Bob's Notepad

Notes on projects I have done and things I have learned saved for my reference and for the world to share

Saturday, March 31, 2007

QTSS Playlists using SMIL

I have been trying to figure out a way to get playlists working on our QTSS server. The QTSS Publisher and QTSS Server both have a great playlist feature built in that create a "live stream" of your content but if you have a string of clips that you want every person to start watching at the beginning, this isn't an option. What I needed was something that tells quicktime what clips to play and then the client pulls each clip in the list after the last one finishes..... There is the QTL format but this only allows on media file (which seems kind of pointless to me).

Then, I found the perfect solution: SMIL

Actually, this is even more of a solution than what I need. What I produced doesn't even scratch the surface of what SMIL can do. Quicktime's support of SMIL isn't a 100% implementation yet but it does everything I need (and a lot more).

What is impressive about this set up rather than just a plain streaming movie is that the entire presentation is different clips and the quicktime player or quicktime plugin loads the data for all of them from the mov file (which is actually just a text file) and reads the chapter tags for what we title each one. Inside the client's player or plug in, the title of the clip is displayed in the control bar and the viewer can click on that title and and automatically jump to another clip/chapter. And, of course, since this is coming off of a QTSS server, you can use the control slider to skip to different parts of the movie and it instantly jumps to that area of the clip.

Here is Apple's documentation of QuickTime's SMIL support:

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/QuickTime/IQ_InteractiveMovies/quicktimeandsmil/chapter_10_section_1.html

Because a lot of people (including myself) learn easiest from example, here is the unedited version of the SMIL file that I made for the project I was working on. This is just a plain text file and is saved with an MOV extension. The purpose of this is so that the client will send the media off to quicktime when it's called and then once QuickTime grabs the file, it understands what to do with it.

Here's the contents of the file:
smil.mov.txt

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