Video Module and SWF Tools: The Nightmare After Settings

I stayed up till 5:30 this morning because the video and swftools developers are sadistic bastards. It seems unlikely that they could have implemented modules with more settings than these two modules together share and less likely still, that the two modules could have less of a seamless interaction. I shake my fist at their broad vision of video for everyone! As usual, part of the difficulty had to do with my ignorance, but I have no qualms blaming others for my stupidity. "Damn you developers!"

My problem arose when a friend prematurely asked me to make the video work on a site, The Weave I setup for him. He had started uploading video rather than embedding. My plan had been to implement a full video solution for the site to wean the organization off of proprietary networks and have them control the rights to their own data. Why must idealism be such a pain in the ass? Enough digression.

First Problem: No Video Player

After setting up the video module and deciding that ffmpeg would pretty much fail to accomplish the necessary transcoding without some serious intervention, I gave up and just used the video module as a way to upload content and create video thumbnails. The module does a great job of this, and I'm glad I had the chance to work with it. Next, I decided that the swftools module could help integrate a player since html5 was a no go. Maybe I was right, but the dear php gods had other ideas. After a couple of hours poking around trying different configurations through the web UI, here's what ended up working to get the classic flowplayer to wrap the videos:

  • 0. Upgrade to the newest swftools module and rip out your hair if you fail to read the documentation. SWFTools now puts the player files in sites/all/libraries -- a good choice but a big change. Read the documentation.
  • 1. Turn off all transcoding by the video module.
  • 2. In admin/settings/swftools/handling make sure all the video settings, including mixed media files are set to flowplayer. If you do not have the flowplayer listed (see number 0).
  • 3. Under "Advanced Settings" turn on swftools caching.
  • 4. Make sure the file types under "Extensions to associate with videos:" are all of the ones you want flowplayer to use.
  • 5. In admin/settings/video/players make sure the file types you want to use flowplayer for are set to "FLV Flash Players." After choosing this option from the drop down menu, it should expand to give you a check box for SWF Tools. Check it. If you're lucky, your videos should now play with flowplayer.

Another Problem: No Thumbnails

This is probably a bug, but for previously uploaded content I was not getting any thumbnails generated for the videos. The easy solution turned out to set a default thumbnail under the Video Image field in the content type. Once this was set, the video module thumbnail settings worked perfectly. Whew!

Site Region: