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movies on website - what is required?
rhodopsin




msg:860744
 3:57 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

From what I can gather, with movies on a site I have 2 options
) use streaming
) don't use streaming.

Not using streaming - will this save a lot on bandwidth (data transfer) costs? Or are the streaming and non-streaming scenarios going to use the same amount of bandwidth?

If I have movies on my site - but NO streaming - do I need anything special on my site? Can I just put the video files (mpegs) in a folder and make HTML links to these mpegs for download. That is it?

 

Robino




msg:860745
 4:10 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can I just put the video files (mpegs) in a folder and make HTML links to these mpegs for download. That is it?

Yep, you can do that.

What are these movies for?

faltered




msg:860746
 4:15 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

You might also want to include a link to quicktime or another program in case users aren't able to view the movies. Then they can download something without leaving your site.

stef24




msg:860747
 4:16 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

streaming might save bandwith if the user stops watching the movie before the end, dont underestimate this. when downloading, the user will download the whole file even if he only watches half afterwards.

video for streaming is usually also of lower quality and filesize, since a stream can only take so much coming through (alot of sites will offer lower quality for a 56k modem than for a dsl connection precisely for this reason). You could never offer dvd quality mpg for streaming, but you could do this with a compressed .avi - huge difference in filesize

yep all you need is an html link. but, depending on the user's configuration, a file intended for download may start streaming ... since there are so many different players and configurations its hard to predict what will happen. i would solve this by instructing the user to right-click and "save target as", or placing the file in a .zip thus perhaps also saving on bandwith since your file is smaller.

markd




msg:860748
 5:29 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am considering purchasing the Flash Video extension for Dreamweaver to adapt a range of video clip formats to .FLV format.

This means (as far as I know) that anyone who has the Flash plug-in can view 'video' - no mucking about with different players.

Haven't heard anything regarding the relative file sizes produced by .FLV vs. MPEG, AVI, Quicktime etc.

ps. I thought there was 'a bit more too it' to add video to a web page, beyond putting the MPEG's in a folder and linking to them. Do you not have to assign a target player in your HTML?

rhodopsin




msg:860749
 5:56 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

thanks guys for all these posts. Brilliant. Just to follow up on some points in the above posts:

Q) "thought there was 'a bit more too it' to add video to a web page, beyond putting the MPEG's in a folder and linking to them. Do you not have to assign a target player in your HTML?"

Is this the case?

Q) "yep all you need is an html link. but, depending on the user's configuration, a file intended for download may start streaming ..."

This is very interesting - so I may actually get streaming without doing anything fancy on my server. Kind of get it for free if you like. This is Ok because it is not that I am that against streaming - it is just that I am intimidated by what I would have to do to set it up (in fact I have read quite a bit about it and still dont really get it completely). So - if this is true - and I can actually get streaming almost by accident as it were. I dont mind this - quite a good thing.

Q) From the posts it seems that it is not entirely clear cut how much bandwidth i would save by not having streaming, as opposed to having streaming. Assuming that all my users did watch the movie to the very end (we can hope that they would do :) ) - can anyone give a ballpark quantification of the differential in bandwidth use between streaming and non-streaming. Perhaps as a percentage would be best.

Q) one thing that may interest you guys is that I may even offer the visitor the option of my e-mailing the movie to them (will have an automatic e-mail system set up to provide this service). Then they can get the movie on their computer immediately. Should also save me money on bandwidth. Will offer zipped or non-zipped options (not all people are likely to be wholly comforatble with zipping). I hope that current day e-mail capacities are up to the task - haven't researched this much yet. I know that hotmail is offering more space now. The movie I send out will be about 30 - 45 minutes long. mpeg format. This is abit off-topic - but thought u guys might be interested in it. Anyone come across this method of distribution before?

shiva777




msg:860750
 11:02 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I used flash for a professional videographers site (they made commercials). It worked quite well and with decent file sizes too. I made a rocking 3-d retro television gizmo for a viewer too.

shiva

stef24




msg:860751
 3:13 pm on Nov 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

rhodopsin

you dont have to (and cant) assign a player. this is done in windows. for example on my system, real player might be the default program to play .avi and .mpeg files, but on your system this may be the task for windows media player or quicktime player. i assume the same goes for macs

in a sense you can assign a player, by "embedding" with object tags the player in your html page (code below). the video will then stream inside your webpage and no external program is required. sticky me if you want to see this in action.

google for "embedding windows media", "embedding real player" or "embedding quicktime". webmonkey has a tutorial on embedding video and audio, and they very recently also published an article called "streaming vs downloading".

you can tell from the code below that you can choose if the controls are visible (showcontrols), if the video starts playing automatically (autostart) and various other parameters

<OBJECT ID="mediaPlayer" CLASSID="CLSID:22d6f312-b0f6-11d0-94ab-0080c74c7e95"
CODEBASE="http://activex.microsoft.com/activex/controls/mplayer/en/nsmp2inf.cab#Version=5,1,52,701"
STANDBY="Loading Microsoft Windows Media Player components..."
TYPE="application/x-oleobject">
<PARAM NAME="fileName" VALUE="myvideodirectory/myfile.wmv">
<PARAM NAME="animationatStart" VALUE="true">
<PARAM NAME="transparentatStart" VALUE="true">
<PARAM NAME="autoStart" VALUE="true">
<PARAM NAME="showControls" VALUE="false">
</OBJECT>

as to how much bandwith you would save, there is only one way to tell and that would be to determine the size of your files. downloading and streaming is the same (bandwith wise) but there would be a difference in file size which will be reflected in bandwith consumption

i would not count on email video files of that length. the only files that can be reliably emailed are the 10 sec funny clips that are usually bad quality. what you could do is ask people to email a special adress, on which you would set up an auto reply which contains the link to the file. that way people get a direct link and you can keep track of who views your work.

markd




msg:860752
 11:09 am on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Shiva - is your example online, it sound excellent! I have started experimenting with .flv video files and have found the compression of .wmf or .mpeg's using Sorenson Squeeze incredible!

Stef - If you 'embed' the Windows Media Player as you suggest, does that enable the user to view all popular video formats or just windows media format? What happens if the user doesn't have the WMP on their system - do they simply get an error?

Great advice - thanks a lot.

rhodopsin




msg:860753
 6:44 pm on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

stef24 - u r a hero. Sorry for my delay in posting.

I couldn;t find the web monkey article you spoke about. But searching for your "streaming vs downloading" did bring up some very useful articles:

[streamingmedia.com...]
[ilectures.curtin.edu.au...]

I hope the moderator can leave these as they are just articles. No commercial aspect to them.

I have 2 questions:

1) With a streaming system - as I understand it, the video is not saved to the viewer's hard drive (unlike with downloading). On such a streaming system - by going to right click, save as, can the viewer not stream the video (as intended) but instead download it to their hard drive.
That is for video content that is delivered by streaming - can the viewer still download if they so wish?
If so - one of the benefits of streaming cited - that it is better for copyright management - is not as true as it could be, because the visitor can still gain a hard drive copy of the video. Just by bypassing the streaming offered and going for download.

2) Quicktime has this feature called "Fast start". Very impressive. Does anyone know if windows media player or realplayer have this feature also.

[apple.com...]

This fast start feature can yield almost real time viewing - streaming results with downloading

the QuickTime architecture comes close to real-time with its progressive download, or "fast-start," feature. Saving a movie as fast-start QuickTime puts the information necessary for playback at the beginning of the file. This allows users to watch a movie as the file is downloading.
My comment on "fast start" - Who needs streaming......?
BUT I only hope that "fast start" is not just on quicktime - but on the other media players as well. Would be reallygreatful if someone can let me know.

stef25




msg:860754
 7:09 pm on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

rhodopsin

i stickied the webmonkey link to you. the article is featured in their homepage.

if we are talking about streaming under http protocol then you are right - you cant stop users from copying the file to their hard drive using r-click + save target as

there are other protocols that allow streaming (rtsp) and here a r-click + save target as wont work. however there is software like streambox that can still capture and download such streams to the HD. (this was never intended and the author now has legal problems with realnetworks inc).

i have no experience with quicktime mainly because they offer no free tools to encode to .mov! both windows media and realplayer can be encoded with free tools: windows media encoder and real producer.

i think that when streaming, the time it takes before the movie starts to play depends on the size of your buffer, which may be configurable. i remember seeing some options like "download x% before playing".

ive put a 30 min documentary online for some one using the embedding code above, and the clip starts playing almost instantly, without a "fast start" function ... thats wm format

markd - users that dont have wmp installed wont get an error. the codebase link in the object tag will install what is necessary, but i dont know if it will ask you "do you wish to install" ... it may make the installation without alerting the user. not very ethical

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