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Glossary



On-Demand Delivery of Web Video

The ITS Helix server is available to UT departments, faculty, and student organizations who publish from directories on Web Central, as well as our virtual host clients. If you choose to deliver streaming media from your Web site, store your video content in your Web Central directory and contact TeamWeb. Please read Publishing Options and Procedures to learn about publishing on Web Central.

This page contains information about how to deliver RealMedia, Windows Media and QuickTime video files. The video files will open in their respective player's window. Information on including captions with Flash video is also available.

NOTE: If you are a new streaming media publisher, please contact www@www.utexas.edu and tell them the directory in which the streaming media will live. This is essential for successful streaming.


RealMedia

There are four steps to publish streaming RealMedia content:
  1. combine caption file with video (creating a SMIL file),
  2. identify the path to the location of the SMIL file,
  3. write the HTML code to link to the SMIL file, and
  4. contact www@www.utexas.edu and tell them the directory in which the streaming media will live.

Combining a caption file with a video file

Using a SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) file allows audio and video clips (along with images, text and other media type) to be streamed simultaneously using RealPlayer. SMIL is a markup language, like HTML, and is usually written using a text editor. The SMIL file specifies when and how clips are played. It coordinates the streaming of multiple "pieces" of your video. The SMIL file combines the video with a RealText (format .rt) file.

RealPlayer uses SMIL to combine media content with a RealText (.rt) file. The .rt file contains the captions themselves and information about how and when they should appear. The SMIL file is really just a pointer file. It contains information about where and how your captions and media content should display.

A sample SMIL file:

<smil>
<head>
<meta name="title" content="interesting topic" />
<meta name="author" content="the University of Texas at Austin " />
<meta name="copyright" content="April 19, 2004" />

<!--these are comments-->

<layout>

<!-- The root-layout defines the height and width of the entire presentation in pixels. Each region defines specific areas in the presentation where media will play -->

<root-layout width="320" height="340" />
<region id="video_region" width="320" height="240" left="0" top="0" />
<region id="text_region" width="320" height="100" left="0" top="240" />

</layout>
</head>

<body>

<!-- Each line between the <par></par> tags is a media file which will play in the defined region. The <par> tags mean that they will play at the same time (in parallel). Fill="freeze" means that the final frame will stay visible when that media file is done. -->

<par>
<video src="filename.rm" region="video_region" fill="freeze" />
<textstream src="filename.rt" region="text_region" fill="freeze" />
</par>
</body>
</smil>

Identifying Content Location

The location or path to your content is where the SMIL file is stored on the server.

Transfer the edited, compressed video file, the caption text file (.rt) and the SMIL file to your Web Central publishing directory using FTP (Unix), SSH Secure File Transfer (Windows), or Fetch (Macintosh).

The SMIL file calls the media file and the caption file.The location of these files is everything that appears after http://www.utexas.edu/ in what would be the URL if you were to create a link to it.

For example, if you saved a file called "welcome.smil" in the directory ~www/learn/video, the URL of your file is

http://www.utexas.edu/learn/video/welcome.smil

and the location of your file is

/learn/video/welcome.smil

Writing HTML Source

Using the ITS Helix Streaming Server, the HTML code for the link to this file in the above example would be:

<a href="http://realaudio.cc.utexas.edu:8080/ramgen/learn/video/welcome.smil">Text to link</a>

(If you're linking directly to a non-captioned video file, exchange the .smil file with the .rm file.)

Ramgen is a Helix Universal Server feature or client launch utility that allows you to link from a Web page directly to a streaming file. It causes the server to launch the appropriate media player, and stream the clip using the player's preferred streaming protocol.

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WindowsMedia

There are four steps to publish streaming Windows Media content:

  1. combine caption file with video (creating an ASX file),
  2. identify the path to the location of the streaming media file,
  3. write the HTML code to include the media file on a web page, and
  4. contact www@www.utexas.edu and tell them the directory in which the streaming media will live.

Combining a caption file with a video file

Including captions with Windows Media Player means using Microsoft's Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange (SAMI). SAMI is similar to SMIL in that it is a text file (with an extension of .smi) but the SAMI file contains not only the captions but also the specifications for its format and when it should display.

A sample SAMI file:

<sami>
<head>
<title>Interesting Title</title>
<style type="text/css">
<!--

P {
font-size: 2 ems;
font-family: Arial;
font-weight: normal;
color: #FFFFFF;
background-color: #000000;
text-align: center;
}

.ENUSCC { name: English; lang: EN-US-CC; }

-->
</style>
</head>

<body>
<sync start=0>
<p class=ENUSCC><b>Speaker1:</b> Sentence one.</p>
</sync>

<sync start=2600>
<p class=ENUSCC><b>Speaker2:</b> Sentence two.</p>
</sync>

<sync start=4250>
<p class=ENUSCC><b>Speaker1:</b> Sentence three.</p>
</sync>
</body>
</sami>

Windows Media Player uses an ASX that calls the media file and the SAMI file. A sample ASX file is:

<asx version = "3.0">
<abstract> </abstract>
<title>Interesting title</title>
<author>the University of Texas at Austin</author>
<copyright>2004</copyright>
<entry>
<ref href="mms://realaudio.cc.utexas.edu/path_to_WMP_file/filename.wmv?sami=http://www.utexas.edu/path_to_SAMI_file/filename.smi">
</entry>
</asx>

Identifying Content Location

The location or path to your content is where your streaming media file, SAMI file and ASX file are stored on the server.

Transfer the edited, compressed video file, the SAMI file and the ASX file to your Web Central publishing directory using FTP (Unix), SSH Secure File Transfer (Windows), or Fetch (Macintosh).

The location of the ASX file is everything that appears after http://www.utexas.edu/ in what would be the URL of the Windows Media file if you were to create a link to it.

Using the ITS Helix Streaming Server, the link to the ASX file would be:

http://www.utexas.edu/path_to_file/file.asx

For example, if you saved a ASX file called "welcome.asx" in the directory ~www/learn/video, the URL of your file is

http://www.utexas.edu/learn/video/welcome.asx

and the location of your file is

/learn/video/welcome.asx

Writing HTML Source

Using the ITS Helix Streaming Server, the link to the ASX file would be:

http://www.utexas.edu/path_to_file/file.asx

If you're linking to a non-captioned video file and want it to stream to Windows Media Player 6.4, add the extension .asx to the end of the video file. For example,

<a href="http://realaudio.cc.utexas.edu:8080/asxgen/learn/video/welcome.wmv.asx">Text to link</a>

If you are streaming exclusively to Windows Media Player 7 and later, the .asx extension is not necessary so the link would look like

<a href="http://realaudio.cc.utexas.edu:8080/asxgen/learn/video/welcome.wmv">Text to link</a>

Asxgen is the equivalent to ramgen for launching Windows Media Player. Including this in the URL causes the server to launch the appropriate media player.

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QuickTime

There are four steps to publish streaming QuickTime movies. (Reminder: for QuickTime movies to stream via the Helix Streaming Server, they must be “hinted”. This requires QuickTime Pro.)
  1. convert the text file (caption) into a movie,
  2. combine the caption movie and the compressed Quick Time streaming movie into one hinted movie,
  3. identify the path to the location of the hinted movie file,
  4. create a reference file, and
  5. write the HTML code on a Web page to call the reference file which calls the movie.

Convert the caption file into a Quick Time text track

Use a text editor to create a starter text file containing the first few lines of captions. Save this file as a .txt file.

An easy way to incorporate the proper formatting for your text track is to let Quicktime do it for you. Once you have a starter captioned text file created,

A) Bring this file into QuickTime using the FILE/OPEN FILE command

B) Once opened, export using TEXT to TEXT export option from export pulldown options: File>Export>Text to Text. This process adds the proper QuickTime formatting to your text file.

text file samples

Acquire correct time stamps for each text segment by watching your QuickTime movie and writing down the time at which each text segment will appear. This step can be done using paper and pen or by entering the time directly into the newly formatted text file.

Note: Font Characteristics, background color, width x height can be adjusted as well. Be sure to set the width even to that of your video width. If you would like the text to vertically center within your text area, place a blank line between the timestamp and your first line of text. Also, it's best to have the last time stamp in your text file equal to the time of your actual video, this way, the text track will remain throughout your video.

Note that the text {TextBox: 0,0,50,160} (shown above) has been stripped from the final text sample file below. In this example we will let our Width and Height, and Justify/center control the initial positioning.

text file showing timestamp

A) Using QuickTime PRO, open the final text file.
B) Select all, and Copy.
C) With your video file open and the playhead at the movie beginning, Choose "Edit/Select all" and "Edit/Add to Movie"
D) Move your text file to any position:

Select "Window/Show Movie Properties" and select "Text Track" and then"Visual Settings" Dialog box.
In this example movie, our size is 320 x 50. In this case, the Text Track will need to be moved to an offset Y axis of 240 in order to fall below the actually movie. Change "Offset" Y position to 240.
text file showing timestamp


Create the Final Movie File

Once you are happy with your timed text track and have positioned it to the proper location, it's time to save the final movie. Select "File/ Save As" and choose "Save as Self-Contained". Using this option, Quicktime includes any external text files associated with the movie, ie. your text file.

Creating a QuickTime Captioned and Hinted Movie

Store the compressed and captioned QuickTime movie in a Web Central directory. Using QuickTime Pro, open the compressed movie file. While the movie is playing, choose File/Export. Save this movie with a new name, such as welcome_hinted.mov and set Export: Movie to Hinted Movie.

Identifying Content Location

The location or path to your content is where the hinted movie file is stored on Web Central.

Transfer the edited, compressed, hinted video file to your Web Central publishing directory using FTP (Unix), SSH Secure File Transfer (Windows), or Fetch (Macintosh).

The location of this file is everything that appears after http://www.utexas.edu/ in what would be the URL of the QuickTime file if you were to create a link to it.

For example, if you saved a file called "welcome_hinted.mov" in the directory ~www/learn/video, the URL of your file is

http://www.utexas.edu/learn/video/welcome_hinted.mov

and the location of your file is

/learn/video/welcome_hinted.mov

Creating the Reference File

A reference file contains the path of the QuickTime hinted movie and the protocol to use to stream this movie using QuickTime Player. This is the file that causes QuickTime Player to launch and begin streaming the hinted movie. This reference file requests "welcome_hinted.mov" and should be stored in the same directory on Web Central as the hinted movie. This file is typically less than 10k, is quick to download and directs the Helix streaming process through QuickTime Player.

To create a reference file using QuickTime Pro, follow these steps:

  1. In QuickTime Pro, choose File/Open Url in New Player
  2. Type rtsp://realaudio.cc.utexas.edu:554/path_to_hinted_movie/hinted_file.mov (Using our example, rtsp://realaudio.cc.utexas.edu:554/learn/video/welcome_hinted.mov)
  3. While the movie is playing, choose File/Save As. This step creates the reference file. Give it a name such as welcome_ref and choose "Make movie self-contained."
  4. Upload this file to the Web Central directory containing the hinted movie.

Writing HTML Source

To include QuickTime content on a web page, make a link to the reference file. For accessibility purposes, launch the video in the player for that format. To have the movie play through QuickTimePlayer, simply rename the reference file with an extension of .qtl. The link would be

<a href="http://www.utexas.edu/learn/video/welcome_ref.qtl">

The Helix Universal Server does not provide a client launch utility for QuickTime Player like it does for RealOne Player and for Windows Media Player. Therefore, the reference file format .qtl is used.

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  Updated June 22 2006
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