jiju and Abel presented this software solution to our client (the world’s second largest internet company) and the client was impressed enough to want to implement the technology across other departments’ processes.
What started with Jiju thinking, “this would be a cool idea to help the team” became a concept, which he built into an internal initiative, and finally different teams came together to execute a successful tool.