creating Flash Videos the open-source way

0 flash,flv encoding,website,work  |   May 11, 2006  |     540

in a project coming up this summer, I am to create a video & audio mixing console in flash. This project will be for the ADN-X tv show on Télé-Québec; their current website can be found here : http://www.adnx.ca/. Last summer I produced the ‘photo-roman / bd’ which is essentially a tool to write stories on the web in a cartoon style; you can integrate your own images, create caracters, make them speak out.. fun stuff. I particularly liked working on this project because it is aimed at teenagers, at helping them express themselves. I had quite a hard time during my teenage years, and tools to express myself would have been great.

The Tools

If you do a quick search for ‘flv conversion’ you’ll notice there are quite a few offerings. Some of them are quite affordable:

The challenge with the video mixer is that I will need to do batch conversions of user submitted videos on the fly from PHP. What I need is either a commande line encoder (also known as a console encoder) or a PHP plug-in or module that offers this functionality. There is one commercial FLV encoder that works from the command line, it is the GeoVid Video To Flash Console encoder. Great, we found a solution! euhh, wait a second. What’s this price tag, 3999$ US? I must be mistaken!

But i’m not. It does cost a whopping 4000$ US. I know my client would freak out if I mentionned this as a solution; it’s simply not an alternative. In this era of free software it’s hard to get anybody to swallow that kind of price tag for a VIDEO CONVERTER. Hence, we had a problem.

Open-Source Alternative

It all starts with FFmpeg, which stands for (Fast-Forward Mpeg?). “FFmpeg is a complete solution to record, convert and stream audio and video. It includes libavcodec, the leading audio/video codec library. FFmpeg is developed under Linux, but it can compiled under most operating systems, including Windows”. Basically, it allows you to decode (for viewing and conversion) almost all known video formats and to encode in almost all known video formats. And it supports FLV and there is a PHP Module called ffmpeg-php for easy access to movie data. This means I can use it to do the conversion and free myself of the 4k$ price tag! Awesome.

For more details, please read this blog entry from Luar: http://luar.com.hk/blog/?p=669.


More to come

I will post a full article on how this has been achieved and I will include source code. Come back in august; in the meantime if you do get around to getting it to work, i’d love to hear more on the subject (it’ll save me a few headaches!).

Peace.

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