Videos on Flash Drives

Videos on Flash Drives

Over at Two Are Better, the videography business Mindy and I started, we’ve finally ordered some custom flash drives. While these are more expensive at the moment, they will soon become cheaper and the future of how we deliver our finished video projects. In my mind physical delivery of video will soon die out, but for many of our couples and clients having a Blu-Ray or even a DVD *gasp* is still the most convenient way for them to consume media. It still baffles me, to some degree, that we have beautiful HD and 4K  to capture video in only for it to ultimately be delivered and consumed at far less than HD quality! I do understand that it makes a little more sense when it’s a couple’s Grandparents who don’t see the need to buy a new HD TV and Blu-Ray player. Still this is our art we’re talking about. It’s meant to be seen in it’s full glorius quality! 😛

Nonetheless, I’m sure we will be delivering discs (Blu-Ray & DVD) alongside flash drives for a few years to come. In my perfect world, there would be a really awesome digital delivery service made for this. Something like iTunes where people can watch their videos on any device and anywhere they want.

The whole point of this post then is how do we deliver a similar experience across discs and flash drives, and is this something clients will even appreciate or use? Well, we’re going to find out! I came across this Reddit thread where someone was asking a similar question. The idea then sparked in my head that this would be pretty easy to build with simple HTML & CSS. Essentially using simple markup to create a header, content area, and footer. Embed their videos using the new HTML5 standard <video></video>. Then make it all look pretty with CSS and a few SVG icons we use on our site and disc menus anyway.

Here then is the finished product, an experience using flash drives that matches our disc menus pretty closely. You can navigate to the appropriate videos, scrub through them, full screen them, etc… So with the basic structure up and working I thought it’s time to put this out in the wild. To use this you obviously need a little bit of knowledge editing HTML or CSS files. But think of this as a skeleton for your own flash drives. Things like our font files and SVG icons you probably don’t want to copy, but take the skeleton and make it better. I’ve put this up on BitBucket to start with, so if you are savvy fork the repo and submit pull requests with your improvements.

Some initial items I’m brainstorming for future updates are how to ensure this would work with TVs. If a couple plugged their flash drive into their TV would they be able to play their videos? Also, it’s not obvious to open the index.html file to access the menu. If there is an obvious way that works across platforms (Mac & Windows) and also then plays the videos on all TVs let me know!

The links are below, if you think this is worthwhile and cool let me know. Otherwise, it’s easy to just stick the videos on the flash drives with no menu system. :)

[button link=”https://bitbucket.org/twoarebetter/wedding-flash-drives/get/1.0.0.zip”]Download[/button][button link=”https://bitbucket.org/twoarebetter/wedding-flash-drives”]View on BitBucket[/button]

First Impression of the Drobo Mini

We decided to up our speed and storage by getting a Drobo Mini. You can read more about the specs at that link. We stuffed four 750GB drives in it, plus a 64GB mSATA SSD in the accelerator bay.

This setup replaces a smaller 500GB travel drive we had used while travelling and shooting. With the Drobo Mini, we’ll have quite a bit more storage and protection from disk failure while out and about. Two things we were sorely lacking before. When we’re finally at home base this also get’s backed up to either of our desks 2TB backup drives, as well as to a Time Machine drive on the network.

I’ll probably write a post on Two Are Better in the near future about how we protect and use data. So look out for that, until then enjoy some snapshots and speed tests from the Drobo Mini

Getting WooThemes Attention

For those unaware, I’ve been on the job hunt since late December. I finished school and moved to Plainfield ready to find the next thing after college. The job search has been a little disheartening though so far, as many can relate. I’ve been turned down from three potential jobs for being over qualified, and in general a job that sounds genuinely exciting is hard to find. There is always some hope on the horizon though. One of the internets fastest growing companies, and one of my favorites, is hiring. WooThemes is looking for a community manager. When I read this news I probably got too excited and hurried off to my mail program to apply. I sent off my application today and then sat here thinking, what can I do to try and stand out from all of the other applications they are getting?

First you must know, part of the requirements for the job is to interact with their users across Twitter, Facebook, and their blog. So that gave me the idea to create a simple page on my site summarizing why I’d be great for WooThemes. I’ve seen it done before with success and thought I’d give it a shot. I thought it was especially appropriate to that this page is on my WooThemes site.

With that said this is where you come in.

I’d be forever grateful to you if you went over to my WooThemes page and used the Facebook & Twitter buttons to show your support. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends as well. You’ll hopefully help me stand out from all other applicants, and maybe WooThemes will think I have just the right amount of qualifications for the position. Thanks a ton. 😉

CLICK HERE TO HELP

Reddit vs Digg

The snowpocalypse if fully upon us here in central Indiana, so if you are stuck inside and work/class is cancelled I’ve got a post for you to check out. It’s another post comparing two things that are closely related. Last time it was YouTube vs Vimeo, and today it’s Reddit vs Digg. I hope some of you reading this at least know what I’m talking about, but if not, Reddit and Digg are two news websites but the twist is that users submit the news. Personally I think this is an incredible idea, I love reading the stories both of these sites produce. Both sites also have a great community surrounding them, and to me this is what makes or breaks each site. Let’s take a look at what I think about each one, pros and cons…

DIGG

Digg was my gateway drug to everything interesting/hilarious on the internet. I became a member of Digg sometime in 2007 I believe, shortly after graduating High School. I had heard of it before, but never joined. Digg was on V3 at the time I believe. I used Digg after reading other news sites like CNN, AP, Mashable. I trusted the content Digg curated. Especially on important issues at the time. Politics and the environment among other things were some of the things I followed closely, not to mention the funny cat pictures and hilarious YouTube videos. I checked Digg about everyday before clocking off the internet and doing something else. My friends used to ask me where I found all of this interesting stuff on the internet, I’d then point them to Digg. Sadly ever since V4 has launched my Digg use has slowed. This isn’t necessarily because of V4, but it brought with it less interesting news to me as well as a different and jaded community. I haven’t quit using Digg, and I hope it makes a comeback soon to it’s previous glory.

REDDIT

Reddit is the other online community I frequent more often these days. Reddit has really stolen Digg’s thunder since V4. I’ve been a Reddit user since late 2008, but didn’t frequent as often as I did to Digg. That has drastically switched recently. I’ve looked past the visual design flaws of Reddit and really started enjoying the content and community better than I do on Digg. Although I’m not much of a commentor, I love to read the comment threads. They are hilarious on Reddit, Digg is usually people calling each other names that I won’t repeat here. Plus as of recent I really like the more humorous posts that frequent the front page of Reddit. I think this combination is what keeps bringing people back. There is a healthy mix of serious and light hearted posts, plus with a great group of people commenting it makes the stories even better! One thing I saw on Reddit that I haven’t seen on Digg is a community that helps each other out. People finding other Redditors jobs, or helping buy their family gifts on Christmas, etc… This is what makes me stay, a little bit more human element and kindness.

So each website has their own pros and cons. For Digg it has a clean design, both V3 & V4 are easy on the eyes. It’s not hard to understand how Digg works. Sign up and start Digging. The site just lacks a healthy, healthy community. It’s starting to resemble YouTube with it’s comment quality. Also story quality has gone down in what I like to read. I’m not much of a gamer and need some humor every day. Example story title “How You Can Afford to Wear the Best Dresses to Big Events.” …. no thanks.

Reddit can be hard to understand if you don’t know all of the internet lingo, but you’ll soon catch on. It also has a poor design compared to Digg, and the subreddits can be hard to understand initially. Maybe it was only for me but who knows. But the community is friendly, helpful, and hilarious. I actually want to get to know these people, and love reading their comments on stories. Even the cat pic comments.

I think I’ll continue using Reddit more if they keep providing the lulz and news I want. What do you all think? Have you even heard of these sites? Leave a comment and opinion.