General help

advice for best video

 
 
Picture of Doug Moody
advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I am in the process of creating some new videos, and need advice on which video formats to use. I have previously used flv, but I want a codec that plays on all platforms, especially tablets and cellphones.

What advice would you give me? Can you also include which frame rates, encoding, vbr/cbr, etc., you used that gave best results? my goal is universal playability

Thank you.

 
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Picture of Ken Task
Re: advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=206736

http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_intro.asp

quote from above link:

"HTML5 is still a work in progress. However, the major browsers support many of the new HTML5 elements and APIs."

Doesn't mention devices/tablets however.

Whatever you use to create videos, consider what that apps native save file format is and check out what it can save as or convert.  Also check out video conversion apps.

Or, consider an online service that will provide.

Am sure there is at least one resident expert with opinions that will respond to this.

'spirit of sharing', Ken

 
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Picture of Gary Sutcliff
Re: advice for best video
 

PhoneGap is free and converts to many platform and support mobile devices.

 

 

 
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Picture of Doug Moody
Re: advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Gary,

I read a little about PhoneGap. Have you used it within Moodle? If so, what did you do?

 
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Picture of Gary Sutcliff
Phone Gap
 

Are you interested in sending Moodle to various devices and figuring that phone gap will help you here or are you sending out an assignment to be seen on various devices?

Either way, let me know what you want to do and I can check it out.

From what I can tell, Phonegap will take one instruction set based in HTML/CSS and I believe PHP and render applications for any chosen device.  The user then installs said application to use the program.  Code can be written for the application to check to see screen size, for example, and send images to fit accordingly.

I have seen Moodle coded to be easily read on a mobile device.  Contact SGA@ProfessorsPlace.Info for more information on that and to see what he has done without any additional software, just using Moodle.  I am not sure if he checks in here or not.

.

 

 

 

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Funny, how some simple questions have complicated answers: see https://moodle.org/mod/forum/search.php?id=5&subject=video+best+format.

To make matters even more complicated, there is an ideological side: "Important: Petition against DRM in W3C's HTML5 specification" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=227370 !
sad
 
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Picture of Doug Moody
Re: advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Well, as I see it, the moodle community has one ace up its sleeves. 

The emerging millenial generation (see the latest cover of TIME magazine"ME,ME,ME generation" for some enlightening reading) might just be the ones who save us form the corporate fate of domination and control. Or then again, maybe they don't care..

But in any case, since moodle's architecture allows it to serve up lots of different sources of media, with the capability to morph as needed (because its open-sourced), there is nothing that mandates that we HAVE to use html5! That's just a construct that has been built by the corporate world with the intent of "standardizing" a way that corporations can control the flow of information.

As Visvanath rightly pointed out, suits on committees are going along with the corporate line to preserve their own positions. There is very little standardization that is aimed at truly giving the web community MORE freedom. Just the opposite actually. Corporations fear standards that take away their control, so they are secretly keeping things hush-hush and hoping we won't notice.

What then can we do? My simple question will eventually have an answer, because technology will provide one - eventually. In the meantime, early adopters have to figure out how to work within the framework of an almost established "standard" It looks like that standard is HTML5. 

Currently, I can continue making FLV videos, and just let those who have tablets and phones suffer. But that is going to eventually make the moodle platform seem antiquated to users who want video when they want it where they want it. I teach in a public school, and  I am already receiving requests from students to let the course videos play on the student's devices. I can do it by making two versions of a video, and then providing two links. But that is stupid and unnecessary.

So, I ask the question again. Is there anyone who has successfully implemented a one-click universal play video serving method within Moodle? I know I can use outside servers, but the results there are spotty, and there are numerous access, student privacy, and licensing issues going that route.

This is an important issue that won't go away. If we do nothing, then the costs of media streaming from  moodle will eventually become something we can't control anymore. Paying for playing will become the rule, not the exception. 

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Doug

However convoluted the topic was, your question was worth asking. I see useful and current information gathering in the other half of the thread.
smile
 
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Picture of Rick Jerz
Re: advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Doug,

I like the following for my educational:

mp4, h.264 encoded, frame rate 30 (or 15, depending upon video), VBR 1 pass, target bitrate = .5 to 1mbps (depending upon video, but most often I use .5), audio= ACC, 32000Hz, mono , bitrate = 32kbps.

With these videos, I can make podcasts for iTunes, feed them into moodle as RSS feeds, let students download them to their computers and devices, etc.  I have found that if I feed them into noodle, that iPads can play them and they stream.

I have probably given you examples, but here are my videos that I give to students to show them how to use my moodle.

Video production is more of an art than a science.  I am always experimenting with different settings.  I got away from flv around two years ago.  With my videos, I think I have reached better than 98% of my audience.

I use Premiere.  Right now, I am in the process of moving to a Mac, but I have been using Premiere on the PC for ever.

I also use Camtasia, and their mp4 encoding is very good too.  

The general trade-off is video size and quality.  I have done a lot of experimenting.  I too wanted someone to just tell me what to do, but never found the "scientific" answer.

Hope this helps you.

 

 
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Picture of Justin Hunt
Re: advice for best video
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Doug

All my courses support audio and video on desktop or mobile.  Basically MP4 for video and MP3 for audio. On the playback side of things, Moodle will serve up a player that works for MP3.  

People have different experiences with Moodle and  MP4. But I think all mainstream browsers can play it back in HTML5 alone, so you could just turn off all handling of MP4/Quicktime in site admin -> appearances -> media embedding and make sure html5 video is also turned on there.

Failing that, PoodLL (my thing) will play MP4 in flowplayer on desktops and default to html5 on touch devices.

There are various choices to be made within the simple MP4/MP3 file format though.  I may get flamed here ... but better than trying to handpick codecs and frame rates, just aim at getting it to play on an iphone. That is the lowest common denominator that I choose and it works pretty well. It also solves a lot of questions like what encoder/app/frame rate should I use .  Most apps that convert or export video, will have an "export for iphone" option. Just use that.

If you need to use something less point and click, like FFMPEG, to convert all your FLV videos. Then you will need to supply that thing more details, and its a bit of trial and error and shopping around for scripts. But if you look for scripts/specs targeting the iphone you will have more luck searching. Or just use the recommended specs for iphone. 

Look here and probably more likely here.

Phonegap is something different. It is a wrapping solution so that html5 apps can access native APIs (like GPS, address books) and get them installable in appstore / Google Play etc. It is quite neat, I have a (bad ) app on the appstore that uses it. But I do not think it is what you are after.

 
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Picture of Adam Morris
Re: advice for best video
 

Best results that I've seen with mp4 with height of 800 pixels. Good combination of full screen as well as low bandwidth.

We use MediaCore Community http://mediacorecommunity.org serve our files and integrated through a plugin with Moodle. If you have a spare server available it's the best way to serve up content from within Moodle if you ask me.

 
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Picture of Mat Cannings
Re: advice for best video
 

I recently did some experimenting with Moodle and video formats and found that MP4 is the optimum format.

Using HTML 5 embedding it will work in Chrome and Safari and most mobile devices and using Flowplayer as a fallback will play in most other desktop browsers.

During testing I also found limitations with OGV in that Firefox will only playback 2 channel audio even though it is possible to encode in 5.1. MP4 encoded in 5.1 will play back fine.

I created a tracker post that suggests a minor modification to the medialib.php file that would raise HTML5 to default for MP4 and Flash/Flowplayer as a fallback option. https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-35588 

 
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Picture of Richard Bakos
Re: advice for best video
 

If you want universal playback, mp4 alone will not cut it...  A combination of formats are needed... The upcoming v21 of Firefox will finally support mp4 but you still have Opera to worry about which does not have support for mp4 yet... If you want 99% coverage, I would use three HTML5 friendly formats (mp4, ogv, and webm) with Flash fallback for legacy browsers:

<video width="600" height="400" controls="controls" >
    <source src="media/video.mp4" type="video/mp4" />
    <source src="media/video.ogg" type="video/ogg" />
    <source src="media/video.webm" type="video/webm" />
    <object>
        Your flash object code goes here
    </object>
</video>

Or, instead of flash fallback, you could just present the user with a message that their browser isn't supported and present them with links to browser alternatives to download.

http://caniuse.com/#search=mp4

 
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Picture of Mat Cannings
Re: advice for best video
 

It may not have been clear in my last post but Moodle is perfectly capable of delivering MP4 to all browsers but at the moment by default it is not enabled to do so.

Chrome and Safari are able to natively play MP4 using the HTML5 embed method.

Firefox and IE can not natively play MP4 but are very likely to have flash installed. Flowplayer the Flash video player in Moodle can play MP4 files but it is not set up to do so in Moodle.

With a couple of minor changes it is possible that Moodle can check if the browser can natively play MP4 and use HTML5 to do so. If not it will then load the MP4 video into the Flash player and play on other devices.

Details are in https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-35588

 
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Picture of Richard Bakos
Re: advice for best video
 

Mat Cannings, I should have checked out the tracker link in your first post. I agree, voted and watched =)

 
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