[theora] Theora Workshop

Michael Dale mdale at wikimedia.org
Fri Feb 20 09:21:38 PST 2009

Hi Laurent,

there are some key technologies that are under development that will 
make theora a lot easier to deal with that should definitely be better 

A really key project is http://firefogg.org which is a client side 
transcoding Firefox extension that lets the web app supply the transcode 
settings.. this makes transcoding and uploading theora video as simple 
as a one click extension install then selecting you highest quality AVI 
or DV source file. We will be using this with wikimeda commons 
uploading. You can try it out on sites like videobin.org...

Installing an extension is much easier than client side application that 
has to be downloaded, installed, "ran" configured, and then you have to 
preview and tweak your encode settings  and then re-transcoded... then 
select and upload your huge file over POST ... not very fun...

With firefogg you just select the source file and your done. (It also 
uploads in 1 meg chunks so if your post request gets reset its no 
problem you can continue where you left off ;)

I imagine more fancy interfaces to firefogg will spawn up pretty quickly 
enabling web guis to transcoding settings... The best thing Mozilla can 
do on the end user transcoding into theora front is give that project a 
lot of visibility as it definitely the easiest way to hide transcoding 
complexity and brings the transcoding concept into javascript apis space.

The other piece that needs more visibility for web developers is the 
javascript libraries for in browser playback. These are important so 
that the video tag can be used with confidence so that its rewritten to 
something that the client visiting your website can "view".  There are a 
few libraries for doing such rewrites (I work on mv_embed) but there is 
also itheora and others. 

And finally there is server side stuff like oggz_chop that greatly 
improves seeking performance, interoperability and citation of video 
clips. Archive.org is running oggz_chop I blogged about that here:
Oggz chop should also be included in the documentation for web developers.

All these things could be better documented and much better marketed. I 
do think Mozilla needs a shiny "making the switch to free formats - for 
web developers" page. I don't think its desirable or practical to expect 
end users to dive into the complexities of transcoding and workflows 
etc. Better to just save to disk in the native output of your video 
editor and directly select that file. Beyond that basic 
work-flow...Mozilla documentation efforts should primarily focus on the 
web developer.

I would gladly provide input and possibly we can do some cross 
applicable documentation for wikiemdia usage of theora video as well. 
anyway keep us updated as you move forward.


Laurent Fraisse wrote:
> Hi All,
> Firefox 3.1 will be released in a couple of months and I still feel we need
> a strong knowledge base to leverage a widespread use of Theora.
> While working on the Firefox in Motion video I've been looking for some kind
> of comprehensive documentation, but the best I could get was answers of the
> community here (thank you again). Theora will not become a standard if
> people have to err and miss and tweak their way through the web.
> But maybe I've missed some valuable website which, however incomplete, could
> be a great starting point?
> I suggested to Mozilla that we set up a Theora Workshop, a wiki for
> instance.
> I have posted my thoughts on the Mozilla Marketing  newsgroup:
> http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.marketing/topics
> How can we quickly move along that way?
> Laurent Fraisse
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