Today I had another breakthrough in my implementation of Podcast Producer 2, a core part of Snow Leopard Server. As noted in my previous posts, PP2 is “still a work in progress,” but it is also a vast improvement in many ways over my previous video transcoding system based on ffmpeg and Drupal. I’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of the videos produced by PP2, although the file sizes are a bit larger than what I squeezed out of ffmpeg. But one thing that hasn’t impressed me is the “plain vanilla” look and minimal functionality of videos presented using the Quicktime plugin.
With my previous ffmpeg/Drupal system, I had been using a Flash-based player to present the videos: the venerable JW Player (now a product of Long Tail Video). But for a variety of reasons, I couldn’t get this player to work right with the m4v Quicktime files produced by the PP2 system. And the look of JW Player is getting a bit dated, although not nearly as dated as the look of the Quicktime plugin. Flowplayer, on the other hand, is modern-looking, clean and well-documented. The key to getting Flowplayer to work with PP2/Wiki server was finding just where to put the code…something that I mentioned at the end of my last post.
Now videos on my site look so much better, with a decent looking control bar that I can customize to my heart’s content. Time indicators? Check. Slick color instead of boring monochrome? Check. Volume slider you actually notice? Check. Seek bar with time points? Check. Big bold play and replay buttons? Check. Options galore for tweaking things just right? Check.