PapaJohn Productions
Newsletter #123 - Nov 4, 2006
mydeo - Streaming Video Service

When opting for The Web in Movie Maker 2, I have 2 choices of video hosting providers... Neptune for file downloads and mydeo for streaming. Your choices will vary depending on the country you live in. You might have both, one of them, or none. I'm not aware of anyone having a service other than these.
This newsletter is about mydeo, the streaming service choice. To get started, here's a chart that shows the 9 steps from deciding to save your movie to the web to viewing it as it streams from a mydeo server. 
MM2 to mydeo

What's the difference between a file downloading service like Neptune and a streaming one like mydeo?
Earlier this year mydeo significantly reduced the price of their service. Unlike many free hosting services that convert uploaded files to lower quality and smother it with commercials, mydeo streams what you upload, leaving any commercials for you to add either in the video or on your website.
The chart above shows the steps to go from a Movie Maker 2 project to the playing of the streaming video. Photo Story 3 doesn't have such a build in menu option, but it's just as easy to take a saved story from your hard drive and upload it to your account at mydeo.... and viewing a story at high definition quality is fantastic!!! We'll take a look at both.
... before getting into them further, a few notes...

Vista Corner... I've been using GoToMeeting software to conduct training and support sessions, showing users things on their systems by remote control. A few days ago I took a test drive of my Vista system from my XP laptop, and it worked great, letting me make a DVD project and take screen snapshots... without leaving my XP computer.
Seven come Eleven... a day after upgrading to  Internet Explorer 7 on my laptop, I upgraded Windows Media Player to version 11. Both installed easily and work well, making it harder to check into why some Movie Maker users are experiencing crashing after installing IE7. I don't have any good clues yet.
Europe 301 - I spun off a 2-3/4 minute commercial video for the B&B we stayed at in Florence. The video is on the mydeo service...
Hotel Ungherese
I received an early birthday present... a 500 GB external USB2 hard drive, one of those neat Western Digital My Books. It's our 3rd My Book and they all work great. The vacation footage and pictures are going to it now. With 20 hours of video and 9,200 pictures, my approach to sorting and making them easily usable to movie projects is:
  1. use MM2 on my laptop to capture the tapes to the new external drive as DV-AVI files, in the background as I write this newsletter and do other stuff... moderate routine work doesn't result in dropped frames. I'm using the option to automatically rewind and capture the whole tape to one big file. If I were to lose the file on the drive, I could recapture it. The tape is the backup to the file and vice-versa.
  2. import the source files (video and pictures) into MM1 and organize the clips into collections, making separate collection database files for each of the major places we visited - Alps, Rome, Florence, Venice, etc.
  3. use MM2 to make movie projects, importing the collections as needed to get the projects started. Zero the MM2 collection file out between projects. The MM1 collection database files are named Rome.col, Venice.col, etc... MM2 imports MM1 collections with those user friendly names without blinking an eye.
.... back to the main topic...

If you opt for mydeo during the saving process, you can opt for any of the quality profile settings that Movie Maker provides.
To help you target today's typical broadband user, mydeo has a downloadable custom profile for Movie Maker that you can add to your folder of custom profiles. It's settings include 320x240 (428x240 if widescreen), 29.97 fps, 268 kbps video, 63 kbps stereo audio.
After the movie is uploaded, you can log into your mydeo account and copy/paste one or more of the 3 html code options they provide:
I made a sample website page with the code for each option in it, all pointing to the same video. Here's the link to the page:
web page sample

Streaming photo stories are great, from lower quality to standard DVD quality and all the way up to those that align with high-definition... and they all use considerably less bandwidth than movies.
There isn't the option built into Photo Story to interface directly with the online service. Save the story to your hard drive, use your browser to open the mydeo website, log in and upload. The smaller file sizes for stories make them quicker to upload than movies.
PS3 to mydeo
Sample Stories at mydeo
Here are 4 links to the same story, but saved with 4 different quality profiles... to help you calibrate your connection to the mydeo server. See how high you can go before the playing isn't smooth.
Sorry for the first 20 seconds of audio... it was a mistake putting the noise of a waterfall into the video without showing you once what was making the noise. It's easily taken to be audio noise/static...
Alps - Day 1 - 852x480 - DVD Quality
Alps - Day 1 - 1280x720 Quality 97
Alps - Day 1 - 1280x720 Quality 100
Alps - Day 1 - 1920x1080 Quality 100
At home I can get through the first 3 smoothly, but it starts hesitating at spots on the 1920x1080
At Barnes & Noble, the first 2 are fine... the 3rd one turns into a slide show at about the 2/3 point... the last one stops at a frame about the 2/3 point and shows the picture all the rest of the way. The audio plays fine and all the way through for each.
Different internet connections from mydeo to you give you different results. Each of them play fine on my laptop when the story file is on my hard drive.

Conclusions and Closing
The mydeo streaming service is easy to use and plays movies well... and plays stories even better. I was very pleasantly surprised to roll out a few links to the high definition story files I used for this issue and get feedback that they played smoothly. My audio of a waterfall was the only issue reported, which wasn't an issue when I told them what it was. 
Thanks to Cary Marsh, the CEO and Founder of mydeo, for helping me get setup for the testing that went into this issue.
Notice that I didn't say anything about the cost of the service... when I first wrote about mydeo I emphasized cost considerations to help users avoid being surprised by the bills. The prices today are much lower and very reasonable, but I say that understanding that the word 'reasonable' varies with the individual. Many or most users on newsgroups and forums are looking for the best free service... for those the mydeo service can never be reasonable enough. The same goes for the neptune file download service.
A quality service free of mass marketing is worth paying for.

Have a great week...