One of the not so nice aspects of hosting your own Jing / Jing Pro videos is generating thumbnails that can be used for the “click-to-play” screen that viewers initiate video playback with. My current thumbnail workflow works something like this:
Jing’s supposed to be all about the easy, but the workflow above is decidedly not. It shouldn’t be that hard to generate thumbnail images from your JIng videos and it shouldn’t be ultra expensive. Enter ThumbGenie, an AIR application, written by moi, that allows you to load MPEG4-AVC or SWF files, select a video frame and generate a thumbnail image as either a JPEG or PNG file. Wait, it gets better. You can apply JPEG compression and scale the exported image down. Best of all its completely free, as in beer. So what are you waiting for, download ThumbGenie and start generating thumbnails pronto!
If you head over to ThumbGenie central you’ll find some helpful “getting started” videos as well as the installer badge.
Call my experience with Silverlight fate, karma, or a vast Microsoft conspiracy…
I’m clicking both to see how smart the installers are…
*Update* For any MS chaps who stop by – after installing, I’m now being asked to download / install the latest version of Silverlight 2 every time I visit the page linked above.
I spent a little time checking out (high level) JavaFX multimedia capabilities. You can actually boil Sun’s entire JavaFX campaign down to a single 1 second sound bite (watch video excerpt below – full video found here).
According to Sun, they have the full support of any multimedia codecs installed on the native system as well as an on2 codec embedded within the runtime (see video quote below to hear their words for yourself).
Native codec support is sort of a mixed bag of control vs utility. JavaFX wants to do everything for every system even if that means you are effectively writing system specific code and delivering uneven experiences. If you manage to actually get the JavaFX runtime installed (no mean feat) you’ll be confronted by a wonderful security dialog which seems to ignore attempts to always trust the cert.
Once you’ve run the gauntlet of JavaFX impediments, you can actually watch some “native” (h.264 .mov files) overview videos playing inside JavaFX. The problem is that the rendering of these videos is far from native–any scrolling or resizing of the browser causes the video to stop rendering (a white rectangle is painted during these movements). I’m also surprised to see Sun using MPEG4-AVC / h.264, but not using aac audio. If you’ve got native codec support why use a crappy audio codec in your videos? The video below illustrates the rendering and audio issues (3 asides: 1) I’m bound and determined to ruin AfterEffects cartoon effect–look for me to overuse it and misapply it, 2) watch in fullscreen mode for 1:1 clarity, and 3) listen half way through to hear one of my kittens snoring).
If you ever wanted evidence of how important video is today, you need look no further than than the gigantic amounts of money Adobe, Microsoft and Sun are sinking into media centric runtimes. Like Silverlight 1.0, the initial JavaFX offering is a half-baked “me too” stab at capturing some video glory. Sure media has been a glaring hole for Java and I can appreciate how all the development platforms in the universe need to provide easier development and enable richer experiences, but so far I’ve been disappointed by the same ol’, same ol’ offerings from Microsoft and Sun. I’m sorry, but “hey look at the same stuff on my platform” isn’t innovative or visionary. As we watch Detroit’s “big three” burn out, I wonder if there aren’t lessons to be learned in our own industry as the nascent “media three” rise (maybe it should be w3m–web three media).