So Google wrapped up Vorbis and VP8 into WebM and is offering it as open source to help drive a fully open standard for media online including video. Nearly everyone and their brother have jumped on board (except Intel, who said they will consider it if it becomes popular for Internet TV, and Apple) and so it's time to start looking at how to begin implementing it as it could be the next best thing since...erm the Internet?Well, if you believe the hype, it is.
Now the tools are still in the proverbial Stone Age (those that are free) as it's just been announced recently and you'll need some tech savviness to get going. Of course if you're a user of some of the services who have already begun to offer VP8 and WebM support, then you're already ahead of the pack. I'll list those services at the end of this article.
Free VP8 WebM Tools:
These are some hardcore FFmpeg users out there who will be thankful that there are already patches that can be applied to incorporate VP8 and WebM suppor (via Google's libvpx library). They can be had right from the WebM download page.
There are instructions at FFmpeg.org for acquiring the FFmpeg source code. Using Subversion, you would checkout the source with the following command:
$ svn checkout -r 23190 svn://svn.ffmpeg.org/ffmpeg/ ffmpeg
Linux and Unix
WebM/VP8 DirectShow Filters
For those on Windows, you haven't been left behind. DirectShow filters are available to get you up and running on WebM and VP8 which means that even Windows Media Player will be able to play WebM videos and video editors that use DirectShow will be able to encode (provided they have encoding features).
These are also available at the WebM downloads page.
Now you're also going to need Vorbis installed so that you can have sound in your WebM/VP8 videos. Luckily, there are already filters available from Xiph. Install the Vorbis packages and you'll be good to go.
If you're looking to chop videos up into pieces then look no further than Haali Mediasplitter who just recently added WebM support.
Miro Video Converter
If you're more of an end-user and less of a power-user then you'll want something are more simply. In that realm there's the Miro Video Converter which already is able to encode video in VP8 and WebM (VP8 + Vorbis audio). The new version 2.0 of the free converter offers the ability to encode your video into the latest open source codec with little muss or fuss. This is currently the most user-friendly software available.
WebM Vp8 SDK
Yes it all seems rather troublesome at present. But luckily there's also an SDK, Software Developer's Kit, available and if you're one of those code monkeys in the audience that has a transcoding application, you can use it to get your VP8 and WebM support. If you want the source code you can grab it from here and if you want the full Vp8 SDK docs you can grab them here. The WebM VP8 Codec SDK includes support for the WebM VP8 Encoder and Decoder
Commercial VP8 WebM Services
Now if you're using a commercial service like:
- Sorenson's Squish
- Wildform Flix
- Telestream's FlipFactory
- On2 Technologies' Flix Engine
Using any of them means you're all set as they've all got VP8 capabilities
Finally, flash recently announced that in an upcoming update to the Flash Player, it too will support Vp8. That means many of you will then be able to encode your video just once and use it in both HTMl 5 with Flash fallback and not need to re-encode for it. Handy!
Last week week published an article on how to view WebM videos on YouTube as they are already encoding to VP8 WebM. Check it out here - How to Watch HTML5 WebM Videos on YouTube.
Sure, adoption is a long way away, if ever for WebM to be the HTML 5 <video> tag standard (or one of them) but it doesn't hurt to be prepared well in advance, now does it?
There are certainly going to be more announcement and support. If you've got a product that has WebM and VP8 support drop a comment and we'll try to get them all included in the list...no promises though.