VLC Media Player

Last update : June 12, 2013

VLC  Media is the favorite media player for most people because it plays everything they throw at it without problems with the included codecs. VLC can do the following things (see contribution on Instant Fundas) :

  • Rip DVDs with the integrated basic DVD ripper
  • Record videos during playback (View>Advanced Control)
  • Download YouTube and other online videos by grabbing the URL of the YouTube video page (Media>Open Network stream). In the latest version (1.0.2 Goldeneye) you must replace “swfArgs” with “SWF_ARGS” in the youtube.lua file with a text editor to make the youtube videos running.
  • Play RAR files with zipped videos even if the RAR file is split into several files
  • Play in ASCII mode (Tools>Preferences>Video>Output>Color ASCII art video output)
  • Listen to online radio (Media>Services Discovery>Shoutcast radio listings)
  • Convert Audio and Video formats (Media>Convert/Save)
  • Enhance your player with new skins
  • Stream your Linux/Windows/Mac Desktop as video

VLC Media Player can not cut videos from the GUI, only with the command lines.

VLC Remote Control for iPhone

After 485 million downloads of VLC 1.1.x versions, VideoLAN and the VLC development team presented VLC 2.0.0 “Twoflower”, a major new release, on February 18, 2012. VideoLAN, a French non-profit organization, is a group of people, that produces and distributes free and open source software for video and multimedia purpose, released under Open Source licenses. It started as a student project at the French École Centrale Paris but is now a worldwide project with developers from everywhere and dozens of millions of people using VideoLAN’s software.

VLC is the official name of VideoLAN’s main product, often named VLC. VideoLAN Client is an ancient name of this product. VideoLAN Server (VLS) is an outdated streaming solution developed by a separate group of people.

The current version of VLC is 2.0.5. It supports now DLNA and works fine with the Serviio DLNA server (see contribution on the Serviio Forum). A remote control for the VLC player to run on iOS devices is available from Hobbyist Software. The log files are displayed in the Tools > Messages window if verbosity is set to the value 2 (debug).

With VLC, cuttingt videos is very easy. Launch VLC media player and activate advanced controls located under the view menu. You will see four extra buttons above the normal play/pause button. You will not cut the video, but rather record the segment using the built-in VLC recorder. First seek the position you want to start your recording with the frame by frame button, then press the record button and the play button. The background color of the record button will change to blue. Press the record button when you want to stop the recording. The clip will be automatically saved as an MP4 media file in your Videos folder in Windows. A prefix “vlc-record-date-time” is added to the name of the original videoclip.

Flix Video Encoding and Publishing

last update : october 2010

In the past the On2 Flix product line was the leading line of encoding and publishing solutions for Adobe® Flash® Player, available as application software, plug-ins and software development kits for servers, desktops, and browsers.

On February 19, 2010, Google Inc. announced that it has completed its acquisition of On2 Technologies, Inc., valued at approximately $124.6 million.

On June 21st, 2010, ON2 announced that they are discontinuing sales of licenses for On2 Flix Pro, On2 Flix Standard, On2 Flix Exporter, On2 Flix PowerPlayers, On2 Flix Live, On2 Flix SDK for DirectShow, and On2 Flix Publisher. Google will no longer sell or support these products.

Flash Video (FLV) : delivery and encoding

Last update : Januray 30, 2013

Due to the popularity of the Adobe Flash player, Flash video (FLV) was the standard of choice for Internet Video publishers in the past. Publishers could choose between three methods of delivering video content.

  • Progressive Download
  • Streaming
  • HTTP pseudo-streaming

Downloads are easy and work with any server, but do not offer content protection nor seeking to undownloaded parts. Streaming servers offer these functionalities, but have to be installed and managed. Since serverside access and knowledge are not available to every developer, there exist an in-between solution of HTTP pseudo-streaming through the use of small serverside scripts. A detailed tutorial about HTTP video streaming has been written by Jeroen Wijering, the renowned developer of the JW player and cofounder of LongTail Video and Bits on the Run.

The streaming protocol for Flash video is RMTP (Real Time Messaging Protocol). RTMP is a proprietary persistant protocol developed by Adobe Systems for streaming audio, video and data over the Internet, between a Flash player and a server.

The RTMP protocol has three variations:

1. The “plain” protocol which works on top of TCP and uses port number 1935
2. RTMPT which is encapsulated within HTTP requests to traverse firewalls
3. RTMPS which works just like RTMPT, but over a secure HTTPS connection.

The HTTP pseudo-streaming works through a very simple mechanism. It’s a progressive download using server side scripting to allow random access to parts of the video that have not yet been loaded. A well known php script for HTTP pseudo-streaming was xmoov, developed by Eric Lorenzo Benjamin jr. The FLV video must contain keyframes metadata which can be added with a patcher like FLVMDI.

The second issue for delivering flash video on the web is the encoding. An in-depth comparison of available codecs is presented by Jan Ozer in an article published on the website digitalcontentproducer.com.

Flash video uses three different codecs:

  • The Sorenson Spark codec, introduced in Flash version 7, (Sorenson H.263) was used a lot (e.g. at YouTube, Google Video, MySpace). This codec was also found in most freeware / shareware software that encodes FLV.
  • The TrueMotion VP6 codec developed by On2 Technologies was introduced in Flash version 8. It was a famous proprietary codec used in the Flix encoding tools offered by On2. Two versions of the VP6 were available: VP6-S was recommended for HD (high-definition) production, and VP6-E was the best for SD (standard definition) production.
  • The industry-standard H.264 video codec is icluded in Flash since version 9r115. This codec is also known as MPEG-4 Part 10, or MPEG-4 AVC (for Advanced Video Coding). With H.264, DVD-quality online video is very well possible. An advantage of the H.264 codec is that it is also used in a lot of portable devices, such as the iPod/iPhone, Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) or Nokia N series smartphones.

A comparison of the quality of H.263 and 264 codecs is presented by Jeroen Wijering on the Bits on the Run website.

I use the commercial version of Jeroen Wijerings video-player (licence No 2007.3264). My video files are hosted on the Amazon S3 servers, the preview pictures are hosted in the same folder as the video player on another server by using a relative path for the corresponding flashvariable. Since 2010 I use the Amazon Cloudfront service to stream flash videos.

FLV MetaData Viewer

Last update : January 30, 2013
FLV MetaData Viewer (FLVMDV) is a property sheet extension DLL for Windows XP. FLVMDV adds ‘FLV Details’ tab to the file properties dialog of FLV (Flash Video) files.



Version 1 of FLVMDV was released by Manitu Group on september 14th, 2006.

FLVMDV tab displays FLV information (dimensions, video and audio codecs, frames rate and duration) and also onMetaData event data found in the FLV.

It can be used free, but it cannot be distributed.

vvvv : multipurpose real-time video synthesis toolkit

last update : January 30, 2013

vvvv is a multipurpose toolkit focusing on real-time video synthesis, connecting physical devices, and developing interactive media applications and systems. Because vvvv is basically a very modular multipurpose construction toolkit, it can be used to create many kinds of custom-built applications. The development of vvvv was initiated 1998 by Sebastian Oschatz and Max Wolf at MESO to built a high performance multimedia tool to set up artistic and commercial projects. They were joined shortly after by Sebastian Gregor who invented many of the core algorithms. In 2000 Joreg joined the team at MESO to set up the graphical user interface as his diploma thesis. In the first years vvvv was used exclusively as an inhouse tool. The first public release was in december 2002.

In 2006 the further development of vvvv was handed over to the vvvv group consisting out of Joreg, Sebastian Oschatz, Sebastian Gregor and Max Wolf, which will coordinate further developments of the software.

The current version is vvvv45beta29 released on 24th December 2012.

Springboard : the storyboard editor

last update : January 30, 2013

Springboard is a fast, light, easy-to-use Windows application for easily and quickly sketching and annotating storyboards for film, video, animation, or other dynamic media. The first version (v 0.20) was launched on 6th September 1998, the most recent version (v 1.03) on 15th November 2011. The program is developed by Six Mile Creek Systems LLC. The owner, Timothy J. Weber, has been building professional desktop software since the mid-1980s, focusing on audio, motion graphics, and user-interface design for creative applications.