Tag Archives: video

Video Piracy made easy: Popcorn Time Software & Sites 01 APR 2015

It’s weird how almost socially acceptable pirating video content has become. It is wrong of course, everyone seems to know that, but for some or other reason, just about everyone that does pirate can come up with some sort of reasoning that it’s a justifiable thing to do – at the drop of a hat.

popcorn time torrent video wall screenshot

Now I’ve seen mention of something called Popcorn Time for probably at least a year now (if not longer), but have never really bothered to make the effort to see exactly what this is all about. However, after a recent article on TorrentFreak made mention of this uber piracy vehicle yet again, I thought it best to go and have a look for myself – you know, to get a first hand view.

The verdict? Wow. Now there’s a major problem for anyone who wants to make a living by producing and selling video content!

In the past, there was always some sort of friction that made piracy not the easiest option around. In the old days of “Sneakernet”, well, you a) needed friends with content and b) needed someway of getting that content on your machine.

Then of course came the Internet and with it the likes of Napster, eDonkey2000,  news groups, IIRC, and those with enough technical know-how could get material just fine, though of course with plenty of application and file handling slog.

Today’s current favourite, in the form of BitTorrent, still requires pirates to search for material via dodgy sites, download them via clients and then move them across to media players – in other words, still not quite as easy as simply turning on your DSTV, firing up Netflix, or simply walking into a video store.

computer lan party - at night

But Popcorn Time changes all of that. It removes all friction that comes with piracy, making it so simple that even a completely technologically challenged newbie could do it without any hassle at all.

At the heart of it, Argentinian-made Popcorn Time is a multi-platform, open source BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player – thereby acting as a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services.

Its interface presents thumbnails and film titles in a manner similar to Netflix, with this list of media fully searchable and categorized. To play a television episode or movie, a user simply clicks on a title in order to initiate the file download via the bitTorrent file-sharing protocol.

As with other BitTorrent clients, as soon as Popcorn Time starts to download a film, it also starts to share the downloaded content with other users (in technical terms, it seeds the torrent to others in the bittorrent swarm.), continuing to make the downloaded content available to others until the movie is deleted – which is normally done automatically but only when the application closes!

And not just that mind you – it’s also rather clever.

Very clever.

By forcing BitTorrent chunks to be sequentially downloaded, Popcorn Time allows you to watch a video file whilst it is still busy downloading, meaning that there is literally none of the classic wait time a pirate faces in first having to download and then move around content.

Also, it’s easy to use, well written, features an intuitive, beautiful interface,and is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and Android.

No wonder content holders are so twitchy about it.

Without a doubt, Popcorn Time MORE than deserves the current giant sized target on its back – because there is absolutely no way content studios can let this one walk around freely for very long!

Related Link: Removed

PHP: How to Create a Thumbnail from a Video file on an Ubuntu Linux Apache Webserver Programming 26 NOV 2013

green php elephants - elephpantsThanks to the powerful command line ffmpeg package and PHP’s ability to execute server commands through shell_exec, generating a thumbnail image from a given video file becomes a snap!

First, install the ffmpeg package onto your Ubuntu server with:

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

Once installed, we can then turn our attention to the PHP script that will be doing the slog work. Essentially it uses ffmpeg to process the video file and create the image for us, meaning that in actual fact, the PHP script has very little to do with the actual donkey work!

function createVideoThumbnails($videopath,$imagepath) {
    $status = false;

    // where ffmpeg is located, such as /usr/sbin/ffmpeg
    $ffmpeg = '/usr/bin/ffmpeg';

    // the input video file
    $video = $videopath;

    if (file_exists($video)) {

        // where you'll save the image
        $image = $imagepath;

        // default time to get the image
        $second = 1;

        // get the duration and a random place within the video file
        $cmd = "$ffmpeg -i \"$video\" 2>&1";
        if (preg_match('/Duration: ((\d+):(\d+):(\d+))/s', `$cmd`, $time)) {
            $total = ($time[2] * 3600) + ($time[3] * 60) + $time[4];
            $second = rand(1, ($total - 1));

        // get the screenshot
        $cmd = "$ffmpeg -i \"$video\" -deinterlace -an -ss $second -t 00:00:01 -r 1 -y -vcodec mjpeg -f mjpeg \"$image\" 2>&1";
        $return = `$cmd`;

        if (file_exists($image)) {
            $status = true;
        } else {
            $status = false;
    } else {
        $status = false;
    return $status;

We make two calls to the ffmpeg function, the first to work out the duration of the video which we then use to make a random call as to where to take the thumbnail from in terms of starting point. The second call actually generates the thumbnail image, using the fully qualified video and image paths that we passed to the function right at the start.

So pretty simple stuff in other words. Note that if you want to specify the size of the generated screenshot, you can make use of the -s parameter. For example:

$cmd = "$ffmpeg -i \"$video\" -deinterlace -an -ss $second -t 00:00:01 -r 1 -y -vcodec mjpeg -s 180x135 -f mjpeg \"$image\" 2>&1";


How to Download YouTube Videos in FireFox Software & Sites 10 JUL 2012

There are a number of methods for downloading videos streamed from video sites like YouTube or VideoJug, but if you are using FireFox as your primary web browser, then there probably aren’t many easier ways of achieving this than by using the very clever Video DownloadHelper FireFox add-on by Mig.

From the Mozilla add-on description:

“DownloadHelper is a tool for web content extraction. Its purpose is to capture video and image files from many sites.

Just surf the Web as you are used to, when DownloadHelper detects it can do something for you, the icon gets animated and a menu allows you to download files by simply clicking an item

For instance, if you go to a YouTube page, you’ll be able to download the video directly on your file system. It also works with MySpace, Google videos, DailyMotion, Porkolt, iFilm, DreamHost and others.

Since version 3.1, you can setup the extension to automatically convert the downloaded movies to your preferred video format.

When you are on a page containing links to images or movies, you can download some or all of them at once. Moving the mouse over the items in the menu will highlights the links directly in the page to make sure they are the ones you want to pick up.

DownloadHelper also allows you to download files one by one, so that you keep bandwidth to surf for other stuff to download.”

For more, see http://www.downloadhelper.net/support.php

Anyway, the point is that this is a pretty powerful plugin if you need to grab videos off the web, and well worth installing if you get the chance!


Related Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloadhelper/

How to Delete a YouTube Video CodeUnit 01 JUN 2012

Of course, the ability to delete videos that you uploaded is a must, and so, YouTube gives you the necessary tools to achieve this – though that said, I couldn’t figure it out the first time around, meaning a short trip to Google would have to solve it for me. And now that I know, I may as well record it here for future reference.

How to delete a YouTube video.

First, log in to YouTube and then click on your username in the upper right corner of any YouTube page. From the resulting drop-down menu, click on the Video Manager menu option. Identify the videos that you wish to delete from the list of videos, and mark the checkbox for each corresponding video to delete.

Now click on the Actions button at the top of the page and from this resulting drop-down menu, select Delete.

One confirmation screen later and you will be good to go, your YouTube footage now lost forever in the mists of abandoned digital pixels…


Jessica Lotter Crawling on All Fours Outdoors Jessica | My Life 22 MAY 2012

I can’t remember if I ever mentioned it at all, but Jessica did eventually drop her leopard crawl style in order to replace it with a more conventional and clamber-friendly all fours crawling style.

In order to prove this statement to those who have previously seen her tummy leopard-style crawl, here is some handy video archive footage!

Awesome! :)

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s just like the podiatrist said it would be (now there was an unnecessary expense!) – once Jessica started standing and learning to walk, her left foot righted itself and now happily points forward in the direction that you would expect a foot to point in!)

Jessica Opening Doors with Daddy Jessica | My Life 19 MAY 2012

Jessica is at the stage where she seems to like nothing better than opening and closing doors. You name it, if it has hinges then you will find her happily sitting in a corner, opening and closing that poor bugger as if there is no tomorrow.

Needless to say, this means quite a few extra opportunities for play time! :)

Jessica Lotter Toddler Babbling – Captured on Camera! Jessica | My Life 14 MAY 2012

I know, I know, it seems like far too many video posts are making their way on the blog as of late. However, seeing as yesterday marked my 32nd birthday, I kind of feel that I can pretty much do whatever I want to on these here pages.

So a couple more videos to take in then, this time being actual video evidence of Jessica babbling, the precursor to her talking, and the first ever time we managed to film it without her cutting off midway once the camera lens showed its face! :)

Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2:

Exhibit 3:

Real little chatterbox when she wants to be! :)

Trying to Capture Jessica Lotter talking on Camera Jessica | My Life 10 MAY 2012

Before we eventually managed to capture Jessica happily babbling away on camera (thus proving that she should one day talk), we went through a lot of capture attempts, failing at each and every turn thanks to Jessie’s mutant ability to detect recording devices and then stop doing whatever it is that she was doing that you wanted to capture in the first place!

Sigh, at least you can’t fault us for a lack of trying!

Another attempt…

…and another…

…and another…

One more for good luck…

P.S. I’ll post the awesome footage we did manage to finally capture of Jessie babbling tomorrow on Monday in case you’re wondering…