Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts Tagged ‘html5’

Introducing Wikipedia’s new HTML5 video player

A new video player has been enabled on Wikipedia and its sister sites, and it comes with the promise of bringing free educational videos to more people, on more devices, in more languages.

The player is the same HTML5 player used in the Kaltura open-source video platform. It has been integrated with MediaWiki (the software that runs Wikimedia sites like Wikipedia) through an extension called TimedMediaHandler. It replaces an older Ogg-only player that has been in use since 2007.

The new player supports closed captions in multiple languages.

Based on HTML5, the new player plays audio and video files on wiki pages. It brings many new features, like advanced support for closed captions and other timed text. By allowing contributors to transcribe videos, the new player is a significant step towards accessibility for hearing-impaired Wikipedia readers. Captions can easily be translated into many languages, thus expanding their potential audience.

TimedMediaHandler also comes with other useful features, like support for the royalty-free WebM video format. Support for WebM makes it possible to seamlessly import videos encoded to that format, such as freely-licensed content from YouTube’s massive library.

Even further behind the scenes, TimedMediaHandler adds support for server-side transcoding, i.e. the ability to convert from one video format to another, in order to deliver the appropriate video stream to the user depending on their bandwidth and the size of the player. For example, support for mobile formats is available, although it is not currently enabled.

The player’s “Share” feature provides a short snippet of code to directly embed videos from Wikimedia Commons in web pages and blog posts, as is the case here.

Sponsored by Kaltura and Google, developers Michael Dale and Jan Gerber are the main architects of the successful launch of the new player. With the support of the Wikimedia Foundation’s engineering team and Kaltura, they have gone through numerous cycles of development, review and testing to finally release the fruits of years of work.

Efforts to better integrate video content to Wikipedia and its sister sites date back to early 2008, when Kaltura and the Wikimedia Foundation announced their first collaborative video experiment. Since then, incremental improvements have been released, but the deployment of TimedMediaHandler is the most significant achievement to date. (more…)

Video Labs: Universal Subtitles on Commons

Universal Subtitles Widget Sync Interface

Universal Subtitles synchronisation interface gives subtitle authors fine grained control over subtitle timing.

For the past 6 months the Participatory Culture Foundation has been hard at work on their latest open web video mission to make captioning, subtitling, and translating video publicly accessible in a way that’s free and open. Part of the Mozilla Drum Beat campaign for a better web, Universal Subtitles is a tool and platform to help bring an open solution to subtitling web video. Commons has supported timed text via the mwEmbed gadget for some time, but up until today it has been very difficult to create the initial subtitle track. I have been watching the development of the universal subtitles efforts, and while at the subtitle summit and open video conference we were finally able to hack on bringing the Universal Subtitles widget to Wikimedia Commons.

Today, I am happy to share our first pass at integrating our open subtitle efforts. Please keep in mind this integration is still very early on in development, but the basic milestone of being able to use the tool on commons to create and sync up subtitle tracks is an important first step. Even without helpful tools in place, the Wikimedia community has been creating subtitles and translations. We hope this new subtitle edit tools will broaden the number of participants and enable the Wikimedia community to set a new standard for high quality multilingual accessibility in online video content.

If you have a moment, feel free to check out the widget and provide some feedback. If you are looking for a video to subtitle, check out the recently created needs subtitling category.

Michael Dale, Open Source Video Collaboration Technology

Video Labs: P2P Next Community CDN for Video Distribution

As Wikimedia and the community embark on campaigns and programs to increase video contribution and usage on the site, we are starting to see video usage on Wikimedia sites grow and we hope for it to grow a great deal more. One potential problem with increased video usage on the Wikimedia sites is that video is many times more costly to distribute than text and images that make up Wikipedia articles today. Eventually bandwidth costs could saturate the foundation budget or leave less resources for other projects and programs. For this reason it is important to start exploring and experimenting with future content distribution platforms and partnerships.

The P2P-Next consortium is an EU-funded project exploring the future of Internet video distribution. Their aims are to dramatically reduce the costs of video distribution through community CDNs and P2P technology. They recently presented at Gdansk Wikimania 2010, and today I am happy to invite the Wikimedia community to try out their latest experimental efforts to greatly reduce video distribution costs. Swarmplayer V2.0 is being released today for Firefox (an Internet Explorer plugin is in testing). The Swamplayer enables visitors to easily share their upload bandwidth to help distribute video. The add-on works with the Kaltura HTML5 library ( aka mwEmbed ) and, to enable visitors to help offset distribute costs of any Ogg Theora video embed in any web page.

p2p next desing overview

Swarmplayer next design overview, learn more on

We have enabled this for Wikimedia video via the multimedia beta. Once you installed the add-on any video you view on Wikimedia sites with the multimedia beta enabled will be transparently streamed via bittorrent. The add-on includes simple tools to configure how much bandwidth you use to upload. Even if you upload nothing, using the add-on helps distribute load by playing the video from the P2P network and the local cache on subsequent views. The Swarmplayer has clever performance tuning which downloads high priority pieces over http while getting low priority bits of the video from the bittorrent swarm. This ensures a smooth playback experience while maximizing use of the P2P network. You can learn more about the technology on the Swam player add-on site

The P2P Next Team from Delft University of Technology will be presenting the P2P-Next project at the Open Video Conference on October 2nd.

Michael Dale, Open Source Video Collaboration Technology

Video Labs: Kaltura HTML5 Sequencer available on Wikimedia Commons

sequence drag drop

Screenshot showing a search for cats and drag an image into the sequence

I am happy to invite the Wikimedia community to try out the latest Kaltura HTML5 video sequencer as part of a Wikimedia/Kaltura Video Labs project that can now be used on Wikimedia Commons with resulting sequences visible on any Wikimedia project. For those that have been following the efforts, it has been a long road to  deliver this sequence editing experience within the open web platform and within the MediaWiki platform. This blog post will highlight the foundational technologies in use by the sequencer in its present state and outline some of the upcoming features in Firefox 4, and enhancements to the sequencer itself that are set to improve the editing experience.

If you want to just jump into editing, please check out the commons documentation page and play around with the editor and let us know what you think. This project is early on in its development. Your bug reports,  ideas, feedback and participation will help drive future features and how these tools are used within Wikimedia projects.

If you’re interested in Video on Wikipedia in general, please consider joining the Wikivideo mailing list which will cover a wide range topics, including the sequencer, collaborative subtitles, timed text, video uploading, video distribution, format guidelines, and campaigns to increase video contributions to the site.

And finally, if you are in the New York area consider checking out the Open Video Conference coming up October 1st to the 3nd, which will be a great space to hack on open video and work on ideas for the future of video on Wikimedia projects.


New Media Features Gadget

I would like to announce that some of the new media features are now available in gadget form on Wikimedia Commons and the English Wikipedia. These include a new ogg player, the add media wizard, and firefogg upload support. I hope having these components in gadget form will enable some more testing and feedback :)

Getting Started to enable these components you must turn on the mwEmbed gadget. You can turn it on by visiting your preferences page. Once you enable the gadget you should shift reload to ensure you have a fresh copy of the JavaScript. (note you will need to enable the gadget for each wiki you want to test (ie both for wikimedia commons and Wikipedia). Once enabled you can check out the following features: (more…)