Ubiquitous Embedded Video – Where are you?!

I shipped an app the other day which had a video as the background of the main menu. The result was entrancing — it made the whole concept of a main menu worth while. There’s something about video that just captures your eyes and won’t let go.

We’re not the first to use this video-embedding technique, but we’re certainly one of the few. And from my standpoint, highly integrated video embeds are grossly underutilized.  With all of the tech we have at our disposal today, why is it still REALLY HARD to use video?

  • You have to choose the format — mp4? flv? avi? mpg? .mov?  
  • Then the player (if not youtube) — quicktime embed? html5? JWPlayer? Flash custom? 
  • Then of course you need to compress your video appropriately — what size? what bitrate? what codec? What container? And Poster frame, what’s that?! 
  • You of course have to host it somewhere, which involves uploading your 10MB masterpiece (which really should have been 2mb, but you didn’t feel like downloading the 1.2 gig trial of Adobe Premiere to fix it…and you didn’t feel like going through the interface frustration that is VLC or FFmpeg). 

And after all of that, you get it put into your destination page or app or whatever, only to find that it doesn’t play right away, or it plays, but loops, or doesn’t loop, or flashes when loops, or doesn’t play right on mobile, or only plays on mobile, or just plain looks crapy.   AHHHH!!!

Really: It shouldn’t be this hard to use video today…for EVERYTHING you do.

Building a web page?  Add video clips effortlessly  everywhere.  Heck, make them overlap other graphics and animate on and off.  Why not?

How about an app?  Sure!  No need for custom code. Just drop it in to any app SDK and it should work natively, while being easy to integrate with your content (outside the video player box).

Or in your PPT or Word docs?  Nice!  Just add a bunch of clips and they seamlessly play and flow in line with the rest of your content.   (If you’ve ever tried to add video to a PPT, you know just how opposite from what I describe the current experience is).

Video should be EASY to use with EVERYTHING you do.  The Harry Potter newspapers with the in-line videos should be what our word docs and web pages look like right now!  And sadly, due mainly because of the lack of easy to use creation and integration pathways, using video with everything you do is just plain hard to do, and way too much work.

At some point, I want to make all of my “boring” still image embeds on this blog embedded videos that just flow, play, and loop as you scroll the page.  The audio will turn on when you hover over them, and will otherwise play silently in line with my text, giving you the same memorizing, in-depth experience as one gets with my app.  Why?  It’s 2013 – why the heck not?!


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