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  • Open Source FLV Player: Embedding Videos the no YouTube Way in 7 Steps [Tutorial]

    Enough is enough! YouTube, the monopolist of embedded video on the Web has censored the most popular Web video of 2009 (the JK Wedding entrance Dance). I have embedded it on SEOptimise as well a while ago. You can’t access it from Germany (where I live) anymore  for “copyright limitations reasons”. Orwellian newspeak has been Google’s (the owner of YouTube) specialty ever since they collaborate with the Chinese dictatorship. Plus, you might have guessed it:

    YouTube is awful for your SEO unless you want to get viral on YouTube.

    There is a viable alternative around: Embedding an open source FLV player instead of the proprietary YouTube player everybody uses without thinking of the consequences:

    • Google/YouTube can and will pull the Video anytime for any reason, everybody can ask them to remove content, even teenagers posing as copyright lawyers.
    • You send your visitors away.
    • Nobody will link to your blog post, people will embed the video and forget about the source.
    • You can’t customize the colors or appearance of your video player.
    • Your site appears unprofessional, just sporting content from elsewhere.

    So there are a few good reasons to place the videos you blog about on your blog. You wouldn’t hotlink images either, would you?

    You don’t have to be a programmer or web developer to insert a video player on your blog. There are a few open source solution for FLV videos. FLV is the Flash based video format most video sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe etc. use.

    Copyright Fascism
    Copyright Fascism

    In case you won’t let the Copyright fascists decide which video I am able to view and display on my blog follow these 7 steps:

    Step 1: Download the video
    in order to embed a video you first need to have it. so, first you need to download it. there are several services or apps allowing you to download Youtube vidoes or videos from other sites. The most known is KeepVid. I used it to download the JK Wedding Dance video. Other services and tools I tried are vixy.net which even converts after downloading. This video downloader or a Greasemonkey script are there as well.

    Step 2: Download the FLV Player
    There are several, free and paid video player for your site. Some of them are even open source software. YouTube in contrast is the Microsoft Windows of video embedding. I prefer the simple but effective open source FLV Player for this task. Some other Flash video player solutions are:

    1. JW FLV Media Player
    2. FlowPlayer
    3. Kaltura – Open Source Video Platform
    4. Moyea Web Player
    5. FLV Player – Free Flash Video Player
    6. FLV Video Player Flash Application – Allwebco

    Step 3: Upload the video
    Use your WordPress upload feature or an FTP client to upload the actual video. make sure to rename it to something meaningful before uploading. KeepVid will use video.flv as the default name when downloading. jk-wedding-entrance-dance.flv suits us here. I’d prefer FTP here as most videos take a while to upload due to the sheer file size. In case you haven’t used an FTP client yet I’d recommend Filezilla as the software to use.

    Step 4: Customize the player
    The FLV player offers a variety of customization possibilities. At least set your width and height so that the movie (and player) fit within your blog post. The easiest way to customize the FLV Player is to use the Generator on the FLV Player site. For the changes to take effect you need to hit “enter” inside the input field after changing its value.

    Step 5: Upload the player
    The FLV player is a Flash (SWF) file you need to upload to your server as well. It’s best to upload it to the main directory your WordPress blog is in. Otherwise you might get in trouble with the URL paths. This way you only need to the file name (as above) for the movie to get played.
    Unless of course you plan to embed hundreds of videos. You do not want to stuff you main sever directory in that case. create a subdirectory for  and call it “flv-video” then.

    Step 6: Write a blog post
    Oh yes, you still need to write a blog post or set up an HTML page. Just embedding a video without explanation, source and context is not a good content strategy. This way people won’t link to you or if they will they rather write something like “nice video” instead of using relevant anchor text etc.

    Step 7: Paste the FLV Player code in HTML mode
    This is the actual embedding. You need to paste your player in the WordPress “add new post” dialog or rather text area. Make sure to add it in HTML mode. It may be that you are not allowed to add Flash objects as a simple contributor or author. Ask the blog owner to upgrade your user status then. this is the code I used in my example above:

    <object type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” data=”http://flv-player.net/medias/player_flv_maxi.swf” width=”460″ height=”340″>
    <param name=”movie” value=”http://flv-player.net/medias/player_flv_maxi.swf” />
    <param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” />
    <param name=”FlashVars” value=”flv=http%3A//onreact.com/test/flv-player/jk-wedding-entrance-dance.flv&amp;title=JK Wedding Entrance Dance&amp;width=460&amp;height=340&amp;autoplay=0&titlesize=10″ />
    </object>

    See my embedded example on onreact.com

    I hope this little tutorial helps you to learn embedding the open source FLV player instead of using the proprietary YouTube player. Take not though that you might not be allowed to appropriate every video you find on the Web. It’s similar to images: When using on your blog and uploading them to your server make sure to attribute both the source and the author of a video. My example video has been made by Jill and Kevin and their friends.

    PS.: I asked Jill and Kevin via email to republish the uncensored version on Vimeo so that people in Germany can view it as well again. Currently there is only an incomplete version on Vimeo. Can you watch the video on YouTube in your country without any problems or does YouTube limit the access in your area as well?

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    I help people with blogs, social media & search. I help you succeed on the Web. I've been online publishing for 15 years. I started back in 1997.

    8 Responses to “Open Source FLV Player: Embedding Videos the no YouTube Way in 7 Steps [Tutorial]”

    1. Scott says:

      I mostly agree with you and it raises a very good issue/problem with YouTube. However, if everyone downloads a video, personally hosts it and then it goes viral, they are most likely not going to be prepared to handle all that heavy bandwidth. Their site may even break/come down as a consequence. The solution would appear to be hosting the video somewhere else/reliable and then pulling it into Flash. But therein lies another problem: there are potential security/crossdomain issues to consider, most of which someone with limited Flash prowess will not know about. Furthermore, if you host a copyrighted video on another service, that other service is likely to remove the offending video too if they are told about it. Food for thought. :-)

    2. Mike says:

      Thanks for the tips. I was mostly looking for the list of popular players in step 2.

    3. Leah says:

      I never liked embedding that ugly YOU TUBE video player. It looks too much like you’re from noobyville without much taste. The only reliable but still affordable place to host video is Amazon Web Services (AWS) but it can be difficult for newer users. There is a video service that uploads it to AWS for you but not all formats work – that service is tricky too. I think it’s called easy video something, maybe player?

    4. Michelle says:

      My ultimate goal at first is to use the player that youtube uses. I was able to download it (watch-vfl148687.swf) and the video (flv) itself but I just could not make it play the video. It must be some problem with the code. But I gave up and I said I just wanna use a different open source player…I found a few but the tutorial wasn’t so helpful…this one is the best! So I thank you guys for this very helpful post.

      If you have any idea how to use youtube’s player though, please help me out. ^_^

    5. James says:

      Interesting that you state: *You wouldn’t hotlink images either, would you?* when your code is hotlinking the SWF player itself.

    6. Tad Chef says:

      James: Yeah, but I’m “hotlinking” from my own server ;-)

    7. Rolf Hout says:

      I really like youtube but it does have some bad things on it. Like with copyright and things.

    8. yo says:

      Thank you! I’m trying to find a way to get videos on my google site that don’t rely on youtube’s crummy thumbnail choices. so if i can upload flv to my site and generate my own thumbnails, I’ll be happy. Any further advice on google sites and flv thumbnails welcome. thanks again

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