Posts tagged ‘fun’

March 23rd, 2011

The Dragonfly Is Fly

by Jason

Kaltura’s Dragonfly release went live on the Kaltura SaaS (Software As A Service) on March 13th. If you happened to login to your account, you may have noticed some new features like enhanced roles and permissions, HTML5 player and mobile advertising support, and multiple thumbnails. We’ve also got content distribution, more robust video editing, and adaptive bitrate HTTP streaming for both Flash and iOS devices on the horizon.

Roles and Permissions

While Kaltura has always had a concept of Publishers (account owners) and users, the Dragonfly release adds a very clear concept of a user database along with user roles and permissions. An account owner can now add, delete, and block users in the KMC (Kaltura Management Console) and assign them highly granular roles such as “content uploader,” “syndication manager,” or “lord high fixer-upper”. The KMC comes with several pre-defined roles and new roles are user-definable by selecting permissions from a list of KMC permissions.

The new permissions will let you divide the responsibility for your Kaltura account amongst multiple people as well as create “maintenance-only” accounts and other task-oriented logins. It’s possible, for example, to create a role that sees nothing but the analytics tab when they login to the KMC. It’s also possible to create a user that can view, but not alter, various sections of the KMC.

HTML5 Player-Player And Mobile Support

You can now grab an embed code for our fine HTML5 player with automatic detection and fallback to Flash for browsers that don’t support HTML5 video, and then fallback to Java Cortado for browsers without Flash support.

We now have a Blackberry 3GP format to add to our  set of mobile transcoding flavors that support Nokia, iPad, iPhone, and Android. And finally, we now support advertising on mobile players. The advertising settings you apply to your player in the Studio section of the KMC will now also apply for mobile delivery with the limitations described in this table:

Device Supported Ad Types Notes and Limitations
iPhone VAST Pre-rollBumper Video

VAST Post-roll* Ads are played back in the native player* Player controls are not disabled during playback (user can skip the ads)

* Ads are not clickable

* Ads must be encoded for the iPhone (H264)iPadVAST Pre-rollBumper Video

VAST Post-roll

VAST Overlay* Ads must be encoded for the iPad (H264)Android (v2.2 and newer)All* Android version 2.2+ supports Flash playback with all ad types.

Multiple Thumbnail Love

Kaltura has always had the ability to handle a single thumbnail, but now you can upload, or select from your video, multiple thumbnail clips to associate with any video in your KMC. Once the thumbnail is in your KMC account, you can use our new cropping tool to resize and crop it to your liking, then save it as a new thumbnail.

Content Distribution (Coming Soon)

Kaltura has long offered RSS syndication feeds from the KMC, but soon we’ll be adding content distribution as well (Note: some people use the word “syndication” to describe content distribution). That means you’ll be able to push your content to sites like YouTube and MySpace directly from within the KMC. Kaltura customers will be able to control the destinations for each video, and, for each destination, control the video qualities, thumbnail sizes, metadata, scheduling data, and more.

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Over HTTP (Coming Soon)

Adaptive bitrate streaming over HTTP will improve the user’s video viewing experience.  The Kaltura SaaS uses Akamai as its default CDN (Content Delivery Network) and the default video delivery protocol has been progressive streaming via RTMP. But soon you’ll also be able to select adaptive bitrate streaming over HTTP for both flash and iOS devices. That means new capabilities like seeking to any point in the video without waiting for the entire video to load, caching in routers and proxies outside the CDN network, and no requirement for a Flash media server which means more edge servers in the CDN.

Video Editing And The Community

You may note that the KAE (Kaltura Advanced Editor) and KSE (Kaltura Standard Editor) are gone from Dragonfly. Never fear, they will eventually be replaced by some basic, but more powerful, editing tools that will be more robust and handle the majority of use cases that our customers have been using them for.  Stay tuned for further announcements about these editing options. Meanwhile, the KSE and KAE will live on as community projects on And speaking of community, look for the new and improved Community Edition (based on Dragonfly) to show up in the coming weeks.

February 21st, 2011

The Gendered Advertising Remixer

by Zohar Babin

During the last OVC Hack Labs day in NYC (2010 OVC), one of the fun projects we worked on was an education application that allows quick remixing of short video ads.

Here’s a short paragraph describing the application by Jonathan McIntosh, the brains and innovator behind this project:

Each Child in the United States is subjected to an average of 25,000 TV commercials every year. Embedded in those advertisements are a regressive and stereotypical set of social values about expected gender roles for boys and girls.

So how can kids hope to push back against that billion dollar marketing machine?
This simple remixing tool provides an easy way to re-combine audio from ads directed at boys with video from ads directed at girls (and vice versa) to create hilarious and insightful new mash-ups.

The project’s goal is to help empower youth of all genders to better understand, deconstruct and creatively re-frame the highly gendered messages emanating from their television sets.
A series of educational resources and materials are also currently being developed for teachers to use alongside this remixing tool.”

There are about 800 possible Ad combinations from 40 different Ads… Share your best mixed ads below : )

The Gendered Ads Remixer

Jonathan and I met during the OVC Hack Labs day, where he shared his idea and told me about a workshop he did: Reel Grrls Workshop: Gendered Ads Remixed.
I took the challenge, and after a couple hours of planning and coding (and mostly beer drinking), the application was ready and live. Last night, in preparation for Jonathan’s participation at the Digital Media and Learning Conference, we polished bits of the design and made it live –Gendered Advertising Remixer – Beta 1.

Some Techie Background –

The application utilizes the Kaltura Flex Collaborative Video Framework, the same code library used behind the scenes to create the Kaltura Online Video Editors (KSE and KAE). This is the “mixing magic” that combines the audio and video streams of the two video ads dragged to the center.

Utilizing Adobe Flex framework 4.5, made it super easy to put the UI parts together, specifically extending Flex’s TileList and other layout components. Right click > view source, on the Flash App to see the source code, and learn more, most should be pretty straight forward for Flex developers out there.

Stay tuned as we might try and make an HTML5 version too (some’s up for the challenge?)  : )

Check out Jonathan’s “The Politics of User Generated Content” session at the DML Conference, March 5th.

Let us know what you think below…


December 1st, 2010

Live Streaming, RTMP, and Webcam Action With Red5 and CE 3

by Jason

You can check also the CE4 and Red5 integration video post series.

We’ve  done a little back room hacking over the Thanksgiving holiday to bring you a relatively easy way to add the free open source Red5 Flash Server to our Community Edition 3. The result?  Live streaming for your events, RTMP streaming for your existing videos, and our  webcam, all working with CE 3.

Your users can now record themselves via the Kaltura Contribution Wizard (KCW) webcam and those recordings can be saved, transcoded, and distributed like any other video.

RTMP streaming is available via the Kaltura Dynamic Player (KDP) for all of your videos.

You can also create multiple live streams in CE 3. A fun way to test them is to stream your webcam from your laptop using the free Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder.

Our Red5 Integration Guide has all the details!

As always, we’re looking forward to your feedback. If you found a cool way to extend this or found a bug, please share in the comments, CE forum or issues queue :-)

November 18th, 2010

Kaltura in the Amazon Cloud

by Jason

We’ve been listening to our community. And besides an easier & faster installation flow for the Kaltura CE, we’ve read on the KalturaCE forums, Facebook, and surveys that you want Amazon Cloud Images.

So we’re pleased to offer two Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), a 32-bit image and a 64-bit image, pre-configured with Ubuntu Linux 10.4 LTS and the newly released Kaltura Community Edition version 3.0, ready to launch:

ami-a80ef9c1 – This is Kaltura CE 3.0 running on 32-bit Ubuntu 10.4 LTS
ami-ae0ef9c7  – This is Kaltura CE 3.0 running on 64-bit Ubuntu 10.4 LTS

[May 12th, 2011 update to remove ssh keys from image]

ami-d8ad53b1 – This is Kaltura CE 3.0 running on 32-bit Ubuntu 10.4 LTS
ami-9cad53f5  – This is Kaltura CE 3.0 running on 64-bit Ubuntu 10.4 LTS

The 32-bit image is targeted for economical sites that have mild bandwidth and horsepower requirements.  For more powerful sites, the 64-bit image can be used on Amazon’s largest machine sizes. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to launch your own Kaltura Community Edition server and be productive immediately: uploading, converting, transcoding, monetizing, analyzing, and syndicating your media assets.
Available initially in Amazon’s US-east availability zone, these images use Amazon’s Elastic Block Store (EBS) which ensures that your data will still be intact if there’s a system crash. You can choose to launch a single 32-bit server with 1 virtual core and 1.7gig of RAM, all the way up to multiple 64-bit servers with 8 virtual cores and 68gig of RAM each, and up to a terabyte of EBS media storage for each server.

Only a few simple tasks are necessary to be and running (you should have access to an SMTP mail server or get a free account at or another SMTP vendor).

Complete installation details are available on our documentation page. If you’d like to learn how to use Amazon EC2, refer to the EC2 Getting Started Guide.

Help us improve our product by opting in to system data reporting during installation, provide feedback in our forums, and post bug reports on our bug tracker.

October 27th, 2010

Community Edition 3.0 BETA is Available!

by Jason

Our engineering team has been hard at work, and they’ve got some spanking new code for you — did I mention it’s a BETA release? It’s really a pre-release that is not ready for production sites, but should be reasonably functional. We’d love to have lots of folks testing it and giving us feedback while we prepare for the final release.

CE 3.0 has a number of delightful under-the-hood improvements and new features like:

  • Full support for PHP 5.3
  • Full support for VAST ad servers
  • Custom Metadata fields
  • KMC password security enhancements
  • Mobile transcoding flavors
  • Auto-code generation in the Test Console
  • Improved installation flow
  • Improved entry and playlist searching using the Sphinx full text search engine

Many ad networks are now compliant with the VAST standard, and any of them can be easily added to your video players by going to the Studio tab in the KMC, creating a new player, clicking on the “Advertising” menu, clicking on the “Request ads for this player” radio button, selecting “VAST Ad Server” as the source, and filling out the ad server information.

Custom Metadata fields have been available in our SaaS for a while, but can only be turned on with an administrative account. In the Community Edition, however, they are always available by going to the Settings tab and clicking on the “Custom Data” menu. Once you’ve added new metadata fields, you can go to the Content tab and when you click on a video to view its information, you’ll see a new “Custom Data” menu selection. You can also access metadata fields via our REST API. Check out our archive of PHP sample code for a metadata sample.

By going to the Settings tab and clicking on the “Transcoding Settings” menu, you’ll see new custom transcoding flavors just for mobile devices like your iPad, Nokia, Blackberry, Android, and iPhone. These are generally some flavor of MP4/H.264 as well as 3GP for Nokia and Blackberry devices.

Developers using our REST API now get auto-generation of code (both Java and PHP) from our Test Console. After you login to the Admin Console, go to the Developer tab and click on the “Test Console” menu. You’ll see menu items for PHP and Java below the Test Console widget. Clicking on either will show you the generated code for your API call. As always, select the “session” service with the “start” action to generate a session key to get going.

Though the installation script in CE 3.0 may seem very similar to our previous one, it has been largely re-written and does a better job at accurately sniffing out prerequisites and making sure that you are able to install successfully. As in the previous version of the CE, we have only tested on Ubuntu 10.4 and CentOS 5.5 though it is likely that you can get it to run on other flavors of Linux as well.

Users should be warned that we have not completed testing with CMS extensions (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Moodle) so these may not work perfectly with this beta version.

The official CE 3.0 release is planned for later in November and will include substantial bug fixes to the Kaltura video editors as well as complete testing with the CMS extensions (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Moodle).  A Net Storage  feature that enables auto-export to, and delivery from, a remote storage location will also be in the final release.

You are encouraged to read the release notes which has a more complete list of features and contains quite a bit of info about features (such as live streaming) that require some 3rd party configuration. You can download the beta of CE 3.0 from the usual place. We’d love to get your feedback in the forums and please post bug reports to the  bug tracker.

October 25th, 2010

Create KS protected videos with free preview

by Zohar Babin

Creating protected videos is a request that comes up once in a while in talks and on the forums.
Whether you’d like to sell the videos or allow restricted access for members only, this short tutorial is going to set the ground for it.

The KS Protected Access Control is a way to protect the access to your videos by enforcing the need to pass a KS (Kaltura Session) for the request that serves the video.

It is an advanced method meant to provide the developer of the integrated system means to decide on his side who should have access (valid KS specified) to the videos and who will be denied (no KS provided).

Step 1 – Create an Access Control Profile
Follow these steps:
a. Go to Settings > Access Control > Add Profile.
b. Scroll the window down to “Advanced Security & Pay-per-view”.
c. Check the two boxs (“Secure viewing of this video using server side session” and “Free Preview”).
d. Set the time for the preview period.

Or.. since video is much better than words, watch this short video:

Step 2 – Write the PHP code
We’ll use the PHP API Client library, this of course for the sake of example, you can use any other language for that.
The important part is the definition of the client object, configuring it and creation of the Kaltura Session (KS):

The KS (Kaltura Session) is constructed of a number of elements and must be generated on the system side:

  1. The API secret (KMC>Settings>Integration Settings>User Secret).
  2. The system (your WordPress) user Id.
  3. The Kaltura Session Type (USER in this case, if you use a PHP client library: KalturaSessionType::USER).
  4. Your Kaltura Partner Id.
  5. The Session Expiry in milliseconds.
  6. A special privileges string – this is very important in this case as it is used to determine if the user has access to see the full video or not, it is specified using the string ‘sview:’ with the video entry id concatenated (e.g. ‘sview:1_92cyew21′).

Note “sview:ENTRY_ID”
To create a KS (Kaltura Session) that will provide access to the video, pass “sview:ENTRY_ID” in the permissions variable when creating a new KS (using the session create function), replacing ENTRY_ID with the id of the video entry to allow access to.
This generated KS should then be rendered to the page if the user has permissions to access the full video.
If the user doesn’t have permissions to access the full video, flashvars shouldn’t render a KS and Kaltura will only stream the preview part of the video as defined in the access control profile.

Then, on the flashvars of the embedded KDP, we’ll provide the created ks as follow:

All done. :-)

Download the sample PHP app here.

If that helped you, or you find a good way to improve it – let us know in the comments / twitter..

September 24th, 2010

Join Us for Hack Day at OVC, Oct. 3 (Free Admission!)

by Jason

Open Video Alliance LogoDear Kaltura & Open Video Enthusiasts….

This year’s Open Video Conference is going to be a blast! There will be many fun activities, great people, innovative sessions and talks and cutting-edge online video technology.

OVC is a great opportunity to meet with many of the leading video thinkers, developers, and businesses in education and media. Meet and collaborate with OVC conference attendees, HTML5 developers, transmedia storytelling experts, and more.

Whether you’re going to OVC or not, we’d like to invite you to take part in the free OVC Hack Labs event on October 3rd.

Please Join and Share the facebook event:

Among the planned activities:

  • Make interactive HTML5 video using WebMadeMovies technology like popcorn.js
  • Map out a transmedia strategy for your content
  • Build a custom HTML5 player for your site
  • Create robust video sites using the free+open source Kaltura CE 2.0 self-hosted software stack

OVC Hack Labs are free and open to the public regardless of whether you plan to attend OVC.

Heavy Kaltura attendance is planned, and we would like to invite you to join us in hacking, thinking, and innovating online video.
Check out some of the planned activities and add your own ideas on the OVC Wiki:
Topics we plan to hack include: HTML5 video websites using the Kaltura HTML5 library as used by Wikipedia, TikiWiki integration, Kaltura appliances, video syndication and improved SEO, Drupal integration, media e-commerce, media player themes & plugins, oEmbed, Amazon images, mobile video applications…

Looking forward to seeing you there!

July 28th, 2010

OSCON Recap & Our “HTML5’s Multimedia Future” Panel

by Zohar Babin


OSCON was awesome, just like every year — the vibe, the many geek discussions and potential collaborations that will grow out of it. OSCON is also a great place to learn, and to be heard. If you have a great thing to share or an important message to be carried to the open source world, OSCON is the place to be.

OSCON was a very exciting stepping stone for us at Kaltura, as we released the new version of Kaltura CE, Kaltura CE v2.0. You can read more about the Kaltura CE v2.0 release in the post before this one. Make sure you go on, download, install, and share your feedback with us.

The Kaltura OSCON Shirt

Every OSCON we create a new Kaltura shirt. This year’s shirt was all about visibility and inviting people to try out the new Kaltura CE v2.0 – As it’s the only complete & open source solution today for rich-media & video management and publishing. It includes managing transcoding to various video formats, enabling plugins on the API side, and better installation flows and analytics.
Here is this year’s shirt design:

HTML5’s Multimedia Future Panel

This year’s OSCON is another important stepping stone – Video on Wikipedia, based on the Kaltura HTML5 solution and the Kaltura server.

As Kaltura users are constantly in need of cross-device browser playback solutions, it is important to be able to automatically encode to the various video codecs out there, detect the device/browser of the user, and choose the right playback solution, be it HTML5 (using h264, webm or theora) or Flash for non-HTML5 supported browsers like Internet Explorer. Moreover, the standard use case for a rich video website includes advanced analytics, advertising solutions and a lot of flexibility.

Being developers of HTML5 solutions and advocates of the open & cross-platform (cross browser, cross device, cross codec) promise of what the number 5  represents – it was important for us to share a point of view, a reality check of what is available with HTML5, what is planned, and what’s to be improved on both the spec and way things are implemented.

The browser wars of the 90’s left web developers with many development problems. HTML (and JavaScript) wasn’t implemented the same by all browsers and as such required developers to defer to hacks and weird workarounds . HTML5 is the beginning of a remedy for that. It is important now to keep track and be involved with this new standard — to be alert and  raise your voice – to ensure that things are truly cross-platform.

The Panel included Jason (The host), Me (The Flash guy) and Tab from Google (representing HTML5). Tab showed a kick-ass video-to-ascii in real-time, created in HTML5 & JS using the new Canvas element. Jason reviewed the history of HTML5 and I did a reality check of where we are, what Flash provides that HTML5 doesn’t, and what needs to be done.

You can view the slides that I used here.

Our completely full session (all seats taken and people sitting/standing in all available floor space):

July 27th, 2010

Kaltura and Open Video Developer Meetup in NYC

by Jason

As you may have read on Kaltura’s corporate blog, we’re having a big meetup today, Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, at 6pm at Kaltura’s NYC HQ, right near Union Square (signup here).

It will be a good time with pizza and drinks and friendly open source video developers.
Besides taking the time to look more closely at Kaltura’s recent CE 2.0 release, we are all getting ready for the Open Video Conference hackathon in early October where everyone hopes to make some headway on our various open source video projects.