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Feedback on ClipFlair Studio application Using local files, not online  Viewed 121619 time(s), 18 post(s), 3/21/2013 5:33:15 PM - by guenaga

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3/22/2013 1:12:45 PM

Also to summarize my concer: I will like to have the possibility to use local files instead of only online. It is true, as George pointed, that the file size may increase considerabily. But maybe it is not such in the case of images or audio (now images have to be also online and it is not confortable.
We could advise the user about the size of the final file and he/she decides what to do.

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3/22/2013 6:58:07 PM

With images a classic case is that users give huge images. Of course the app could scale them (permanently) before embedding them. I do have that in mind as a future option.

BTW, as I have written before you can attach images to posts on this server (or any other webserver) and right click the image to get its URL

e.g. Firefox says "Copy Image Location" [translating from greek] when right-clicking your image above and I get


which is a big URL (contains varous parameters to gravatar.com sevice) that one could trim down to http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/bfbc3ad7bc590c89eec8b773ff50e8be or could use http://tinyurl.com to make the URL http://tinyurl.com/guenaga and use that at the image component

a shortcut URL to open up the image in a new Image component in ClipFlair Studio is:
of course, since that image was a small one it will show up fuzzy when scaled up to fit the screen

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3/26/2013 9:05:49 AM

I am copying Laura's post here:

Laura McLoughlin


going back to Mary Luz' question regarding using local files. In understand
George's argument that completed activities will be too heavy but this is going
to be a limitation for many teachers. In class, I often use clips from films,
but one thing is using them in a closed environment and quite another thing is
putting them online. So this means that if I want to continue to use my
extracts from films I will not be able to use Clipflair with my students.

Would it be possible to allow for video files to be opened in Clipflair but
then not saved with the activity? In other words, I would have an activity made
up of text components, subtitling, revoicing components etc and an empty video
component which opens a file on my PC. Students then save everything but the
video file (like in DivXLand, where video and subtitles file two separate

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3/26/2013 9:26:36 AM

using local files is a recurrent issue.
I am copying George's response 3 months ago

 RE: Feedback on playground - Added by George Birbilis (CTI) 3 months ago

one could use two paths for that:
1) provide for local serving of files (via a personal web server). This is useful for personal use and for lab use.
2) allow to embed video files (.wmv and .mp4 supported by Silverlight) in the activity file, but then the activity file grows quite big, making it harder to share and makes it harder for students to send back to the teacher (or put on a social/collaboarative platform the class uses like the one we're developing), since people will have to upload/download big activity files to see what other students have done with the activity the teacher had posted (this also makes the server serving those files slower cause of the bandwidth used to upload/download big files). That's the main reason that path is being avoided and [1] will be seeked for first (although 2 isn't excluded as a future option, will also look into it).   RE: Feedback on playground - Added by Laura McLoughlin (NUIG) 3 months agoThanks George,that's interesting. Sounds like 1 is the way to go then.
An option for 2 could be to keep the video file always separate so that students doing subtitles or revoicing would only upload their subtitles/voice-overs with the time code, but not the video file. Anyway, 1 may be easier. 
Would a YouTube page or slideshare work? 
ThanksLaura   RE: Feedback on playground - Added by Stavroula Sokoli 3 months agoLaura, you could also try Dropbox.
I uploaded a .mp4 file there and then used the Dropbox link in ClipFlair.
It worked fine!   RE: Feedback on playground - Added by George Birbilis (CTI) 3 months agoanything that gives you back a URL to a .wmv, .mp4 etc. files that Silverlight supports should work - see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc189080(v=vs.95).aspx for supported media types (encodings and container/package format)then it depends on that server if it's optimized to serve media files. In the past they used to introduce delays at file sharing servers to avoid usage of their systems for video streaming to devices, but now due to competition with Amazon etc. all the big players have started to look into how to allow their cloud file hosting customers to stream media collections to their devices. Some do it via their own proprietary apps, others may choose to support classic HTTP URLs to maximize the reach to the different devices out theresome good news is that for example Microsoft SkyDrive (which gives one 7GB free cloud space) is now available as an app on Xbox (via Silverlight implementation for Xbox) and will allow one to show videos, audio, images from their SkyDrive onto their TV/Monitor via Xbox360 game console. This means that they'll most probably optimize SkyDrive for such usage, so Google Drive and Dropbox should follow in similar optimizationwe're definitely moving into the cloud (ubiquitous computing services) era

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4/4/2013 2:52:19 PM

Have recently added support for any Dropbox URL since users couldn't find how to get the URL to the file (were mixed up and giving he URL to the dropbox download page, or were using https:// which we don't yet support instead of http:// in the URLs).

So now you can put files in your local dropbox folder (in either your public folder there or a private folder) and you can use them in activities by sharing a link to them (either right click a file and select Dropbox > Share link, or can right click a file at dropbox.com website and share a link).

So if you place a file at your public folder others can find it easily, but if you place it in your private folder they need to have the URL you gave them (so you can use this for closed groups with files you don't want to have visible to others out there)

Practically Dropbox acts as a personal webserver with the added benefit that it runs from the cloud so it syncs between your machines, serves as a backup (can roll back to previous file versions plus undelete files from dropbox.com for some time after their change)

also, it doesn't need your PC to be open to serve the files, you don't need a fast connection to your machine for many people to use the file, neither a powerful machine to serve the file to a group of concurrent users, plus you don't need to open up firewall ports for people from outside networks to use your media file.

So Dropbox (and similar cloud hosting that offer desktop/filesystem integration) is the suggested way to go

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4/5/2013 7:52:01 AM

Many users accessing the same file: Are we sure this works well a) with Dropbox? b) with the ClipFlair server? Should we test it?

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4/6/2013 7:43:49 PM

I've tested it with a new activity I'm creating for C1 students and it works; it just takes a minute or so to load the video.

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4/10/2013 5:22:14 PM

Dear all,
I tested the activity with the video from DROPBOX the other day and it only seems to work smoothly with powerful computers. I guess the problem is that the video is online, so both the connection and the computer need to be powerful enough. Half of the class had problems with the video component, that got stuck from time to time and there was no way of making it work again but saving the activity and loading it again.
It is true too that the video was 3:50 minutes; George, do you think the problem was the video's length, the fact of having 10 people working on the same activity (that used the same DROPBOX file) simultaneously, or the computers'(connection quality?
I have a new class with them in a week and a half. The idea was using a new video and I don't know if I should try with CLIPFLAIR again if the activity uses DROPBOX.
What do you think?
I attach the activity (I did not send it to transform it into a URL because I think there might be copyright problems due to the video length, Roula?)

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4/10/2013 7:08:59 PM

Noa, really sorry about that experience. I have a big post-it here saying "test activities with many users- with dropbox and with gallery". But I didn't make it soon enough... Anyway.
I think DB is a problem indeed with multiple users.
George is going to tells us more, as well as his prognosis with multiple users hitting the same URL activity.
As for copyright issues, as I mentioned before, 3 minutes is not a law, it is a convention. A small percentage of the film is what is required in reality. 3 mins is 3% of a 100 min runtime feature film.

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4/10/2013 8:08:01 PM

if you were all on the same local network, there are various things that could be hapenning
1) your labs bandwidth isn't enough to handle all those simultaneous data downloading connections
2) Dropbox is imposing a bandwidth limit to a certain file (how many connections there can be at the same time to it)
3) Dropbox is imposing a bandwidth limit to a certain account's files (how many connections there can be at the same time to files of an account)

when I say connection limit above, it could also be limit on how much data is transfered etc.

to make sure it isn't #1, can you try with an activity that uses a video from our server? If you do have issues with our server too, a trick is to play the video once (on each machine) and then it should be cached and behave faster (you can try if that also works with the Dropbox case)

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