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This month, the video hosting, sharing and management service Microsoft Stream entered general availability. Stream is an Enterprise grade video service available to Office 365 users, or as a standalone product. The service allows you to upload, share, and view videos securely across your organisation. Any member of your organisation can search for videos, and these can be watched on any device with an internet connection and web browser. Stream can be used by employees for better collaboration and communication via video.
When Microsoft Stream was released in preview last year, we explored the functionality, and relevance of the tool in relation to Office 365 Video, and we speculated (and later confirmed) that Stream was in fact set to replace Microsoft’s existing video offering eventually. Office 365 Video will be slowly phased out (it will still receive ongoing improvements, support and maintenance) and users will be transitioned to Microsoft Stream.
If you’re using Office 365 Video, and are wary about moving to a new service, you should find that Stream has a similar feel, and a straightforward, user-friendly design. This blog demonstrates how to use some of the key functions of Microsoft Stream, so whether you’ll be moving from Office 365 Video, or you’re starting from scratch with Stream, you can hit the ground running.
To get started, all you need to do is sign in with a work email address and enter some basic information. If you have an Office 365 account, you’ll be taken directly to your Office sign in page. In this blog, we’ll be using the Microsoft Stream app included in Office 365.
After setting up your account, you’ll quickly see options relating to channel creation and upload process, as well as the option to invite colleagues. There will also be four black boxes that lead to video tutorials on how to ‘Upload Videos and Grant Permissions’, ‘Search for Videos and Find Content’, ‘Organize Videos with Groups and Channels’, and how to ‘Share and Collaborate with Video’. If you’re completely new to the tool, we highly recommend watching these videos as they’re short and informative, but before we start talking about uploading and sharing, let’s take a closer look at the top navigation bar.
The top navigation bar has buttons for browsing videos, channels, and groups, as well as a section dedicated to your own content. You can also return to your Office 365 apps via the pink button.
The right side of the navigation bar has an upload button with a simple drag and drop function for quick video processing. There’s also an option to invite colleagues into Microsoft Stream, as well as a help section, a feedback section and access to your own account settings.
When you scroll down the main page, you’ll see the ‘Trending’ videos of your organisation, as well as another upload video button.
How to Upload a Video to Microsoft Stream
Now that the basic navigations have been covered, let’s dive into how to upload a video, caption it, as well some other interesting features Microsoft Stream includes.
After clicking ‘Upload your first video’ on the main page, a window should automatically pop up to allow you to choose your video file. When you’ve chosen your video file, open it and the video should automatically start processing.
Just in case your video isn’t processing, make sure to check that the video is in one of the following file formats:
As your video starts processing, in the ‘Details’ section, you can rename your video, add a description, and set the video language. A few thumbnails will also be generated during the processing period, so you can choose from four options or upload your own via the ‘+’ symbol.
Underneath the ‘Details’ section, you’ll find the ‘Permissions’ and ‘Options’ sections. In the ‘Permissions’ section you can choose who the video should be available to, whether it’s organisation or department/ group-wide, as well as who the video can be shared with.
The ‘Options’ section allows you to choose whether facial recognition is applied to the video (so if your video has multiple speakers their faces will be recognised) as well as the choice to turn on the comments section, auto-generate captions (which are currently only available in Spanish and English) or upload your own subtitle file.
When it comes to the ‘Share’ option, you can copy the video link and change the start time through the ‘Start at’ timer and tick box, as well as share the video on Yammer.
Embedding the video is also an option, with the size, timing, auto play option and responsiveness of the video adjustable to your preference.
When all your details, permissions and options are completed, you can publish the video via the ‘Publish now’ button.
After publishing, you can go to ‘My content’ and view your video through ‘My videos’.
Here, you can see your uploaded video, as well as the amount of views, likes, and comments. On this page, you can also search for videos by name, and filter them by upload date, relevance, likes, and views. You can sort by ‘State’, which filters by draft or published videos, and it is also possible to search by privacy settings, with the choice of ‘Company’ and ‘Limited’ available.
To view your video, click on it.
As your video plays, you may see a white slider underneath the video next to an image of the speaker. This is the facial recognition software in Microsoft Stream, and since our video only has one speaker, we only have one slider following the video underneath. If you remove the facial recognition option during the editing process, this bar won’t appear.
If your video has captions or subtitles, you can activate these via the cog button on the bottom right corner of the video itself, as well as change the view to theatre mode, and expand the video to full screen through the double-ended arrow.
If you want to ‘like’ a video, ‘share it’, add it to a watch list or group channel, ‘edit’, ‘delete’, or ‘download’ the original video, you can click the relevant option above the video.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, you should have successfully uploaded your first video to Microsoft Stream for everyone to watch, like, share, comment and collaborate on.
Creating a Channel
If your company uploads a large amount of video content, and would like to divide videos by topic, or have exclusive groups where only certain members can view specific videos, you can create a channel, a group, or a channel within a group.
Channels are a great method for organisations to drive community content creation. Unlike groups, channels don’t have permissions on their own. Anyone who follows your channel can get updates, and you can decide whether the channel is company-wide (which allows anyone to add and remove videos) or whether it’s a group channel, where you can limit contributors.
To create a channel, click the link on the main page of Microsoft Stream.
A window should pop up allowing you to set a channel name, add a description, and decide whether the channel is company-wide or within a group. You can also add a custom image for the channel.
When your channel has been created, you can find it through the ‘My content’ button.
And that’s it! As you can see, it’s very easy to create a new channel where you can upload videos, gain followers as well as edit and delete your content.
Now that you’ve explored Microsoft Stream, you can start using the service to post, share, and discover new video content across your organisation. Microsoft Stream is customisable to your content, so you can adjust the service to fit around your needs. You could start encouraging departments and teams to create their own channels and start posting their own video content for project work, and collaboration. Additionally, Stream enables you to upload videos you want everyone to see, like training materials and footage from company events.
The Future of Office 365 Video and Microsoft Stream
The transition of Office 365 Video users to Microsoft Stream is set to start ‘in the second half of 2017’, which presumably means that the process is underway now. Users will be notified of any changes via the Office 365 Admin center. The transition won’t be entirely seamless, as users will lose some major features that aren’t currently available in Microsoft Stream, but Microsoft is pushing to include these features in the future, and has released a list of comparisons between both services, as well as a timeline and roadmap for future releases.
Like all new Office 365 tools and services, we’ll be following the progress of Microsoft Stream as it rolls out across Office 365 users, and gains more functionality. If you’re using Stream already, why not let us know what you think by commenting on this post?
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