General help

video streaming

 
me and my dog
video streaming
 

Hi In our college we have some videos that are regularly used in class. We are incredibly aware that the quality of these videos is rapdily deteriorating and we're looking at other ways. We thought that perhaps we could get them electronically and then stream them, using a link in moodle. We don't want to uplaod the whole thing into moodle, as this could allw the students to copy, save and distribute it, which would infringe our copyright, so we need a way of using it without the students able to copy or save it, which is why we thought streaming it would work.

Can anyone tell me, if it is possible, would it work, is it easy?

thanks

 
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Picture of Guy Thomas
Re: video streaming
Core developersPlugin developers

We put all our videos onto Moodle as .flv files (flash format)

It is possible to 'steal' the videos but you have to know how to do it.

WMV files can be DRMd  which copy protects the file. The only problem is that you are forcing your users to use Microsoft technology. FLV is a better option for portability because it will play on anything- web enabled pdas, phones, linux pcs, apple macs. (wmvs can play on non-ms systems but usually not without a bit of tinkering)

 
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ehtesham
Re: video streaming
 
Yes you can use RTSP (DARWIN) server to stream ur videos or can use web streaming also.
 
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Picture of Viral Bhatt
Re: video streaming
 

Quite new to web technology.

sorry don't understand what are you trying to say. please explain "Yes you can use RTSP (DARWIN) server to stream ur videos or can use web streaming also."

Thank you.  

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: video streaming
Documentation writersMoodle Course Creator Certificate holdersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersTestersTranslators
West Bromwich!big grin Had to respond as I spent the first 18 years of my life there -then left! What exactly are you wanting to do with your videos in Moodle?
 
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Picture of Viral Bhatt
Re: video streaming
 

Our NHS trust wants to develop elearning portal where staff can access learning materials any time. one of the course leader wants to upload videos for their staff. they have asked me to look at this. Any idea?

How come you left West Brom? it's getting better now with all new developments.  

 
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me and my dog
Re: video streaming
 

thank you both,

Guy your way looks easiest, have you encountered any problems with students 'stealing them' (although quite why any student would want to 'steal' core skills learning videos is beyond me!)

do you convert your videos to .flv, or ar ethey already in that format?

Mohd, I know i'm being dense, but how would i go about web streaming?

 
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Picture of Mike Smith
Re: video streaming
 

We also use FLV format for our website. And this works really well. The quality is much better than YouTube/GoogleVideo, even at the modest resolution of 320x240. You can see examples here:
http://www.workplaceenglish.com.au/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=182
(Just log in as guest)

Just about anyone can download this format with various websites offering tools for this, as well as a Firefox plugin. There's no way to stop it.

The way you actually stream video (and audio), is just let Moodle do it for you. This works for MP3 audio and FLV flash video (see Site Admin - Modules - Filters).

All you need to do is upload the file, and then create a link to it. You can link to it as a URL (tricky- because you need to know how to determine the Moodle URL), or better do it via Add Resource - Link to File or Website. This gives you more control over how it appears, and also avoids it automatically embedding inline - which is what happens when you link to a YouTube video with a straight link.

Actually the easiest way to stream video is to upload it to YouTube or Google Video and then link to it, but there are issues of security and professional/branding appearance, and of course poor visual quality.

If you decide to create your own FLV video files, a good free tool is Any Video Converter. The new free version is fantastic (although it is nagware) as it can take just about any input file format. It can also batch convert and it is fast, producing good output quality (for flash). You can choose your output resolution (we use 320x240).

A real issue for uploading your own video files occurs when you might want that file to be available to multiple courses. You can link across courses, but again you need to know how to find the Moodle URL for files. Also you may run into issues with having to enroll the student into that cross-linked course as well.

The way we get around this is to place all our FLV files in the Front Page / Site Files area, so they are accessible without restriction. However that may not be appropriate in your situation.

Another alternative is just to upload it to each and every course that needs it, but then you are using more server space. You also have multiple copies of a file which, when needing to be updated, may cause a configuration management headache.

Swings and roundabouts...

P.S. If you find you need info about Moodle URLs see an earlier post of mine here:

http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=90312

Good luck!

 
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me and my dog
Re: video streaming
 
Thank you very much for that  Mike,  I'm sure that i'll be able to sort myself and my courses out with all that info!
 
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Picture of Gavin Allinson
Re: video streaming
 
is a way around this to upload the flv file on a different website or outside of moodle and link to it that way?

Gavin
 
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Picture of Mike Smith
Re: video streaming
 

Hi Gavin,

Yes that works fine if you have another place to store the file, either on your own server or elsewhere. You just need the URL. I've previously toyed with online storage services like Esnips and Airset, but direct linking is often problematic.

Our site is hosted with a webhost so we can, of course, still use our server space however we wish outside of the Moodle file structure. If you are at a Uni, you might be fighting with the IT dept.

For us it is just a matter of convenience in finding the file URLs so you can add them to courses. If you keep the files within Front Page / Site Files then course creators can easily find the files and their URLs. Otherwise they'd need access to the domain CPanel or FTP access, both of which are risky. Else perhaps you could give them a list of resource URLs, which might actually be a good idea.

Mike
 
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Picture of Mike Smith
Re: video streaming
 

Having appeared that I look like I know what I am doing...


I have just set up a new Moodle installation. Everything is exactly the same as before (except that it is on a different webhost). I've enabled Multimedia plugins and such. But I cannot get video to play. It comes up as a blank empty space where the video should be. The direct file link below works OK, but the streaming seems not to be working.

Does anyone have any ideas about this?

 
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me and my dog
Re: video streaming
 
that's quite funny Mike. I can't help you at all (obviously!) but thanks for giving me a giggle!
 
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Picture of Mike Smith
Re: video streaming
 
Hi Trish. I'm afraid I'm a bit far from sense-of-humour-land at the moment, as I discovered this problem only after I spent two days setting up the site framework. I set up another Moodle site on my normal webhost using exactly the same procedure and it works fine. I guess some webhosts are just ... dodgy, or at least Moodle unfriendly. All good now and I'm sure the hair on my head will grow back eventually.
 
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Picture of Mike Smith
Re: video streaming - the final word?
 
Just updating this thread with what seems like the definitive answer.
  • You can enter a direct link to the SWF file and use the Moodle SWF multimedia plugin. This works but you have no control over size.
  • You can enter a direct link to the SWF file and use extended Flash syntax and the Moodle SWF multimedia plugin.
  • You can borrow some code from Camtasia. This seems to be the most robust. It also doesn't require the SWF multimedia plugin to be active, because it uses the player on the Adobe site, thereby being more secure.

Direct Link

http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

This straight link only works if SWF multimedia plugin is activated (which it usually isn't on our site) - even for teachers/administrators oddly enough.

Direct Link with Extended Syntax

http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf This is generated with:
<a href="http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf?d=640x480">
http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf</a>
This straight link (like the one above) only works if SWF multimedia plugin is activated (which it usually isn't on our site) - even for teachers/administrators oddly enough.

Camtasia Code

The code is shown below. Note that it uses both the Object method and the Embed method to cater for IE and Mozilla browsers. Simply replace the two "src" values with the url of the SWF file (or any video media). You can also play with the width and height, but remember to do it in both places.


Also note that the code below works regardless of the SWF filter settings in the Moodle Multimedia plugins, because it uses the player on the Macromedia website. Oddly, it also seems to work if Allow Embed Object is disabled in Moodle - probably because I usually do this as a Teacher or Administrator in the course. I noticed it did not work in this Moodle.org forum.

<div id="media">
<object id="csSWF" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="640" height="498" codebase="http://active.macromedia.com/flash7/cabs/ swflash.cab#version=9,0,28,0">
<param name="src" value="http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf"/>
<param name="bgcolor" value="#1a1a1a"/>
<param name="quality" value="best"/>
<param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"/>
<param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"/>
<param name="scale" value="showall"/>
<param name="flashVars" value="autostart=false"/>
<embed name="csSWF" src="http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf" width="640" height="498" bgcolor="#1a1a1a" quality="best" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" scale="showall" flashVars="autostart=false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash"></embed>
</object>
</div>

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: video streaming - the final word?
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers
I just wanted to add a small caveat to this thread.

Basically, there's a lot of nonsense talked about streaming. Unless you are wanting to distribute *live* video to lots of people at once it is highly unlikely you mean or need streaming.

What you are talking about, Mike, quite rightly is uploading files and embedding them.

I get asked quite a lot about streaming servers so I thought it was worth pointing out that you probably don't need one smile

Next thing.... it's not Podcasting, it's just uploading mp3s big grin
 
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Head
Re: video streaming - the final word?
Plugin developersTesters
LOL! big grin
 
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Picture of Mark Glynn
Re: video streaming - the final word?
 

Mike,

Thanks for the reply. I use camtasia studio and as the others have said it generates a selection of file formats to choose from. The problem I have is two fold.

1) This size of the file is very big and I intend to have numerous video files per course and my IT people will not be happy with my clogging up the server

2) Whatever file format that I choose I cannot be assured that my students have the necessary software to view the file. I want to make it as easy as possible for students to access my files.

The solution I use is not ideal and I welcome alternatives  - I upload my vidoes to youtube and then embed the link on my moodle course. Methods to do this are illustrated on youtube.

As I said I welcome better suggestions but for now that is the method that I choose.

Kind regards,

M

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: video streaming - the final word?
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers
You should definitely convert to Flash Video wherever possible - almost all browsers work with Flash out of the packet and Moodle has a built in player for it. Try to chop up the video and make the final size and resolution "sensible" for web delivery (think YouTube, but you may need better quality than that).

I don't know if there is FV output from Camtasia but there are a number of converters readily available
 
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Picture of Michael Penney
Re: video streaming - the final word?
Core developersParticularly helpful Moodlers
There isn't a difference in the security between running camtasia's code and Moodle's media plug-in filter. The link to Adobe's server is just to check if there is newer version of flash. Moodle's media plug-in does this too, if you look at the code it generates (view source on a page with the media-plugin running).

The security problems with flash come from letting it be run on your site in the first place - a bad person can put malicious code in a swf, upload it, and do various nefarious things. If you enable object/embed code on your site, you open the same potential holes as you do with enabling the swf bit of the multimedia filter - as one can use object/embed code to embed a swf.

With Camtasia, another way to post the videos is have Camtasia make them as SCORM objects, and use the SCORM module to display them. As the object/embed code is rendered from within the SCORM, you don't have to enable the swf filter or object/embed to play swfs via SCORM.

Camtasia used to export FLV as part of it's Flash export (the controller is a swf and the video is FLV - the newer version has replaced flv with H.264 which is played by the flash player also).

If the videos are too large, you can work with the compression settings in the export to make them smaller.
 
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Picture of Bob Puffer
Re: video streaming
Plugin developersTesters
After going at this for quite a while and trying various methodologies (many mentioned above), IMHO a good way to go is using a Darwin Streaming server (free and very easily installed on a 2000/2003 server) with a Quicktime encoded MP4 file using embed code similar to this:

<embed src="http://trackit.luther.edu/dummy.mov" qtsrc="rtsp://trackit.luther.edu/chem152-021308QT.mp4" scale="tofit" target="QuickTimePlayer" kioskmode="true" autoplay="true" bgcolor="orange" height="480" width="900" />

It prevents downloading (unless the scrape the screen), provides a reliable, "seekable" video on-demand. Easy to administer.
 
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Picture of Greg Hayden
Re: video streaming
 
At my school we are setting up a internet streaming server. it will be using the unreal media server. I have had great sucess streaming with it. It is free for up to 15 users and for unlimited users it is a one time $400 fee for academic uses. You may want to look into that as it is a streaming server.
 
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Picture of elearning edu
Re: video streaming
 
Hi
First and foremost your job will be to convert your video into a format suitable for the web. The file size will be your concern since large size file will have upload and download issues particularly when the bandwidth is a problem
I think stealing is too strong a word and copying is the milder terminology
Only when you have IPR issues copying will be a concern. Social networking and bottom up processes encourage copying
As far as the flash format is concerned the content from the server is first downloaded into the local machine before it is played through a flash player. Therefore there is a possibility that the content can be copied
The term streaming is in true sense meaning that there will be a separate streaming server to send the content straight to the browser and there will be no chance to get the content downloaded to the local machine.
Nagarajan



 
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Picture of Tom Connolly
Re: video streaming
 
Is there some reason why you want to put them in moodle and not in some kind of other format? Would putting them in moodle create more overhead for the server?
 
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