Flash video n' related stuff
Beet.tv’s Andy Plesser recently interviewed Chris Hock of Adobe about the momentum building around live video on the web. With the free tool Adobe Flash Media Encoder, alongside the Flash Media Server, more and more opportunities are opening up to easily deploy live video using Flash. From this interview, it seems that live streaming is a real focus for Adobe, so expect more developments in this area in the future.
With one earth-shaking announcement, Adobe has changed the landscape of online video.
Flash Player 9, Update 3 will support playback of H.264 encoded video in the following file formats:
It’s important to note that the video file must be encoded using the H.264 codec (FairPlay is not supported). All H.264 formats including Base, High, and High 10-bit streams will play.
What does this mean for you? Well, depending on your application and the demands of your video projects, it could be business as usual — or it could be a whole new business model.
Flash will continue to support both Sorenson Spark and On2VP6. Note that there are still reasons to use VP6; alpha channel video, for example. You also won’t be able to stream H.264 videos via Flash Media Server until a future version of FMS is released. Also, FLVs are built for fast-start streaming, where many H.264 videos are not. That being said, the benefits and opportunities that the new codec brings are huge.
You can now re-purpose existing H.264 content, and play it back in the browser WITHOUT any other special plugins. This means that iTunes files (with all metadata) can be played back through Flash. Videos with karaoke tracks or multiple-language subtitles encoded in can be read and and displayed in Flash. All of this (and more) in the browser, without any special codec or plugin downloads.
The big-picture benefits are clear: Adobe has given their customers what they’ve been clamoring for — a non-proprietary, standards-compliant video format. This gives them confidence that their often huge libraries of content are not held hostage by a single company and their player. It also gives us access to more encoding tools, a more flexible codec, and native hardware support.
All of this, and less than 100kb added to the Player!
There are two potential issues with this announcement that I’ll be keeping an eye on. One, there may be additional licensing required for H.264 video used for commercial content. The implications of this are not yet clear. The second is the assertion by Adobe that the Flash Player will not support playback of streams from non-Adobe H.264 servers. Though neither of these issues will likely become deal-breakers, they could prevent the industry from fully embracing the news.
Watch this space for more details, and what the new codecs will mean for you. You can bet I’ll be keeping up with the latest developments!
This update for Adobe Flash Player 9, code-named Moviestar will be available in beta later today on Adobe Labs. The full release is planned for later this fall.
I’m back in NYC and recovering from my week at the Wedding and Event Videographer’s Association conference in Vegas. Whew! What an event. Jam-packed with useful sessions on everything from business tips, hands-on tech, to creative shooting techniques, and more.
It was my pleasure to have presented a couple of sessions on Flash basics for videographers. Thanks to all who attended; I hope you all learned a thing or two, and now feel confident that you can create your own video player in Flash!
As promised, here is my presentation in PDF format.
In the presentation, I demonstrated the creation of a simple video player using the pre-built components that come with Flash CS3. You can easily add a logo to this in Flash, as I demonstrated in my talk. You can then use that as a template for all of your videos you wish to play on your site. You can even customize each on from there with the name of the newlyweds, or whatever you wish!
The links to the prebuilt players (with playlists) I suggested, for quick reference, are:
Proxus Player: http://www.flvplayer.com [requires Flash authoring tool to create player]
FLVPlayerPRO: http://www.flashloaded.com [requires Flash authoring tool to create player]
JW FLV Player: http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?item=JW_FLV_Player [DOES NOT require Flash authoring tool]
And, of course, don’t forget to check out the free Flash Media Encoder, which you can use to broadcast LIVE from your events.
On2 has announced today that they will add support for the H.264 codec (widely used for HD and mobile content, including iPods and iPhones) in their Flix video encoder. This additional transcoding format will be an available as an upgrade in Q4 2007. With companies such as On2 being compelled to support the iPhone video format, one wonders who’s going to blink first — will Adobe give in and add a codec, as Flashers have been clammering for, or will Apple finally support Flash on iPhones?! Somethin’s gotta give.
Finally! FMS developers now have a handy tool for writing communication ActionScript, thanks to Darren Lee — the Flash Media Server Eclipse Plugin
See a demo screencast here: http://fczone.com/eclipse/demo/
A tool to enhance FMS development workflow has sorely been needed. Darren has really outdone himself with this — it certainly helps that he has an amazing amount of first-hand knowledge about what FMS developers need. The code completion alone will save me tons of time, not to mention the tricked-out Output Console and error checking.
This is a test-build release, so be sure to check for the latest updates. Thanks, Darren! You rock.
Harley fans have proven to be bandwidth hogs — forcing Google to expand their “unlimited bandwidth” to accommodate the live stream from this year’s festival in Sturgis. Harley-Davidson is offering a GoogleGadget that streams live video via Flash; from what I can tell, using origin-edge Flash Media Server setup through Akamai. Carmichael Lynch (Minneapolis, MN) is the agency; but it’s not clear if the development was done in-house.
They are even streaming live video through banner ads on sites such as MSN, Yahoo, Univision and AOL for up to 10 hours a day. It’s great to see FMS being used for large-scale advertising efforts — leave it to Harley to have the cahones to do it! Bravo!
More info at MediaPost (login required).
Get your Harley GoogleGadget >> here <<.
We’re excited to be part of FitC again this year — and it’s shaping up to be yet another fantastic conference. Renee will be presenting “Flash Video Crash Course” and I’ll be “Demystifying FLV Encoding.” FitC is always chock-full of motivating and educational sessions, and a great group of people — don’t miss it!
Check out the details >> here <<… and when you decide to get your ticket, use this code for a discount:
10% discount code: HD777
See you in Hollywood!