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TMU Movie Site Initiatives 2013


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#1 Ken White

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:10 PM

As a followup to the discussion on the Sunday Show of January 6 2013, this thread is for discussion of the direction of the TMU Movie Site over the coming year.

As I've discussed in the past, the script we have running for the movie site is 5 years old. As cutting-edge as it was when we started TMU, it's showing its age, and I'd like to move on to a more modern script, that would give us more features and integrate better with TMOA and the forums.

There are new scripts out there, that would run between $150 and $300. That's not an issue. I can put together enough money to buy a new script.

The issue, as I've said, is that I do not want to start from scratch. I don't want to say to people "Start a new account and upload your films again." We could do that. We essentially did that when the site started. But I know there are people who have moved on to other things, leaving their films behind, as well as the TMRescue Project that added a lot of The Movies films from folks who didn't make the move to TMU. I don't want to lose some amazing films.

So the optimimum path would be to move everything over to a new script. Other than the physical stored movie files (which have been renamed by the system when uploaded, so you have 235.flv and 4173.flv, rather than movie names), which I can easily move to a new location, everything is stored in a SQL database - the movie names to connect to the file names, user account info, channels, etc. etc. If we can move the data from that database to the database of a new script, we're golden.

I don't have the SQL skills to do that in any way other than manually, which would be too much. How hard is it? Beats the hell out of me. Theoretically it's simple enough to copy the contents of one SQL table to another SQL table on a cell by cell basis. Were I a SQL master, I could probably put together a SQL command script to do it automatically. I am not.

So that's where we stand right now. If you're a SQL guru and wanna give it a shot, sing out. We might even be able to toss you some coin for your time. If nobody has that kind of skill, the option is to hire someone to do it for us - I have no idea how much that would cost, though I know there are freelance sites where you put up a job and freelance coders bid on the job. I'll be scoping those out to see how much people are charging for this kind of work in the next week or so.

I'd really like to do this, and make what started as a piecemeal collection (first TMOA, then the movie site, then the forums) into a more cohesive whole. If you have the skillz to help, let me know. I'll continue to research exactly how hard it will be to do it and what it would cost to get somebody to do it for us.

Discuss and throw out questions, ideas or suggestions.

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#2 Ken White

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

Okay, I've been doing a bit of research and have come up with three different scripts that look pretty good:

HD Video Share - This script is a Joomla extension and looks fairly good, though looking through the documentation I'm not 100% sure it does transcoding (you upload whatever, it converts it to flv at a certain size and bitrate for the website) - they do discuss putting in the path to ffmpeg, one of two transcoding engines, and say "you can upload any HD files to convert it to lower resolution", but I would have to talk to them about transcoding.

The biggest positive of this, assuming it transcodes, is that I could set up a Joomla install as the "base" website, have the radio site in Joomla, the movie site in this extension, and the forums as they are now, all connected with a single log-in. The biggest negative is the same thing - we have little security/user checking on the movie site, and if I can get the database moved to a new database, that would basically give all movie site users access to the forums - I have my concerns about that. But this script is something to consider.

VideoWatchPro - This is a standalone script, like we have now - looks pretty solid overall (I've played with the demo on the user and admin side, uploaded a couple of files to test the transcoding, etc.) and is a definite possibility if we go standalone. The database migration will, of course, be an issue, but that's true for anything we go with.

ClipShare - Very similar to VideoWatchPro, little more expensive, but also has a mobile plugin (for an extra hundred bucks) that is designed to let users easily watch on mobile phones and tablets - there's even an app. It also has a webcam plugin, so people can record or stream live from a webcam, which would add the functionality of a LiveStream or UStream to the site. That's a little pricey ($250) but interesting, and could lead to further integration with things like the Machinima Expo and IndyShowcase.

So those are the scripts I'm looking at right now - as discussed on the show (which I should have up sometime today) I should be able to scrape together the cash to buy a new script, with the database conversion being the big hurdle - though....

There are a couple of sites - Elance and ODesk, for example - that let you hire freelance coders for an hourly fee. Put the job up, interested parties bid on it, and away you go. If we reach the point of going forward with this, that may be a way to get a SQL programmer onboard to do the conversion from Sharemixer to the new script.

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#3 thebiz

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

When you talk about price is that per month or flat fee?

It would be great to have the functionality to easily edit the home page on the movie site to allow special messgaes (contests, special movie selections, a changing greeting) or whatnot making the experience more interactive.

Edited by thebiz, 09 January 2013 - 06:04 PM.

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#4 Ken White

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:04 AM

When you talk about price is that per month or flat fee?

It would be great to have the functionality to easily edit the home page on the movie site to allow special messgaes (contests, special movie selections, a changing greeting) or whatnot making the experience more interactive.


All the scripts are one-time purchases - buy it and it's ours. We've got the space to move the movie site off the existing server that I don't control to one of the two servers I do. So buying a script, whether it's $100 or $250, is just a "money" and script-capability decision.

The bigger question for me is the database conversion, which would also be a one-time cost, but one that I can't estimate at this time. Looking at the Elance and ODesk SQL coders, their advertised hourly rates run from $20 an hour to $80 an hour - low end is usually people in India, Philippines, China, etc. where the dollar goes a lot farther with US/UK coders at the high end. I have no issue with hiring somebody from one of those low-end countries (coding is coding, and there are plenty of sharp people living in India, etc.) to get more bang for the buck, but I honestly don't know how many hours this job would take.

Once we get to that point, I guess I'll have to delve into the nitty-gritty of hiring a freelance coder - do I write the proposal they bid on with a lot of specificity, or do I provide them with a sample table from each database so they can compare them and see what it's going to take. At the end of the day, I'd like a fixed price from somebody - they can do the job for $300 or $500, rather than pouring money into an hourly rathole.

However that works out, I hope folks can take a look at the demos available on those sites for those three scripts and get a feel for how they'd work for our purposes.

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#5 Dulci

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:39 AM

The features on all of these options look very interesting - my eyes are getting blurry from reading all of them and I can't tell if any of them will send an email to the person who uploaded the movie when someone leaves a comment on it, as that would be pretty nifty!

#6 Tarison

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:03 AM

I might have that kind of skill...

#7 Ken White

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

I might have that kind of skill...

Nick? You have....SQL skills?

I'll have to hit you up in a PM and discuss this further :)

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#8 Ken White

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

The features on all of these options look very interesting - my eyes are getting blurry from reading all of them and I can't tell if any of them will send an email to the person who uploaded the movie when someone leaves a comment on it, as that would be pretty nifty!


VideoWatchPro definitely has this feature as part of their Email Alert System:

"Member controlled e-mail alerts have been added for video conversion, new video comments, new profile comments, new private messages and new friend requests."

I know when I uploaded a clip to check out the interface, I got an email shortly thereafter that my clip was converted and ready to be viewed. So that might be something that would tilt us to that script.

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#9 Ken White

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:58 PM

Okay, have a new contender for the script upgrade:

Mediashare - It seems to be an updated version of the previously-mentioned Clipshare. Has the functionality of VideoWatchPro (or actually, VideoWatch's bigger brother MediaMAX that includes the ability to share audio and pictures as well as videos), and is actually being regularly updated, unlike the VideoWatch family - in their forums, it looks like 2009/2010 was the last time the script was updated, and I don't want to get stuck with another aging script.

There's a demo of both the frontend and admin side of Mediashare, so take a look at the functionality - it has things like email notifications on comments (per Dulci's question), the ability to download media (movies, audio) which many people have asked for, and which would allow me to put TMOA content on the site for either listening or download, depending on the user's choice, and all the functionality we have now plus more.

I talked to Tarison last night, and he feels fairly confident that he can put together some kind of migration script to move our database from Sharemixer to another program - he's looking at the Sharemixer database now to get an idea of what's there and how it's formatted - I've emailed Mediashare to see if I can get a copy of their database so he can compare the two, and start working on a conversion process. If it looks good, we'll buy Mediashare, put it up on a test server, do a little conversion, debug it, and assuming all goes well, make the changeover.

I'm thinking the only real issue is going to be TMU account passwords - they're encrypted in the database (for example, mine is ee7d8d991309eb6b34d372496ee435b2...damn, I have such a hard time remembering that) - I assume they'll also be encrypted in the Mediashare database, and unless they're using the same encryption scheme (which is certainly possible - there are a couple of standard schemes, and they may be using the same as Sharemixer), users MAY have to reset their passwords.

In preparation, I suggest everyone check their email in their TMU account and make sure it's up-to-date and accurate (that means you, Chris62 - there's an "a" in yahoo.com!) so if you do have to reset your password, you get the email. As we get closer to a change, I'll hammer this point home here and on the movie site.

That's all the news for now about the movie site upgrade. More as it becomes available.

Edited by kuroken, 04 April 2014 - 07:29 PM.

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#10 thebiz

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:22 PM

The mediashare front end looks a lot like the MovieStorm theater...am I right?

Seems to load a little slow on my end for some reason.

The videowatch front end demo is coming across my filter as pron so Ill check that out later.

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#11 Ken White

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:51 AM

The mediashare front end looks a lot like the MovieStorm theater...am I right?

Seems to load a little slow on my end for some reason.

The videowatch front end demo is coming across my filter as pron so Ill check that out later.


Seems quick enough for me - I compared it with the MovieStorm theater and they are very similar - MS may be running a modified version of the script, or they may be running something else that looks similar to it - having gone through a bunch of demos in the past week or so, there's a certain sameness to all of them. They're all template based, so we'll be able to put our own spin in things.

I should have mentioned that - some of the demos are heavy on porn uploads - the VideoWatch site has a script called AdultWatch or something - I clicked the tab, thinking I was going to MediaMax, then hit the demo link and thought "Damn, there's a lot of porn videos here..."

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#12 Johnny Ex

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:00 AM

How friggin perfect is that?
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#13 Ken White

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

So where we stand on this now....

Got the database from Mediashare, and will pass it along to Tarison to see what he thinks about conversion.

There's an unexpected issue, though - the file structure for this script is radically different from what we have now - with Sharemixer, all of the 4100+ uploaded flicks are all in one directory, and all the thumbnails are in another. When you go to my movie page, for example, it just looks in the database, sees that I've uploaded 41.flv, 65.flv etc. grabs the thumbnails to display and the film when you hit play.

Mediashare's directory structure has separate directories for video, audio and pictures - inside each one is a directory for EACH user, and inside those are the videos, etc. for that user (pictures and audio aren't an issue, since we don't have that media now).

There may be ways of programmatically doing something to get the existing movies in the right directories, but that's way out of my league - it would probably have to be done though a PHP script hitting the database, then moving the file. Tarison may be a SQL brainiac, but I don't know if he's also a PHP brainiac - and it may be impossible to do anyway.

Which leads to this - IF, when installing the script with a populated database in place (with all the users, vids, etc.), it will create the proper file system (i.e. a directory in videos for me, user 1, with all the right subdirectories), I can manually move the vid files into the right places based on the information in the existing database. It will be pretty damn tedious with 4100+ uploaded vids (embedded for YouTube, Vimeo, etc. should be fine since they're just links stored in the database) but it is do-able. Just find the numbers of the 10 or whatever vids I've uploaded and move them to the right directory, then move on to user 2 and do the same, and so on....Lots of members have no uploads at all, some have a couple, some have many, and some are all embeds. I could probably do it in a day.

So, the next step is finding out if the file structure will be created based on a existing database, which I'll hopefully know by Monday - if not, I think we'll have to look for another script, since manually creating the file structure for almost 6000 members is pretty much out of the question.

More news as it becomes available....

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#14 Harb40

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:35 AM

Just a thought.

The current set-up for the movie pages has a set value films should be (width and height) but if they are larger than the value, they overlap into other areas of the page. I do not know how Vimeo or YouTube has their pages setup but it seems as if when you upload there, they automatically resize the movie to fit the prescribed area of the page. Is this something that the new scripts/program can do? Right now, you have to manually check when linkiing from another site to make sure the values are within the limits of the TMU page specified area. Many people don't check this and we have films that cover up the user names, descriptions and more.

Just a thought.

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#15 Ken White

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:43 PM

On the admin side, there's the ability to resize movies - whether that will work on all movies or just those uploaded and converted is hard to tell at this point.

It also may just be a player issue - all of the scripts have a specific flash player that's embedded in the page and handles the actual display of the video - it's possible that the player itself handles the actual display size, and that, like everything else, the Sharemixer player is just old.

Tarison will be looking at the database conversion this weekend (according to him, a long weekend including the "Australian 4th of July"), and after he described what he does for a living, I too am pretty confident that he can do the conversion - still waiting to find out the file system thing, but even if Mediashare doesn't work out, the database schema has to be pretty similar for all of these scripts, so Tarison's investigations will bear fruit one way or another.

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#16 thebiz

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

Will it be low hanging fruit?

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#17 thebiz

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:39 PM

Yea, the new site needs a way to block the spammy folks. TMU has 864 new members this year! Or about 36 per day. We are kicking it!. Oh wait...only 3 of them use pictures for their avatar and I would bet less than 10 of them have actually uploaded or viewed a movie (I only went through 200 before deciding a guess was a better use of my time).

A half penny per signup you say Ken? I kinda feel like you could make more money collecting cans.

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#18 Grey Dingo

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:09 PM

Seems like a LOT of info here to conzume rapidly and remain on the uptake, but wondered if our esteemed boffins can encapsulate the basics of what is proposed?

This may have already been done.... and I may have missed it?....

#19 Ken White

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:06 AM

Seems like a LOT of info here to conzume rapidly and remain on the uptake, but wondered if our esteemed boffins can encapsulate the basics of what is proposed?

This may have already been done.... and I may have missed it?....


I'll do that tomorrow, Armand - and btw, how the hell are you? Haven't spoken to you since the Aussie Show went off the air. We may have to get you on for the 24-hour anniversary show on Feb 17th (well, 17th/18th for those who live perpetually in the future on the other side of the planet) to catch up.

The capsule news on the movie site for today is that Tarison is busy at work with the database conversion - he's done conversions of a couple of tables (users, videos) which look pretty good. I'm still waiting to hear from MediaShare about the file system thing, though Tarison said something about it could be done with a python script. My knowledge of python begins and ends at knowing that it's a programming language, so I nodded and smiled and didn't ask questions with answers I wouldn't understand.

If there's any way to get the file system built based on the needs of the MediaShare script, short of doing it manually, I'm about ready to say that's the way we're going, and start making plans for the move to using it.

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#20 Ken White

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:30 PM

So today I finally got my answers from MediaShare, and wept. Not tears of joy.

They're very helpful, and sent me the signup module so I could see how the file system is created when a new user signs up, which I'm sure would be helpful if:

if (!is_dir("$config[vdo_dir]/$dir")) { mkdir("$config[vdo_dir]/$dir", 0777); @chmod("$config[vdo_dir]/$dir", 0777); } if (!is_dir("$config[tmb_dir]/$dir")) { mkdir("$config[tmb_dir]/$dir", 0777); @chmod("$config[tmb_dir]/$dir", 0777); } if (!is_dir("$config[pic_dir]/$dir")) { mkdir("$config[pic_dir]/$dir", 0777); @chmod("$config[pic_dir]/$dir", 0777); } if (!is_dir("$config[flvdo_dir]/$dir")) { mkdir("$config[flvdo_dir]/$dir", 0777); @chmod("$config[flvdo_dir]/$dir", 0777); } if (!is_dir("$config[ado_dir]/$dir")) { mkdir("$config[ado_dir]/$dir", 0777); @chmod("$config[ado_dir]/$dir", 0777); }

meant anything to me other than "Yeah, that's php all right..."

I've passed the email along to Tarison, who can perhaps make head, tails, or both out of it. Or maybe he's just a database guru and this makes no sense to him either.

We'll see. And if you happen to be fluent in this sort of mumbo-jumbo, sing out.

(as an aside, earlier in the discussion I mentioned that we might go through Elance or whatever and hire somebody to do the database conversion (that was before Tarison appeared from the sky in a giant bubble like Glinda the Good Witch) - since we have the database stuff covered, it's possible we can just hire a php coder who works cheap to write up a piece of code to do what we need done.)

So there ya go. Progress, albeit not in the specific direction I was hoping....I am definitely getting more committed to MediaShare as our solution - they confirmed that audio can be set to download as well as video, so it will allow us to have TMOA programming, TMOA Radio Theater segements, music from community muscians, etc., available either for streaming or download, as the member chooses.

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