Brion Vibber on video

Brion Vibber Lead Software Architect of the WMF has given a talk on video. The slides can be found at:

Its a pretty interesting look at what is going on and what is planned. It is though slightly disappointing that the rejection of MP4 resulted in the multimedia team stopping all work on video (although probably not that unexpected there have been various groups wanting to get involved with video on wikipedia and they’ve pretty much all wanted to use non free stuff).

The good news is that playback is largely solved although transcoding to different sizes remains a bottleneck. There is some potential improvement on the software side incoming but I feel this may be a case where the WMF should just buy more hardware.

Brion raises the issue of archiving. While I agree that working with the internet archive is probably the best approach I think we should look into setting up a lossless format (lossless dirac is the only one I’m aware of) at least for internal storage.

He talks about creation mostly in terms of collaborative editing. Third parties are already doing this under the term multi editor project (warning link contains industrial-pop) but the tools kinda suck. He’s looking at integrating Mozilla popcorn into mediawiki which could be fairly useful.

I think though in general creation is going to be hard. Encyclopedic videos are tricky. It also doesn’t help that we’ve set the bar rather high with photos these days. I would like us to include a video of every animal where getting a video would be fairly easy our photos tend to be of extremely high quality and a low quality video would stand out.

Things that might be useful include some actual meatspace training in how to shoot good video. This may end up being something that needs heavy chapter support. Cameras that can shoot uncompressed video are expensive (other than some canon stuff used with Magic Lantern) and learning how to turn the resulting output into something useful is quite a skill.

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