quick help for hosting mpgs on my new website?
May 4, 2005 11:19 PM   Subscribe

I've just established the domain for my first website, and look forward to learning how to update and maintain it. (I currently know nothing about how to do it, but I'm an eager learner.) For the moment, I'd like to host about 25 movie files and 100 images, and could use some advice on how to do this.

I am using Mac OSX 10.3.9 (no Tiger yet).
Here is a list of the features and services offered by the company that's hosting my site. Most of them are unintelligible to me, but, like I say, I plan to learn this stuff as I go. Sort of a long-term project.

At some point in the near future, I will work on making this site semi-attractive and fully functional; for the moment, I need a quick-fix solution to host these files. (A white page with naked links to the files would be just fine, for the moment.) So I have several questions.

1. I have a (burned) DVD with the 25 clips that I'd like to host. These range from 4 seconds to about 3 minutes. I'd like to convert them to MPG files and host them on the site in such a way that they open in their own li'l windows. How do I convert the files and make them small enough to download but decent enough so that relevant details come through? I mean, I don't even know how to manipulate movies files at all. How do I make movies open in their own windows?

2. I would imagine that hosting the 100 or so JPGs is much more straightforward than hosting movies, but I still don't know how to do it. Please to help!

3. Is bandwidth an issue? For the time being, only ten or so people will even know about my website, and they're the ones who need to see the clips/images.

4. In the "teach a man to fish" category (and I know this has been asked here before - sorry), I'd like to know your recommendations for any good websites on setting up your own website. We're talking "starting from scratch" kinda stuff, here.

That's surely more than enough to ask at once. Thank you in advance for your help!
posted by Dr. Wu to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a PC user, so I can't answer all these questions.

#1 - What format are the clips in on the dvd? (Can this DVD be played in a regular DVD player?)

I assume by "open in their own li'l windows" you mean you click on a link and a window pops up which plays the movie. This can be easily done using some javascript, but you should worry about this after you have the movies converted and put online.

#2 - These can be uploaded using FTP, but it sounds like you want something more comprehensive. (It sounds like you want some sort of media management software...or do you just want a list of files in a directory people can click on, with no descriptions, etc?)

#3 - It appears you have 100gb of bandwidth a month. Bandwidth will not be an issue for you at all.

Reply and others will be able to better help you out.
posted by null terminated at 11:30 PM on May 4, 2005

If your webhost has directory indexing turned on by default ( I think most do), you just have to upload the files into a directory that doesn't contain a file called index.html (or index.htm, or index.php, etc). Then, your webserver will create a page that has a list of all the files in that directory, and you can click on them.

This is insecure (people may steal your bandwidth) if they find out about your URL and are interested in whatever files you have there. Bandwidth shouldn't be much of a problem at all with only a few friends downloading, and the odds of somebody coming across your page very minimal.

As far as resizing goes, visit Doom9 and VideoHelp.com for more information than you'll ever want to know about resizing video. I'm not up on my Mac OS/X video editing, but there's a ridiculous amount of info there. You'll want to read up on converting the DVD to mpeg, or avi, but probably mpeg. On a Mac it may be really easy to just convert it to Quicktime, but I personally hate Quicktime. "ripping" is the term used to describe taking information from a disc, and converting it into a file on your computer.

The short answer is that you can compress video down to about 750MB for 1.5 hours (or around 8MB/minute) and still get very good quality. If you have a choice of encoder, use Xvid or Divx ... most likely Xvid. After that, the video begins to degrade. You may want to try on small clips until you get a good compromise on quality vs. size.

As far as learning HTML, Webmonkey is a great resource.
posted by stovenator at 11:36 PM on May 4, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the speedy response, null terminated.

1. Yes, the DVD can be played on a standard DVD player. Each clip has three parts on the DVD directory: a .VOB file (presumably the video itself), a .BUP file, and an .IFO file. These are the only files on the disc, and I've no idea how to make them into .MPGs.
You're right that the "own li'l window" thing is probably not necessary, at least not now.

2. A list of files in a directory would be OK for my present purposes; later on, I'll make it more functional. Still, any suggestions for media management software (esp. free!) are most welcome.

posted by Dr. Wu at 11:37 PM on May 4, 2005

Oh, and as far as having the files opening in a new window, you'd have to create a basic html page to do that. Your code for that will need to look like this:

<a href='filename.mpeg' target='_blank'>Name of link</a> <br>
<a href='filename2.mpeg' target='_blank'>Name of link</a> <br>

The 'a' tag tells the browser that you have a link. The "href=filename.mpeg" means that the name of the file to open when the link is clicked on is filename.mpeg. The "target="_blank" tells the browser to open a new blank window to load that file into. Notice that href and target are attributes of the "a" tag, and that tags always begin with a < and end with a >. These tags tell the browser how to format things. All tags should then have a closing tag - </a> - This tells the browser to close the "a" tag. "br" and "p" don't have to have closing tags, per se, but if you learn correctly, you will learn to close them, unlike me and lots of others who use them improperly.

The <br> tag tells the browser to go to the next line ( a line feed/carriage return if you will). You could alternately use <p> to create a blank line before the next line of text is displayed.

You can create this file in any text editor, then save it as whatever.html . Then read a lot of html pages to learn what this all really is doing and means.
posted by stovenator at 11:50 PM on May 4, 2005

Dr. Wu, Macromedia McAdobe DreamWeaver is probably your best one-stop choice here, as it'll help you build all of your file and directory structures in an intuitive way.

The only other advise I could possibly chip-in here would be to pick up an O'Reilly book or 50. This one would probably get you started with MX, but there are 1,001 things you probably want to get familiar with. I don't know if it's a business prospect that you're working on here, but the kind of site that it sounds as if you're after ISN'T a newbie project. If it's fully professional project you're after, I'd suggest cutting your ambition in half (and your budget by 5/6) and just start a whole lot smaller.

The best advice I can offer - other than the gratuitous links - is to get a friend to help you/show you how to set it all up - probably in exchange for some space on your server. It would doubtless be a mutually beneficial arrangement and save you $thousands in class-dollars.
posted by vhsiv at 1:00 AM on May 5, 2005

Get Handbrake to convert that DVD to MPEG4 clips. You can resize/crop/etc the video within that program. It will also let you change data rates and stuff.

.VOB files are video object files, which usually contain the muxed video and audio for the clip. They might not be the entire clip if you're talking about a feature-length movie, but yours probably are all individual .VOBs. If you have the Quicktime MPEG2 component (for a fee at apple.com/quicktime) you can open the .VOB files directly in Quicktime Player and export them to whatever formats Quicktime supports.

As far as the images are concerned, get and install on your webspace a photo album software. I like Gallery. You might too.
posted by tomierna at 7:18 AM on May 5, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I'm currently working with Handbrake and will work on FTP'ing these files to my site later today or tomorrow.

Muchas gracias!

And any further suggestions are welcome, too!
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:18 AM on May 5, 2005

Further to tomierna's post, once you have bought the Quicktime MPEG2 component, you might also have use for MPEG Streamclip.
posted by omnidrew at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2005

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