Life & much, much more

WIPUP now supports video updates!

Well the Eadrax code (what WIPUP runs on) has always supported updates with video attachments but the live WIPUP site never got to see it in action due to the server not having ffmpeg (video swiss-army knife) installed and playing nice with the latest codecs, permissions, and whatnot. Over the past few days our lovely host OpticEmpire has gotten ffmpeg up and running on the server – and it worked like a charm.

I uploaded a short clip I made a month or so ago to show the company Johnson Controls embracing the Generation Ys. It worked flawlessly – snapshotted a thumbnail halfway through the clip and resized it as necessary, reencoded the file into .flv format (HTML 5 and video tags are on the way folks, but meanwhile we have to keep legacy users happy), and the update page has a lovely in-browser video player courtesy of LongTail Video and their free license on JW Player.

The encoding is done on-the-fly but in the future encoding will be queued by the server so we don’t blow ’em up, and the JW Player will get skinned in a WIPUPish fashion. Note that videos will always be compressed. The point of WIPUP is to dump up unfinished works, and so at the moment it’s simply uneconomical to host uncompressed files.

Go and view the demonstrating update here.

Technical

Tech Tip #6: Reencode any video to ensure compatibility with Windows Media Player

Other very useful tip I picked up when doing video manipulation the other day that deserves its own post is reencoding any video so that it will work on a vanilla Windows Media Player (without any other codecs added). Windows Media Player is probably the most stubborn, pathetic video player the software world has ever seen and unfortunately if you produce a video for the general public to view, you need to make sure WMP is happy to play it.

The tool for such a job is obviously ffmpeg, but the suggested commands on the compatibility page of their site seem to compress the videos to a horrendous state at the same time, so after asking on their IRC channel on freenode this is the command that turned up:

ffmpeg -i input -acodec libmp3lame -ab 128k -vcodec msmpeg4v2 -qscale 3 output.avi

Wonderful. Now I can render to whatever I please and worry about compatibility later.