Flowplayer and h.264

Not satisfied with youtube and others like that? There is a good alternative if your server bandwidth allows for streaming videos – flowplayer. Here is what I do to prepare video for the web.

  1. Convert any video to h.264 using avidemux, which you can install easily on Ubuntu. I chose the following settings for the converted video (the ideas are taken from here):
    • Video format: MPEG-4 AVC (x264)
    • Video configure: two pass – average bitrate, 200kbps (this can vary, of course, depending on your video)
    • Video filters: resize to 400×300 (choose yours)
    • Audio format: AAC (FAAC)
    • Audio configure: bitrate 96kbps (can be lower or higher too)
    • Output format: MP4
    • Save the output file with .m4v extension
  2. After encoding is done, use qt-faststart command line tool to move the metadata aka ‘moov atom’ to the beginning of the file. This is important, otherwise flowplayer would have to load the entire file in order to start playing. When the metadata is at the beginning, it can start playing after short buffering, and continue to load the file in the background:

    > qt-faststart video.m4v video1.m4v

This is it!

Also wanted to mention the pseudostreaming feature which looks really cool but I haven’t had a chance to set that up yet.

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