YouMakeMedia is here to help you along every step of your media creation journey, from pre-production through post-production (and beyond).
At YMM’s sister site FOSSwire, we offer a lot of video-based tutorial content. Up until this point, it’s been offered in Flash with OGG downloads available as a backup. With the <video> tag in HTML becoming a hot new standard, it seemed like a perfect time to jump aboard. But our old videos were encoded in FLV (pre-MP4 support in Flash) so we had to do some conversion. This tutorial will teach you how to turn your old FLVs into HTML5-friendly MP4 video files.
It’s important to mention that these MP4 files won’t work in every browser. Opera and (most) Gecko-based browsers won’t support MP4, preferring OGG Theora or Google’s WebM instead. Still, MP4 gets you Chrome, Safari (including the iPad), and the soon-to-be-released-if-we’re-lucky IE9 – a sizable chunk of browsers. You’ll certainly want a Theora backup though, and we’ll go over how to do that next week. FOSSwire has covered a bit of the codec madness, head there for more details.
Follow me past the jump to begin your journey toward HTML5 fun…
Sometimes though, Celtx has its problems. One such problem is the easy ability to overwrite a project while you and your screenwriter are working on the script and decide to upload at the same time. When you’ve just written up a slew of notes on the latest draft of your script, it can be a pain to have to type them all in again. As you might expect, Joel and I ran into this issue while working on our script. We needed another alternative for sharing notes on drafts of the script.
The solution came from Preview, the PDF and image viewer that’s built into Mac OS X. Apple has built annotation features right into Preview, so you can easily write and draw basic shapes on your PDF. With a PDF generated from Celtx’s TypeSet tool, I easily was able to start adding in my notes. When done, I just sent it off as an email to Joel.
It’s very clear and readable what my notes are, and additional features like highlighting. strike-thru and underline (not shown) make it even easier to communicate about the script. You’re even able to change what colors and icons you want by opening the Inspector (Command+I).
Hopefully this can help you get an idea of one way collaboration is possible. It’s easy, fast, efficient, and there’s no risk of overwriting someone else’s material! Best of all, it’s still cross platform, meaning you don’t have to worry who’s on the other end. Any platform using Adobe Reader (and other third-party PDF reader) can easily access the annotations.
Are you a Windows or Linux user? We’ve shown how Mac users can easily annotate PDFs, share how you do it on your platform! Are you making use of PDF annotations? Show us how and where. We’re always curious to hear the cool ways that collaborative technology is being used in media production.
The script featured in the screenshot is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada license.
Ogg Theora is a relatively new codec (as they go) for video. It’s an open format, much like the OASIS OpenDocument format. Theora is based on VP3, targeting MPEG-4 codecs.
Because of its young age, their aren’t nearly as many tools for transcoding into Ogg Theora compared to, say, H.264. We have to use tools that aren’t dedicated to the cause. Here we’re using VLC, the wonderful free/open source media player we’ve written about in the past. Again, VLC is not a dedicated transcoder, so your mileage may vary. In fact as I’m writing this post I’m talking with Peter from FOSSwire (another Oratos Media blog) who is having some difficulty transcoding a video into Ogg Theora.
The first step is to get VLC. Head over to http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ and find a download for your platform.
Now you want to open your file. Make sure it plays in VLC, and check it against the transcoding list so you don’t get any unpleasant crashes or errors.
Once you’ve done this, open the “Streaming/Exporting Wizard”. This will enable you to change all the fun format stuff and determine export quality.
This screen is where you choose the video that you want to transcode. As you see in the screenshot, you simply click the “playlist” option and select your video. You can then advance to the next window. The option is also available to choose what portion of the video is transcoded.
This next window is likely the most important: it’s where you choose the output format. The screenshot here outlines the formats that you’ll want to convert to. Make sure you choose Theora as the video codec and Vorbis as the audio codec. We use 1024 and 192 as the video and audio bitrates (respectively) but the choice is ultimately up to you.
The next window in the wizard gives you the option (or not) of the Encapsulation format. OGG is the only available choice, so you will have to accept it and move on. Don’t get confused – Ogg is colloquially referred to as an audio format. Actually, Vorbis is the real name of the audio codec (that’s why we chose it above). Ogg is just the bit that wraps it all up nicely.
Finally, you can save the file. You probably shouldn’t check “Local playback” either. The name may make you think it’s necessary if you want to be able to play your output file on your computer. The name is misleading though – they’re actually just asking if you want to have the file playback while it renders. Unless you have a lot of RAM to give up, you’d be smart to pass this up.
Then press Next and your file will begin cooking. Once it’s done, you will ideally have a new Ogg Theora file to share with the world!
If you’re a Mac user, you can test playback in VLC or by using the components available from Theora’s open source home, Xiph.org. It might be slightly out of wack in Quicktime, so VLC is recommended. Windows users can also use these two techniques. As for Linux, any decent Linux media player should be able to play Theora. You guys invented the format after all!
ffmpegX is one of the most useful tools in a content producer’s arsenal. It’s fast, easy, and powerful beyond belief. Unfortunately, it has the occasional error that may make you scream! When a client needs a video in a certain format and you are getting error messages, it isn’t fun.
One such error that I frequently encounter (especially when converting files to Flash Video) is this one:
Codec type mismatch for mapping #0.0 -> #0.0
See, normally video comes before audio in the layout and organization of a multimedia file. Sometimes though (and it’s happening more frequently), codec creators are switching things up for a bit of fun. They’re putting the audio first. I can only assume it’s somehow related to compression – but this switch causes ffmpegX to freak out and cease encoding.
Luckily, this is a one check-box fix. Simply open your file and navigate to the audio tab. Then check the box titled “Invert Mapping”. This will let ffmpegX know about the alternate structure of your file, and make the appropriate changes.
Below is a screenshot that highlights the audio tab with Invert Mapping selected.
Traditional FFmpeg, for *NIX platforms, offers this feature as well, albeit in a more complex manner. From the official documentation:
You can encode to several formats at the same time and define a mapping from input stream to output streams:ffmpeg -i /tmp/a.wav -ab 64k /tmp/a.mp2 -ab 128k /tmp/b.mp2 -map 0:0 -map 0:0
Converts a.wav to a.mp2 at 64 kbits and to b.mp2 at 128 kbits. ‘-map file:index’ specifies which input stream is used for each output stream, in the order of the definition of output streams.
Do you have a fix, tip, or trick that you want to share with our readers? Email us, our email address is editor (at( youmakemedia )dot) com.