Mediacaster Plugin For WordPress

This plugin has been retired. No further development will occur on it.

Mediacaster takes over the normal Media manager in WordPress, and allows to seemslessly insert Audio, Video and non-image files on your site.

Supported media formats include: .mp3, .m4a, .aac, .flv, .f4v, .f4b, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .3pg and .3p2. Other file types are treated as downloads. YouTube videos and playlists are also supported.

To use the plugin, use the default WordPress media management features to upload your files as you’d normally do, and insert media players as needed.

Enclosures are automatically inserted in your RSS feed, for use by iTunes and iPods.

YouTube videos and playlists

To insert a Youtube Video or playlist, click the editor’s Upload/Insert Video, browse “From URL”, and paste the url of the youtube.com web page that contains that video or playlist.

Mediacaster will automatically fit the video so it occupies the maximum available width, and work out a height so it has the Camera format (3:2), unless you set the width and height explicitly (see below). (Most videos on YouTube are Camera format (3:2), or HD (16:9).) The video’s height is automatically increased to accommodate the control bar when relevant.

Externally-hosted file support

Media files stored on content delivery networks (CDNs) are also supported.

Amazon S3, in particular, comes highly recommended. Using S3, your files will then be available “through the cloud”, and your visitors will be downloading them from a nearby location, rather than from your server, at all times.

Click the editor’s Upload/Insert Video (or Audio), browse “From URL”, and paste the url of the file. It’ll then behave as a video or audio file that you uploaded to your server in every respect, except one: to use the snapshot generator, you’ll probably need to set up a crossdomain.xml file, in order to tell Flash that it may use files from your bucket.

Luckily, creating such a file is a lot less complicated to do than it sounds, and the plugin will actually tell you what to paste in NotePad in order to create the one that works for your site. The crossdomain.xml file goes in the root folder of your account.

Be sure to mind your www pref, as granting permissions to example.com is different from granting permissions www.example.com. Also note that if you use the same bucket for several of your sites, you’ll need to edit an existing file rather than create a new one. In it, add one “allow-access-from” line per site. This site, for instance, would use:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE cross-domain-policy SYSTEM
  "http://www.macromedia.com/xml/dtds/cross-domain-policy.dtd">
<cross-domain-policy>
<allow-access-from domain="*.semiologic.com" />
<allow-access-from domain="*.getsemiologic.com" />
</cross-domain-policy>

Note the wild card (the asterisk (*)) in the above two example urls. It grants access to all subdomains. To grant access from any domain, use “*” instead.

At the time of writing this, streaming is not supported (yet). But it’s high on Amazon S3’s todo list, so we’ll be on the look-out on that front. And it’s high on own todo list: we’ll be adding streaming support from commonly used CDNs in a nearby version.

Affiliate link integration

A video (or a podcast) can be a powerful means to promote a product or a service that you like. And Mediacaster answers this need by providing a convenient field that lets you insert an arbitrary URL.

Filling in the field will add an extra button to the media player’s control bar. Clicking the button will open a new browser tab or window, and direct your visitors to whichever url you configured.

At the time of writing this, the link won’t open automatically upon completing the video or podcast, but the next JW Player update (4.6) will get this fixed.

Snapshot image generator

The Insert Video UI offers the ability to specify a url as a snapshot image, as well as the ability to create the snapshot on the fly. (If you’re using externally hosted videos, be sure to set up a crossdomain.xml file as explained further up, else the snapshot generator will not work.)

Actually using the video snapshot generator should be self-explanatory: click new snapshot; play the video; spot a thread that you like; stop the video; click generate snapshot; you’re done.

Note that the video player uses the snapshot in order to determine its aspect ratio (see below). So even if you don’t plan to use it, be sure to create one.

Aspect ratio picker

You can force an aspect ratio by clicking on one of the buttons named after the predefined formats. They’re the most commonly encountered: TV (4:3), Camera (3:2), HD (16:9), Movie (1.85:1) and Wide Movie (2.40:1).

These buttons are rarely useful, however, since the plugin is smart enough to work it out the correct values even if you don’t enter anything. Specifically, a video’s aspect ratio defaults to that of its snapshot image, if any. You’ll actually see the values determined Mediacaster come up with after the aspect ratio picker’s buttons.

If you specify no aspect ratio nor provide any snapshot image, you can force one by entering an arbitrary width and height. In a worst-case scenario (no snapshot is available and you don’t specify anything at all), Mediacaster will set its width so it occupies the maximum available width, and assume the video has a Camera (3:2) ratio.

Once an aspect is identified, a video’s width and height attributes will adjust as needed if you change either. Clicking the “Clear” button to reset the width, height, and aspect ratio to its default value — i.e. that of the video’s snapshot, or 3:2 and occupying the full available width.

Thickbox integration

Thickbox is delivered with WordPress, and Mediacaster makes use of it in that it allows to open videos in a pseudo-popup — this is the default behavior for videos.

Using Thickbox requires some kind of preview image: either a snapshot image, or a thumbnail — enter the url of an image to use the latter.

When using Thickbox, the width and height parameters (see above) apply to the video, rather than the thickbox. The snapshot or thumbnail image will be used as is, unless it’s greater than the maximum available width.

Inserting advertisements in your videos

Mediacaster allows to take advantage of Longtail Video’s Advertisement Solutions. Using this option requires that you sign up and configure it under Settings / Mediacaster.

You can use pre-roll, post-roll, and mid-roll ads:

  • Pre-roll ads show before the video is played and must be closed before the player is started.
  • Post-roll ads show after the video is done playing.
  • Mid-roll ads show when the video is playing, much like things are done on YouTube.

Google and a few other premium publishers actually participates in the LTAS program, but only once a site have been approved manually.

Don’t miss that you can create your own ads, too. It’s a matter of pasting an HTML image after creating a special channel. Longtail Video will happily provide you with more details.

Auto-starting media players

You can opt to auto-start media players. Not all will auto-start — only the first encountered, if any.

Be wary of bandwidth usage if you use this option.

Inserting file downloads

There are occasions where it’s desirable to do two things:

  1. Offer a podcast with a player.
  2. Offer the same podcast as a download so users can play it locally.

Mediacaster lets you achieve this with its “Insert Media” radio button. By default, it’ll insert a player, but you can elect to override this and insert a download instead. Downloads will appear with an icon that is appropriate to their file type, as determined by WordPress.

Mediacaster and widgets

Mediacaster enables shortcodes in text widgets, as well as a few other widgets — Subscribe Me widgets and Subscription Form widgets in particular. This allows to display a video or audio player where you’d “normally” use text only.

To take advantage of this, notice the Create Widget button when editing your video and audio files. Clicking it will create a new widget in your inactive widgets, with the needed shortcode. Either drag and drop it in the sidebar of your liking, or use the resulting code in another applicable widget.

Inserting audio playlists

Mediacaster supports audio playlists, in two ways.

First and foremost, it automatically creates a playlist for each of your posts. By default, it’ll insert any audio files that you haven’t inserted in your post, to the top of your post.

Under Settings / Mediacaster, you can configure it to display the audio to the bottom of your post instead. Or not at all.

Next, it also allows to pick up XML playlists. In essence, any “file url” which is identified as a RSS/Atom feed or XML file is treated as an audio playlist.

Note that while video playlists are not supported on paper, they definitely are in practice: note the shortcode that specifies type=”audio” when you insert it into your post. Replace that with type=”video” and it’ll get processed as a video playlist instead.

Unbranded player and premium skins

Just for the note, we’ve an agreement with Longtail Video whereby Semiologic Pro users get to use its unbranded player and a premium skin at no extra costs.

If you’ve acquired the plugin through other means and are running a commercial site, be sure to get an unbranded player license for your site — you’d otherwise be breaching their terms of use. To use the unbranded player, place it in the following folder:

wp-content/plugins/mediacaster/mediaplayer-licensed

Along the same lines, Mediacaster comes with three premium skins for your convenience. Choose one, and use it on all of your sites, since you only have a license for a single one. If you are not a Semiologic Pro user and are running a commercial site, or if you’d like to use different skins on your sites, be sure to get a license for your favorite skin.

You can change your skin under Settings / Mediacaster.

Audio player cover

Mediacaster’s audio player has a cover feature, which allows you to brand your player as you see fit. Create a cover image for your audio player (e.g. a picture of yourself), upload it under Settings / Mediacaster, and Mediacaster will use it on all audio players on your site.

Should you ever need to override it (e.g. in a sidebar), there is a shortcode argument too:

cover="http://www.example.com/cover.jpg"

Itunes meta data

Also of interest to podcasters, Mediacaster inserts iTunes data in your site’s feeds. You can configure it all under Settings / Mediacaster.

File downloads

Much in the same way you can offer audio files for download, Mediacaster will treat “everything else” (except images) as a file download. This allows to have pretty download links with icons, as determined by WP and as seen on this site.

Google Analytics integration

When combined with the Google Analytics (GA) plugin, Mediacaster will track media player usage and file downloads as GA events.

Download

This package is part of Semiologic Pro, and is access-restricted.

Bleeding Edge Zip

Frequently Asked Questions

HELP ME!!!

The Semiologic forum is the best place to report issues.

Change Log

Version 2.1.1 =

  • Development has ceased on this plugin. Updated source and readme accordingly

Version 2.1 =

  • Code refactoring

Version 2.0.6 =

  • WP 3.0.1 compat

Version 2.0.5 =

  • WP 3.0 compat

Version 2.0.4 =

  • Proper backwards compat (fix text widget problem in WP 2.8)

Version 2.0.3 =

  • Avoid using broken WP functions

Version 2.0.2 =

  • Cache tweaks

Version 2.0.1 =

  • FLVPlayer v.4.6
  • WP 2.9 compat

Version 2.0 =

  • FLVPlayer v.4.5
  • New player skins
  • Override the WP "insert into post" button where relevant
  • Switch to using shortcodes
  • Allow the addition of (affiliate) links in the media player
  • Allow to override the video player's size
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Stream YouTube videos directly in the player
  • Add icons for file attachments
  • SWFObject v.2.x support
  • Enable the player in RSS feeds and for users without js
  • Drop .qt support, drop QTObject