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Distribute video on USB thumbdrive

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David Fortin
Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 7:06:29 pm

I have a client that wants to hand out USB thumbdrives with his videos on it. Has anyone done this with much success? What type of file have you used? Did you hear about many problems playing it?

There are 3 versions of the video, all in three different languages. So there are 9 versions of the same video.

The last time I did this (for a single video), I created 3 different file formats: WMV, MOV and FLV and 3 different quality movies. The client was happy, but that approach seemed kind of cumbersome. (9 files of the same video) And I never heard if the end users found it easy or hard to play the video.

Has anyone created a htlm page that opened when the drive was inserted and played the video from the flash drive (not the internet)?

Again, what type of file and quality settings did you use?

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks,

David


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Stephen Best
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 7:20:34 pm

Perhaps it's just me, but I recall going to trade show and an exhibitor providing USB thumb drives which, we were told, contained and a PowerPoint presentation and documentation.

Again, perhaps it's just me, but I wouldn't stick a stranger's thumb drive in my computer.

Regards
Stephen Best
http://stephenbest.ca


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David Fortin
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 7:27:49 pm

Stephen,

I mentioned this to the client, along with other concerns, but he is still interested in handing out USB drives.

David


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Mark Suszko
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 7:58:37 pm

There was some outrage after the Russian G-20 Summit, when some of the visitors got upset to find malware and viruses in the free gift thumb drives they got in their gift bags. Diplomats may not be the biggest experts on IT security, it seems.

I see that in the DiscMakes catalog, you can buy duplicators that copy to thumb drives ten and twenty at a time, and even combo models that burn to a DVD and thumb drives at the same time.


I do appreciate the "belt and suspenders" approach in your anecdote about the last time you did something like this. I would say that if I was doing this today, I would probably just offer it in MPEG2 and MPEG4, as nearly any platform can now play these.

The other thing you ask about, is to create an automatic executable file on the thumb drive that would automatically invoke a custom media player interface or auto-direct the user's browser to a specific home page.

I don't know how to do that, but I'm fairly certain there are pre-made, "cut-and-paste" modular solutions for this available if you have any experience in Visual Basic. What I would worry about, though, for those is, many IT setups and virus scanners would flag this drive and theauto-executable as a potential threat. If you're aiming for a smooth and easy user experience, you probably don't want to make the thumb drive appear like a security threat. This is one reason I loath those "cruiser" drives, with their built-in "annoyance-ware" that wants tot ry to takeover your PC or laptop as soon as you plug it in.

I would probably leave it at some very simple "read me first" files, in text and jpeg form, and then folders for the various versions. Any computer made in the last 5 years should be able to work with that.


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Bill Celnick
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 7:49:07 pm

Does the client want video on a thumb drive so that it can be plugged in to the usb port of a HD TV and watched as a movie, or is he simply looking for file copies to readily distribute?


If its the former, I've created h.264 versions of my productions using Adobe Media Encoder's HDTV 720P preset, copied to a thumb drive, and plugged into my the usb port on my "smart tv" - playing perfectly. Before the smart tv, I used devices like WMD TV, without issue.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:02:12 pm

I wondered about this, Bill, and I'd like to know how that file would appear to a computer, instead of a "smart TV"?


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Bill Celnick
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:08:34 pm
Last Edited By Bill Celnick on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:12:01 pm

It plays just fine in QuickTime Player on my Mac as well as Windows Media Player on my PC (Windows 7).

I'm sure you can do the same thing with Compressor, but if you have Adobe Media Encoder, the pre-set works great - experiment - all you need is the thumb drive.


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Jeff Pulera
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 22, 2014 at 3:02:34 pm

My vote is for a single H.264 file (.mp4) that should work with PC, Mac, Smart TV, etc. universally.

You already have 9 files, why complicate with multiple formats of each.

As for a player/menu interface, the only one I've used comes with Camtasia, but I think that is PC only anyway and would limit your options. I've used that for tutorials for PC users.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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David Fortin
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 22, 2014 at 4:57:31 pm

Thanks for everyone's input. If an h.264 will play on either platform, I think I'll try that. If a user clicks on the file, I imagine it will open in whatever they have their computer set for playback. Will it playback in Windows Media Player as well as QuickTime?

I'll run some tests before I distribute it. We're working on production now. Distribution isn't until April. So, I have some time to mess around with it.

Thanks again!

David


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Bill Celnick
Re: Distribute video on USB thumbdrive
on Jan 22, 2014 at 6:19:01 pm

The h.264 file plays from the thumb drive on both Windows Media Player and QT Player (at least on my own computers- Asus laptop 2012, running Windows 7, and Mac Pro 2010 running 10.6.8

When I first began doing this I tried several different presets to balance quality vs file size considering jump drives have relatively limited capacity. My first effort was a 30 minute video (mov file) - originally in the hdv format 1920 X 1080i at 6GB, encoded to h.264 HD TV 720P - resulting file size was 1.3GB and it looks wonderful, both as a computer video or plugged in to the "smart tv"


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