[Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Manuel Schneider manuel.schneider at wikimedia.ch
Thu Jan 16 11:54:46 UTC 2014

Hi Fabrice,

interesting question!

I'd like to remind of a discussion we had at last year's Wikimania in
Hong Kong concerning tools for the video community.

Yet we do not really have a video community but scattered small groups
or individuals doing some work. I try to coordinate this in the
german-speaking world and we do this via Wikipedia, then there are
people in the Czech Republic doing videos on national parks, Andrew did
some great stuff in the US, there is a british initiative as well. We
all face similar challenges. One things - which is off-topic here - is
that I have in mind to connect these groups to an internationl video
community, maybe by having a WikiVideo (or whatever the name might be)

But back to the RfC: One of the challenges is that we need a solution for

* storing the raw video material allowing people to re-use, re-edit
etc., also most volunteers don't have the storage capacity to store all
their raw material

* collaborative editing - hard to do technically and it mostly implies
that raw material is being shared - hard for people that can meet each
other as these files are big, fast storage is needed etc. and it is even
harder for people working online

* upload of high-quality, finished video projects is a pain. They mostly
have more than 1 GB, you need to have another server to upload and share
it, make a bug report, find a server admin who downloads and imports it etc.

My idea which we talked about briefly at Wikimania was a server where
people could upload there raw material, it gets transcoded into smaller
"proxy clips" everyone can easily download, edit and then upload the EDL
(edit decision list = video editing project file, which just holds the
operations). The server would then use the EDL on the raw material
stored there and render the final video. The upload process can then be
automated between this server and Commons.

The reason this idea was dismissed is the core of this RfC: patent
trolling etc. on H.264 codecs etc. which we would need to allow as raw

So my take on this topic is a compromise:

* allow MP4 / H.264 as a source codec

* deliver everything in WebM / Ogg Theora (or other free codecs)

Especially with WebM I see no reason why people really need H.264. Ogg
Theora is somewhat exotic but WebM isn't.
And once we have solved the legal problem around this RfC nothing is
stoping us to implement the video editing server, right?

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