Interview with Andrey Okunev, CEO Medialooks
Born in 1980 in Moscow, Andrey spent several years abroad — first in Japan, later in Ireland. Before graduating from the Moscow Technological University (MIREA) in 2003, he started a career in management — launching and running several projects for the international market. In 2005, he and a small team started Medialooks, initially offering DirectShow filters and custom development services. At some point Andrey left Moscow and settled in Siberia, where Medialooks was initially incorporated. Later, the company moved to Kaliningrad — a city on the Baltic coast, an exclave between Lithuania and Poland.
Tell us a little about Medialooks?
Medialooks is a software development company focused on video. We help technology companies bring video products to market quicker, and we help video engineers with content production tasks—specifically with remote video production workflows and multi-channel video capture.
What are your current markets and use cases?
There are at least three areas where we are active these days. One is our Video SDK business: we provide the tools customers need to quickly build all kinds of professional video applications – such as playout automation, ingest, video analysis and live video production systems. By using our products customers stay ahead of the competition while bringing their development costs down.
The second area is Video Transport, an easy-to-use remote video contribution solution: a way for video engineers to produce content either under lockdown conditions, or simply at a lower cost. Finally, there’s Direct Take—our multi-channel video capture tool. And again, it’s about ease of use and cost reduction.
The pandemic has brought many challenges to video production – combined with a huge surge in demand for streaming video of all kinds. How has Medialooks responded to this challenge?
Our high-quality, low-latency video transport product was available far before the pandemic. Even without the restrictions in place, it was obvious for us that people would not travel as much and would not move as much hardware—if they didn’t have to. In 2020, this trend for distributed and remote video production workflows simply accelerated. We strengthened our team and invested a lot of effort into improving and expanding our Video Transport offering.
How is Video Transport different from other solutions available on the market?
We excel in several key areas. First, it’s ease of use: how quickly one can get a stream started in most network environments. Due to our global infrastructure, we make sure that everything happens automatically, without the need for network configuration. Another advantage is integration into existing workflows: VT works seamlessly with both SDI and NDI ecosystems. We also did a hell of a job perfecting the tools for web-based remote contribution – when anyone can contribute to a production from his web browser on any device. Another highlight is our web-based control panel that allows customers to remotely control and manage transmissions – an essential tool for companies who operate multiple locations.
What new developments can you tell us about?
Our latest release is Direct Take 3.0—a brand-new version of the multi-channel video recording app. We’ve had this product for years, but this time it was designed and built from scratch. We really focused on the primary use case of multi-channel video capture for post-production. And we made sure it works very well.
What makes Medialooks unique?
The essence of what we do is simplicity: we make complex things easy to understand, implement, and use. For instance, our Video SDK provides the easiest way to build products for the video market – it is tons times easier than using FFmpeg or building from scratch. With Video Transport we shocked everyone when we allowed instant connectivity for high-quality streams between distant locations. With Direct Take 3.0 we’ve done the same.
Another area where we are definitely special is how we communicate with customers – from pre-sales to support. It is the way our culture was formed while we were helping video developers build great products with the Video SDK. We are just good at it.
What is the next big thing for your segment of the streaming media industry?
It feels that the remote way of producing video content is here to stay. I think the trend for the commoditisation of video tech will continue, and remote video production solutions won’t be an exception.