Shall We Roll Our Own YouTube for BarCamp Vancouver?

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/07/28

UPDATE: We’re starting a planning discussion of this via the comments below. You can track it via this RSS Feed for this post.

Was chatting yesterday with Roland Tanglao of Bryght. He’s one of the organisers of BarCamp Vancouver. Talked about me going up there to work on a video web cast of the event.

After the initial live video feed idea (which is cool in itself — there may be an internet 2 feed we can access), things got very interesting.

I pointed to this ‘roll your own open source YouTube’ post from Flash Insider (a summary of this original concept from Daniel’s Random Mutterings).

“Why don’t we roll our own YouTube” says I… “That would get the geeks excited!”

Wheels turn — “What about storage costs?”

“S3” we nearly chattered simultaneously (Amazon is looking cool to devs these days).

So now Roland and I are hot on the idea — what about you?

Calling geeks (esp. Amazon’s Jeff Barr), can you help us make this happen? What a viral proof of concept that would be, eh?


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  1. This is a really interesting idea and I am open to suggestions as to how I can help.

    Comment by jeffbarr — July 31, 2006 #

  2. I plan on webcasting/archiving sessions so will not be available for much during the live event. What roles/resources do we need to gather before, during, and after to get this going?

    Here’s an initial stab —

    • At least 1 LAMP Server (probably not a shared setup). 2 might be better — 1 for the CMS and 1 for transcoding
    • LAMP Devs
    • Amazon S3 account coordinator
    • Person to upload recorded video’s
    • Task PM’s (I’m traveling a lot for work this month and am not sure how much hands on dev/coordination time I will have avilable.)

    Add to the list, what else do we need?

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 4, 2006 #

  3. I signed up for S3 so we’ve got that account avilable to go. I’ve budgeted $200 toward covering any S3 bandwidth costs we incure if we can get this going.

    S3 resources are —

    * Resource Center — Browse the resource center for code samples, documentation, release notes, and more information to help you build innovative applications. Subscribe to RSS feeds or set up e-mail watches to be alerted of the latest developments for this service. * Success Stories * Solutions Catalog * WSDL * Developer Forums * FAQs

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 9, 2006 #

  4. I’m interested, I’ve been thinking on doing something like this for my own videos. One think missing from the list is a flash app to play the videos.

    Comment by Ianiv Schweber — August 9, 2006 #

  5. Ianiv — Glad you’re here! On the flash app to play the video, I thought the same thing initially but then saw the ‘flowplayer’ ( section Daniel’s original post (

    I’ve not used flowplayer, but from a quick look at his description and code examples it seems like it might work. What do you think?

    Now that the video was uploaded and (hopefully) successfully converted, we need to provide a way of viewing it. For this, I use an FLV player component called FlowPlayer, avilable as a SourceForge project [4]. The FlowPlayer SWF is embedded into the page and parameters are provided based on information from the video.

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 10, 2006 #

  6. That will do fine. We need to have some kind of session to decide what we are doing and how, it will be very hard to organize this via comments in a blog post :)

    Comment by Ianiv Schweber — August 10, 2006 #

  7. Another Flash player, with volume controls: uses this one.

    Comment by Ianiv Schweber — August 10, 2006 #

  8. > We need to have some kind of session to decide what we are doing and how, it will be very hard to organize this via comments in a blog post >

    Good idea — skype? I’ve got a brightspeed with group video (up to 4) as well.

    What times work best? I can do a short conf most weeks days just about anytime or at night between 8:00-9:30.

    > Another Flash player, with volume controls >

    I like the UI on this one you posted better — let’s go with that unless something else comes along.

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 11, 2006 #

  9. My Skype ID is ianivs I’ll be free today after 1pm PST, just give me a call anythime after that if you can.

    Comment by Ianiv Schweber — August 11, 2006 #

  10. — Update —

    Ianiv and I skyped on Friday — He is working on some scripts doing some simple metadata/html display and the S3 uploading.

    We still have not found a server to do the heavy transcoding work yet so are working the other portions of the recipe and will do the transcoding manually if we need to — so that we can get the video up.

    One idea that occurred to me over the weekend that might have merit — could we we roll a VMware appliance to do it — e.g. take an existing LAMP VMware appliance (seems like there’d be something out there like that rolling around that we could use as a base), then configure with FFmpeg and some watchfolder/move scripts.

    Then, on the day of a conference like barcamp, we could have people bring any spare machines loaded with VMware and quickly node out a transcoding farm.

    Could that work?

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 14, 2006 #

  11. Looks like the discussion has moved to an email thread — email me if you want in bryan at gmail dot com — will try to continue to post important reference stuff here.

    Over on the Seattle Drupal User’s Group thread, Boris Mann of Bryght posted some notes on activity with S3 and Drupal —

    There was some discussion / code going on here. There was someone hacking on S3 code, so you should talk to them. I suspect we’ll see a filesystem module level S3 plugin at some point. Other modules for your YouTube clone: * userreview (reviews as nodes, includes ratings) — use instead of comments to get better ratings/feedback * votingapi — needed for userreview * views / views_bookmarks: easily make a “my favourite videos” list by allowing video bookmarking; can show lists of most bookmarked videos, etc.; views can be used to build other custom page listings easily as well, including a bookmark for “flag as inappropriate” * tagadelic — to help with display of the all important tag cloud The big thing that is needed is a component or helper module for the video module that talks to server-side FFMpeg script for thumbnailing, etc. Note that the video module supports remote file links, so it could be used as-is to host on Amazon S3…just need an easy way to upload to S3 in the first place and get the URL back.

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 20, 2006 #

  12. […] These are quicktime .mov files I shot straight to disk. Were were able to get our opensource flash video thing going on Saturday morning (and when I say we, I mean Ianiv). As I previously mentioned, we transcoded and posted Friday night’s introductions. Everything worked through transcoding via FFMPEG to storing in Amazon’s S3 (thanks to Jeff Barr for the help!). […]

    Pingback by eLearning Skinny » Blog Archive » BarCamp Vancouver Video’s — August 27, 2006 #

  13. We have an Amazon EC2 beta account to use for playing around with transcoding via virtualized servers — if you are a dev and are interested in helping with this, email me — bryanzug at gmail dot com

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 29, 2006 #

  14. […] So apparently those crafty cats up at BarCampVancouver were chattin’ up an open source alternative to YouTube, smartly backed by Amazon’s S3 mass-storage service. […]

    Pingback by Someone roll me a MeTube at FactoryCity — August 30, 2006 #

  15. You could always use Amazon’s virtualized solution to do your transcoding, since you’re already going with S3…..

    Comment by Tyler Pirtle — August 31, 2006 #

  16. > You could always use Amazon’s virtualized solution to do your transcoding, since you’re already going with S3….. >

    We’ve been talking about that for situations where there is plenty of bandwidth. At conferences like BarCamp where it is usually scarce, Ianiv came up with the idea of rolling a utility based on FFMPEG — I think what he did is Java based and can spread the transcoding load across various OS’s

    Comment by Bryan Zug — August 31, 2006 #

  17. Why do this at all? YouTube is already easier for people to find, doesn’t make me worry about video format conversion, and provides unlimited free storage and bandwidth for my files. Plus, it makes sure that the videos I put there are part of a bigger ecosystem of online video that gets linked together. Who needs a private version of what’s basically already a public resource?

    Or is this just engineers doing it for the sake of doing it?

    Comment by Abar — October 17, 2006 #

  18. > Why do this at all? >

    Good question — the engineering thing is defintiely a part of it — commercial factors include the rights you give up when you do YouTube — some people would rather pay, than give up rights — also, some corporate content should not be on public sites like YouTube, but does warrant seamless flash video sharing — so, people would be willing to pay costs to cover that.

    Also — there are lots of features that YouTube should include, but doesn’t — things that will only come about via competition — e.g. can you get your content out of youtube if you want? Even if you pay? Why not? The technology to do so is trivial — even exporting in multiple formats (flash video, quicktime/win-media for podcasts), but it is not in the commerical interests of sites like these to let you take your media and go elsewhere.

    Comment by Bryan Zug — October 17, 2006 #

  19. Any update of this great project ? For my part I notice 2 intersting posts:

    Comment by Nicolas Tostin — January 4, 2007 #

  20. Hi Nicolas —

    Sorry for the late reply — yes, I am aware of another thread on this specific to a Drupal project — it is over at —

    We have not had much time to do more with it on our end due to all of our day jobs. There has been talk via email about creating a Firefox plugin to do this as well. The fellow who did the Firefox S3 plugin had expressed some interest.

    Comment by Bryan Zug — January 29, 2007 #

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