Much thanks to Pascal VanHecke, who pointed me to his review of the web video services that judges them on their suitability for screencasting. As Pascal discovers, Revver.com and Blip.tv are the only video services with really adequate quality for screencasting. Revver in particular has nice video quality. My only complaint is that it offers no maximize or fullscreen viewing option, but this should be a non-issue shortly when the new flash plug-in with built-in fullscreen support is released.
So I’ve decided to use Revver to embed video directly on the wiki. While Revver does use advertising, it’s very unobtrusive (a single picture and link at the end of each video), and of course the videos will be downloadable still from archive.org. I’ve uploaded the MediaWiki videos already. Now I just need to get that MediaWiki plug-in that allows the embedding of flash objects.
UPDATE: I see what Pascal was complaining about with the user interface. It’s extremely clumsy if you get your metadata wrong and wish to correct it.
UPDATE: Perhaps I spoke too soon.
The forthcoming version of flash with the fullscreen support (which you can try out in beta) only gives users a fullscreen option when a new parameter for the object is used. This is a silly limitation.
If you download a video from Google video, you can play it back in their custom player application, and the quality is much better than how the video appears on their site. It’s quite adequate for screencasts, though it seems their resizing process doesn’t do as well as it should, so maybe I can get a better quality by doing it at my end and re-uploading. On the downside, while it seems users are free to copy around the .gvi files they download, the format is proprietary so users have to download and use the Google player to view them.
Hmm, I just noticed that it seems Google allows Mac users to download in .avi format, and a little link tricker will allows you to provide visitors a direct link to download the video in .AVI. Windows reports these .AVI’s as encoded in DIVX, but for some reason they won’t play for me in MediaPlayer (at least the version 10 I have); I guess I’ll have to instruct users to download VLC or maybe MPC.