Video sharing made easy

OK if you are editing on iMovie and have a big video file what can you do?

  1. If it is less than 10 minutes or 10GB, then you can upload it to Youtube. Imovie in Ilife ’11 supports this directly
  2. If you have less than 500MB you can upload to Vimeo also directly

But if the file is bigger, then the choices get pretty limited. For me, I use bluehost.com, wordpress for this blog and zenphoto for a photo gallery. Turns out that both wordpress and zenphoto support videos, but that this gets pretty funky for modern sized videos. For instanced a 17 minute video in 540p format is 200MB and a 1080p (Blu-Ray sized video) is 2.6GB. So what to do? The answer in short is that you create .m4v and .mov files with iMovie, rename them to .mp4, ftp them to wp-content/uploads and then use add-from-server to add to the WordPress Media Library and then create a secure post…Here is the journey below

  1. The good news is that modern browsers now support the H.264 video type that iMovie likes to output. So first you need to create the videos. The easiest way is to go to iMovie, make your video and then choose Share/Media Browser and pick the types Large and the 1080HD. The former creates a video hidden away in the iMovie Project directory (you have to go to your user name/Movies/iMovie Projects/name of your project and right click. Pick show project files and there is a directory called movies that will have large.m4v and 1080p.mov there.
  2. These files have different extensions that are a legacy thing. M4V means MPEG 4 Video and most of the modern web browsers can play this type of file back directly if you just rename large.m4v to large.mp4. The MOV extension means find Quicktime and it will play it back. Again most modern browsers let you download or have included a Quicktime player to do this. Alternatively, if you rename 1080p.mov to 1080p.mp4, then you can use the browsers native playback.
  3. So essentially, you rename large.m4v to large.mp4 and 1080p.move to 1080p.mp4 and it works fine on Chrome for instance (I need to try it on Firefox, Safari and then scare up a Windows machine to try Internet Explorer). Then you have to upload it somewhere. I fire up CyberFTP and upload it to a subdirectory of tongfamily.com. But, I need password protection and so forth for privacy reasons, so the hunt is on. Should I put into Zenphoto and have it manage and password protect it or should I just load it into a random directory in wordpress and then link to it?
  4. With Zenphoto, you upload it to the albums directory and the way it works is that the thumbnail needs to be named the same, so find a nice capture and name it large.jpg and put it in the same directory as large.mp4 and do the same for 1080p.mp4 and make a 1080p.jpg. This will give you small playback, but it isn’t clear how to find the underlying url of the MP4 for download. So off to WordPress…

Here are the instructions for WordPress using your own videos:

  1. Within WordPress for medium sized files, if you have bluehost, make sure it uses a single instance of the php.ini then change that php.ini at the public_html root with maximum_upload of 512M for instance. Make sure to change the file extensions to .mp4
  2. Within WordPress for very large video files, you want to FTP them first and then add them to the media library. The main issue here is that you need to make sure there is enough run time as it takes a long time to copy and seems to fail on large files…
  3. Go to your WordPress control panel and download the Plug in called Add From Server, this inserts your file into WordPress Media Library. A dumb step really, you can also just leave it in a URL on your server, but it is nice to put here because it is hidden from the world when it comes to permissions.

Here is how to embed an .mp4. It is pretty easy with modern browsers, just do an href to the url with a .mp4 extension and it just works when you click on the link
If you want it to work inline on a page, download FV Player which uses flowplayer (the same player as in Zenphoto) to do this by clicking on their little icon to generate some tags… of the form bracket flowplayer src=’url’ bracket for WordPress.

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