Cloud computing, ruby, technology, and sprinkling of chaotic life

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chosing a Video hosting service

This weekend was filled with another horse show. Zelly did excellent in her 4 dressage tests. Our house now has a few more blue ribbons along with a special plaque for highpoint.

Now, I have ridden horses, but I think I might understand a tenth of the equestrian details I watch at these events. So, I fallback to what I can do. Geeking out with technology. What better excuse do I need to purchase a small harddrive based HD camcorder?

But now that I have video, I am confronted with the need to actually edit it, and share it. I ended up spending far too much time comparing the various services available. There are quite a few players in the internet video space these days. Many of them are focused on promoting your video, and/or monetizing. I wasn't looking for that. I wanted a simple, clean service to store my videos and allow me to send them to family and friends. Basicly I wanted a flickr for video, without size restrictions. For the imaptient, I'll just give away my final choice, Motions box feels sorta like flickr.

Motionbox provides:
  • streaming in 1280x720 HD
  • unlimited file size and no upload limits
  • stores original video file, available for download.
  • Supports the AVCHD .mts native format of my Canon HF10 camcorder
  • basic video editing (ability to trim and combine videos)
  • A clean, family oriented design (this is not a youtube, constantly trying to display the craziest video)
  • A nice simple player
  • You (or others if allowed) can order a DVD or flipbook of videos
  • $30/year

Other sites I sampled:
  • 1GB file size limit
  • youtube
  • vimeo
  • veho
  • viddyou
  • reevo
  • truveo
  • photobucket
  • smugmug

Of all the above, the only three that ended up in the final category were, vimeo, Vimeo actually provides my favorite interface, but the lack of avchd support and filesize limits knoked it below both and motionbox.

Here is a raw upload from the camera.

The one thing I don't like so far, that big blue play button. I prefer the less obtrusive style, a small play button in the corner. Flickr does this, making the videos enjoyable even as stills.

I thought about rolling my own soloution, hosting the videos myself. All of the tools are available. The folks at New Bambo released a pretty complete solution, built up with ffmpeg and merb, designed to run in Amazon's cloud. The even have it all bundled up into a preconfigured Ec2 AMI. I played around with this option a little, and might come back to it.

I decided to take a look for a system that wouldn't take any work on my part, and I found motionbox. I can upload raw video directly from my camera (avoiding the hours+ of transcoding), get basic in browser editing, hosting and streaming, and still be able to download the files and take originals if I ever do want to do something different, for $30. Done.

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