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Real Audio and Real Video, streaming media for your web site
by: Dominic Arnold
Anybody interested in creating RealAudio and RealVideo content on
their sites will find it's a great deal easier than they might have
initially imagined.

The instructions given below are for RealAudio on a Windows 95/98
computer, but the process is almost identical for RealVideo and other
platforms. I tentatively suggest you print out this tutorial for easier
reading, by copying the text and pasting it into Wordpad or Word
then printing it out. Or if, you prefer, you can download the text as
a zipped document from here. Netscape users please press shift as
you click to save the file to disc.

Before you start, be sure you:

1: have an audio or video file in one of the following
formats: AVI, MOV, WAV, or AU format. If your file is
not in one of those formats, you will need to convert it
before starting this tutorial.

2: check with your internet service provider or the people
who provide your web space that they support streaming
media. This is the one sure thing that will guarantee that
you'll never get this technique to work on your site. Save
your self a lot of time and effort by finding out before
you start this tutorial.

3: are not violating any copyright laws by placing
copyrighted material on your web site. It goes without
saying that the best files to put on your web site are files
you've created yourself. A snippet of the Spice Girls may
titillate a few but it won't encourage people to stick
around or even come back to see how your site develops
and it may make you vulnerable to prosecution.

Step 1: Download RealProducer encoder
The current version is RealProducer 7.0. To get the encoder, click
here, fill out the form and download the encoder. I've been through
this process myself a few times and I can guarantee that Real won't
send you annoying bumf. After you finish downloading, you will
need to execute the file you downloaded and install RealProducer.

Step 2: Preparations to encode your music file
Double click the icon on your desktop or from the start menu called
" RealProducer." In the dialogue box which pops up choose 'record
from file'

Now you need to enter the name of the file that you want to encode.
Click "Browse" and browse for the file. Once you have found the
file, click "Open" then "Next".

In the next screen, enter the title, author, copyright and a brief
description of the track to inform your listeners of the kind of thing
they can expect to hear when they play it. Then click "Next". Now
you need to select the target audience. Select "Multi-rate SureStream
for Real Server G2" and click "Next". Then choose 56k Modem as
a target Audience stream format. Most PCs, browsers and modems
should be able to handle this.

The current screen asks for the audio format. Select the appropriate
type based on the type of file you are encoding and click "Next".

Now you will be asked to enter the output file. You can choose to
enter it anywhere on your hard drive but you should be able to
remember exactly where you placed it. Then you should click
"Next". Please ensure at this stage that you avoid any spaces in a
file's name. Most servers are still susceptible to file names which
aren't continuous so a file like 'wake free zone.rm' would be more
easily recognised as 'wakefreezone.rm'.

Finally, RealProducer allows you to confirm your choices. If there is
nothing wrong with your choices, click "Start". If you wish to change
something, hit 'back' and change what you need to in the appropriate
dialogue boxes.

Step 3: Encode the file
In the "RealEncoder" screen, click the "Start" button in the lower left
corner of
the RealEncoder window. It may take a few minutes to encode the
file, depending on the length of the original file. The blue bar in the
lower right corner of the RealEncoder shows your progress. When
encoding is finished, a "Recording Complete" box will pop up. Here
you are given the choice to upload the destination of your file to Real
Server Janus where, if you're lucky, someone may stumble across
your musical offering via their web site. You simply connect to the
internet and fill out the form at Janus to inform them where they
might find your music. Then you should close RealProducer .

Step 4: Upload the file
To upload the file to your Web site, you will need to use an FTP
program or Site Manager. You can upload to any directory, just be
sure you remember the address of the file. If your program asks, this
file should be uploaded in "Binary" mode.

Step 5: Make a text file linking to the Real (*.rm) file
Click your Start Menu and go to "Run." Type "Notepad" and click
"OK". In Notepad, type only this line of text:
http://www.server#/username/directory/file.rm. # is the server that
you are on, username is your domain username, directory is where
you've uploaded the rm file to and file.rm is the actual file that you
uploaded. For instance the file wakefreezone is at:
'http://www.eidosnet.co.uk/donkit racks/wakefreezone.rm'

Here's the rub. There should only be one line of text in the Notepad
window. When you are finished, click "File" and go to "Save As." In
the "Save as Type" selector, select "All Files (*.*)". Select a
directory you can remember, and in the "File name:" box type a
name with an ending of .ram. (For example, sound.ram.) Click
"Save." This is extremely important. What you've done here is to
create a kind of sign post to the .rm file which then, when your
visitor clicks on to the link, points their copy of RealPlayer to the .rm
file which the application will then play.

Step 6: Upload the text file
Use an FTP program or Site Manager to upload the text file to your
web site. You can upload to any directory, just be sure you
remember the address of the file. If your program asks, this file
should be uploaded in "Text" or "ASCII" mode, however most FTP
programmes worth their salt will know what type of file you're
uploading and change the mode automatically.

Step 7: Link to the text file on your web site
You will need to edit one of your HTML files on your Web site and
place a link to the *.ram file. This link should be to your web site,
not to the file on your hard drive. Then you will need to re-upload
the HTML file.

Step 8: Test your RealAudio file
Go to your web site and click on the link to the RealFile (the *.ram
file). Your browser should quickly download a file, and RealPlayer
should open and play the RealAudio file. If anything does not work
correctly check the addresses you used and make sure they are
accurate. If your file refuses to play but no other error messages pop
up, you should check that you uploaded the files with the proper file
type.

RealVideo
To make RealVideo, use the same method but be prepared to wait
while the file encodes as video is far more memory hungry than
audio.

Have fun!

About the Author

Dominic Arnold
dominic@deepflight.co.uk