Monday, January 14, 2008

Playing with subtitle files

Here is a cool software for creating/editing subtitle files :
Subtitle workshop.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Streaming video files online

Microsoft has a paper which compares two methods for streaming media files online.
It is a well written piece and I would recommend reading it.
Here I have tried to rephrase and summarize it for myself.
Others might find it useful too.

Basically the two approaches are
(a) A Normal Web-server (Also known as Progressive Download or HTTP Streaming)
(b) a specialized streaming server.

Normal web server uses existing infrastructure, whereas for (b) you need
to buy specialized software(not sure about hardware, but I guess an upgrade would be

(a) Uses the standard HTTP/TCP protocol set for transmitting the media file(s) but (b)
uses a customized variant of UDP or even TCP as the case might be. Hence (b) can
meet the real time requirements.

(a) is less secure as the browser stores the file in a cache which anyone can copy. With
(b) copying is not straightforward as of now ;-)

Due to specialized nature of (b) random access is supported even if the file
hasn't been downloaded completely. With (a) it's not possible.

Here is another useful article on the same topic.

PS : I just read about Rich Media Project, which claims to have several features
of a specialized streaming server but with much lower costs. It doesn't even need
any special software for that purpose.

Also, there is an open source streaming server called Red5 available as well, here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Preserving is costly for movies in digital form

Here is the source.

"...To store a digital master record of a movie costs about $12,514 a year, versus the $1,059 it costs to keep a conventional film master.

Much worse, to keep the enormous swarm of data produced when a picture is “born digital” — that is, produced using all-electronic processes, rather than relying wholly or partially on film — pushes the cost of preservation to $208,569 a year, vastly higher than the $486 it costs to toss the equivalent camera negatives, audio recordings, on-set photographs and annotated scripts of an all-film production into the cold-storage vault."

Downloading Youtube videos played in Firefox - Is it legal?

First of all, how to copy a youtube video you just played in Firefox :
Source : Experts-exchange

If you use Firefox, you can grab FLV files out of the cache.

In Windows XP, the Firefox cache is usually here:
C:\Documents and Settings\[your windows user name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[some number.default]\Cache

In the cache folder, switch to 'details' view. Once you play the video, a large file will appear at the top of your cache folder (you may have to refresh the view). Add the .flv extension and you're good to go. This should work with any site that plays video through Flash, including YouTube.


But, is it legal?
Source : Youtube terms
Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only and may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, distributed, transmitted, broadcast, displayed, sold, licensed, or otherwise exploited for any other purposes whatsoever without the prior written consent of the respective owners.

Also See :

YouTube Threatens Legal Action Against Host of Video Download Tool

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