Quick Start Transcoding Video Using Amazon Elastic Transcoder

Written by

Today Amazon released a beta version of their new Amazon Elastic Transcoder. This is exciting news as I know the majority of my clients use Amazon Web Services (AWS) for either media storage (S3) or media server providers (Wowza EC2 instances), if not both. Reducing the amount of service providers within a company has the potential of simplifying management and there is the potential of saving cost. The main competitors in the video transcoding world offer the following pricing structures: encoding.com, zencoder.com and pandastream.com. Amazon offer the following pricing structure.

How easy is it to get started?

In this post I will give a super quick overview on how easy it is to transcode a video via the AWS management console.. If you would like more in depth instructions on getting started with the Amazon Elastic Transcoder then please read this developer guide.

Sign up to Amazon Web Services

Firstly you need to ensure you have signed up for Amazon Web Services.

Create an S3 bucket

Next step is to create a bucket which you want to store your video files. You can either store the files to be transcoded in one bucket and create another to place the conversions or use the same bucket for both.

Upload a file to convert

Choose a file for conversion and upload it to your S3 bucket. I chose an .flv for my first conversion which worked seamlessly.

Create a pipeline

Login to your AWS management console and select services and then Amazon Elastic Transcoder. You should then see the following screen prompting you to create your first pipeline:

Create a new pipeline

Click Create a new Pipeline and enter a name for your pipeline, I chose a simple example name to get started.

Next you need to enter the name of your input and output buckets. Nested directory designations are available here. I chose the default for the IAM role.

Add pipeline info

Create a transcoding job

Next you need to create your first transcoding job. From the drop down selector choose the pipeline you just created.

There are a variety of transcoding presets available plus the option to create your own. Please read the developer guide for further information on presets. I chose Web for this example.

The next step is to enter your input and output file names, as you can see in the screenshot below I also added a directory for the output file to be placed in on successful transcoding. Amazon will create this directory for you.

You then have an option to create thumbnails and the transcoder offers an incremental filename pattern.

Finally click the Create job button.

Create new transcoding job

Review job

You will then be navigated to the list of your pipelines.

Review transcoding job

View progress

If you select Jobs from the menu on the left you can enter search criteria based on pipelines or jobs etc. Below is a screenshot of my first transcoded file with a status of complete and as expected I found the converted mp4 in my S3 bucket.

Review transcoding progress


I found the Amazon Elastic Transcoder process via the AWS management console really straight forward. Even if I did not yet fully understand all the terminology I was able to successfully complete a transcoding job and find the relevant documentation to fill in the gaps as necessary. I need to dedicate more time to fully testing the Amazon Elastic Transcoder but am sure between myself and @stevecarpenter we should be able to come up with some further information in the future on our findings.

If anyone has had any experience with Amazon Elastic Transcoder whether good or bad I would like to hear your feedback.