Q&A with Vittorio Giovara, Lead of Video Encoding at Vimeo
Please introduce your company and yourself briefly.
Vimeo is the world’s largest, ad-free, open video platform, providing professional software, tools, and technology for creators to host, distribute, and monetize their videos anywhere. My work at Vimeo ensures videos are encoded at the best possible quality.
I am a long-time video hacker and member of several multimedia open source communities. I have always been interested in video quality preservation and color conversion and sharing this knowledge around the world.
What first brought you to AOMedia and why did you decide to become a member?
We wanted to be on the frontline when AV1 was released and contribute to AOMedia’s mission to bring a true royalty-free and next-generation video codec to the industry. Since joining, we’ve been able to submit feedback on ancillary data such as color space signaling and ISOBMFF encapsulation. Having some initial knowledge on the codec helped facilitate our scope of work, define where to focus our development efforts, and identify which software to choose.
What are you currently working on with regards to AV1? How will end-users benefit from your work? Businesses? Markets?
We recently completed integrating rav1e, Mozilla’s open-source AV1 encoder, into our pipeline. Closely following its development, we were able to contribute several improvements, especially in the rate control algorithm and C integration. Vimeo is in a unique position thanks to its video encoding expertise and availability of a very varied content portfolio.
Both our creators and fellow developers will benefit from an innovative, clean-room implementation of the familiar AV1 encoding tools. Creators will enjoy a transparent improvement in the visual quality for their watched videos; developers will have an alternative encoder option to choose from, either for use in production or for a verification/benchmark tool.
What are your expectations for the next couple of years? How will membership with the AOMedia enhance your organization?
We expect AV1 adoption to be more present across the video industry, eventually becoming the new ubiquitous codec as hardware and software implementation become widespread and reach users’ hands. In the upcoming years, Vimeo has plans to expand the use of AV1 encodes to content-generating high traffic or meeting certain technical requirements. Specifically, as soon as 10 or 12-bit decoding becomes viable, our encoding profiles will evolve to support HDR and feature match our existing encodes in HEVC.
What AOMedia efforts are you most excited about?
We’re excited that the focus is on refining the current specifications and tooling, and are looking forward to continuing our work and contributions. We also admire AOMedia’s efforts in promoting open and royalty-codecs at major industry events, and we’re looking forward to getting more involved with those.
A portion of our production content is already using AV1 in day-to-day use: most of our recent Staff Picks content (a curated channel with the best of the best videos on Vimeo) with an AV1 rendition, which is used as default codec for any supported platform (as of this writing Firefox and Chrome).
Anything else to add? Learnings/takeaways from Big Apple Video (BAV2019) conference? Launching AV1?
The most relevant and common takeaway from BAV2019 was that there are several industry players already adopting AV1 and releasing products including AOM members Cisco, Intel, Visionular, Amazon (Twitch), and NGCodec. This alone justifies investing and supporting the new video codec and demonstrates that the video community is really interested in the technology behind it.