Behind The Scenes: DevExpress Channel In High Definition?

19 November 2008

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This behind the scenes post is for geeks like me who like to talk about video, gear, etc. that we're using on the DevExpress Channel.

Hey, what do you think of high def video online? We've been trying it and it looks great, check out this video with Erica.

Makes the colors and contrast much more defined. I know a lot of you guys are experimenting with video, what do you think, is it worth the hassle?

Here are the pros and cons we've discovered so far:

  1. Recording in HD means we cannot record as much on the flash cards as we can on tape. The super-duper Panasonic P2 camera uses a 16 gigabyte flash card. Jeff tells me that at 16 gigs, the card can only hold 17 minutes of HD video. Yes, there are larger flash cards but their prices are still too high.
  2. High definition can produce large file sizes which means slower downloads.
  3. The latest flash player required. Flash player version 9 Release 3 (or above) will be required to play the H.264/Mpeg4 codec.
  4. Not everything looks better in HD (See the pictured example above). Wink

These challenges can be overcome. For example:

  1. We would still use the (lower quality) tape for the longer interview and conference type videos.
  2. File size is not that much larger for the HD videos.
  3. Most users have the required version of the latest flash player installed.
  4. And, yes, everything does look better in HD (For example, see Amanda showing off the XtraGauge control)

So to improve the video quality, we’ve made some small subtle changes:

  1. Record the ‘speaker’ portion in high definition
  2. Edit and export tweaks during the video production

These small changes gives us better video quality without increasing the file sizes or requiring a new flash version. We’re still investigating the possibility of moving to full HD (H.264) videos someday.

What did we miss? Should we make the extra effort to film in HD?

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16 comment(s)
Steven Rasmussen

With all of your development of Silverlight controls, I've often wondered why you haven't built your own video player and used it to show all the videos on DevExpress channel.... plus you could add it as another component to sell / give away for free as seems the case with many of your Silverlight controls.  Just a thought.

19 November, 2008
Chris W Walsh

yeah i agree with steven, DevExpress should use silverlight to stream the content instead of flash.

20 November, 2008
Rory Becker - DevExpress

I can honestly say I don't think there's any need for HD video. However, I would have said that for any application including TV. I have been known to watch media streams in a box less than 2 inchs because otherwise it would interfere with the 6 other things I'm trying to do..... I can't just watch TV anymore... I have to browse the web or code at the same time.... I think this might be a problem :(

20 November, 2008
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20 November, 2008
Chris Cochran

I think it's a great service to the DevEx community to produce such clear and concise tutorials and feature illustrations. Having them in higher-resolution frame sizes means I can comfortably see the presentation on my monitor (which stays at 1650 x 1080). I wish more people would "kick it up a notch" on their web videos.

Great job and great content.

20 November, 2008
Karel from Czech Republic

You are one of the best .NET companies. So WHY flash?

20 November, 2008
John Botibol

Whilst Erica looked as great as ever, the video quality was not that good (maybe flash needs updating). The videos you produce are fantastic, well done DX however (there is always a "however" of course!) I am deaf and depend on subtitles ... Any chance ?

21 November, 2008
Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

Hey Guys,

Flash is installed on 98% of the browsers. We've discussed the possibility of providing videos with Silverlight in the past and I'll bring it up again at our next major meeting.

21 November, 2008
Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

Hi John,

Many of the videos have a text transcript available. While it's not subtitles, at least you do have the text of the speech available.

21 November, 2008
Steven Rasmussen

Hi Mehul,

I can understand your reluctance to move the video over to Silverlight (as you stated Flash is installed on 98% of browsers).  However, being that you are a major producer of .Net components, and that a large portion of the people coming to your site are .Net developers, you would think that they already have Silverlight installed.... or if they don't have it installed this would give them a good reason to install it.... which would only further the acceptance of Silverlight in the web community.... which then might lead to more developers using it in development... which might then lead to more sales at DevExpress for Silverlight components... and so on and so forth. :)  I'm sure you've probably thought all this through.

Also, maybe you could do something in between, like detect whether the user has Silverlight intalled and show the Silverlight player, otherwise show the Flash player.  Anyway, just some ideas to think about.

21 November, 2008
Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

Hi Steve,

Yes, thanks. These are some of the ideas we've thought about. Wink

21 November, 2008
Renaud Bompuis

High definitions videos are a plus but I hope they won't replace the low-definition ones: I just spent the last 2 months in a place with fairly a limited bandwidth and 3GB/month capped usage and there are lots of places with even worse internet access conditions.

If I could make a somewaht (un)related comment: I would very much like to see some interviews of the teams discussing current technologies. I really like the way Channel 9 does interviews of people and teams about what they do.

All the videos on the DevExpress channel are excellent tutorials and have huge value to quickly get introduced into DX components but I'd love to see an unscripted and candid interview of Mark Miller talking about the challenges of getting DXCore to work with Visual Studio or the XAF team reflect on the current available technologies and how XAF integrates them (WF anyone?)...

These don't need HD or even nice settings, getting close to the people and learning about their insight is what it is about.

21 November, 2008
Pavel

Steve, flash is a mature technology that just works. Silverlight is not fine yet. If it was good enough, MS would not announse third version (Silverlight 3 should be released in summer 2009).

23 November, 2008
Alberto Cortes

Your videos are great but I would prefer subtitles  than HD.

23 November, 2008
John Harrison

Pavel, the announcement of a new version does not mean that the previous version is "not good enough".

Would you say the same about the DevExpress technologies (after all, there is always a newer version on its way with DX)

I didn't think so!

24 November, 2008
Steven Rasmussen

Pavel - I would agree with you that flash is a mature technology, and I use it as well for some of my website development.  However, I don't necessarily agree that 'Silverlight is not fine yet'.  Yes, it's not as mature as Flash, but it is very capable of Video playback (You can check out MSDN to see it used extensively for this purpose).  Just because a new version has been announced doesn't mean that the current version has no validity.  If that were the case, then just because DevExpress is going to release a new version of its components in 2009, you are saying that its current suite just doesn't cut it.  We both know that's not true.  Technology is always evolving (that's why we have jobs).  I'm sure that there will be a version 4, 5, 6 and 10 of Silverlight, but that does not mean that the current version is useless.  That's far from the case, since I'm sure you've seen the excellent components that DevExpress has already released for Silverlight.

24 November, 2008

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