Forum OpenACS Q&A: OpenACS as video server
The goal is simple: Let people upload videos, let them tag the videos and maybe even categorize them according to the lessons they were taken in.
But I was wondering about video conversion (so they are all in one format) and streaming (so they don't have to be downloaded). Although this is not purely OpenACS, maybe someone has already done this.
At the moment we just use plain file storage and this works for us (more or less), but there might be better solutions around. Thanks for any tips, ideas, hints
You might want to look at the Adobe Flash Media Serves http://www.adobe.com/products/flashmediastreaming/. We used it to prototype a streaming music video service linked to an OpenACS backend and it works quite well especially if you are fluent in Actionscript. There is a developers version available for free and I believe that the free version can be used for non-commercial sites although you are limited to 10 streams.
Be warned, Adobes site is sloooow - everything seems to be done in Flash. I think its a case of "if you have a hammer - everything looks like a nail".
You can see our system:
It is a Apache + PHP + PostgreSQL system, integrated with our OpenACS installation. The file uploads are done since Aula Virtual (OpenACS). File storage is not integrated in OpenACS file-storage.
Video conversion to FLV is done in batch with open source tools (ffmpeg, ...).
We are doing streaming with Flash Media Server 2.
There is one interface to ffmpeg in PHP.
Moreover, we want mmedia server in a separate server
and access to the files with other Apache servers, serving
files with automounts (samba, FTP, ...).
I'm writing a package for OpenACS of videos similar to youtube, you can see it in www.territoriosdacidadania.gov.br.
It works, but don't have documentation to install ffmpeg and mencoder.
I don't have privileges to commit it in CVS, but a put here
Does anyone have a ballpark figure for how much Flash Streaming Server 2 costs? Also, are there any free alternatives out there which would work for a relatively low use system?
You can still download the old one via the support centre http://www.adobe.com/support/flashmediaserver/downloads_updaters.html - the updates are actually full versions and I'm pretty sure you can use the dev version for non-commercial purposes although you are limited to 10 streams.
Another option is to rent bandwidth on an FMS3 hosting service (Google is your friend).
But as this is supposed to be expanded I will make sure I get my head around this and the flash option soonish (okay, this year 😊).
I just wanted to clarify that the Flash Media Server doesn't require the files to be in Flash format - thats just the mechanism by which they are streamed. Out of the box it will stream MP3, MP4 and FLV's http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashmediaserver/articles/beginner_vod_fm3.html
As we are also working at this video integration (as you can see in Alessandro Landim's post up in this thread) maybe we can share some efforts to help you on that.
I agree with you that we can't ignore the Ipod format, but in our video approach all you have to do is the ffmpeg output for the video. Maybe we can use both formats: the MP4 for podcasts and FLV for browsers.
However, there are somethings we have to think: I don't know how is the Internet environment where you work, but here in Brasil bandwith is a major problem. If I have an MP4 file, most people just can't download it. The FLV has three advantages:
1 - It's compatible with all browsers
2 - The bandwith use is really lower
3 - Adobe is going to open the Flash format
And there's also another thing to think: today, most people use the Ipods for podcasts in a WiFi environment. Soon, they will be using their phone's browsers, and these browsers will have flash support too. So, I still think FLV is a better approach.