Video player - Control video width/height

Antranig Basman antranig.basman at colorado.edu
Fri Mar 2 07:14:23 UTC 2012


In many cases the error in video aspect actually occurs the encoding stage... as you can see from this 
table, various source types have a pretty big variation in pixel aspect, which if the video is converted 
naively can result in unpleasant results on computer devices which typically display square pixels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_aspect_ratio#Pixel_aspect_ratios_of_common_video_formats

For example, the 90% shape of NTSC 4:3 material is easily enough to give people distractingly squashed 
heads. It's a careful encoder or piece of software that gets this kind of thing first time, especially when 
lots of materials are put on the web opportunistically.

What's annoying is that none of the popular players that I found provide any means of controlling aspect - 
and this is something you could probably not rely on the implementor to get right either. Additionally 
problematic is the case where the same video control (on a page) is tasked with displaying many different 
video streams, perhaps as part of a playlist.

So, I'm certainly in favour of 2, to allow an API - since by the previous argument, CSS doesn't give the 
level of adaptibility we require. But even further, I would be in favour of allowing an explicit aspect 
control setting at some future date (perhaps as part of some "advanced settings" or customisation) that 
would allow the end user some control over this. Bear in mind that the user's end device may also differ in 
pixel aspect from 1:1, perhaps if they are using a large TV or some other device as the output - so this 
could well be a worthwhile kind of user adaptation appearing in media options.

I can even imagine some kinds of visual impairment (perhaps kinds of astigmatism?) that might benefit from 
dynamic aspect control.

Cheers,
Antranig

On 01/03/2012 10:36, Johnny Taylor wrote:
> Cindy,
>
> My first instinct follows the logic of your first point; less is better. So I'd say number two. However, in
> the past, I've had issues with browsers implementing a consistent height's on video's (which could very well
> have been related to any number of things, the browser, Vimeo, or even WordPress, I suppose, I didn't have
> time to find out) when one isn't provided. How reliable are browsers at keeping correct aspect ratios with
> video?
>
> Johnny
>
> On 2012-03-01, at 12:21 PM, Li, Cindy wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> We currently have 2 different opinions on how the implementors control the video width/height:
>>
>> 1. Via CSS. The video player scripts don't do anything. Instead, leave it to implementors to set the width
>> or height via CSS. The advantage of using css power is quite obvious: 1. less code leads to less bugs; 2.
>> more flexibility.
>>
>> 2. The video player component provides an API:
>>
>> fluid.videoPlayer(".videoPlayer", {
>> video: {
>> width: 900,
>> height: 800,
>> ….
>> }
>> });
>>
>> With 2, The implementors provides only a width or a height, the browser takes care of video ratio. The
>> width and height could be all provided but not preferable since the video ratio is not maintained in that
>> case. With API, the implementors can easily specify what they want at writing the initialization of the
>> video player without the worry to look after CSS.
>>
>> Your thoughts please.
>>
>> Thanks.
>>
>> Cindy
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>
>
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