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Old March 5th, 2010, 08:39 AM   #1
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Seamless embedding solution?

I have client whose web server is just not up to serving video. They are not in a position to change their individual infrastructure (tied to a larger organisation) so I've been researching the best way to embed video for them that will be served seamlessly from a hosting service. It is imperative that the user is not aware that they are using a third party service - it must appear as if they never left the client website. Security is not a huge issue as the videos are for public consumption anyway. in Australia we have a couple of companies offering mirrored servers in each capital city hosted directly from the largest supplier's (Telstra) main hub. This is definitely an option but I was wondering if a simpler solution like Vimeo could work without the Vimeo branding?
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Old March 5th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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What specifically about the client's hosting is "just not up to serving video"?

I can't directly answer your branding question about hosting services like Vimeo.

However, if someone is in a position to embed a vimeo player in a web page hosted on the client's site, then all kinds of things are possible, like, embedding some other player.

For example, embed the jwplayer or flowplayer or some player someone writes in Flash on the client's pages, but host the actual video files (flv or mp4) elsewhere on another http web server. This isn't the ultimate in streaming hosting, but, it works, and, you'd be in complete control of the branding.

The same can be done with Windows Media.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mitchell View Post
I was wondering if a simpler solution like Vimeo could work without the Vimeo branding?
Vimeo is not a video hosting service. Vimeo is a community of filmmakers to share their creative work with each other.

Vimeo's TOS clearly states that:

"You may not upload commercials, infomercials, or demos that actively sell or promote a product or service."

and

"Businesses may not use Vimeo to externalize their hosting costs. Vimeo (including Vimeo Plus) is not a business service."
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Old March 5th, 2010, 05:31 PM   #4
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Thanks Seth and Chris - exactly the kind of information I need. I wasn't aware of those Vimeo restrictions as the sales page I went to didn't mention them. This is more a public interest video for a government department but I can see how that would still break the Vimeo agreement.

Seth, they don't currently have access to an external server as you suggest, but that is exactly the solution I was proposing through someone like Akamai. I have to investigate whether they will be allowed to do that and of course the cost involved. Their IT dept know nothing about video and couldn't answer any of my questions about why their current solution was so strangled.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 06:50 PM   #5
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...they don't currently have access to an external server as you suggest, but that is exactly the solution I was proposing through someone like Akamai. I have to investigate whether they will be allowed to do that and of course the cost involved...
Large scale delivery needs justify Akamai's cost... It's really quite a network.

But what I was trying to say is that value hosting at no more than $120/yr can perhaps serve up the video via ordinary webserver.

"Strangled" meaning actual video performance is bit-choked? Full of buffering & dropped frames & such? That could be an available bandwidth problem. Moving video out of house solves that problem for an out-of-house viewer, but, may not solve the problem within the agency.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 12:59 PM   #6
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Hosting the video on an external server is certainly an option. I've done that with a few clients using a cheap ($3.99 per month) 1&1 hosting account.

For example, the JW Media player code would look like this:

Code:
<embed height="260" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" 
pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" 
width="320" src="flvplayer.swf" allowfullscreen="true" 
flashvars="autostart=false&amp;file=http://s942614.onlinehome.us/Real_World[1].flv">
Notice how I've used a full URL for the video file name. That's because the video resides on a separate server from a completely different hosting provider.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 05:34 PM   #7
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Thanks Chris and Seth - if I was to suggest an externally hosted solution using flow player or JW media player what is the implication for the end user. Will some users have to download extra software? Will it be playable on all platforms/browsers (well at least windows and mac)? For example I understand with Flash if a user doesn't have the appropriate plug in for their browser you have to write the code to trap that and direct them to the appropriate plug in download site. Will it stream properly from these players and can they be given a choice of hi res and lo res?

Sorry for all the rookie questions - I've produced plenty of internet style videos for clients but in the past they've always handled the implementation themselves.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
"Strangled" meaning actual video performance is bit-choked? Full of buffering & dropped frames & such? That could be an available bandwidth problem. Moving video out of house solves that problem for an out-of-house viewer, but, may not solve the problem within the agency.
That is exactly what I mean - they share infrastructure with other govt departments and they don't have streaming media servers, etc and their connection, for whatever reason, keeps choking even on 256Kb/s video streams (so far tried Flash and WMV). As this is a vid for public consumption, internal viewing is a secondary concern.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 12:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mitchell View Post
...their connection, for whatever reason, keeps choking even on 256Kb/s video streams (so far tried Flash and WMV). As this is a vid for public consumption, internal viewing is a secondary concern.
Right - then this conversation is going in the right direction, taking that video serving load off their webservers should really, really help with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mitchell View Post
...an externally hosted solution using flow player or JW media player what is the implication for the end user. Will some users have to download extra software?
Nothing's perfect, but, Flash player 9 has upwards of 99% market penetration in the U.S. and mature markets.
Quote:
Will it be playable on all platforms/browsers (well at least windows and mac)?
Nothing's perfect, but, nothing's better than Flash for cross-browser / cross-platform use. Yet. HTML5 promises a browser that understands video natively... but no significant user base so far.
Quote:
For example I understand with Flash if a user doesn't have the appropriate plug in for their browser you have to write the code to trap that and direct them to the appropriate plug in download site. Will it stream properly from these players...
Pretty well. Excepting, you don't need to write the code, it's included in the popular players such as jwplayer and flowplayer. If you create a new player in Adobe's Flash application, there's a very sophisticated html/javascript browser sniff that it generates.
Quote:
...and can they be given a choice of hi res and lo res?
There is no multibitrate file structure in flash, so, it comes back to you to create separate SWFs or FLVs of various bitrates, and provide access to them. AFAIK, there's nothing quite like YouTube's dropdown for 360p/480p/720p/1080p available out of the box with jw or flowplayers.

The method Chris detailed was also exactly what I had in mind. Get that inexpensive webserver account, steer some player on the agency page to the clip, and there you go...
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Old March 8th, 2010, 12:51 AM   #10
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So one final question because you guys answered everything so brilliantly - is there any advantage to using the third party flash players as opposed to the native flash player that I can author to in Flash studio in CS3?

Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #11
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Flash CS3 is much more versatile. And, of course, considerably more expensive! However, if you've got it, it's a great way to go.
Pro: No need to learn new software!
Pro: It will also encode! Gives access to the VP6 codec, a great choice. We could have a lengthy debate about VP6 vs. h.264, but, VP6 remains an excellent distribution codec.
Pro: It's paid for!
Con: No support from extensive user forums for JW and Flow Players.
Pro: At least some support from adobe and adobe user forums.
Pro: will allow you to slurp your flv into a swf, or, have it exist outside a swf player.
Pro: CS3-generated html includes a really good browser/plugin sniffer.
Con: In that Flash CS3 does a hundred other things, the creation of video players is sort of a backwater that runs differently than other flash development on the stage. Some new stuff to learn.
Pro: No additional licensing fees for commercial use. Both JW and Flow want some $, Flow is really quite spendy.

I'd absolutely reccomend Flash CS3, it's likely to be all you need for a while.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 08:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mitchell View Post
So one final question because you guys answered everything so brilliantly - is there any advantage to using the third party flash players as opposed to the native flash player that I can author to in Flash studio in CS3?
Third party players such as JW or Flowplayer offer much more functionality "out of the box". JW and Flowplayer are easier to configure for playlists, buffering time, pre-load images, etc. You can do all that with the video player in Flash CS3, but then you have to muck about with Actionscript.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #13
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Good point Chris.

I personally have never had to touch those parameters with Flash, though, I could certainly see the need to do a playlist on occasion.

As a non-Flash programmer, just how much trouble would I be in if I needed to touch, say, buffering time in AS?
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Old March 10th, 2010, 03:01 PM   #14
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Just came across a truely open-source player that looks pretty good (haven't tried it yet). No cost for personal or commercial use, unlike JW or Flowplayers.

Check out the Open Video Player at Sourceforge. Flash and Silverlight. (edit: start at the "getting started" page!)
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