Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

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Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

David Gerard-2
This is a drastic policy change that affects all projects, and so
needs wider discussion than just wikitech-l.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
Date: 20 March 2012 01:24
Subject: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile
To: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]>


As some may know, we've restricted videos on Wikimedia sites to the
freely-licensed Ogg Theora codec for some years, with some intention to
support other non-patent-encumbered formats like WebM.

One of our partners in pushing for free formats was Mozilla; Fire fox's
HTML5 video supports only Theora and WebM.

The prime competing format, H.264, has potential patent issues - like other
MPEG standards there's a patent pool and certain licensing rules. It's also
nearly got an exclusive choke hold on mobile - so much so that Mozilla is
considering ways to adopt H.264 support to avoid being left behind:

http://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2012/03/18/video-user-experience-and-our-mission/

Is it time for us to think about H.264 encoding on our own videos?

Right now users of millions of mobile phones and tablets have no access to
our audio and video content, and our old desktop fallback of using a Java
applet is unavailable.

In theory we can produce a configuration with TimedMediaHandler to produce
both H.264 and Theora/WebM transcodes, bringing Commons media to life for
mobile users and Apple and Microsoft browser users.

What do we think about this? What are the pros and cons?

-- brion
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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

Juergen Fenn-3
Am 20. März 2012 18:18 schrieb David Gerard <[hidden email]>:
> This is a drastic policy change that affects all projects, and so
> needs wider discussion than just wikitech-l.

Thanks for forwarding the discussion.

I wonder whether we should rather use our strength in users' demand in
order to make pressure on manufacturers to support free-software
codecs than adopting the costly and patented codecs. I mean, it's not
only about content. MediaWiki and Wikimedia should remain free from a
technical point of view, too.

Regards,
Jürgen.

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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

David Gerard-2
On 21 March 2012 08:17, Jürgen Fenn <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I wonder whether we should rather use our strength in users' demand in
> order to make pressure on manufacturers to support free-software
> codecs than adopting the costly and patented codecs. I mean, it's not
> only about content. MediaWiki and Wikimedia should remain free from a
> technical point of view, too.


The actual problem there is there's not enough video content on
Wikimedia sites as yet to make this a user pressure issue.

So we need to be able to *ingest* anything that comes in from a camera
or a phone, even if we save it as Theora or VP8.

(This is harder than it sounds, but is apparently in progress, in the
coming-some-day Timed Media Handler.)

At that point we can start on serious programs to add video. Every
article on a street should have video of the street, for example.
Video of athletes in action [1]. Etc.


- d.

[1] and boy will *that* be interesting for egregious overreaching
claims of copyright by sports leagues, but anyway.

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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

Bod Notbod
On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 08:41, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Every
> article on a street should have video of the street, for example.

I can't say I find that a particularly exciting prospect. Especially
not, as perhaps I wrongly conjure from context given by this
discussion, video shot on mobile phones.

I'm picturing wonky-cam, shakey footage that someone has taken walking
down a less than visually impressive sidewalk.

I think I would find Google Street view a lot more useful and engaging
as it gives me a means to explore and decide where I'm 'looking'.

Bodnotbod

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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

David Gerard-2
On 22 March 2012 15:39, Bod Notbod <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I can't say I find that a particularly exciting prospect. Especially
> not, as perhaps I wrongly conjure from context given by this
> discussion, video shot on mobile phones.
> I'm picturing wonky-cam, shakey footage that someone has taken walking
> down a less than visually impressive sidewalk.
> I think I would find Google Street view a lot more useful and engaging
> as it gives me a means to explore and decide where I'm 'looking'.


True. But I do think it'd be an improvement on nothing, and will get
better with time.


- d.

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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

Tobias Oelgarte
Am 22.03.2012 16:41, schrieb David Gerard:

> On 22 March 2012 15:39, Bod Notbod<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>
>> I can't say I find that a particularly exciting prospect. Especially
>> not, as perhaps I wrongly conjure from context given by this
>> discussion, video shot on mobile phones.
>> I'm picturing wonky-cam, shakey footage that someone has taken walking
>> down a less than visually impressive sidewalk.
>> I think I would find Google Street view a lot more useful and engaging
>> as it gives me a means to explore and decide where I'm 'looking'.
>
> True. But I do think it'd be an improvement on nothing, and will get
> better with time.
>
>
> - d.
I would be in favour of such a proposal if it is not a one way road.
Every video uploaded (no matter what the original format is) should be
available in a free video format. For mobile phones it could still
provide a h264 version for playback. But the more interesting part would
be the licensing conditions for h264, which could be just a grave for money.

nya~

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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

Bod Notbod
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 15:41, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> True. But I do think it'd be an improvement on nothing, and will get
> better with time.

Just after posting, my inbox pointed me towards this in a moment of
pleasing synchronicity:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/mobile/video/kings-cross-streetstories-app-video

Bod

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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

geni
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 21 March 2012 08:41, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> (This is harder than it sounds, but is apparently in progress, in the
> coming-some-day Timed Media Handler.)
>
> At that point we can start on serious programs to add video. Every
> article on a street should have video of the street, for example.
> Video of athletes in action [1]. Etc.
>

Every article on a non extinct animal species is a somewhat viable and
useful goal (and it keeps us one step ahead of web of life)
--
geni

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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Video codecs and mobile

David Gerard-2
On 23 March 2012 20:13, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Every article on a non extinct animal species is a somewhat viable and
> useful goal (and it keeps us one step ahead of web of life)


Goodness yes. My 4yo loves videos of animals, and there's e.g. just
about no fish that can be filmed that someone hasn't filmed and put it
on YouTube. We should have that stuff.

The key thing is that this is highly wiki-friendly, i.e. even crappy
phone videos will be an improvement on nothing and we can improve from
there.

At that point, we can in fact keep to distributing unencumbered
formats and wait for the purveyors of mobile appliances to catch up.

So ... about having the technology to ingest anything ... how's that
coming along?


- d.

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