Streaming RealMedia Videos
There are two options for streaming RealMedia: using a Streaming Server, or HTTP Streaming.
A streaming server, such as Helix Universal Server from RealNetworks, has the capability to support many different formats. There are many advantages to this. For example, you can make use of the three-pane environment that RealPlayer has to offer, and the end user does not have to wait for the entire clip to download in order to access the latter video portions. See this Streaming Servers guide for more information.
Using HTTP streaming is a cheaper, more practical way to go for those who don't have a lot to spend but still would like to improve their web site with streaming media. Keep in mind though, that HTTP streaming, or pseudo streaming, is not "true" streaming, but can simulate the process. Also, in order for this to work, the end user must have the Netscape plug-in installed on their computer (some browsers do not support it).
To use HTTP streaming for your RealMedia video clips, you must prepare your video file and create a "RAM file" before you can embed it in your Web page.
Creating the Video File
Using a conversion utility, such as RealProducer Basic, you can compress your file into a streamable video file for use in your webpage. RealProducer Basic is a free software tool for encoding RealAudio and RealVideo clips. For an advanced version that offers more encoding features, there is RealProducer Plus. Also, see the Resources page for other possiblities of freeware and shareware software.
If you need some help on how to produce the best video clip see Chapter 4: Video Production at RealNetworks Production Guide.
Creating the .RAM File
When you have your video file ready, you now need to make a RAM file. This is known as a metafile. A metafile is a file that contains another file. The most basic RAM file simply contains the full URL to a video clip. The reason it is necessary to make a metafile is because this causes the browser to use RealPlayer as a helper application instead of launching it as a separate program.
To create a .RAM file, simply open a text editor, such as gedit or Notepad, and type in the ENTIRE URL of the video clip (e.g., http://www.website.com/my-video.rm).
* Important to remember:
1. Be sure NOT to press "ENTER" key in the middle of the URL, even if it is long. It is OK if your text editor wraps the URL to a new line, but if you enter a linebreak yourself, this will cause an error.
2. Be sure to put the full URL of your video clip in the RAM file, including the HTTP protocol.
Saving the .RAM File
Since this video file will be used to stream from a web page on a normal webhosting server, and not from a true streaming server, it must be saved as a .rpm file (e.g., my-video.rpm).
Be careful NOT to put spaces in the video filename or the RAM filename. This will help prevent possible problems during videostreaming.
Note: Some text editors, such as Windows Notepad, will usually save it as a .txt file by default. To avoid this, simply choose "ALL FILES" as a file type in the "FILE>SAVE AS" dialog box. If you need to edit the file at a later time, you need to open the text editor first and then use the "OPEN" command to open the .rpm file. If you double-click it, it will launch RealPlayer.
When your .rm file is ready, we are ready to look at how to Embed RealMedia Videos.