Flash & H.264 Playlists

A few days ago at work I was asked to put together a single webpage where we could show 3 videos. Since the videos were not for public distribution we wanted to add a notice about confidentiality and possibly watermark the videos in some way. This was a perfect opportunity for me to extend what I’d learned about using the Jeroen Wijering media player. I’d always wanted to figure out the playlist features and this seemed like the perfect use for them. The videos already existed but there wasn’t a confidentiality notice or a watermark. Using a playlist let me run an image for few seconds first with the notice and then use a transparent .png over top as watermark as the 3 videos played in succession.

Now the whole reason why I’m writing about this is because the playlist can be XSPF playlist or an RSS feed. Our blogs already pump out all kinds of RSS feeds and David Meade is already working on a plugin to do XSPF (he’s got a demo on his site right now). When he was showing me what he’d built I asked if it was possible to provide ways for the viewer to generate a playlist on the fly. He said once he’s got it working as plugin that it would be possible. Imagine someone looking at your archives and saying, “let me see everything from New York in 2006 in chronological order” or “give me everything tagged ‘art’ and play it randomly.”

As a learning exercise, I put together this playlist of some of my machinima pieces. All of the videos are encoded with H.264 and look pretty nice in fullscreen. The page source and XSPF playlist are fully commented so it should be easy to recreate.

Some links:
Jeroen Wijering media player
Playlist documentation
Flashvars documentation
Update your Flash player – you need version 9,0,115,0