New version of vfe.sh works with ffmpeg v1 and up. Overall the changes to ffmpeg increase the similarity between the ffmpeg and the libav suites, so that makes my life a little easier. I did not try for backward compatibility. If you need to use it with ffmpeg 0.6, then you need to use the 2.0 version. You can get either version from the repo on github:
The latest version of vfe.sh (2.0) allows you to select whether the script will run the transcoding commands using an 'ffmpeg' or 'avconv' command. The default is ffmpeg, and it's the kind of thing one is likely set and leave, so I have added a 'converter' value in my .vferc file. On my Mac I'm using ffmpeg, and on my Ubuntu machine avconv. With avconv I found that Ogg encoding was sensitive to the audio bitrate, and that 128 was a good value. At any rate, it is now a setting that you can adjust on the command line or in your .vferc file. Lastly I added more explicit output so that you can now see in the terminal the full form of the command that the script ran for each video type.
Updated files are on:
I've just released version 2.0 of External "Video for Everybody." New to this version is the option to use remote file detection so that the plugin will generate source tags and download links only for video sources whose existence it can verify. You should use this option only if some of your videos do not have all three source types (.mp4, .webm, and .ogv). If that is the case, though, and if you are using the VideoJS library, then you ought to use file detection. The External "Video for Everybody" plugin is now bundled with Video JS 3, and a missing .webm video will cause VideoJS to fail on FireFox.
I just pushed a new version of the vfe.sh script to github:
This version (1.11) drops the use of ffmpeg2theora. All of the relevant functionality of this utility is available through ffmpeg. For my script the switch has these advantages:
- Fewer dependencies
- Greater range of input formats now possible
- Consistent and predictable handling of anamorphic pixel aspect ratios
Point #2 lets me work more easily with kdenlive, which I have recently begun using for video editing. Point #3 makes it easier to handle input from a wider range of cameras.
Version 1.0 of the "External Video for Everybody" WordPress plugin addresses two issues relating to poster images for HTML5 videos:
- First-time activations will now use poster images by default. This is a reversal of the previous initial setting. Existing activations will retain their current settings, but existing users who are not using posters might want to start. (See rationale below.)
- The plugin now includes a simple and optional built-in style sheet to help posterless videos establish a visual presence in FireFox 4.
The HTML5 <video> tag can take a poster attribute, but setting a poster previously (in iOS3) caused the video to fail on iPhones and iPads, so the default for the External Video for Everybody plugin had been not to set a poster. The iPhone/iPad problem has been corrected in iOS4 so that viewers with an up-to-date iOS should not have difficulty with posters. But there is an even more compelling reason to start using poster images: Unlike FireFox 3, FireFox 4 does not automatically display the first frame of a video. Unless you preload or set a poster, viewers may well see nothing but a blank space (with controls at the bottom) where the video should be. The video will play when you click to start it, but the white space can make for an awkward layout.
If you've been uploading poster files all along in anticipation of the day when they would work across devices, you might want to throw the switch on the Media > External VfE options page. Of course, you can still override site-wide settings in your individual shortcodes.
In case you haven't been using posters and don't plan to start, the plugin's optional built-in style sheet will somewhat alleviate the blank spaces in FireFox 4 by adding a drop shadow and a background gradient. A posterless video in FireFox 4 will then look like this:
This is a pretty minor release, the main point of which is to bring the VideoJS library up to the current stable version (2.0.2). The new library creates a more portable HTML structure and offers some nice updated styling.
Browsers still seem to respect preloading and autobuffering attributes unevenly, so bandwidth continues to be a concern for those with multiple videos per page or with large videos on popular pages. My own version of FireFox (3.6.13) happens to preload against the settings when I use the VideoJS library, but does not preload when I use the native controls. Chrome seems to preload no matter what I try, but Safari now seems not to preload if you don't want it to.
The hosting page on WordPress.org is:
Just put up a new version of the vfe.sh script that includes an option to create a VP8/.webm version of your video alongside the OGG/.ogv and MPEG/.mp4. Success of the script depends on ffmpeg 0.6. As before, you also need ffmpeg2theora and qtfaststart.py.
Now I'll be able to work on including VP8/.webm in the External Video for Everybody WordPress plugin.
I have just released External Video for Everybody 0.7 as the new stable version. The big change here is that following Video for Everybody 0.4+ I have dropped the embedded QuickTime objects.
Part of the rationale for dropping QuickTime objects is to simplify the HTML, though I would not have done it for that reason alone. After all, the plugin doesn't care about having to write some complicated markup.
I made the switch for three additional reasons:
- I think it is valuable to stay close to Video for Everybody rather than to fork off in a different direction
- Dropping QuickTime objects lowers the overhead when preparing files. There is no need now to create a "poster.mp4" file.
- I want to avoid preloading movies that will not be played, but using the "poster.mp4" was creating an odd user experience. You had to click on the movie to get it to play rather than clicking on the "play" button. So really the poster needed to have some kind of "click me" label. I'm sure I could have automated a smarter poster creation for myself, but it added to complexity for providers and consumers alike. Better to let it go.
Version 0.6 of the External Video for Everybody WordPress plugin allows you to designate (on the options page or within a shortcode) whether or not you wish to include a poster attribute in your HTML5 video tag. Dropping the poster follows Video for Everybody 0.4 in order enable playback on iPads. Leaving posters as an option allows each user to decide globally or on a video by video basis. You might even turn posters off but continue to create and upload them with the idea that you can turn them on when iPads can handle them. Or you can just start making your posters into the first frame of the movie.
Additionally, version 0.6 offers experimental support for video URL's that require a query string after the file name. Amazon S3 has been pointed out as a case in point, but I do not use the service, and so I cannot test whether my accommodation actually addresses the problem.