New player in town

With the explosion of video sites like YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe and so on, people have come to expect high-quality video online. To keep up with the times, Te Ara has moved to a new video compression format, and has a new media player to display it.

Currently only a dozen videos on Te Ara are using the new, higher-quality format, but we have begun re-compressing the other 840. The new player was designed by me, and coded and built by Chrome Toaster, who have worked with NZ on Screen and The Film Archive.

The most important new feature of our new player is the ability to watch video full screen (by clicking the button on the bottom right of the player). Most of the videos on Te Ara are less than a minute long; they’re meant to simply illustrate a point, rather than supply users a full video. So viewing such short videos in full screen may seem odd, but how frustrating is it to look for that full screen button and not find it? We want the user to be able to decide how they view videos, long or short.

Anyway … enough reading. Here are the best videos from our new theme Economy and the City, which I’ve converted to the new format.

‘Dear John’
Tony Williams, a long-time film director, made this television advertisement for BASF recording tapes about 1981.

They’re stealing our stuff
This TV advertisement for New Zealand Insurance (NZI) aims to encourage customers to insure with a locally owned company. However, NZI itself later became part of the Australian-owned IAG group.

Goodbye pork pie
Footage from the early 1980s New Zealand road movie Goodbye pork pie.

Toy making
The production of new materials like plastic made large-scale development of some local manufacturing industries possible.

Glenn Martin’s jetpack
The indoor test-flight of the jetpack invented by New Zealander Glenn Martin.

Cycle safety film
Charlie the chimpanzee demonstrates safe cycling practices, including correct hand signals. It’s probably my new favourite, despite being a bit cruel looking at it from 2010. (My former favourite is best described, by that wonderful word, fine. If you compare this video, which hasn’t been converted to the new format, with the ones above, you’ll clearly see the difference in quality.) You can see more of this short film on NZ on Screen.

Speaking of NZ on Screen and fine videos, you should watch the fantastic triptych film, This is New Zealand:
This Is New Zealand

So what do you think of our new player, and what are your favorite videos on Te Ara?

4 comments have been added so far

  1. Comment made by Heath || March 24th, 2010

    I should explain that my former favourite I linked to, was my favourite because of Tina Carline not Jim Hickey. I love the way they used to present the weather; nice and simple. And I’ve had that line “…and everywhere else, that wonderful word, fine” stuck in my head for years.

  2. Comment made by Jamie Mackay || March 24th, 2010

    Thanks Heath – couple of other points to note: the player has also been rolled out to other MCH sites; and Also, the player is being used for most audio across these sites – eg Pita Sharples at launch of 28MB site

  3. Comment made by Ben || March 24th, 2010

    Its great to be able to go full screen and not lose the quality. My favourite video is the landings at Wellington Airport. I must have seen it dozens of times but it still makes me laugh. I once came in for a landing in a very ‘fresh’ northerly (Wellington euphemism for gale). The women next to me was ashen with fright. I tried to reassure her by saying there had been no serious crash at Wellington airport. It was the wrong thing to say!

  4. Comment made by Helen Rickerby || March 24th, 2010

    Ben, you’ll be referring to this video: Today the wind was so strong that a plane aborted its landing:

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