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On-(Web)Site Video

A project I'm going to be working on in the next few months will require the use of video online. The videos will be accessible only to certain people, and I'd like to do my normal amount1 to protect them from being downloaded and shared. Hosting (i.e. putting the video on YouTube or another video sharing site, hidden in some way from the general public) solutions probably won't work due to two things: a) the inability or difficulty in truly hiding the video, and b) the branding that most sites overlay on the video. On the plus side, such solutions would save us the bandwidth.

I have the suspicion that we'll likely go the route of embedded FLV files (essentially "Flash Video" like on YouTube and Vimeo), but I was wondering if there were any other problems, issues, solutions, or really anything at all that merited consideration in solving this problem.

Any and all thoughts appreciated.

P.S. ffmpegX seems to be a bit long in the tooth, and VisualHub is now gone. What's the preferred tool to create .flv files if that's the way to go?

Footnotes

  1. My normal amount stems from the fact that I've never cared to expend a bunch of energy to thwart hackers, thiefs, crackers, etc. People can generally be trusted, and so if I can spend only a little time to come up with a solution that works for 95% of people, that's the one I go with. Engaging in a never-ending arms race against the aforementioned groups wastes too much time. I've written more about this topic here and here.

5 Responses to "On-(Web)Site Video"

  1. Well, DreamHost has a mp4 to flv conversion service bundled with their webhosting if that suits your fancy; though it probably doesn't. It's what I use generally when I need it- their CPU time.

    Didn't the new version of Handbrake fold in the VisualHub code?

  2. the windows version of cs4 has, adobe media encoder, Which does a really good job of converting into flv files.

    we also used the http://www.longtailvideo.com/players/jw-flv-player/ for our website over at http://obeygiant.com/voteforchange/

  3. Handbrake outputs some great videos, but most of the formats require extra QuickTime codecs, which most people don't have installed. The x264 codec is fully QuickTime compatible, though, but you'd be shutting out people on PowerPC Macs, most likely.

    Do you still have a copy of VisualHub? It's not like it's stopped working, you can still use it. The developer is turning it into an open source project, though my understanding is that it's currently quite buggy. ffmpegX is a mess - quite powerful, but difficult to use unless you have a deep understanding of ffmpeg.

    How many people will be accessing the page/video? If it's short, you could probably just password-protect the whole directory with an htpasswd file.

    If it's a QuickTime video, I think you can set a flag somewhere that greys out the "Save As" link, though the video can still be grabbed from the cache. That would fit your "normal amount" request, as going any deeper would involve streaming servers - much more difficult to rip the video, but they don't don't always work for legitimate users.

  4. At work we use Akamai to stream flash video, you can find resellers who will get you on to the Akami edgestream platform fairly inexpensively.

    As to converting the videos... I tend to just get Final Cut Pro Batch Export to do it.

  5. Hum, starting with flash 9.115, flash can play and decode h.264 streamed either on top of RTP,RTSP,MMS. Bonus is that with h.264 encoded properly you an reach out to platforms like the iPhone/iPod touch.
    Encoding for h.264 can be achieve with quicktime.


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