The YouTube integrator:
How we built a bulk uploading tool that saved
hours of manual work
This past November, for the fifth year, a crew of 34 from Evia headed to Las Vegas to do capture and media production at a conference for one of our biggest clients. The conference spanned acrosss three venues, and the challenge fell to our team to record, post and trim 863 sessions and post them to our client’s YouTube channel within 24 hours of the session.
Over our 25 years in the industry, Evia has gotten the process of producing digital events down to a science. Even so, our Research and Development team is always looking for new solutions and how we can do things better, faster, and more cost effectively.
During the pre-production phase of preparing for this conference, Engineering Services Manager Jiju John identified an opportunity for improvement in the session upload process. "According to Jiju, “In our current process, our Media Production team starts by manually uploading files to a client’s YouTube channel individually. Then the next day, they manually enter all the meta data (title, tags, etc.). Finally, someone reviews the files and makes them either public or private.”
If you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube and experienced the time it takes to load, process, and of all sizes, you can imagine how time consuming it was for an event with 222 sessions to be uploaded. As Jiju explains, “Besides the time-consuming uploading and entry workflow, this method also required multiple security verifications. The client has to share the YouTube password with the entire Evia media production team, and at the end of the day, the password resets and the process starts again.”
With all of these challenges in mind, Jiju and Digital Asset Manager Abel Tovar set out to find a better way by creating a bulk uploading tool. Essentially, the application would act as a wrapper to YouTube, virtually sitting on top of the platform and uploading files automatically to YouTube. The tool has the ability to bypass the security issue where a new password needs to be shared each day.
To enhance functionality, Evia’s R&D team brought in our offshore partners to develop the user interface. In less than a month at a cost of about $4,000 to build a prototype, the team had created the YouTube Integrator product.
Jiju explains how the YouTube Integrator works. “Our contractors receive, say, ten files. Instead of manually uploading them, with the tool, what they do is copy the files to a designated folder. The tool finds the files and starts a multipart upload to YouTube. The user can bulk upload or cherry-pick, which gives the media producers the control to stage files in the upload process.”
The files can then be 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 doesn’t matter which content delivery network (CDN) is being used, and the user can upload files without logging into the portal. Once the application is connected to YouTube once, it will continue to work without further verifications required.
During the first run of the tool, some bugs cropped up, but those were resolved quickly, and overall the results were significant.
The YouTube Integrator is able to save thousands of hours of labor and eliminated the quality assurance step, which significantly reduced the cost for media production. When this solution was presented to the client, they were so impressed that they wanted to implement the technology across other departments and business units.
What started as an idea to help the team turned into a prototype, and then a fully developed application and solution that can now be used for all Evia’s clients.