Troubleshooting Guide

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This guide is designed to assist Ensemble Video Customers with identifying problems and suggest possible solutions. This is a general troubleshooting guide and attempts to cover the most common issues/configuration problems and assist with resolution. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please contact support@ensemblevideo.com for more extensive troubleshooting and diagnostics.

Problem or Issue

Ensemble Web Application

Website won’t open or throws an error.

If you are unable to get the web application to load, this could might indicate an IIS or DB issue.

Restart Ensemble Services

  1. Restart the Ensemble Service
    • Open Services from Windows
    • Find “Ensemble Service” from the list
    • Right click and choose “Restart”
  2. Restart Redis service
    • Open Services from Windows
    • Find “Redis” from the list
    • Right click and choose “Restart”
  3. Restart IIS Service
    • Open a CMD prompt with Administrator rights
    • Type in “iisreset” and press enter

After your restart (or start) the service, open the properties for Ensemble Service and Redis service and set the Recovery options:

  1. Right click “Ensemble Service”
  2. Choose Properties
  3. Click on the Recovery tab
  4. Set the recovery for all 3 failures to “Restart Service”
    1. First Failure = “Restart Service”
    2. Second Failure = “Restart Service”
    3. Subsequent Failures = “Restart Service”
  5. Click OK
  6. Right click “Redis”
  7. Choose Properties
  8. Click on the Recovery tab
  9. Set the recovery for all 3 failures to “Restart Service”
    1. First Failure = “Restart Service”
    2. Second Failure = “Restart Service”
    3. Subsequent Failures = “Restart Service”
  10. Click OK

Check Database Connection

  1. Ensure the SQL Server is up and running
  2. Use SQL Management Studio to open the database as the Ensemble User account and run a simple “Select” query to confirm user has the correct permissions. You can get the Ensemble User account information from the config file in the root of inetpub\wwwroot\ensemble\configs
  3. If SQL and Ensemble are on different servers, use Telnet to test connectivity over port 1433 to rule out any firewall/blocking issues for communications. Note: You must enable Telnet under Programs and Features / Turn Windows Features On or Off before you can use the CMD Prompt to test with Telnet. Use the following syntax to check connectivity, a blank screen means it works…any errors indicate a communication issue:
    telnet YourSQLServerName  1433

Contact Ensemble Support

If none of the above have resolved your problems please contact Ensemble Support (support@ensemblevideo.com). Please include any changes that have occurred recently to help diagnose the problem (i.e. Windows Patches, Ensemble Hotfixes, hardware/software additions or removals, etc.).  

No Thumbnails for Videos and Playback Doesn’t Work

This error usually indicates a path issue. This is a common error when customers have moved or relocated their WWWROOT folder due to space issues or server migration/upgrades.  

Check Web Application Path in Ensemble

Ensemble contains a System Setting value named “Web Application Path” that points to the root of the APP folder for the Ensemble Web App. If this path is wrong, the images won’t load for the web application.

Also, if the thumbnails don’t load, then videos won’t playback. The player attempts to load the thumbnail image first before it starts playback. If that fails, it will prevent the player from continuing with the video load. So, thumbnail and Web Application Path issues will actually prevent videos from streaming.

  1. Log on to Ensemble Web Application as System Administrator
  2. Navigate to Administration -> System -> Settings
  3. Find the Web Application Path
  4. Edit the path to point to the correct location

License error / No Add Bulk Upload Buttons

After you log on to Ensemble, if you receive a invalid license warning at the top of the page, this could indicate either a Ensemble Service issue or your license may have actually expired. Where there is a license issue the primary complaint is the missing Add and Bulk Upload buttons. This is usually the first symptom users notice that would indicate a license issue. There are a couple things to check below before contacting Ensemble Support.

Is the Ensemble Video Service running?

The Ensemble Service Windows service periodically checks the license, and if the service is not running or has stopped running for whatever reason, the Add and Bulk upload buttons will become unavailable. Be sure it is running and restart if necessary. After you apply a new license key, you will need to restart the Ensemble Video Windows service.

Restart Ensemble Services

  1. Restart the Ensemble Service
    1. Open Services from Windows
    2. Find “Ensemble Service” from the list
    3. Right click and choose “Restart”

Check for a Valid License

Check the System Administration tab –> License control and verify that there is a valid license key. If there is not, copy the server ID on the license page and send it to support@ensemblevideo.com and we will send you a new license key. Once you get a new license key, apply that key in the System Administration Tab –> License control, and then restart the Ensemble Video Windows service on the Ensemble Video server.

Restart Ensemble Services

  1. Restart the Ensemble Service
    1. Open Services from Windows
    2. Find “Ensemble Service” from the list
    3. Right click and choose “Restart”

Missing Embed/Permalink/Share options

A video must be published, or the embed/permalink/social sharing options below the thumbnail in the Media Library will not be available.

Is the content marked as "Ready" in the media library?

If the content doesn’t have a Ready state listed than the file could still be processing. Once the file has completed transcoding, thumbnail generation and metadata extraction it should automatically change to the Ready state. However, there might be an issue with the source file itself that is preventing transcoding to finish. Please see the section that deals with transcoding issues for tips on troubleshooting that problem.

Is the video published to only to a secure playlist?

In Ensemble Video if a video is published to a secured playlist(s) and is NOT published to any other playlists, then the video is considered “secured” and the embed/permalink/social sharing buttons below the thumbnail in the Media Library are disabled. If you publish to another non-secured playlist, you will see the embed/permalink/social sharing options are made available, since the video will no longer be considered “secure”. You can also un-publish from all secured playlist and the permalink/embed/social sharing buttons will be available (but the video must still be published).

Another option you can use if you are only publishing to a Secure Playlist is to enable the New Security Policy settings

  1. Logon to Ensemble Video with at least an Org Admin account
  2. Go to Administration -> Organization -> Libraries
  3. Select Action -> Edit for the Library
  4. Check the New Security Policy checkbox
  5. Click Save

Video Playback

M3U8 Error

JWPlayer will display a generic M3U8 error for a number of different playback issues. This section will assist in troubleshooting some of the most common causes of M3U8.

Is the Wowza Windows service running?

If your Wowza service isn’t running (for whatever reason), you might get an M3U8 error when trying to playback a video. To check the status of your Wowza Server:

  1. Log on to your Wowza Server
  2. Open Windows Services
  3. Right Click “Wowza Streaming Engine 4.x.x”
  4. Choose Restart (or Start if the process isn’t running)

After your restart (or start) the service, open the properties for Wowza Streaming Engine and set the Recovery options:

  1. Right click “Wowza Streaming Engine 4.x.x.”
  2. Choose Properties
  3. Click on the Recovery tab
  4. Set the recovery for all 3 failures to “Restart Service”
    1. First Failure = “Restart Service”
    2. Second Failure = “Restart Service”
    3. Subsequent Failures = “Restart Service”
  5. Click OK

Check Your DNS Resolution

DNS Name Resolution is critical to playback. If you have an incorrect entry in DNS, this will result is M3U8 errors. Be sure you are testing your DNS name resolution from both on and off campus.    Most organizations have dual DNS system configured so you might be able to resolve correctly on campus. However, once you leave the campus, your playback might not work. A very common cause of playback issue is incomplete DNS configuration. The following steps will allow you to test your DNS Name Resolution for all of your Host Records.

  1. Open a CMD prompt
  2. Type in “nslookup” and press Enter
  3. Type in your Wowza Server URL and press enter
    1. “media.mywowza.edu”
  4. Record the IP Address
  5. Switch your server to the Google DNS and rerun the query
  6. Type “server 8.8.8.8” and press enter
  7. Type in your Wowza Server URL and press enter
    1. “media.mywowza.edu”
  8. Record the IP Address
  9. Compare the IP from step 4 to Step 8, they should be the same (unless your organization uses advanced routing feature such as NAT)
  10. Refer to your IT Department for assistance with troubleshooting any DNS Name Resolution errors you might discover.

Command Prompt nslookup

Check Your Wowza SSL Certificate

Often there is an issue with the SSL Certificate used when streaming HLS content. Since the content is embedded inside the player window, your typical SSL errors won’t display and many times you just get the M3U8 error in the player. To check your SSL Certificate:

  1. Go to this website: https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html
  2. Type in your Wowza URL into the Server Hostname
  3. Click “Check SSL”

SSL Checker 
Screenshot

You should have all green checks for each level of the test. If you don’t please, work with your organizations IT Security group to resolve the certificate issues. 

All Green Checkmarks

Check Wowza Streaming Ports

Wowza uses a couple standard ports for streaming. Our standard setup uses HLS for playback (port 443 by default), RTMP for live streaming (port 1935 by default), and some RTSP for live streaming (port 554 by default). Testing to ensure the ports are open is a simple process but this must be done both on and off campus. There are different firewalls and network rules that impact network traffic on and off campus. So, you run the following tests from both sides of your network.

  1. Open a web browser (Edge, Chrome, FF, Safari, etc.)
  2. Test HLS Port (443) by using the following URL in your browser
    1. https://media.mywowza.edu
  3. Test RTMP (1935)
    1. http://media.mywowza.edu:1935
  4. Test RTSP (554)
    1. http://media.mywowza.edu:554
  5. For all of these test, you should get a simple HTML page with the following text
    Wowza Streaming Engine 4 Subscription Edition 4.X.X buildxxxxx

*****Remember to run the tests above from both on and off campus*****

One of my videos is not streaming

Is the video MP4/H.264 with AAC or MP3 Audio? If you aren’t using Ensemble Squeeze to transcode your videos, then you must upload videos that have H.264 video encoding and AAC audio encoding.

In most cases, users upload content using a Media Workflow that will transcode the uploaded video to an MP4/H.264/AAC file. Most libraries also have a No Transcode workflow and in some cases users will upload an MOV, WMV, AVI, SWF, or other file that is not transcoded, and those files cannot be streamed to viewers from the Wowza streaming server. Keep in mind that even if the file is an MP4, it has to be an H.264 with an ACC audio codec. So there are many MP4 files that aren’t streamable due to all the different codecs that are available when creating an MP4 (or MP3). 

Media Workflow Paths

In some cases, a Media Workflow will be created that has an incorrect or outdated path. Every workflow has Upload Path and a Web Path. Both must be correct or there will be an error in playback. 

  1. Log on to Ensemble
  2. Click on Administration -> Library -> Media Workflows
  3. Click on Edit next to the workflow in question
  4. Check the Upload Path and Web Path to ensure they are correct
  5. If the Upload Path is a Network Location, ensure the Username/Password/Domain are correct otherwise the file will not be uploaded for playback
  6. Click on the Test button at the bottom of the page to test access to the Upload Path
  7. Use the base Web Path URL to confirm the Wowza Ports are working (see previous section)

Can’t Stream to Mobile Devices

Are videos in a format suitable for mobile streaming? Videos must be MP4/H.264 with AAC audio, and they must be encoded at a reasonable bit rate to support mobile network access (via shared wireless and cell networks). The Ensemble Video provided transcoding profiles (e.g., “Compress and Stream” and “ABR HQ”) are all designed to support seamless playback on iOS/Android mobile devices, we recommend transcoding uploaded media to ensure reliable, efficient streaming to mobile phones and tablets. If the codec is set correctly, also check the filename of the streaming file in question. Special characters like '...' in the file name will interfere with playback on iOS.

The other most common problem when streaming to Mobile Devices is a broken certificate chain.   Please refer to the section above on how to test your Wowza SSL Certificate.

MP3 Content Won’t Play

Content is delivered via the Apple HLS streaming protocol. In order for MP3 playback to work over HLS, you must enable CupertinoPacketizeAllStreamsAsTSVOD for each Wowza application. Please see this link for more information and instructions on how to edit your Wowza config.

https://www.wowza.com/docs/how-to-configure-wowza-server-to-stream-audio-only-apple-hls-using-transport-stream

Live Streaming

Ensemble Video provides the ability to live stream and record events. The recordings are made on the Wowza server and then transferred via the Ensemble Service once the event has finished streaming.  

Can’t Start a Stream

Ensemble Video uses RTMP as the protocol to accept incoming streams. You must ensure you are using the correct URL to send the stream. RTMP is used (note this is not RTMPS) to send a stream from an encoder to the Wowza server. Most encoders will not support sending via RTMPS as this time. The following steps assume you have Live Streaming/Recording already setup correctly for your Institution.

  1. Log on to Ensemble Video
  2. Click on Live Stream
  3. Click on the blue information icon next to the live stream you want to useHighlighted blue information button
  4. You will be presented with the Stream Information screen
  5. Stream Information Screen
  6. Copy the Encoding URL and the Stream Name.
    ***NOTE: Encoding URL and Stream Name are CaSe SeNsItive!   Copy and paste the exact text from these two boxes into your encoder.***
    ***Note: Port 1935 must be open, please refer to earlier section on how to test Wowza Ports***

Recordings Aren’t Showing Up in Media Library

First ensure the Ensemble Video service is running. If it isn’t, please see previous section on how to restart the Ensemble Video Service.

Next, ensure your settings are correct for Ensemble Video:

  1. Log on to Ensemble Video with a System Admin account
  2. Click on Administration -> System -> Settings
  3. Find the Live Streaming: Folder Listener Location
  4. Ensure that path exists and is accessible from the Ensemble Server
  5. Find the Upload: Ensemble Video Address
  6. Ensure that URL is correct

Note your Ensemble Service might be “Running As” a specific user under Services. The Path that is listed under Live Streaming: Folder Listener Location MUST be accessible to whatever context the Ensemble Service is running under.  

Performance Issues

Live streaming is resource intensive. Your Wowza server must be equipped to handle the load.   The higher the video resolution the heavier the load on the server. You must balance quality of the stream with the quantity of anticipated users. Baseline hardware for Wowza would be 8 Cores with 16GB of RAM. Building up from there for more concurrent viewers or higher quality streams.   There is a large amount of testing that must happened to properly build out your live streaming server.

CDN is an option for live events where you anticipate a large number of concurrent streams. CDN allows you to offload the viewers to a cloud server (Azure or Amazon) and only stream a single source from your Wowza server. Please contact Ensemble Support for more information on this option (support@ensemblevideo.com)

For more information on Streaming Capacity Planning please see:
https://help.ensemblevideo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003851686-Streaming-Capacity-Planning-Guide 

Video Transcoding

Ensemble uses Sorenson Squeeze for video transcoding. The Squeeze server operates on dedicated VM due to the requirement of transcoding videos.  

Transcoder Service Unavailable

If you receive this message, this usually indicates and issue between Ensemble and the Squeeze sever. Quick fix is to restart both services.

  1. Log on to Squeeze Server
  2. Open Services
  3. Find “Squeeze Server” service and start/restart the service
  4. Allow 2-3 minutes for service to come online, it takes some time to restart
  5. After 2-3 minutes logon to Ensemble Server
  6. Open Services
  7. Find “Ensemble Service” and start/restart the service

Transcoded File is Blurry

This is almost always due to double encoding of videos. If you upload an already transcoded MP4 H.264/ACC file that is ready to stream and choose a Workflow that will re-transcode that file again, you will lose quality. Every time you run a file through the transcoder. there is loss of quality. You want to start with a high-quality source file (WMV, AVI, MTS, etc.) and then have Squeeze transcode to a streamable MP4.

If you have an older Ensemble Video installation, you might want to consider changing your default Compress and Stream Transcoding Profile to use a higher bit rate or perhaps you want to consider using Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR). For more info, visit https://help.ensemblevideo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004211323-Streaming-and-Playback-Specifications

If you only have an MP4 and it is a bit rate that will stream without issue, you can upload to a No Transcode workflow that will bypass the transcoder and stream whatever file you uploaded. Keep in mind you must ensure the file is a H.264/ACC file that isn’t too large of a bitrate so users on mobile or limited wireless networks have playback issues.

Transcoded File has Audio Sync Issues

This is usually a Reader issue in Sorenson Squeeze. In some cases, a different reader must be configured for certain file types. For example, MP4 files in Squeeze are forced to use the FFMPEG reader instead of the default Windows reader. Without that configuration change, there are audio sync issues with the transcoded file when it is finished and returned to Ensemble.  

Your Squeeze server will be configured with the default setup and shouldn’t need any configuration changes. However, if you find you are having sync issues, please contact Ensemble Support.

Transcoded File is Sideways

Related to the Audio Sync Issues above, your iOS files from iPhone or iPads must be converted using the QuickTime Reader. If you use any other reader (i.e. FFMPEG), then the video rotation might not be set correctly and you will end up with a sideways video after transcoding is complete.  

Uploaded File Fails to Transcode

Check the Log for errors in Manage Content. In the Manage Content form of the Add/Edit wizard, there is a link to a Log of the processing that occurred for any encoding processed for that item.  Click on the Log and view the information there and you will likely find an error message. It may be that there is a storage issue, or perhaps a UNC path where security settings have been changed.

Video Transcodes but has Video or Audio issues

Your video uploads and transcodes without any errors, but when you play the final product, the video is blank, audio doesn’t sync to the video, or there are other strange artifacts. This might indicate an issue with the Squeeze Default Reader. Squeeze is configured to use a specific software codec to decode or “read” each file type (e.g., QuickTime for MOV, FFMPEG for MP4, etc.). You may be able to address transcoded file issues by changing the default reader for a file type. For example, you could specify that MOV files are processed by FFMPEG rather than QuickTime. Be aware that there might be unseen consequences to changing the default reader. For example, if you use FFMPEG for MOV files then video rotation won’t work. Only QuickTime can interpret the video rotation of IOS videos correctly.

For more information on Squeeze Readers, please visit:

https://support.sorensonmedia.com/customer/portal/articles/1426934-new-default-reader-in-squeeze-server?b_id=470

or contact Ensemble Support: support@ensemblevideo.com

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