Now let’s get into why you’re really here.
You made something you want people to watch. Congrats! Now is the hard part, making it easy for them to watch. Self Distribution on your personal website is a great option and is kind of a gimme now. But, more likely than not your audience is going to want something easier. Luckily most TVs, Consoles, etc have streaming apps you can access right on the couch.
Amazon Video has a feature now called Amazon Direct. Amazon Direct allows you to self publish, setup a store page, link banking information, and even choose pricing (add free for Prime etc.).
Sounds great! But whats the catch. Well it’s just gonna take some time, especially if they reject your first few Mezzanine uploads. The Mezzanine file is essentially the Master copy you’ll submit for review. Amazon then transcodes the file to optimize for streaming on tv, phone, and lower quality options. This is a great idea in theory, but at this time it’s probably the biggest hurdle in the whole process.
Amazon gives you the export settings on how to achieve a "proper" Mezzanine file, but if you’re like us they’ll reject your first 3 attempts even after following the steps to a T. This wouldn’t be so bad if the upload tool could tell you that information, but it takes 2-4 business days for each rejection and the feedback you’ll get back just tells you you’re doing it wrong with no hint at how to correct it.
My biggest gripe with this process is that Amazon converts the Mezzanine files once they get uploaded anyways, so why even had upload restrictions?
For whatever reason following the export settings for ProRes 422 didn’t work for us. After multiple uploads and Amazon coming back with Mezzanine file errors I transcoded the file into .h264 and after a month we were finally accepted.
Recorded live at The Windup Space in Baltimore, MD.