Looking for an integrated, seamless user generated content video solution for wordpress multisite an

Hey all, I've been trying to figure this out for about a week, (going crazy), and that's what a good solution is to a 'seamless' video management solution that could accommodate a large amount of user generated content on wordpress multisite/buddypress, and could do the following things:

1. A user could upload a video file in almost any format, and I want it to be encoded to play in HIGH QUALITY on every major kind of browser and smart phone, and other commonly used format.

2. Inserted easily into a blog post with no copying and pasting, simple to use, etc (so that my Grandma could do it after 30 seconds of explaining)

That's basically it - sounds simple enough, I just can't figure out how to do it. I don't want to put the videos up on youtube, or anywhere else where I don't control the content. Here's what I've looked into:

1. Brightcove - badass, but ridiculous bandwidth costs
2. Viddler - the easiest to do, but I can't change around the player styles, I have to use that stupid viddler player. Aside from that, I really like viddler, and thinking of using it regardless of my distaste for their stupid players.
3. Encoding.com can 'watch' a folder, upload and encode, and then deposite files via FTP into a CDN of choice, but I don't know how to use it, etc. They have another service called http://vid.ly that does what I want if I had someone custom program a plugin, but kind of brush me off when I talk to them, and makes me a bit annoyed.
4. I called Sorensonmedia, quite good as well, better priced than brightcove, but still have a feeling like I'd be paying $20,000 for something I can have almost free in six months.
5. I saw Vzaar hosts the videos on this site, and am checking them out.
6. I was looking at kaltura and had no idea what the heck I was looking at.

Here's the problem - I'm not really a tech guy ( in the sense that I know quite a lot less than a programmer about HOW this stuff works) I'm a marketer.

I essentially want a scalable solution that could accommodate 10,000 active users uploading videos every day (not because that would happen - just in case) and have an easy to use interface. My web videos right now with just my content do about 756 gigabytes of data transfer per month through amazon s3, but amazon s3 isn't easy to use for an old lady, (no offense, I love you grandma) and I want this to be so easy to use that you can just login to your wordpress site, click upload, and bamb - all the transcoding/embedding/etc with a very easy to use interface.

I'm willing to hire someone to program something with an API and pay well for it, BUT I want a good solution that is scalable and will work for those specs.

Anyone with expertise on this who can guide me, have a phone conversation/program something/etc?

Thanks,
David Wood
801-542-9350

  • georgef

    Hey David,

    Good to see you here! :slight_smile:

    I did some research on what you want to do a while back and everything unfortunately points to Amazon S3. I'm with you on the not user friendly for grandma's, but thats the only storage facility that will handle the load you're talking about (that I know of)

    Here's an old plugin that I found that needs some work done to it...

    http://undesigned.org.za/2009/02/16/wordpress-plugin-for-amazon-s3

    I couldnt get it to work flawlessly myself, but I'm sure there are many programmers in here that can
    (can check in with the guys that just did some work for me if you want)

    It allows you to 'simply' upload files / videos to a bucket on Amazon S3.

    And if I say simply, it does that, but the plugin needs to be revamped.

    That's keeping it simple.

    To have you video smartphone (etc) friendly, it just needs to be in .m4v format, so if not uploaded to the bucket as that, would need to somehow be converted on the backend.

    One more company I looked at which might have some answers in that regard is

    http://www.wowzamedia.com/

    Think they are more focused on live broadcasting (the backbone of Ustream, Livestream, etc)

    But then again, they also have Amazon S3 (or EMC, something like that) as the back bone.

    Does that help?

  • georgef

    Not familiar with Kaltura until you mentioned them, but just checking there site, it looks like it can almost work out of the box.

    http://www.kaltura.org/cdn-setup

    http://www.kaltura.org/kaltura-ce-v30-amazon-cloudfront-guide

    Then they have an Buddypress plugin good to go...

    http://exchange.kaltura.com/ (page 2)

    Seems like the only real thing you'll need to get setup is the CDN as explained in the first 2 posts.

    Should be able to get someone in their forum or Odesk to do that for you for cheap.

    So if that Buddypress plugin works and does what you want it to, you have the basics good to go.

    O btw, I'm the guy who reviewed your blog in the Top 50 MLM blogs! :slight_smile:

    Let me know if you need a hand with this.

  • Aaron

    Unfortunately running your own service is way to complicated technically to run via a plugin alone. It requires multiple servers, a lot of sysadmin setup and management. I know as James begs me to make one every month or so. If you have the money and skill for that the videopress code is gpl.

    What tou need is a white label service, with a plugin to integrate it more seamlessly.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_hosting_websites#White-label_providers

  • Timothy Bowers

    Surely not,

    Install FFMPEG, Lame, and Mencoder.

    Use php CLI to run commands on upload to convert video and audio.

    Extend current Media Library to deal with the upload of this type of media. Then allow the media library to just insert.

    Plugin Extended: Allow pages to be media galleries. Bells and whistles can be added here.

    Open source projects doing similar things:

    (Not sure about CDN support on these bad boys)

    First of all http://videopress.com/ - This is what Wordpress.com use now as an upgrade for its users, surely that could be taken and done by WPMDEV as well!? Its open source framework is readily available: http://videopress.com/developers/

    http://www.phpmotion.com/ - Been around for a good while now, I did test it a few times and found it simple and easy to use (two or three years ago).

    http://clip-bucket.com/ - Been around for a while also.

    I think Boonex might offer something here as well?

    There was a really good German one as well but I can't recall the name, they offer open source and premium ones.

    Joomla has options also, here is one but I'm sure there is others:

    http://demo15.hwdmediashare.co.uk/

    I mention all these as they might offer some creative mad genius some ideas and inspiration! :wink:

    Wouldn't just need to plug into a simple API for large scale deployment? Could something similar be done to like the "scalability and multi-db" plugin?

  • Aaron

    Install FFMPEG, Lame, and Mencoder.
    Use php CLI to run commands on upload to convert video and audio.

    Exactly my point :wink:
    >95% of our members have no idea what your talking about, I can't imagine trying to support that! It's hard enough teaching users how to install a simple plugin.

    If you have the skills more power to you, there are already solutions out there, which you kindly linked to.

    If we were to tackle this we would be creating a service like videopress, but currently that doesnt make business sense for us.

  • Timothy Bowers

    PHPMotion isn't WP though, its standalone :'-(

    Anyway, don't I see CEO next to your name James, doesn't that mean you technically control Aaron and his wages? Are you not a god in the eyes of your staff!?

    Whip and Crack spring to mind on this occasion!! muhahahahahahahaha

    Whether its a custom baked solution or whether you utilise the WP existing code base matters not to me, what matters is a good solid way for me and I see many others to integrate this type of solution into WPMU like WP.com does. The possibilities are endless and the subscription levels would be just as good.

    Although we're entering the age of HTML5, some crapy browsers still need flash, may I recommend FlowPlayer over JW?

    Here is a further consideration - Live Streaming and video blogging!

    http://www.ustream.tv/
    http://www.livestream.com/

    Imagine the revenue stream possibilities with those kind of features! Some of our clients use those two and use our Java based chat rooms.

    Wowser, Adobe or an open source RED5 would handle the streaming part. :slight_smile:

    While we are going the full hog, we host Shoutcast streams as well, Centova or WHMSonic (cPanel plugin) is great for that, I'm sure they would have API's, I know WHMCS plugs into them to create accounts and handle billing.

    I'm sure you get where I'm going with this idea............ Sorry to hijack the thread. :slight_smile:

  • Timothy Bowers

    >95% of our members have no idea what your talking about, I can't imagine trying to support that! It's hard enough teaching users how to install a simple plugin.

    Service providers will often install these upon request. There are hosts now which come with these pre-installed and I mean shared hosts because they see the huge market there. When people take servers with us (UK Datacentre) we can have it those installed straight away (Or at a later date if they take management with it)

    If we were to tackle this we would be creating a service like videopress, but currently that doesnt make business sense for us.

    As a business idea and venture for you guys then consider this..... The plugin could be part of usual artillery of products here however not everyone is as specialised and can't install or configure these things, but maybe you or some other tech guy could for a nominal fee?

    A Separate "Ultimate" support upgrade could be added specifically for this product, thus giving you a larger market and potential mark-up. :slight_smile:

  • SooBahkDo

    Hello All,

    Just chiming in on this as it has been a massive research project for our organization as well.

    We have evaluated over 100 different solutions and service providers looking for the right combination for our target application which is to sell videos online with multilingual translation of text accompanying the videos.

    Initially we settled on http://www.mindbites.com as the lowest buget, ready to go, be in business today solution meeting 90% of our specs including an affiliate program for sellers of our videos. Very nice.
    Theeeeeen the feature and scope creep started among project definers and we moved on...

    AS FOR VIDEO INSIDE WORDPRESS
    The Kaltura plugin is super slick and the features they have are amazing, including collaborative online editing of video, video comments on blog posts, HD video and more. Very cool.
    The plugin provides 10G of FREE storage as part the trial that comes with plugin activation.
    My Grandma could work this one. :slight_smile:
    http://pluginreviews.multisitepro.net/all-in-one-video-pack-by-kaltura/52

    The Cincopa plugin is super-super slick and is truly a swiss army knife of features for just about every kind of file, it does 3D galleries, HD video and more. It appears a bit more versatile than Kaltura in some regards. The plugin provides a free trial Cincopa account.
    My Grandma could also work this one. :slight_smile:
    http://www.cincopa.com/

    VideoPress is a cool solution, but the 3 g capacity is clearly intended for a few videos on a blog and not much more.

    A VERY ROUGH price comparison of these and a few other video services can be found here.
    http://pluginreviews.multisitepro.net/video-player-plugins-with-hosting-cost-comparison/77

    AS FOR SELLING VIDEO ONLINE
    We have settled on PHPMotion to sell video subscriptions online. The PHPMotion subscription manager add-on is simple and easy to configure. We settled on this solution... with a couple of caveats. The encoding is done at upload by the hosting servers and we have tried PacificHiost and Cirtex. This may all have to be revisited if the PHPMotion HD mod happens to disturb our little house of cards, but for now, its a starter.
    http://www.soobahkdoinstitute.com (still alpha)

    Caveats
    1) We want HD capabilities (PHPMotion has HD features in their development pipeline.. somewhere)

    2) We upgraded to a mod that incorporate FlowMotion Player in PHPMotion and the mod integrates your X-OPEN ad server capabilities, pre-roll- ads, mid roll, post roll ads, banners ads and more. FlowMotion player also does HD and some very cool slow motion, fast forward video features that we want for our training videos. http://flowplayer.org/plugins/streaming/slowmotion.html

    Those cool FlowMotion features are available when using WOWZA Server. http://www.wowzamedia.com/demos/demos.html

    Wowza Server is available as a service on Amazon. (prices just went up today)
    http://www.wowzamedia.com/ec2.html

    FlowPlayer secure streaming from Amazon S3 is doable:
    http://flowplayer.org/plugins/streaming/cloudfront/index.html

    UPLOADING AND ENCODING FILES
    For uploading large video files we are using a customized version of Simple Amazon S3 Uploads by Adam Murray in the WordPress repository. He is tweaking its functions to our specs this week.
    Users can upload to S3 buckets super easy from pages, posts, sidebars and admin area.
    Very slick.

    TRANSCODING
    Posterous uses and Zencoder and their API is easy and their pricing model is very reasonable. You can set their service to monitor an S3 bucket and retrieve and encode all files uploaded to the bucket, then send the encoded versions back to your preferred location. If that location is another S3 bucket, then you can stream them securely from it in HD using FlowPlayer. You can stay out of the encoding business and leave it to these guys for less than the trouble of rolling your own and maintaining it.
    http://www.zencoder.com

    iPlayerHD is an HD encoding specialty site with reasonable cost and it has encoded every video we have uploaded without a glitch and the quality is super excellent. It can automatically create three versions of your video for mobile, low bandwidth and high bandwidth connections. Again, you can stay out of the encoding business and leave it to these guys for less than the trouble of rolling your own and maintaining it.
    http://www.iPlayerHD.com

    SELLING YOU TUBE SITES
    Clip Share offers subscriptions but is different than PHPMotion in that it is designed to sell user subscriptions of upload space and features NOT subscriptions to video series like PHPMotion. It appears to be a well polished application.
    http://www.clip-share.com

    CONCLUSION
    We do not want to be in the business of maintaining encoding servers and dealing with every new flavor of video that somebody wants to upload, etc. etc. so for now PHPMotion makes the most sense for our application and hopefully, their HD modifications will mesh with FlowPlayer and then we will be set on all fronts.

    On our WordPress sites, users will upload to our S3 bucket from any WordPress install using Simple S3 Amazon Uploader Plugin. Then, Zencoder or IPlayer HD will be monitoring our bucket and transcoding whatever gets uploaded, then putting the multiple file versions (mobile, low-band -hi-band) in the appropriate WOWZA EC2 location from which will secure stream them through FlowPlayer with slow motion, fast forward, pseudo streaming, HD features, etc.

    Programming will be needed to automate configuration of the multiple transcoded files versions inside the player instances OR until the quantity of videos is larger that can be done manually along with player configuration instance by instance.

    Or at least that is the plan.

    Phil D

  • James Farmer

    Heh, oh yeh, there is that bit... I wonder if there's scope for like a distributed youtube.

    1. So we do all that backend stuff / hosting etc. (obviously using S3)
    2. Just provide you guys with an interface / theme thingy that just plugins into WP allowing you to essentially offer youtube style services (and for Edublogs to do that too :slight_smile:
    3. It's free (for members) using you API key up to a certain amount of bandwidth but after that you need to purchase extra bandwidth blocks

    Would that meet what you guys were after?

    And, of more interest would ya be happy to pay for it?

  • Timothy Bowers

    For me I wouldn't personally use that approach because then it makes me solely dependant on another third party, which is another cog in the works I would need to worry about. I would prefer my own servers handle the processing and hosting of any content. Plus the bulk of my users are UK based, as are our servers.

    But your solution would be one which would work for many.

    Now that said........ If you offered a self hosted version so people like me could set up on our servers, you could monetize that further by offering a CDN and background processing.

    What does that mean?

    Well it means that anyone who does not have the means or tech know how to install FFMPEG or anything else needed could simple stick in your API, pay their dues and off they go. An out of the box solution which just works off the bat!

    Jobs a good en, you get an on going subscription and when they hit Bandwidth peeks you have further scope for profit. Whilst still giving people like me a reason to subscribe, because we would want the latest coolest version which would run and process on our own servers.

    Two solutions, one product:

    1). Plugin which connects into your servers seamlessly through API and processes everything for them. CDN Options as well! (CDN could give you further viable revenue streams).

    2). Plugin which connects to all the components installed on our own servers (we just stick in the path details and such) CDN Options as well! (Even if they don't take the primary service from you, they might take CDN).

    I know I'd be happy then as we get the best of both worlds. :slight_smile:

  • davidwood

    James - I would be happy to pay for it, as long as:

    1. it worked seamlessly with ease for an average user.

    2. the video quality was HIGH, and good encoding.

    3. it played back on all main kinds of devices

    4. I could show my mom how to use it in less than five minutes with nothing more than a portable video camera like a flip cam and a laptop.

    Connect with me, send a pm and we'll talk about it. Right now I'm considering using Viddler or Kaltura, but really, I would like to control the content on my own CDN network, or Amazon servers.

    -dave

  • AndrewTraub

    Some very cool sites.

    JP Schoeffel and I released a video player for Wordpress (http://www.easyvideopress.com) primarily designed to work with Amazon S3 files, but at this point it uses a flash player (so is not compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod) and does not support file uploading (though we worked hard to make it easy for a newbie to use). I also haven't tested it on MU though I plan to do that soon.

    Andrew

  • Timothy Bowers

    Hi Andrew, I don't man to sound funny but your site looks like one of those generic sales buy me pages that I and I know many people would avoid and when closing the site I get an annoying pop up message:

    W A I T B E F O R E Y O U G O !

    CLICK THE *CANCEL* BUTTON RIGHT NOW
    TO STAY ON THE CURRENT PAGE.

    I HAVE SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL FOR YOU!

    Hope you see this as constructive feedback. :slight_smile:

    Supporting iPad, iBone, etc is really just as simple as embedding the video link on a page. HTML5 gives nice easy to use video tags as well, a simple browser check could decide which to show. :slight_smile: Recording and uploading is something else though. :slight_smile:

  • Timothy Bowers

    Yeah, they are one of the most annoying things in the whole world! If anything it ensures I never go back to a site again even it had something which I might have considered purchasing. (Could you imagine your local supermarkets doing something like that in the real world! lol)

    It sort of reminds me of the early days of the internet. I recall one site trying to be annoying and coded them to do the opposite things, click ok to close then it opened another, don't click this, click that and then into a repetitive loop of only being able to click ok and watching an annoying counter go up. lol

  • Lifebrightener

    Hi gang, I have an idea that I call "Value Added Compensation," or (VAC.) I think it would be more than fair if James and Aaron infused this compensation system within the API code, so that it is like an affiliate partner link back. This type of an arrangement not only compensates WMPU for a great product, but also induces fine tuning and a more relevant feedback loop from customers.

    I hope this helps,
    Tim

    P.S. I am wondering if we can mix our services up in some way so that they can be marketed as a social cloud service. I was lucky enough to buy http://www.PalCloud.com for my project. If anyone would like to partner with me on this exciting project, please either call me at 973-996-8701, or email me at :stuck_out_tongue:al@PalCloud.com">Pal@PalCloud.com.

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