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Michi

An alternative to Vimeo...

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Posted (edited)

Vimeo playback seems to get worse day by day (at least for me) so I'm wondering if there aren't any valuable alternatives that offer similar features and are at least somewhat established (not in danger of vanishing in the coming months).

Aren there any that offer:

- better playback performance than Vimeo

- Embedding (ideally with customizable controls)

- Video replacement

- Password protected viewing 

- Download of original Video

- support for CC

- a "good" UI for creators (or at least better than that of YouTube)?

There has to be on that comes close to Vimeo but performs better, right? 

 

Side note: not sure in what forum this topic suits best. If I missed the one, mods please feel free to move this topic there... 

 

Edited by Michi

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Posted (edited)

I really don't understand why people use Vimeo in the first place. I used Vimeo years ago, but then just accepted that YouTube is simply the best place to be if you want to display video. Some seem to think that Vimeo is professional but YouTube is amateur, yet the latter hosts heaps of professional video.

I always seem to hear complaints about Vimeo, yet people persevere with it regardless.  Also, do a search for anything and you rarely if ever come across anything from Vimeo. Yes, YouTube does have it's shortfalls, but I guess I put up with such because I'm not a 'creative' (and probably why I use Windows and not Mac).

Edited by Australian Image

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22 minutes ago, Australian Image said:

I really don't understand why people use Vimeo in the first place.

Putting aside from the serious streaming/CDN issues (which they've said they are working on improving... we shall see), Vimeo has many features that favour professionals that YouTube doesn't offer: no adverts; no auto-play of unrelated content afterwards; ability to fully customise the player to fit in one's website for embedding; download options; review options; ability to replace a video without changing the URL... to name just a few. Those things are important too.

Their Pro/Business/OTT/Enterprise tier offerings massively outweigh YouTube's too. Again, streaming issues aside.

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Posted (edited)

I do understand that Vimeo offers these features, but that it's nigh on invisible unless the viewer is provided a direct link has to be a major consideration. If this was that critical, I'd be using both and also noting which bring in the most eyeballs (if that's important).

But from much comment on the interwebs, it seems that Vimeo is going downhill in many ways and rather quickly at that. It seems that the owners have focussed too much on making money and less on providing a reliable service.

As a footnote, it's easy to avoid the ads and no auto-play, but of course not many aren't aware of that.

 

Edited by Australian Image

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6 hours ago, Australian Image said:

I really don't understand why people use Vimeo in the first place. I used Vimeo years ago, but then just accepted that YouTube is simply the best place to be if you want to display video. Some seem to think that Vimeo is professional but YouTube is amateur, yet the latter hosts heaps of professional video.

I always seem to hear complaints about Vimeo, yet people persevere with it regardless.  Also, do a search for anything and you rarely if ever come across anything from Vimeo. Yes, YouTube does have it's shortfalls, but I guess I put up with such because I'm not a 'creative' (and probably why I use Windows and not Mac).

Huh? Because you‘re not a ‚creative‘ you accept the shortfalls of YouTube and use Windows? 
Seriously though: If my question was about displaying only, then your answer would be kind of on topic. 
But I regularly use those features of Vimeo that YouTube hasn‘t: The option to replace a Video while preserving URL, the option to download the original Video in a Codec of choice, Password protection for single Videos and whole Playlists (does YouTube have that?) and yes, the option to customize the player. It has been my go-to platform for previewing, collaborating and sharing Videos with clients and aditionally to embed videos on my website. YouTube only serves for the latter. 
In the before-corona-times Vimeo playback was generally acceptable for me, now it is not. 
This isn‘t about Pro/Amateur, this is about needing/using features YouTube does not offer. Neither on Mac nor on Windows, neither for ‚creatives‘ nor for craftsman...

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10 minutes ago, Michi said:

Huh? Because you‘re not a ‚creative‘ you accept the shortfalls of YouTube and use Windows? 

Indeed. I noted a comment made in a review about the recent Canon webcam software lamenting that it didn't cater for Macs and the creatives. I thought that was kind of sad. No, YouTube clearly doesn't provide everything that Vimeo does, but YouTube is not a complete cluster either. As I noted, you could use both.

Preserving the URL means that you're concerned about viewer numbers. Vimeo isn't a platform that attracts viewers by any great number, you really need to be directed to the link and then if that changes, notify clients. YouTube does allow for unlisted videos, ergo, you need the link to see it and it provides password protected videos, but you do need an account to see these (after getting the password). Downloading videos? No, YouTube doesn't allow that, but then there are other options such as Dropbox etc.

I've been reading about Vimeo problems well before the virus took hold and it seems that it's been having major issues for some time, driving many users away. I'm not arguing that Vimeo is useless or that YouTube is the greatest, far from it. What I'm arguing is that there are options to make the best of a less than ideal situation. Creativity comes in many forms. But if you're paying for something, then you expect to get value for money.

 

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49 minutes ago, Australian Image said:

Preserving the URL means that you're concerned about viewer numbers.

No, it's not about that. Some of my clients embed Videos directly from my Vimeo account to their Website. And as you have probably experienced too, sometimes they ask for changes in the Video. In those instances replacing the Video instead of reuploading and reembed simply saves me and my client time and helps not clutter my account with endless versions of a Video... 

I indeed do use both Vimeo and YouTube. But for what I need Vimeo to do for me, YouTube is not a viable alternative. Hence the start of this topic...   

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Yes, I've experienced that, which is why I've used an unlisted link and when all is OK, create a final link and delete the unwanted version/s. I think you're stuck with Vimeo though, as when I gave up on Vimeo (though I was using their free version at the time), I searched far and wide and the only alternative that kept coming up was YouTube.

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3 hours ago, Australian Image said:

Preserving the URL means that you're concerned about viewer numbers.

No, it means that if the video is embedded somewhere (which perhaps you don't have access to change) you don't need to change the embed code.

Or you don't need to send potentially annoying emails to clients (who you may not have been in touch with for a long time) saying "sorry can you use this link now".

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10 hours ago, Australian Image said:

As a footnote, it's easy to avoid the ads and no auto-play, but of course not many aren't aware of that.

When looking at a professional tool, I certainly wouldn't factor in any assumption that a view may or may not have ad blockers etc installed, or have their settings a particular way. Vimeo lets you deliver content the way you want it to be seen.

Almost everything about Vimeo is simply better tailored to professionals (except I'd argue that YouTube's monetisation options are better for creators with huge subscriber/viewer counts).

They just need to sort the streaming/CDN issues out.

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7 hours ago, Nezih said:

They just need to sort the streaming/CDN issues out.

Yes! Altough the „just“ in that sentence is a big understatement. Fluid streaming is the heart of the whole service, none of the other features can compensate for bad streaming quality. If there was another service offering similar posssibilities, I‘d give it a chance. But it seems there isn‘t...

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9 hours ago, Nezih said:

No, it means that if the video is embedded somewhere (which perhaps you don't have access to change) you don't need to change the embed code.

Or you don't need to send potentially annoying emails to clients (who you may not have been in touch with for a long time) saying "sorry can you use this link now".

I understand what embedding means. But your next statement doesn't make a lot of sense. If you haven't been in contact with a client for a long time, then why would you have changed the video that you produced for them a long time ago? If you did so, wouldn't you want to notify the client?

As for ads, I've had a look at some of my paltry videos on a browser that has no blocking whatsoever and there are no ads, ever. From what I understand, YouTube only puts in ads where videos draw numerous views and if you have ad sense or whatever as part of your channel. So if your videos aren't viewed in the many thousands, I don't think ads will ever appear.

And streaming quality is probably one of the most important aspects of video delivery. If a video simply stutters and has other difficulties when viewed, then it's not a very professional look. YouTube is at least delivering 4K and 6K without issues and is now even delivering 8K. I don't think anyone considers YouTube an unprofessional medium, except maybe creatives.

Look, I'm not saying Vimeo doesn't offer features that can make things easier for the producer, but it seems that Vimeo is encountering (prolonged) issues with delivery of quality streaming. So if you intend to stick with Vimeo, then you have to live with the good and the bad.

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2 hours ago, Michi said:

Yes! Altough the „just“ in that sentence is a big understatement. Fluid streaming is the heart of the whole service, none of the other features can compensate for bad streaming quality. If there was another service offering similar posssibilities, I‘d give it a chance. But it seems there isn‘t...

Agreed!!

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8 minutes ago, Australian Image said:

Look, I'm not saying Vimeo doesn't offer features that can make things easier for the producer, but it seems that Vimeo is encountering (prolonged) issues with delivery of quality streaming. So if you intend to stick with Vimeo, then you have to live with the good and the bad.

Except you started this conversation by saying "I really don't understand why people use Vimeo in the first place". So you got responses off the back of that statement.

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Nezih said:

Except you started this conversation by saying "I really don't understand why people use Vimeo in the first place". So you got responses off the back of that statement.

I still don't, if the problems with Vimeo are sufficient for people across the interwebs to be unhappy with its streaming quality and to raise posts such as this on forums. I'm really noting this not to argue with existing users, but to discuss the issue potentially for the benefit of anyone new and pondering which way to go with online video presentation. One option is free, but with some limitations, the other can cost a lot and also have limitations.

I've found recent online comparisons of Vimeo vs YouTube where the sites list things about YouTube  and Vimeo that are completely wrong. Examples such as YouTube only allowing 15min videos and constant ads or Vimeo having vastly better video quality. There's a lot of misinformation and ill-informed opinions about both services.

The thing to ponder is what, at the end of the day, is the most important thing about video delivery? Is it the final product, or what you need to do before delivering the final product? Where do you put the most effort? Where is placing most of the effort justified? What do you have the most control over?

I just wanted to add a hypothetical question. What if your clients start to complain about the quality of the embedded videos and they want you to fix this? Do you tell them that it's Vimeo and you can't do anything about it? Or do you tell them that Vimeo has now dropped in quality and that you are moving to YouTube, which is more reliable, but it will involve a different process and ask whether the client is happy with that?

You can also state that moving to YouTube will give the client far more visibility, which can be much better for their business. Not only have you improved the video delivery, but potentially improved the client's business as well (as long as you include the right tags etc in the video). That, in turn, might improve your business.

Edited by Australian Image

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Vimeo reached out to us about a month ago when Matt called them out on Twitter and challenged them to improve. A few days later I was on a video conference with the CTO and the actual guys that write the player and optimise the streaming (this was well after-hours eastern time to suit my schedule in Australia). Putting aside the issues anyone's had, that gesture alone says to me that they are committed to fixing any issues. I've invited a few of them to participate on the forums here also.

As I said to Matt, imagine if we criticised a camera's autofocus system and the next week you were on a call with the five engineers who created and are responsible for that system with them all eager to hear about your issues, receive any feedback and discuss what they're planning to fix it. It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But that's how Vimeo has demonstrated their commitment to improving playback.

The main issue for them at the moment is capturing data from specific buffering incidents, so you'll notice when you're watching a video if you hit "d" it opens a debug tool which we've been using to feed data around poor playback to the engineers. They've improved that tool based on user feedback and already made strides in identifying edge cases that cause poor playback and rolled out fixes.

No one can deny that YouTube offers a more streamlined playback, but for professional hosting I have yet to hear a case that YT is a better solution to Vimeo.

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I wanted to mention this, Scott, but wasn't sure if I should. Better to come direct from you. But as you may know, I've also had a few similar conversations with them too (the CTO). The weird thing was, when I first spoke to him he seemed genuinely surprised... as if he wasn't aware that people have been complaining about this for years!

He did however come across as genuinely extremely keen to finally solve it.

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2 minutes ago, Nezih said:

The weird thing was, when I first spoke to him he seemed genuinely surprised... as if he wasn't aware that people have been complaining about this for years!

I'm rarely surprised to learn of engineering teams never actually speaking to front-line users. So much product development is done in a bubble and it's always the marketing reps etc. that receive the end-user feedback but unfortunately those departments are usually siloed from each-other in all but the smallest of companies. Having a direct line to the engineers without a marketing liaison in between is a novel idea, but of course if there's no tangible improvements to the performance it hasn't counted for much. Time will tell!

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Thanks for those insights, Mr. Emerton. That is indeed an encouraging sign when you were able to talk to the engineers. I also did not know about that debug tool...

Lets hope they manage to sort out those issues soon.

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Going back to the original question, I've moved to Wistia to host a couple of showreels for video embedding and Frame.io for password-protected review links.

Wistia playback seems much better compared to Vimeo (personally I've never had a problem, but I know it's not unusual for people to have playback issues) and I'm on a free account, so that's nice too. I have a Vimeo account still but I will probably not renew the Plus membership for it in January.

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Interesting. At first glance Wistia seems like a very expensive option. Only 3 free embeds on the free tier, the £79/$99 a month for the next tier up!

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1 hour ago, Nezih said:

Interesting. At first glance Wistia seems like a very expensive option. Only 3 free embeds on the free tier, the £79/$99 a month for the next tier up!

Yeah I'm going back a few years but when I started planning the current version of MZed in 2016 I went through the process with Wistia and it was going to be somewhere between $10k and $50k a year based on our traffic estimates. Vimeo is $500 flat rate regardless of our consumption, and for 99% of our members/users it works perfectly. For anyone that does have issues I am putting them immediately in touch with the Vimeo engineers to have their individual incidents identified and patched.

Other than YT, Vimeo and Wistia I'm not aware of anyone else but I don't know if there's a need for anyone else.

If you want cheap and reliable with limited control and tools, go YT.
If you want value for money with the occasional hiccup it's Vimeo.
If money's not an issue and you want privacy, tools, and customisation options go Wistia.

As an aside I did do a test with Wistia four years ago and had a much more significant complaint level. We ran an isolated campaign with a free lesson from a Joel Grimes photography course. I liked that Wistia allowed you to play a variable amount of the video and then request the user email address to watch the remainder (I think Vimeo has something like that now). But when we launched on Joel's FB page there was an overwhelming number of complaints of buffering, to the point where it was professionally embarrassing for me. I never experienced any playback issues myself and this was four years ago, so things have likely improved since then.

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4 hours ago, Henry Young said:

Going back to the original question, I've moved to Wistia to host a couple of showreels for video embedding and Frame.io for password-protected review links.

Another vote for Frame.io if you're looking for private hosting. Great workflow, I recently started using the Resolve integration so can publish direct from Resolve's delivery page and it handles the upload and versioning, then syncs the notes back into the timeline. I can then publish direct to Vimeo once final versions are ready to go. Also having the app is great so I get notified of feedback/replies and can jump straight into the timeline to quickly check stuff, or push to Apple TV to easily review on a 4K screen.

I did have one issues where it gave me multiple copies of notes though, so I deleted the copies and before I realised it had deleted all copies of the notes so literally we lost a round of feedback on a file. So not 100% perfect but I haven't seen that bug again.

Not free but I don't think expensive at all ($50/month?) in a professional environment. Vimeo have since launched similar review tools which may catch up soon.

I discovered frame.io on a project with @Ollie Kenchington and was thoroughly impressed, so I can attest as a client that it's an impressive experience that reflects positively on a production business.

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On 5/1/2020 at 9:50 PM, Henry Young said:

Going back to the original question, I've moved to Wistia to host a couple of showreels for video embedding and Frame.io for password-protected review links.

 

Thanks for your feedback. Pricing seems crazy high on Wistia with not much info on what you actually get for that. But no download option it seems. "Grow a community of brand advocates with Wistia" they say in their video. So focused on service for corporate stuff I guess...? I think I'll stick to Vimeo...

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