An approach to Encoding and Distributing Campaign, Community and non-commercial artistic audio and video on using the Internet
Hello I'm mickfuzz @ rocketmail.com. This is a totally personal approach. And there are no wrongs and rights, this is just what I do. I'm hoping it might be some help. It is written with a certain amount of certainty only make it easier to follow. I'm up for collaborating on this work.
The overall aim of this text is to create a cheap way of putting your video / audio up on the Net and giving options to make it 1) be available for download, hand to hand CD distribution and screening, 2) stream a preview of it. For this text “to stream” a video means that when you click on the link it opens up and starts playing straight aways.
There may be some need for a glossary, but I'm sure this has already been done somewhere. One word used is a codec. This is a bit of software you install on your machine which can “compress” and decompress video or audio. There are many different codecs. Mp3, mpeg1, Xvid, Divx. Are all used for the Internet. Sometimes you get different types of codecs that can be used for a file “wrapper” like an avi file. This expains why you may be able to play some avis but not others. You player may try to automatically download some codecs and it might suceed. Otherwise you will need to find out the codec that was used to encode the bit of video and install that.
That is why it is good to include the name of the codec in your file name. For example. the_matrix_reloaded_xvid.avi This is an avi file encoded using the xvid codec.
If you want to upload files to the Internet for screenings or hand to hand distribution via CD.
File Format Xvid:
If it is a very long film, or if you are taking it from a DVD. It is best to encode it to an Xvid / Avi file format. This is an avi file that will play in any media player, but users have to have the xvid codec installed.
The software you use to make Xvids is called Virtual Dub Mod. There are some help files here for making Xvids. http://www.clearerchannel.org/clearertraining
File format Mpeg 1:
It is not as good quality as Xvid but it is super easy to make and It's really easy t play as well. That's the big advantage it works on linux, pcs and mac without having to install anything.
The Software you use to make Mpeg1s is called Tmpeg Enc you can get help files for how to use it here. http://www.clearerchannel.org/clearertraining
Where to upload these Mpeg1 and Xvid files
If your film has a wide appeal then use http://archive.org as there are a lot of people which use this video archive site. Your film has to be creative commons to use this service. Also if your file is an Mpeg1, then it will automatically create smaller quicktime mp4 files too for people with slow connections. These files stream as well. There is an example of that here. http://www.archive.org/details/BilinWallDemo040505
There is a really easy to use publisher program as well which means you don't have to learn how to do ftp. You don't really need to know how it works. Simply that it transfers yoru file to the archive.org site and asks you to fill in a form giving information about the work, publisher, description etc. http://creativecommons.org/tools/ccpublisher
If this isn't appropriate, you can sign up for an archive.org account and ftp up their space. They have good help files and a very helpful user forum. http://www.archive.org/about/faqs.php#Contributing_to_the_Archive
If they are activist films http://video.indymedia.org is a good service too. They accept really big files up to 2 meg. They have a good system where they give you a temporary ftp login. This means you can establish a stable connection to their server enter the username and password that you are given and transfer your file. Once the file is uploaded then you can enter the details about the title, description and category of the Video.
This means you do have to learn how to use an ftp client. [ smart ftp is a free one for windows / fetch for mac / gftp for linux ]
There are help files for smart ftp here http://www.lvsonline.com/smartftp/index.shtml
Lower Quality Files for slower connections and/ or a “click and view” / streaming option.
Windows media format.
If you want to make a file that can be quicky viewed on the internet or streamed from a normal webserver. I recommend using Windows media format.
There are help files here for how to make a Windows media file that is about one meg per minute. This means that it is quite a small file size you will have to download a 6Meg file to see 5 minutes of Video. This is really good for Video as it takes up a lot of data. The results are really impressive. http://www.clearerchannel.org/clearertraining
Some people say that it is not very ethical. But let's face it, nor is using a computer full stop. If we bear in mind these things are relative, there are a lot of advantages. We should all go live in the mountains and come off the national grid as soon as possible, so please don't give me a hard time! It was meeting up with the russian indyvideo.ru people that changed my mind.
Often people only have internet connection at work and they can only play with the window media player, as they can't install other programs. And the files are so small that they can fit it on a floppy and take it home with them.
Where to upload these files.
You may be able to put these files on Webspace that you control. Or you may want to put them on your local inymedia site. UK indymedia accepts these files and you can either upload them via ftp or use their standard web uploading form, which works a lot like putting an attachment on your email.
Creating Streaming files with Windows media files.
It is really good if you do have access to your own server space as then you can make your windows media files Stream. This means that you can create a link which will open up your media player play the file before it has finished downloading. You don't need expensive set up to do this. It's a matter of creating a simple text file called a meta file, uploading it to your webspace and linking to it. This won't happen by it's self. You will need to add this to an exising webpage or create a new one [this is one of the things that clearerchannel.org can do] .
When you have uploaded your file to the web and there is a link to it you will be able to right click the link and choose. Copy link location. This will give you the webaddress or URL of the file.
Then open up a text editor an paste that URL into the first line. Then save that as plain text with a *.asx extension. This really is just a text file with the URL / address of your video file in it.
Then upload that to your server. Then link to that file from a web page. When you click on that link. Your media player should open up and stream the file.
Archiving and Distribution
Using a system like Clearer Channel.
This is not a replacement for Indymedia. You should post yoru video or links of your video to your local Indymedia. Indymedia is like your newspaper. Clearer channel is like your local library.
Clearer channel is a resource for online video, like a library. It is organised into groups and topics. The 2 main aims of using the clearer channel / ourvideo website system are
Provide a web interface, a list of all your videos / audio files which may be in various locations, giving it the appearance of a channel. The videos are also organised by themes. Making it easier for people to find films to screen. Putting out a Media RSS feed which is also called a Podcast for use in programs like iTunes or Fireant, which makes it possible subscribe to your channel of content. Details of new films will come to you from sources you subscribe to.
Clearer channel is also a community of users putting social justice video and audio content on the web. There is an email list email@example.com and a forum http://forum.ourvideo.org/