Cloudinary Blog

Preparing Live Streams for Video on Demand

Readying Live Streams for Video on Demand

When planning a live broadcast or stream, companies often overlook the redistribution phase, but live-stream videos are useful well beyond their initial streaming. Why? Because not everyone watches the first run. For a wider audience, it makes sense to repost live content on your website under an Events tab, on YouTube, and on other social sites for video on demand (VOD). However, preparing footage for reposting can be a lot of work.

Choices abound for a platform on which to repost video. Besides Twitch, sites like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook are popular for live streaming. Dedicated conference-streaming platforms like Bizzabo are also worth considering. When choosing a platform, go where your audience is—or where you can steer them quickly and easily.

Wherever and however you choose to stream, do record your event through a broadcasting platform or other software. Once the recording is all set, evaluate your options for preparing for on-demand play. This article describes how to efficiently and optimally redistribute live video.

Most Companies Still Redistribute the Hard Way

The majority of companies are manually redistributing live streams through time-consuming and expensive processes. Here are the typical tasks:

  • Adding introductions and conclusions
  • Outsourcing transcription services to add subtitles
  • Adjusting the audio, such as normalizing the volume
  • Adding overlays and branding
  • Generating shorter clips for social media
  • Specifying and adding tags to make the content readily discoverable

Even with well-established processes in place, all those tasks take a while to complete. That’s in part due to items having to pass through many hands with various skill sets: project managers, social-media coordinators, video editors.

Some streaming platforms offer built-in tools that can speed up the manual chores. For example, Twitch’s /marker command puts a “pointer” on your broadcast, which can help you grab specific parts of the broadcast or changes in topic.

Also, Twitch viewers can take a 60-second recording that appeals to them from your stream. Twitch then saves the clips, which you, the broadcaster, can download and redistribute. That feature, a handy bonus for organizations with highly engaged audiences, should not serve as your only means of redistribution, however.

Even if you use a streaming service with built-in redistribution capabilities, manually preparing content takes time and effort—and the costs tend to add up fast.

Opt for Simplicity and Automation Instead—the Cloudinary Way

Rather than manually performing repetitive tasks—or dedicating developer resources to building solutions from scratch—consider leveraging a platform like Cloudinary to simplify and automate preparation and redistribution of your live streams.

Media Upload API

With Cloudinary’s media upload API, you can easily upload recordings of an original broadcast to the platform. Cloudinary then stores them in your Media Library just like any media you have uploaded manually. You can transform the recordings and analyze them on upload, greatly streamlining your video workflow.

With Cloudinary’s transformations, you can prepare media in multiple formats, e.g., different sizes and aspect ratios for different social-media platforms, such as a 1:1 video for Twitter. Rather than relying on a video editor to export and upload multiple copies of the same video, you can automate those transformations to take place during video upload.

Content-Aware Cropping

Given the monumental role social media plays in video consumption, you must deliver videos on those platforms across all devices. The chart below, which shows the many aspect ratios required for optimally delivering videos for Facebook and Instagram, clearly demonstrates the huge challenge involved, especially in the case of large quantities of videos.

Enter Cloudinary’s automatic content-aware cropping feature, which replaces the time-consuming hand-cropping step. In place is a complex deep-learning algorithm that analyzes video frames, identifies the most interesting areas, and intelligently and automatically crops them all for you.

Video Transcoding

Through its automatic video-transcoding and format-selection capability, Cloudinary can identify the end-user device and browser and then deliver the best video format and codec for that particular user. So, why not let Cloudinary pick the best codec and format for you?

Currently, that feature makes a selection among the H.264, HEVC, and VP9 codecs and is future-proofed for adding next-generation codecs like AV1.


Cloudinary’s Google AI Video Moderation add-on moderates videos through automation, requiring no human effort whatsoever. The add-on also approves or rejects videos, uploading the approved ones into your Cloudinary account, ready for delivery.

Video and Audio Transformations

In addition to transforming videos on upload, you can easily brand them by automating the addition of intros and outros on Cloudinary, which can also adjust many audio features, such as normalization, frequency control, and codec transcoding. Furthermore, Cloudinary’s waveform-generation capability can create images to depict audio, for example, with podcast-style content or a fun visual for redistribution in video format.

Subtitles and Captions

With Cloudinary’s Azure or Google add-on, you can generate transcriptions to add to videos. Those add-ons can also add tags to the content to boost its discoverability.

Video Previews

Through advanced AI and machine-learning techniques, Cloudinary analyzes each video frame, assigns it an importance score, and creates a preview. To trigger that process, simply add the preview effect (e_preview in URLs). When the previews become available, you can customize them as you see fit.

Final Upload for VOD

Once your recording is ready for redistribution, it’s time to circulate it. As with selecting your live-stream platform, choosing where to redistribute content hinges on finding out where your audience is most likely to engage with it.

Take YouTube, for example. You can upload content—complete with the transformations you have previously applied through the Cloudinary Video APIs—from Cloudinary to YouTube with our platform’s YouTube Data API. Like the other steps, this one is also seamless and automated.

Cloudinary Spells Proficiency

We can always do things the hard way, but why not simplify and automate processes to make our lives easier, let alone save time and resources? Cloudinary’s robust and masterful APIs greatly enhance the way you manage and redistribute content, automating what many people assume must be done manually. Do have a try.

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