Insys Video Technologies Helps Performing Arts Theater TR Warszawa Customize VOD Portal on AWS
TR Warszawa, a modern performing arts theater in Warsaw, Poland, responded to production closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic with an ambitious goal: to securely stream performances of its plays online and monetize them to support its business. In just a matter of weeks, it needed to design and implement a video-on-demand (VOD) solution that would let viewers pay to watch plays on their televisions and mobile devices at home.
To accomplish this goal, TR Warszawa built its solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the help of Insys Video Technologies (Insys VT), a video-integration company and an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner. Insys VT helped the theater customize its white-label solution to create and monetize a VOD and livestreaming portal in the cloud.
Expanding the Theater’s Reach in the Cloud
TR Warszawa highlights modern, innovative theatrical productions from artists in Poland and around the world. Based in Warsaw, the theater is an important part of the city’s cultural center. When restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person performances, TR Warszawa looked for a way to bring live and previously filmed productions to its patrons online. The theater defined several criteria for its project: the streaming service needed to protect performance videos from internet piracy; it needed to have an interface that aligned visually with the theater’s website; and TR Warszawa’s partner for the project needed to provide professional technical support for the rollout and ongoing maintenance.
Starting in March 2020, the theater spent about 4 months searching for solutions. It reached out to AWS Partner, Insys Video Technologies, for help. “We started designing in the beginning of September 2020, and our deadline was October 26,” says Monika Dziekan, the Managing Director’s Representative for Organization Development at TR Warszawa. After settling on the design, Insys VT customized its white-label over-the-top (OTT) solution for the theater and successfully implemented the new streaming service in about 4 weeks. “Creating and delivering an OTT video service can be extremely complex and time-consuming,” says Krzysztof Bartkowski, CEO of Insys VT. “We built our OTT solution on AWS, so video providers can quickly deploy and monetize VOD services and easily scale as demand increases.” TR Warszawa credits the support it received from Insys VT for its ability to quickly launch the streaming service.
“Insys VT is the best partner. The team provides excellent technical support. It has helped us achieve our goals on AWS.”
- Monika Dziekan, Managing Director’s Representative for Organization Development, TR Warszawa
Customizing a Video Streaming Service on AWS
Insys VT had already been using AWS Elemental, a suite of purpose-built media solutions, for 6 years. The company, which is also an AWS Public Sector Partner and part of the AWS Solution Provider Program, worked with TR Warszawa to implement a custom VOD solution that would enable almost anyone using a web browser to watch plays performed at the theater. It used several AWS services, including Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a secure object storage service, to build the solution.
The new web service goes beyond media playback to include bonus content; live, interactive discussions; and a customized user interface. Using AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service that lets users run code without provisioning or managing servers, TR Warszawa can perform automated VOD transcoding. It uploads, converts, and sends media to cloud storage on AWS, enabling consumers to watch performances on nearly any device that has a web browser. The theater uses AWS Lambda to automatically trigger AWS Elemental MediaConvert, a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features, which transcodes new video files into the proper formats for streaming. The VOD solution also protects the transcoded video files from piracy by using digital rights management, client-side watermarking, and location-based blocking. Using AWS to power this pipeline enables the company to access powerful media conversion and broadcasting tools while benefiting from the scalability of its serverless infrastructure.
Reaching a Global Audience on Serverless Architecture
The solution Insys VT created on AWS also enables TR Warszawa to livestream its productions to viewers across Poland and around the world. The streaming pipeline uses AWS Elemental MediaLive, a broadcast-grade live video processing service, to encode and process the files. Then, AWS Elemental MediaPackage, a service that prepares and protects internet video, converts the videos into media that users can stream on mobile phones and smart TVs.
Insys VT uses Amazon CloudFront, a programmable content-delivery network, to scale its VOD offering and manage livestream performance. “Amazon CloudFront provides reliability and high availability that enables TR Warszawa to stream to thousands of users without any interruptions,” says Seweryn Biegański, Presales Engineer at Insys VT. The solution enables TR Warszawa to monetize both its livestreamed events and its on-demand recordings. Through its VOD offerings especially—which cost much less to produce than livestreamed events—the theater has found a new source of revenue. “Using the OTT solution, people from all over Poland can access TR Warszawa’s filmed productions,” says Aleksandra Ochranowicz, Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Insys VT. “The theater can expand its reach and monetize its content much more than through traditional theater sales.” Using the new solution, TR Warszawa can accept payments from its patrons in various currencies.
Implementing a service of this scope was a substantial undertaking for TR Warszawa, but Insys VT provided valuable support and consulting. “If there is a problem, I know that someone from Insys VT is looking for a solution,” says Dziekan. “It’s very important to know that we’re not alone in dealing with an issue.” Now the theater can enjoy the rewards of its secure OTT solution, and its patrons can enjoy productions online. By using AWS, TR Warszawa also avoids much of the steep overhead that building infrastructure would otherwise require. “A cultural organization or startup doesn’t have to invest a huge amount of money to buy hardware,” says Biegański. “Using the cloud is very cost effective; you can pay only for what you are using, and you have huge potential to expand.”
“Amazon CloudFront provides reliability and high availability that enable TR Warszawa to stream to thousands of users without any interruptions.”
- Seweryn Biegański, Presales Engineer, Insys Video Technologies
Planning to Expand VOD
TR Warszawa plans to continue working with Insys VT to expand its VOD and livestreaming portal using AWS. One of the possibilities the theater is considering is a new phone app that will provide enhanced mobile access. “Insys VT is the best partner,” says Dziekan. “The team provides excellent technical support. It has helped us achieve our goals on AWS.”
About TR Warszawa
Modern performing arts theater, TR Warszawa, aims to integrate residents and visitors into the cultural life of Poland’s capital city. Part of Warsaw’s cultural center, it features Polish and international talent.
About Insys Video Technologies
Insys Video Technologies is a video-integration company that provides OTT solutions, hardware, and software; is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and AWS Public Sector Partner; and is part of the AWS Solution Provider Program.
Published June 2021