Streaming Media Services (Recommendation)

I am working on an eLearning project which includes multiple videos. Based on what I have read, it will be better for us to stream the videos from a media streaming service rather than embed them in the program itself (file size issue). I was thinking of uploading the videos to Viddler and then add then into Storyline as webobjects. Is this the best way to go about this? If you need more information, please let me know. 

10 Replies
Peter Anderson

Hi Jean-Francis, welcome to Heroes!

I don't have a recommended site other than Viddler (I know some other users use it as well), but wanted to pass along the tutorial on inserting web objects in case you hadn't seen it yet. I'm also curious about how much video you plan on using. Sounds like there might be quite a bit, but Storyline progressively streams videos (except SWF files) in your published content. This means your users will not have to wait for each video to fully download before it begins to play. You can learn more about that here. And I think you'll also be interested in seeing this article on how Storyline awesomely handles video compression to keep file sizes small. 

Anyway, welcome again

Gerry Wasiluk

+1 to what Pete said.  Echoing Pete, Storyline converts many videos to MP4 with the smallest size possible at high quality.  Nice job there by the Articulate folks.

Also, if I remember right, web objects load real-time when the slide is accessed (do I have that right, Pete?)--as opposed to MP4 videos in the course that preload at course launch.  A large web object video could actually cause learners to wait a bit.

Jean-Francois Hivon

Excellent point Gerry. My concern is that we have a fair bit of video within the module and that makes the Storyline file pretty large. If we use web objets than we can reduce the file size which will mean faster loading times at the start. Having said that, the user may experience the lag at the slide level. Not sure which is better - guess we need to ask the user!

Gerry Wasiluk

Peter Anderson said:

Unlike me, you seem to actually take your users' experience / enjoyment into account when building a course


It's all for them so we have to be cognizant of their needs.

I remember sometime in 2001-2003 (seems eons ago now ) and helping a client with a critical legal compliance course (done in custom Flash) that had to work globally.  A lot of stuff--including a video--was at the beginning of the course.  We wanted the sponsor to change the design for better response.

We tested the course in an IT lab that was simulating what learners at the company's Japan branch would experience.

It took well over 6 minutes before the course's first page finished loaded and was usable.  The IT tester and I were confident the client would see the problem and change things to be "lighter" early in the course.

You could have knocked us over with a feather when said that the response was "just fine."

Fortunately, attitudes have changed (and networks have improved).   Still, our courses, IMVHO, should still be designed to be as "economical as possible" and be good citizens on any network.  For many organizations, learning is important but other things going on over the network may be more immediately critical.  The learning we develop is not always the most important thing that needs to be delivered.  And bandwidth still isn't cheap.  Of course, YMMV. 

Gerry Wasiluk

Jean-Francois Hivon said:

Excellent point Gerry. My concern is that we have a fair bit of video within the module and that makes the Storyline file pretty large. If we use web objets than we can reduce the file size which will mean faster loading times at the start. Having said that, the user may experience the lag at the slide level. Not sure which is better - guess we need to ask the user!

Knowing how Storyline preloads most everything, I'd lean toward having the videos in the course, just making sure they are as economical as possible. 

Also, there is a difference between the actual Storyline file itself and the published output that the learners see, which Articulate has done a good job of optimizing for delivery over networks.

Jean-Francois Hivon

One more question on this... Do you have a file format that you like to use for compressed video? One that seems to work well with Storyline (maintains video quality and doesn't have negative impact on the user experience). The footage I am editing is being edited in Final Cut Pro 7 and compressed using the compressor. I have lots of options and certainly one will work. On my first draft, I used Quicktime H.264 and found the quality within Storyline to be lousy. I obviously need to ry another format. Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks.  

Gerry Wasiluk

If the video is going to be used in Storyline, it will do the compression, usually to MP4.  http://www.articulate.com/support/kb_article.php?product=st1&id=es3kzctg3aoq

So I usually try to use the best uncompressed format that Storyline can handle for the source.  But I get a lot of things already compressed in WMV and they work well, though I'd prefer something like the AVI if I can get it.

Then I just play with the quality settings at publish time.

If being used in a web object, I'd probably opt for MP4 video also.