Todd Stabley's Notebook

May 26

Interesting blog post on HTML 5 by Jeroen Wijering -

According to Jeroen, HTML 5 is “not quite there yet.”  The video tag is missing core functionality, which may tempt browser developers to move away from common standards in an effort to bridge these gaps.

New JW Player for HTML 5 (with Flash backup) in beta

May 14

Universal subtitle & captioning project -

From the Participatory Culture Foundation, makers of  Miro.  We’re using Miro Community as the engine for Duke on Demand.  This project is expected to launch in beta next week.

Mar 03

Flash may not really be a CPU hog -

Interesting data from Jan Ozer showing hardware acceleration could change equation in Flash v. HTML 5 debate

Feb 22

Google purchases video compression company On2 -

This acquisition began a while back but recently finalized.  Interesting development in the upcoming war many are predicting between Flash and HTML5, since On2 developed the codecs used in large part to propel Flash to its current dominance in web video.  Some are suggesting that Google will opensource the latest generation of high quality codecs (VP6, VP7, and VP8) as a way of jumpstarting HTML5

Feb 12

Qik: free live streaming from your phone

Qik (www.qik.com) is an interesting free tool for live video and audio streaming from your mobile phone. It’s been around for a while but flying to some extent under the radar. I met these guys in late 2008 at a YouTube developer’s conference and thought their product was very cool, and that it would be even more interesting as cell phone video capabilities got better, which we’re finally starting to see.

This past year Qik finally added support for iPhone, which let me give their product a try. The first thing that struck me was how easy it was to get up and running. I set up an account at Qik and had my first live stream going literally in less than 5 minutes. The video quality wasn’t super on my first generation iPhone but actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Frame rates, though, were very slow over my ancient AT&T Edge network—if you’re on 3G I’d like to hear what performance is like for you. Cell phone videos are susceptible to the shakes in a way that makes a camcorder look like a Steadi-cam, so you really have to make an effort to hold the camera still. But the convenience of being able to stream essentially from anywhere is pretty compelling.

If you’re an iPhone user, you just download and install a free app from the App Store. You need a Qik account, but if you don’t already have one you’re immediately presented with a simple interface in the iPhone app for setting one up. I’d be interested to hear from anyone testing on a different phone what your experiences are. For a list of phones supported by Qik at: http://qik.com/phones. Unfortunately, Google’s Nexus One isn’t on the list yet.

You can check out a few sample videos I recorded at: http://qik.com/streamr

Some cool features of Qik:

A few issues:

Feb 11

New YouTube metrics tool shows video speed -

Lets you compare your rates with others in your area and other regions. Includes real-time stats as an overlay over a test video.  Should be a great diagnostic tool for connection problems for streaming—just play the YouTube test video to find out whether your current rate supports the video you’re trying to stream.

Feb 02

Flash v. HTML 5

It’s the Clash of the Titans as Apple and Adobe begin to square off around the iPad and its lack of support for Flash.  Steve Jobs calls Adobe “lazy” and Flash “buggy”: http://tr.im/MzJf.  Adobe’s CTO says HTML 5, which Apple wants to supplant Flash, will  throw the web “back to the dark ages of video…with incompatibility issues”: http://tr.im/MzJW.  There’s no doubt that Flash is responsible in large part for the ubiquity of video on the web today and that it works reliably across browsers in a way HTML 5 can’t right now.  But it will be interesting to see how this debate plays out over time, and toolkits are developed around HTML 5.  In the meantime, you can get a sneak peek at a sample HTML 5 player here (thanks @shepherdfx): http://tr.im/MzMB.  Would be interested to hear what your experiences are with this video (just don’t try to play it in IE or Firefox yet—it doesn’t work in either of those browsers) as well as your thoughts on this topic.

Jan 15

Smoothee by Steadicam for iPhone -

Thanks to my friend Chris Colomb for spotting this one.  With a device like this that smooths out the shakes, your iPhone video footage can look a lot more professional.  A price hasn’t been announced yet—hopefully it will be affordable, but considering the top of line Steadicams are $50,000 or more, it might not be super cheap.  We’ll see…

Dec 03

iPhone/ Flash streaming—encode once, publish twice

For our Duke media creators looking to deliver content through both streaming and podcasting to iPhones/iPods and other mobile devices:  the iPhone export function in QuickTime Pro (or any QuickTime-based editing app) will produce output that can be used for both purposes.  A couple advantages of this approach are that you don’t need to choose among complex export options—just select File/Export —> Movie to iPhone.  You can then place the resulting file as is on our Wowza (Flash) streaming server as per the instructions on our DukeStream pages for Flash.