cloudonaut plus - Behind the scenes

Michael Wittig – 04 Mar 2021

Since November last year, we published more than 20 videos and online events with tips, pitfalls, code examples, and our independent opinion. We covered AWS SSO, IMDSv2, IAM policies, S3 encryption, AMP, and many more. The community of cloudonaut plus members has grown to a size where exciting discussions happen, and the community generates new topic ideas. It’s time for a behind the scenes blog post to share what we learned. Learn how we create exclusive videos and online events for AWS professionals.

Behind the scenes

Producing videos is not easy

In August 2020, we had no idea what is needed to produce high-quality videos or streams. Luckily, Andreas shares his office with freelancers with diverse backgrounds. One of them—Moritz—is a professional filmmaker and photographer. We soon learned that an iPhone is not the best option to produce videos. Instead, we need a good scene, good light, good sound, good camera, suitable hardware, and software to process the video stream. The only problem: We had no idea what good meant for all those pieces. We hired Moritz to develop a visually appealing scene that fits into my home office and the list of parts that we needed to produce high-quality videos. After a short discussion, we realized that we need to set a budget too. The following video shows our studio / my home office.

Hardware list

  • Headset: Beyerdynamic DT 297 PV (80 ohm)
  • Audio interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6400 body with Sony SEL50F18B lens
  • Capture Card: 2x Blackmagic DeckLink Mini Recorder
  • Main Lightning: ~150€ Ring Light from Amazon
  • Head Lightning: LED Panel Light from Neewer
  • Background Lightning: 5x Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Play Lightbar and Philips Hue Bridge

Keep in mind that our lights are not the best available quality. The color temperature will change over time. If the device displays a number, it will be wrong. We used a color temperature meter to align the main and headlight.

Software we use

We use OBS controlled by a STREAM DECK controller to record the raw video. We also use OBS for streaming. We run OBS on Windows 10 with an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6x3.80GHz processor (water-cooled).

We tried OBS on macOS first. We wasted many hours and finally switched to Windows.

For video editing, we use DaVinci Resolve. It is much better compared to everything (Camtasia, iMovie) I used before. You can also find many tutorials on YouTube. We also hired Steffen to edit the videos for us at the beginning of the year, and it works great.

Video hosting

We started to host the videos on YouTube. But we are not big fans of platforms. They dictate the rules and don’t pay taxes. Luckily, displaying videos on modern browsers is not too hard. Video.js adds “smooth quality change” to deliver the best quality for your bandwidth. We use AWS Elemental MediaConvert to convert the edited video (MOV format) into small chunks that your browser can easily download while you watch. The CDN stays the same: Amazon CloudFront. We will write another blog post about the process of video hosting in the future.

Michael Wittig

Michael Wittig

I’ve been building on AWS since 2012 together with my brother Andreas. We are sharing our insights into all things AWS on cloudonaut and have written the book AWS in Action. Besides that, we’re currently working on bucketAV, HyperEnv for GitHub Actions, and marbot.

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