Home > iphone, smugmug, video, web 2.0 > I demand video to be awesome.

I demand video to be awesome.

April 25, 2008


Sam “Shizam” Nichols, creator of the video player, donning his SmugMug Hero persona. See it in HD.

The state of video codecs online has been a mess and there’s been no clear choice, making it very difficult to do awesome video sharing. Luckily, all of that changed when Adobe finally added H.264 support to Flash.

Thanks to Adobe, we finally have a video codec that we can get behind and that’ll be great for our customers. And so back in December, we released a major new update to our video offering that’s 100% based on H.264. And it supports resolutions all the way up to 1280x720p. That’s right – SmugMug has truly awesome hi-def video sharing.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that our Flash player is out (we used QuickTime for a few months while we polished up our player), so it’s easier than ever to embed on your blogs and share with your friends:

Here’s all the gory details:

  • Upload almost any video format you like. We’ll do our best to convert to H.264 in an extremely high quality way. (Thanks EC2!)
  • We’ll generate multiple sizes for you, so you’ll have a version that’s perfect for sharing on the web (YouTube size), perfect for using on your iPod/iPhone (DVD size), and even your Hi-Def TV in your living room.
  • We’ll automagically display just the right sized video for whichever browser and monitor you happen to be using. Ditto for your friends. Example from my friends in Dallas hard at work on Duke Nukem.
  • You can embed the videos in your blog, website, or wherever else you like online. And you can do so at DVD quality resolution – 640×480 – more than 4X the pixels and quality of YouTube.
  • You (and your friends and family, if you let them) can easily download all the different sized versions of your videos so you can do whatever else you’d like with them, like add them to YouTube or burn to a DVD.
  • H.264 means it’ll play on a huge, wide variety of computers and devices, not just SmugMug. iPods, AppleTV, Playstation 3, and the list goes on…
  • Speaking of Apple devices, we provide a complete podcast RSS feed for your account that you and your friends can subscribe to with a single click in iTunes. All your iPods, iPhones, and AppleTVs will then magically stay up-to-date. All your online videos in your pocket, and your living room, all the time. Neat, eh?
  • I’m thrilled we’re making good use of the OpenShareIcon project, too. Rather than use some trademark-encumbered, company-owned, non-open ShareIcon, we’ve chosen to use the real deal. Viva open web standards!
  • One gotcha: Flash takes 200% more CPU to play video on the Mac than QuickTime does, so in-gallery, Mac users will still see QuickTime. We can’t wait until that’s not true – but that’s up to Adobe, not us. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So there you have it. I’ll probably post again soon with lots more detail about how great the integration is with Apple devices: iPod, iPhone, iTunes, and AppleTV. We love us some Apple over here at SmugMug. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and you can count on our video player to continue to rapidly evolve. This is definitely just a 1.0 product – it may have some warts and it’ll get even better over time.

So go wild – share your crystal clear video with the world!

Oh, and demand your video to be awesome (sorry about the quality – that’s the best I could find from Verizon. SmugMug *did not* make it all blocky and ugly):

  1. Erv
    April 25, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    You guys rock. My non-mac, non-techy family thanks you for making it so they don’t have to figure out quicktime!

  2. April 25, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Awesome! What’s with the smugmug watermark though? One of the best things about SmugMug is the lack of SmugMug branding all over the place.

  3. April 25, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Sadly, your flash player does not work in Linux๐Ÿ˜ฆ But that’s not your fault, it’s Adobe’s. They need to seriously make a better effort to keep us up to date with the rest of the Windows and Mac versions of Flash.

  4. Sam
    April 25, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    This blog post is exactly why Smugmug is head over heals better than all other photo and video sharing and storage sites. I was hoping for video options and once you added them, I upgraded my account for that very reason. Thanks for actually listening to your customers and continuing to offer a great service.


    $5 discount coupon code for new accounts:

  5. Adam
    April 25, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Neat! Works well for me. I’m just wondering: when you play a video, you have to click that tiny little [x] at the top of the page to get back to the gallery. Can you make the Escape key do the same thing? Or clicking on the gallery next to or below the video? Thanks!

  6. April 25, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    So are video hosted on S3 as well?

  7. April 25, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Sam – you look A W E S O M E.

    Great work Don and all.

  8. April 25, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Sounds very cool. While I’m sure you don’t want to disclose too many details, I’m interested in what you’re using to encode to h264 – I’m after recommendations for decent commercial h264 encoders.

    Most of the ones I’ve found are useless or just not suitable. The open source ones are pretty good but I have licensing concerns with those.

  9. David Ritch
    April 26, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Great work Don and all! The Flash player seems to work just fine on my linux box. I’m using Fedora Core 8, with 32-bit Firefox, and Flash-9.

  10. Richard S
    April 26, 2008 at 8:18 pm


    I’m not seeing any problems under Linux. I am using the 9.0.124 RPM downloaded from Adobe.

    Everything’s working perfectly for me.

  11. April 27, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Don, I read the post after posting my last comment๐Ÿ™‚

    This is a great initiative. Congrats!


  12. April 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Don and team,

    Nice work on that! It is great to see you setting a high bar for your standards. I think I will have to go buy a new mac just so I can run the HD version!

  13. April 27, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Great news! I’ve been using Smugmug for several years now, great to see ya’ll continuing to innovate. I’ve been waiting for great, easy video in Smugmug for a while now (the Quicktime thing was good, but Flash is great). The day has finally arrived!

  14. April 27, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for this upgrade. I’ve been waiting to upload videos until you guys came through with the flash presetation. I really appreciate this and stick a feather in your hat on this one.

    Dennis in Duluth

  15. April 28, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Just when I thought I couldn’t wait any longer and was about to shell out for flickr.

    Awesome player, quality is amazing but have to agree with the comment about the Smugmug branding. The fact that you don’t have to dilute branding has always been the single biggest reason we’ve stuck with Smugmug and I would have hoped that might have extended to the player.

    Even more so for us though, the option not to share is critical. Ours is a password protected site and we don’t want our users to be able to share our videos.

  16. April 28, 2008 at 10:45 am

    FYI, the SmugMug branding can be removed by tweaking one of the settings in the embed code. We knew some people wouldn’t like it, so we made it an option.

    At the same time, this sort of branding is what helps us pay for DVD-quality Flash embeds out on the net, which can get expensive fast, so we left it on by default.

    I’ll ping Sam to come comment in here (or better yet, link to the Wiki page detailing the options) so you can fiddle.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    • September 14, 2009 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Don,

      Is there some way to remove the “Go to Gallery” button at the end of the video? All of my “Family” uploads are “Unlisted” and I would like the option to share a video without the viewer having access to all pics and vids in the same gallery.

      Is that possible?



  17. April 28, 2008 at 10:53 am

    So AWESOME, you guys are the best.

  18. James Weaver
    May 2, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I was curious about the level of HD camera you shot the Sam Nichols clip with. It looks great. I just upgrading to Pro level so I can begin uploading my families video clips from my canon hv20.

  19. Ben
    May 2, 2008 at 10:10 am

    @James: I shot the clip with a Canon HG10, and edited it in the latest iMovie. I have been exceptionally happy with that camera so far, it produces some great video for how compact it is.

  20. James Weaver
    May 2, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    @Ben, thanks for the quick response! Actually is put down my account level incorrectly. I’m actually at the power user account level. One other question with that said. Is your video the encoded at the power lever H.264 or the professional level. Looks like a big difference.


  21. Ben
    May 2, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Both account levels use h.264 for all sizes. Power users get the same compression levels, etc for video. The difference is Pros can upload up to 720p (Power users can go up to 960×540), and Pros can upload up to 5 minutes for high def footage (Power users can do 2.5 minutes).

    Pros can also upload up to 10 minutes if the video is DVD resolution or smaller.

  22. May 7, 2008 at 4:30 am

    I am amazed to see that you have some terrific creative brains.The video looks pretty awesome and needless to say that you guys are always coming up with something special.

  23. Yvonne
    May 16, 2008 at 10:06 am

    These things are just one of the reasons why we continue to love smugmug

  24. tspore
    May 16, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Very very nice. Keep it up smugmug.

  25. May 16, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Wow, WOW! Wow to the video, wow to the makeup, wow to the snaps, just: WOW!!

    Thanks (yet again) smugmug!!

  26. Bradley
    May 16, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Great… But how do we do it? Where do we begin the upload thingy?

  27. May 16, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    You guys rock. You get me, and that means you understand web geeks and photogs, great job. I am uploading right now

  28. May 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Flickr will be jealous…..LOL

  29. May 16, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    BTW, what camera did you use to shoot the makeup scene?

  30. lee
    May 17, 2008 at 2:54 am

    you guys are A1 – top of your Awesome game!

  31. John
    May 17, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Yes! I have been waiting for HD quality video online!

  32. May 17, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Great work I will be posting some videos today.i shoot video flying a tandem paraglider.

  33. May 20, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    excellent! i can have snippets of wedding videos on the site. very cool indeed!

  34. May 21, 2008 at 5:42 am

    What video camera did you use for this?

  35. May 22, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Finally — I can share my video clips with clients (and pals) and not be totally embarrassed. I’ve been developing documentaries for 20 years now, and this is the first time I feel confident in using the web to show my work. Thanks SmugMug! FilmLou

  36. Clif
    May 24, 2008 at 11:04 am

    The new video looks great! However, you say I can embed you new video in a forum, like ADvrider for example? HOW?

    YouTube makes it easy providing the embedding code in a handy field next to the video itself. I’ve tried clicking all around my SMugMug video, hunting for the secret decoder ring method of embedding your new video, but no luck so far…

  37. May 24, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Hey Clif,

    Just click the ‘Share’ button and then make sure you’re on the ‘Get a link’ tab. The Embed ‘code’ is right there…

    Hope that helps!

  38. Danny
    June 3, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Is (or has) SmugMug considered making power user account video length and size limits competitive with Phanfare’s $54.95 account? Phanfare account allows 10 min/2 GB (vs. 2.5 min/512MB).

    I’m currently trying to decide between the two for a personal picture/video site. Overall I like the SmugMug look and feel better, but many of my video clips are > 2.5 min. I cannot justify the additional expense of the pro user account (don’t need many of the extra features).


  39. June 7, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I’m about to update the post to make sure people realize the Verizon commercial *came* all blocky and nasty like that – it’s not SmugMug’s encoding. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. June 10, 2008 at 10:22 am

    hey there. smugmug’s got som nice player!
    anyway. just wanted to ask if some of you guys have tried xdmotion?
    the site is: http://www.xdmotion.com
    i just bought the mod. it seems to be working amazing. there is a trailer shown on the page only 20mb with full hd..
    do you guys know of something better then this?


  41. June 11, 2008 at 8:05 am

    I didn’t think this would be this cool but it is!

    I’m really excited to get some videos posted.

  42. June 15, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Okay, so how do I safely erase my old slideshow, and embed a video of my own to my homepage?

  43. June 29, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Okay guys, I am the village idiot when it comes to doing anything with video. Here’s my situation. My older Sony Handycam DCR TRV340… Sony doesn’t offer a USB driver for anything but dinosaur MS operation systems. I can’t get from video camera to PC. The PC won’t recognize it.

    I CAN play videos through the TV, via RCA plugs, and assume that I could make a DVD the same way, if I go out and buy a DVD recorder.

    Here’s my village idiot question. If I can get my video on a DVD, will this work as my first step to getting video on my SmugMug website?

    August 4, 2008 at 7:23 pm


  45. August 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Nice buzz. Where’s the link?

  46. Phil
    October 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Typo I believe in “Here is all the gory details” text above: It says “You can embed the videos in your blog, website, or wherever else you like online. And you can do so at DVD quality resolution – 640ร—480 – more than 4X the pixels and quality of YouTube.”

    DVD resolution is 640×460? I think that is typo.

  47. Bob Jones
    December 31, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I agree… I've been a long time smug mug user but dont need PRO… but want video options like phanfare.. COME ON SMUGMUG.. how about offering a competitive video plan??

  48. dddsee
    January 27, 2009 at 6:25 am

    I've been waiting for over 1 year for Smugmug to upgrade their video service to be competitive such as Phanfare… not sure how long I am going to be able to wait any longer…

  49. September 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Really so great! I enjoyed well!

  50. November 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Love it! You got me so excited to get one and start shooting video!

  51. December 31, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I think I will have to go buy and I can run the HD version!, i find and recomend this web: http://triuz.com much usefull tips for video

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