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Amazon S3 file management, file names, folder names, file types, metadata and file access policies which can stop your videos showing

Amazon set some strict file name rules for users of their Simple Storage Service which allow them to manage, support and control millions of files for thousands of S3 users.

The filenaming policies mean you have to be very careful with how you name your files when uploading otherwise your video and audio will not play online

This is the biggest, overlooked problem we see when supporting on eZs3, but there are 4 other issues of managing your own Amazon s3 account, worth mentioning here

The 5 biggest problems we see that affect user experience here at eZs3 - and as we have no control over them - here's how to avoid them!

The 5 biggest headaches are:
1. Folder Names
2. File Names
3. File Access Permissions
4. Metadata
5. Bit rate

1. Folder Names
Most people name their folders for easy reference and in relation to the project. When you want to upload or create a folder, you have to follow good practice and Amazon s3 is pretty rigid in this.

These are the rules that you must follow when creating or uploading folders:

If you have used a space, comma, exclamation mark, brackets or ampersand.. and any other exotic characters - you will create big problems.

We can't delete folders with exotic names, we can't even access them!

Try our new Desktop File Manager - it won't let you create folders with illegal characters and any uploads will automatically be re-named to comply with the rules

Also, Amazon limits each account to 100 folders - which have to be unique in across the whole of the Amazon Simple Storage Service network. However there is no limit to sub-folders.

Once you know this, it is easy to organize your files into sub folders and make the main folders thematic, project orientated, url related or some other simple logic which will help navigation and administration

Your sub-folders must also follow the same naming criteria

** Make sure your folder access is set to PRIVATE **


2. File Names
When you want to place a file online so that you can share it with others, you don't need to follow the same rules as above, but you still need to take care naming it.

These are the rules for file naming:

We also recommend that you don't use capital letters, and stick to lowercase. Using uppercase can stop your player from working, and if you use uppercase file extensions (.MP4) it can stop your file from streaming

The single biggest mistake is to have spaces in the filename:

my first video.flv

It is OK to have this on your PC.. but online you must connect the words:


(underscore is the most reliable connecting character)

**We can't delete files with exotic characters.. We can't even access the folder!**

Filenames on the internet should only contain alpha numeric characters. Browsers will interpret the filename and if it is not alpha numeric there's no guarantee that the file will show (or that your video will play.)

Try our new Desktop File Manager


3. File Access Control
This is when you set the access policy of the files in your account.

In order for other people to be able to watch your videos - they must be able to access the file.

Sounds obvious (!)

Now, our Uploader and Desktop File manager are set so that the file access will run this way.

But many people use other s3 uploading tools and they are set to restrict access by default.

So if you can't see your video - check the File Access first!

You can do this by clicking Browse files, select the file. Click Folder Access Control and the permissions summary will look like this. Make sure Read is ticked for All Users.

Those 3 issues are at the root of nearly all our support forum posts!


4. Metadata

These are the instructions for the player, i.e.:

Play, pause, rewind, fast forward and stop

The file can't begin playback until these instructions have been downloaded.

For Windows Media (WMV) and Apple QuickTime (MOV) much of the file has to download before playback will start.

For Flash (MP4) we have discovered that many editing suites place the metadata at the end of the file - so again the viewer has to wait for playback.

So, for some MP4 videos, it seems as though nothing is happening - but in fact the file is downloading and will start just as soon as the player information gets through!

1. Solution if you are using Windows: we have found a solution to move the metadata for MP4 files using RNDWare MetaData Mover

2. Solution if you are using a Mac: you can use Adobe Air (as an installation platform) and the QT Index Swapper to fix the metadata on your mp4 files.

You can get adobe air here:


You can get QT Index Swapper for Air here:


Adobe Air is the platform that the program runs on. You have to first download and install Adobe Air. After that finishes, download and install QTIndexSwapper. Run QTIndexSwapper and choose the file you want to fix the metadata issue on.

Flash (FLV) has the metadata at the start of the file and so playback is quicker.


5. Bit rate

In order for your video to play without buffering, stuttering or pausing, download needs to be quicker than playback

To achieve this, we recommend that you keep your bitrate between 2 megabytes and 4 megabytes per minute

Bit rate is the amount of data transferred - (Size of video in megabytes divided by length in minutes = bit rate)

So a 4 minute video that is 12megabytes has a bit rate of 3mb/min and so falls into the recommended range

If your video is larger than this - you may need to re-encode or re-render your files : Bitrate and optimizing your videos for the web


Those are the 5 biggest problems, please check these for your file before posting in the forum.

You can also check out the eZs3 tutorials or the eZs3 FAQs