Explain like I’m 5: VideoCoin (Part 1)

Devadutta Ghat
Mar 5, 2018 · 4 min read

It’s been a few months since I first published the VideoCoin white paper and I’ve gotten some great support and feedback from the community. Since the white paper is fairly technical, I have been asked by many people to write a simplified version to help communicate technicalities of VideoCoin to a wider audience, so here is the first part in a three part series.

In order to keep things simple, this article makes many simplifying assumptions and omits a lot of details. I’m ELI5'ing :)

What is Video?

Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, made by Eadweard Muybridge in 1878, is sometimes cited as the earliest film [Source: Wikipedia].
Video above is just a series of images. [Source: Wikipedia]

Video is basically just a series of still images displayed in quick succession, usually 30 (slightly) different images are shown every second, which tricks your brain into thinking it is watching a smooth flowing “motion picture”. In the example above, the galloping horse “video” is pretty much a series of images as shown in the breakdown below it showed to you in quick succession. You brain thought the horse was galloping. In reality, it was just a series of images.

Why is Video important?

A lot of people watch videos on the internet and on traditional broadcast television.

Just to put that in perspective,

What is video infrastructure?

Video Infrastructure [Source: VideoCoin White Paper]

When you click on a video on YouTube, to your joy, playback starts almost immediately. All the technological magic that happens behind the scenes from the point you clicked on the video till you see it play on your browser is a good summary of what cloud video infrastructure does.

It all starts with the video source, usually a camera, which stores videos in a RAW uncompressed format of images. The source is then encoded which compresses these raw images using codecs (pretty much like .zip file specially built for videos). After that, video is stored on a disk and is distributed to viewers.

What is video encoding? What is transcoding?

Among other things, in order to reduce the amount of storage space a video needs, scientists have come up with many clever methods to convert RAW images form cameras into video “bitstreams” that take significantly lesser space. This conversion process is called encoding.

There are many different ways of “encoding” a video and the process of changing a video from one encoding format to another is called “Transcoding”.

How is Video stored?

Video is stored as an encoded “bitstream”, which is just a series of 1’s and 0’s written to a file. The set of rules that determine how to read these 1’s and 0’s and display them as images is known as “codecs”.

Morse Code [Source: Wikipedia]

A simple example of encoding is Morse Codes. The rules you can see above decide what pattern means what. .- is A, -. is N and so on. Without these rules, Morse Codes would make no sense. Similarly, video codecs are basically rules that help you convert “bitstreams” to visible images.

That’s it for Part 1. I’ll discuss “decentralized video infrastructure” in the next part and then we will explore what you can actually do with this in the final part. All in ELI5 style!

PART 2 of this blog series is here: https://medium.com/videocoin/explain-like-im-5-videocoin-part-2-1e20dbf0a784

If you want a more technical introduction to video codecs, this is a great resource.

Join our Telegram discussion group: https://t.me/videocoin


Powering the Internet's Largest Ecosystem

Devadutta Ghat

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Powering the Internet's Largest Ecosystem

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