Recommended programs:

From: Ben Escoto (
To: sulug-discuss@lists.Stanford.EDU
Subject: Surprising answer! (Re: What format to use for Web videos?)
Date: Sat, 09 Mar 2002 19:21:04 -0800
X-Files: The Truth Is Out There
X-Mailer: exmh version 2.5 with XEmacs 21

I wanted to extract a few short clips from VHS tape and put them on the Web. Linux+Mac+Windows compatibility and picture quality was considered more important than file size.

After many hours of trying various combinations, my conclusion is that the best file format is Windows Media with MS-Mpeg4 (aka DivX3?) codec. These play great under Windows, ok on Macs, and very well on Linux using either Xine or Mplayer. It isn't even a deadend format, because ffmpeg under linux can convert them.

The more open formats seemed the least portable. For instance, mpeg2 is among the most open codec and at first seemed appropriate, but the mpeg2 videos I produced wouldn't run on any platform, not even on the Mac I used to make them.

If anyone is thinking of doing something like this in the future, here is one way to do it:

1. Capture the relevant parts using iMovie on one of the Macs in Meyer floor 2.

2. Save what you want as Quicktime, DV format. (Other formats are possible but DV is lossless I think.)

3. Open that in Cleaner 5, and re-export it.

4. Choose Windows Media Download in the Advanced Settings, with the bandwidth setting of your choice (broadband, at 760Kbps, is probably VHS quality or better).

Maybe a few years from now there will be free standards and codecs which actually work conveniently on the major platforms...

Ben Escoto

From: Ryan Barrett (
Newsgroups: su.computers.linux
Subject: Re: StanfordOnline in Linux
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 13:08:48 -0800
Distribution: su
To: sulug-discuss@lists.Stanford.EDU

On Wed, 6 Mar 2002, Brian Alexander Quistorff wrote:
> On Wed, 6 Mar 2002, Will Robinson wrote:
> > On Wed, 27 Feb 2002 18:40:23 -0800, Andrew Shieh wrote:
> > > bc Wong ( ruminated:
> > > >Finally, Windows Media Player support in Linux, for those of you who
> > > >watch lectures online.
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > That's a really cool product, and it actually works! Unfortunately, wine
> > > keeps failing to quit and ends up in disk wait...only way to kill it is
> > > with a reboot. (Sounds like windows, eh? :)
> >
> > I've had great luck with the crossover plugin for playing Quicktime movie
> > trailers, looking at Word documents, etc. But there's something screwy
> > with Stanford Online for me. I download the small .asx file as directed
> > on the Web page, and then open that in the media player. It buffers for a
> > bit, and then starts playing. It plays for maybe 5 seconds and then
> > stops. The sound starts skipping, the media player is completely
> > unresponsive, and the only way out is to run the Cleanup Crossover
> > script.
> >
> > Seems to me like maybe it's using up the buffer and then stalling?
> >
> > If anyone has had luck watching whole lectures with the crossover plugin,
> > I'd love to hear about the steps you took...
> >
> > FYI, I'm running:
> >
> > RedHat 7.1 w/sulinux packages installed
> > Crossover 1.1.0
> I just downloaded the demo version of the Crossover plugin today and
> experienced the same problem. I my machine it started playing and then
> when netscape was launched to show the slides for the class, the video
> stopped and the sound started stutter. Thinking this was a buffering
> problem I checked and noticed that I was still getting a good amount of
> net traffic. After about 10 seconds the playback controls on the media
> player become active again (show an affordance when the mouse is over it).
> Then click Pause and then Play again and it should start working.
> This has happened to be at other times during playback, though after the
> beginning it doesn't take that long to regain control of the media
> player. Pausing and resuming has always cured the problem for me. One
> other minor inconvenience is that it opens another netscape window
> whenever it wants to show another slide. Hope this fixes your problem.

hi brian and will. if the crossover plugin is too much trouble, another possible solution is to use asfrecorder and download the class videos and then watch them offline, using mplayer or whatever. i didn't have any trouble getting mplayer to play wmv/asf movies, i just couldn't get it to play *streaming* wmv video.

anyway, here's the link:


From: Ben Escoto (
To: sulug-discuss@lists.Stanford.EDU
Subject: Re: StanfordOnline in Linux
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 01:15:17 -0800
X-Files: The Truth Is Out There
X-Mailer: exmh version 2.5 with XEmacs 21

"RB" == Ryan Barrett (rbarrett@Stanford.EDU) wrote the following on Mon, 11 Mar 2002 20:51:04 -0800

>> That's a good idea - it seems xine/mplayer (it's good to have
>> both since they don't fail on the same videos) can pretty much
>> play anything except for Sorenson. Are there rpms for this
>> anywhere?

RB> um, there might be, but i doubt it. i built it from source -
RB> there's only one .c file, so not much could go wrong.

Well it's still a pain. Everyone who downloads them probably goes through the four unnecessary steps of running the make file, then reading the README, then reading the Makefile, and then reading that single .c file (and compiling it).

Anyway, I made some RPMs and put them at:

P.S. Is there a better way to find the right URL for asfrecorder than to scan through all the javascript that most places use to load media clips?

Ben Escoto

[RM comment: See also the file ]

Subject: [ilug] Check it out, mplayer has sorenson support now
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 04:46:20 -0600

from the site:

We've began preparations for the real release: this pre-release is the RC1. There are quite some features about it which make it the player supporting all modern codecs of the world today. No other player can boast with support for all of RealAudio/Video 9, Windows Media Audio/Video 9, Quicktime Sorenson 3, QDesign Music Audio. This is a peak improvement, and I'm not talking PR now. I'm watching TV with MPlayer even now. I could do so even on my EGA or Hercules display. Quite touching, isn't it? al3x has started a weekly "forum" for MPlayer: the MPlayer Weekly News. Its issues can be downloaded from


Subject: RE: [ILUG] xine_dvd_plugin
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 04:41:22 -0600

Shane wrote:

> Apparantly I need the xine_dvd_plugin to play my DVDs, can anyone tell
> me where I can find a copy, every search I grab only has a reference
> to it but not the file itself.

OK, I reckon you have a redhat/mandrake base install, which annoyingly have xine there in the start menu, which don't work coz they are missing stuff.

You probably wan't to compile lots of stuff prior to xine_dvd_plugin. I normally remove all rpm's like xine, and compile em instead.

Start off with the libraries, go to

You want the following libraries & stuff:
xv [not obligatory]

If your compile complains about missing dependencies, then go and get em. While your at it, get the divX stuff and win32 stuff, compile mplayer aswell.

Get ALL the libraries for mplayer, sdl, ogg-vorbis etc etc. They're listed on the site.


From: Robert Brown (
Subject: Re: [ILUG] problem with real audio player
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 14:50:54 +0000

At 21:54 30/01/2003 +0900, you wrote:
>I don't know why but I haven't been able to play anything on the real
>player lately. It's worked fine until now. I haven't downloaded
>anything so I don't think it's a compatibility problem or anything like
>that. The right windows pop up and the real player appears and then an
>error message appears saying "General error an error occured " there
>are two buttons at the bottom of the box saying "ok " and "more info"
>No matter which is pressed they disappear. Any help appreciated.

I would actually recommend ditching RealPlayer for a program called Mplayer. It supports a huge range of formats including the latest Real, M$ formats, DVDs and the QuickTime Sorenson codecs. It actually uses the Win32 codecs to do this and it probably is legally dodgy but it works so thats nice. It also gives you brightness/contrast controls which RealPlayer doesn't have.

Now the problems. Compiling it is a pain if you want it to use Real and QuickTime, you will also need the RealVideo 9 codecs available from RealNetworks Web site. You also have to download a skin if you want a GUI, which makes you wonder why the author did not include a default skin in the package. If you don't compile it without --with-gui-enabled, you will be stuck with a CLI media player. Once you do get it compiled it really rocks, its by far and away the best media player out there on any platform, its just a pain to get going and the author won't allow binaries to be distributed. Here's the site:

Bye for now,
Robert Brown

Quoting a Slashdot post (concerning playing the QuickTime trailers for "The Matrix Reloaded"):

Re:Patience is a virtue! (Score:1)
by BJH (11355) Neutral on 07:30 AM April 11th, 2003 (#5710301)

The latest release will work. I use 0.90rc5.

In order to get QT files to work properly, you'll need a few other bits and pieces.

Here's some instructions I posted a while back:

1) Install libsndfile if you don't have it. ( )

2) Install FAAD [RM notes: FAAD2 v. 1.1] to get sound from QT files (

3) You probably want to install xvid as well... nothing to do with QT, but the more codecs, the better, right? (

4) Go to and grab:

Latest Win32 codecpack QuickTime6 DLLs
[RM notes: also at : contents must do directly in /usr/lib/win32, not /usr/lib/win32/qt6dlls]

QuickTime extra DLLs
RealPlayer9 codecs
XAnim DLLs
Win32/DMO codecs

Untar them and move them all into someplace like /usr/local/lib/mplayer/dlls.

5) Get the latest mplayer source (0.90) and run configure with something like this:
./configure --enable-largefiles

Now, there seems to be a problem with the 1000x540 version of the trailer (the video plays at half speed, the sound at full speed). To get around that, I suggest you reencode the trailer. Use something like this:

mencoder -ovc lavc -oac mp3lame -lavcopts
vcodec=mpeg4:vhq:v4mv:vbitrate=2000 -noskip -o

It should play fine (Worked For Me).

[RM adds: If you're on Debian, you can build .deb packages from mplayer source code by following these instructions:
Alternatively, you might use the pre-built unofficial Debian packages at]

From: "Micah J. Cowan" (
Subject: Re: [vox-tech] full screen media player
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 09:24:02 -0800

On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 08:54:28AM -0800, Ryan wrote:
> I am currently using mplayer to play divX, and I can't get it to play
> in any resolution other than the default resolution for the divX. Is
> there a good program that isn't too much hassle to install that will
> play dvds or divX at full screen?

I have found the Linux Video Lan Client and Xine to be much faster than mplayer (for me, anyway) at playing DVDs. Both support fullscreen. However, out of the three, only with mplayer can I change the resolution: I'm surprised you're having problems; I assume you've tried the -x and -y options...

Video Lan Client:


With Xine, you'll want the DVD-Navigation tools:

VLC are very comparable in speed. I haven't really noticed a difference lately, but I seem to remember noticing VLC being *slightly* faster. So I generally use Xine when I want the navigational screens, and VLC when I want to just watch the main title (and it's either title 1 or I know which one).

Oh, and if you don't use it already, enabling DMA for your DVD drive makes a *huge* speed difference.


From: "Rick Moen" (
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 15:14:54 -0800
Subject: Re: [linux-elitists] Streaming Video solution for Linux

Quoting Jack Moffitt (

> I thought the issue with quicktime was IP issues with Sorensen, not
> Microsoft. Though I wouldn't be surprised if both are involved.

After inventing its codec, Sorenson Media sold an exclusive licence over the covering patent to one Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, California. Therefore, no software implementing the Sorenson codec may be created without Apple Computer, Inc.'s permission.

And guess what? Apple has declined to allow anyone else to create software implementing that codec. So, the only way to lawfully view Sorenson-encoded video clips on Linux is to find a way to execute on Linux one of the two Sorenson implementations that Apple _does_ permit. You have a choice of two: (1) a codec binary for MacOS. (2) a codec binary for Win32. (Thus the market for Transgaming's WineX and Codeweavers's Crossover Plugin.)

There have actually been three successive specs for the Sorenson codec, designated SVQ1, SVQ2, and SVQ3. You'll find that movie clips available currently are Sorenson SVQ3-encoded. Despite the patent threat, mplayer now includes support for all three, yay!

A pretty good rundown on video formats and Linux client support:

From rick Sun Jul 13 23:18:38 2003
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 23:18:38 -0700
To: Marc MERLIN (
Subject: Re: [off-list] Saving streaming media

[Off-list reply:]

Quoting Marc MERLIN (

> <a href="mms://">


mplayer -dumpstream -dumpfile hkzkt10.wmv mms://

Works for me[tm]. Works for rstp:// URLs, too.