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Hi Folks, this diary's title is a fictitious restatement of helpful advice I've often seen given at Daily Kos, where someone's posting of a YouTube video has a real point to make . . . starting at some point later in the playback.  So, the implied notion is that maybe you should try to scroll there after starting playback of the video.

Fortunately, you can offer either a direct link to the YouTube site or playback of an embedded video that both start from your desired point in that video, bypassing playback from the beginning and avoiding the need for viewers to scroll on their own.

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** To avoid all the geeky stuff, please see the Summary section for a brief explanation of how to force initial playback of YouTube videos from your chosen starting point - the rest is an overwrought explanation of the technical derivation behind this suggestion. **
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Problem description

You offer a link or direct embed for a YouTube video in a comment or diary at Daily Kos (DKos), but the point you'd like to make about the video content isn't actually relevant to the entire video, rather to some point starting later into that video's playback.

So, it might be nice - and possibly more effective - to offer a link which begins playback exactly at that point in the YouTube video which you are referencing when a DKos viewer hits the Play button or clicks a link to the YouTube page.

Er, can you show me how this relates to the real world, please?

Let's start with an example of where this already occurred at DKos:

In each of my Overnight News Digest (OND) series diaries, I attempt to offer a centerpiece (i.e., "Hump Point") music video which offers both escapism and usually an undercurrent theme to that evening's news choices.  My preference is to use videos of in-concert performances, some of which come with various amounts of on-stage preamble or are included as part of a larger concert which contains multiple, consecutive songs.

In one of my recent OND diaries, the Hump Point video was a song taken from the Live From Daryl's House video series, in which Daryl Hall (i.e., well-known for his part in the "Hall and Oates" musical group) brings musical guests into his barn-like house+studio for a casual chat, often a meal and then some nice performances.  I felt that "I Can't Go For That" with the Canadian group Chromeo was perfect for that evening's OND, but the actual song wasn't introduced until about 3:47 into their YouTube-based video - prior to that point in the video, they taped some interesting music industry chitchat and the like, but listening to that jawing could have taken away some of the effect for OND readers who begin their news browsing with the video itself, I felt.

So, I decided to ensure that my embedded YouTube would start at 3:47 for folks who wanted to hear the song in my diary from the initial get-go.

Geeky analysis of an embed example

As a starting point, I did what all of us to do create an embedded YouTube video player in a diary (or comment): I copied their standard YouTube "Embed" code from a button they offer.  The code looks like the following mishmash:

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&am p;color2=0xcd311b"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719& color2=0xcd311b" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

For my needs, determining where to place a snippet of code that determines the new playback point in a desired video embed was first: there's two instances where YouTube's embed code offers a http://www.youtube.com/. . . URL at the start of a quoted section, each of which is followed by question mark (?) and various other parameter values that are separated by ampersands (&) until the quoted section ends:

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

To shift the initial playback point, I placed a new parameter and ampersand combination (which are generically called "query string parameters" in some web coding circles, FWIW) after those portions of the code identified in bold above; they will specify a new starting point for initial playback of the video in total number seconds from the beginning:

. . . &start=SECONDS . . .

So, to start playback at 3:47 into the video, I calculated the total number of seconds:

3 minutes = 180 seconds, then added 47 seconds = 227 total seconds for 3:47

and placed this value into the above code snippet after the previously identified YouTube URLs and the first parameter they included (actually, this parameter can be placed anywhere in the larger set of parameters following the main URL - I'm putting it in the second parameter spot to show that this is up to you), e.g.,

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&start=227&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&start=227&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

The above code is exactly what I used to produce the embedded video below - please consider starting playback of this embedded video, after which you should see that the slider and time marker in the lower left corner shifts from 0:00 to 3:47 as the "new" starting point, instead of a steady count upwards from 0:01, 0:02, etc.:

Aside, if you didn't listen for the next six minutes of that entire piece, that should be the topic of another diary. . .

Note that this starting point method only affects initial playback - the DKos viewer can easily slide their YouTube timescale thumb to any point in the video, so you are not cutting off playback before the new starting point but merely providing a convenient starting place to seamlessly reference the related point made in your diary or comment.

Hm, can't remember the parameter to add into your embed?  No problem, copy the URL (i.e., not the embed code) of your YouTube video page and paste it into the field provided on Splicd.  It can accept the input of a YouTube URL and the start time you'd like, then will generate the embed code above for you - nice.  (It also has an "end" time capability, but that only works if you view the video on their site - not relevant to our needs, I feel.)

Geeky analysis of an offsite link example

Although an embedded video is usually quite effective and preferred at Daily Kos, sometimes you have need to use a link, instead.  In those cases, you can also specify a starting point for initial playback:

  1. Copy the YouTube URL from your browser's URL bar into wherever you normally place a link on Daily Kos for use in a comment or diary.
  1. At the end of that URL, add the following parameter to start playback a certain number of minutes and/or seconds into the video when a user clicks on that link:

. . . &t=MINUTESmSECONDSs

For example, palantir was a talented OND Editor and still offers videos of science goodness in ONDs on a regular basis as a commenter.  Typically, palantir's offered videos are 6 minutes or so in length, but if someone responded to the video comment and wanted to speak directly on the science being summarized at 3:56 into the playback, they could offer the following URL in a link within their comment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcRCgyComEw&t=3m56s

Anyone taking that linked URL from Daily Kos will go to YouTube and start watching the video specified at the 3:56 mark.

Hm, can't remember the parameter to add onto your link?  No problem, copy the URL of your YouTube video page and paste it into the field provided on YouTube Time, select the start time for initial playback then click the offered button and . . . Voila!  They provide the modified URL for use in your diary or comment at DKos - nice.

Reference

For those curious, here is YouTube's listing of all publicly documented parameters affecting playback.


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Summary:

In the case of both YouTube embeds and hyperlinks, I attempt to offer both manual and automated methods to generate the code you need for starting a video at a custom time into playback for your DKos work.

YouTube Embeds

Manual coding:

  1. Copy the YouTube video embed code via an "Embed" button that they provide on the YouTube video page of your choice.
  1. "Paste" that code block from Step 1 anywhere within your diary or comment where it should safely belong.
  1. Determine the total number of seconds into the video where you would like initial playback to begin for DKos viewers, then place that value into the embed code as part of a "&start=" parameter after each instance of the quoted YouTube URL, e.g., for 3:47 (i.e., 227 seconds) into a video embed:

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&start=227&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GXXvUa5Tzco?fs=1&start=227&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

Alternative - more automated:

  1. Copy the URL of your YouTube video page.
  1. Paste it into the field provided by Splicd.
  1. Select the start time for initial playback and then click the offered button.
  1. Copy the provided, modified YouTube embed for use in your diary or comment at DKos as a video embed.

Finish your diary or comment, then Preview and Publish.

The result will hopefully be a visually embedded YouTube video, placed into your DKos diary or comment, that will begin playback for viewers at the start time into the video that you specified.  It will not prevent later playback of the entire video by viewers after they get it going.

Links to YouTube Videos

Manual coding:

  1. Copy the YouTube video embed code via an "Embed" button that they provide on the YouTube video page of your choice.
  1. Determine the total number of minutes and seconds into the video where you would like initial playback to begin for DKos viewers, then place that value at the end of the URL a "&t=" parameter after each instance of the quoted YouTube URL, e.g., for 3:56 into a video hyperlink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcRCgyComEw&t=3m56s

Alternative - more automated:

  1. Copy the URL of your YouTube video page
  1. Paste it into the field provided by YouTube Time
  1. Select the start time for initial playback then click the offered button
  1. Copy the provided, modified YouTube URL for use in your diary or comment at DKos as a hyperlink.

Finish your diary or comment, then Preview and Publish.

The result will hopefully be a hyperlink to your YouTube video of choice, placed into your DKos diary or comment, that will begin playback for viewers at the start time into the video that you specified.  It will not prevent later playback of the entire video by viewers after they get it going.

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I could research and possibly update for other video sources, but YouTube seems ubiquitous enough a presence to start with that provider.

Originally posted to wader on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 08:52 PM PST.

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