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My server is linux based and the site runs with PHP. I have root access to install software if required.
What's the best format and system to use for this? The video is produced by a digital video camera.
if you are going to do that, be sure and submit a high-bitrate file as your encoding source... garbage in equals garbage out.
if you need a professional presentation, flash is probably out because the server software is absurdly overpriced... unless it works with open-source helix server software?
i looked at an embedded youtube clip yesterday, and i didn't see a download link, but i bet that you could include the code as part of your page design... most of these video sharing sites post it for everyone to use.
vimeo used to leave the your original submitted file online, so you could link to that as well, and maybe bypass the brand logo that some of these sites put on their clips?
what we are talking about here is using someone else's bandwidth and encoding, so you can essentially put up a video site for free... all you have to do is to come up with the content.
to elaborate further... you don't need any flash encoding tools, all you have to do is to upload your video file to their servers for encoding.
i would suggest using super high bitrate wmv as your source file.