absolutedestiny: (Default)
2018-12-21 09:48 am

Cheap Big Media Hosting - A Guide

So [personal profile] morgandawn  asked me to write up this guide as it may be helpful to people who:
  • Create fan art that needs hosting before being able to post on ao3 or other places (images, videos, audio files etc)
  • Need a place they can upload those media files that isn't youtube etc where take-downs are automated
  • Is the cheapest trustworthy place I can find (like, for a lot of you this might be effectively free)
  • Doesn't require training as a sysadmin to set it up
  • Allows porn (backblaze just say nothing illegal, bunnyCDN specifically say they allow it as long as it's legal)
This guide is just one way of doing this. Other people may have other ways, this is mine. It will not stop you from take-downs - every web host has some kind of copyright infringement take-down request process but this method doesn't automate that like youtube.

Edit: 22/12/18 - If you don't need direct linking to the files then using a service like dropbox, google drive, mega etc etc may still be fine for you. Those services are very competitively priced and if they work for you then feel free to use them.

Also, this isn't a general purpose web hosting guide for people that want to make their own website. That would be a different guide.  This is just for media files that you would link to on sites like this or twitter or ao3. It also doesn't rely on any kind of traditional website service like shared hosting offered by services like Dreamhost. Most of those services require media files you store on it to be used on a website your are hosting with them - so if you are hosting the files just to post on ao3 then they might shut down your access to the service.

This guide is for using services designed to store and host media files on the web.

If there is a fan with a server who is hosting your content, that is wonderful. Send them a big thank you card from the whole community.

If you don't have that, read on.

Some Terminology

In this guide I'm going to be referring to Cloud File Storage, sometimes called Block Storage. This is the place files are uploaded to. Reading this you may think of services like google drive, dropbox, box.net and so on. While these are cloud file storage solutions they do not offer easy means to provide access to those files on websites as they are more personal or business use solutions (e.g. the dropbox file download page instead of being able to directly link to the file).

The kind of cloud storage in this guide is the kind people making their own websites would use for hosting media assets. A popular service is Amazon's S3. However, S3 is not the cheapest and it's definitely not the most user-friendly. That's the kind of service that we'll use to store the files but I'm recommending a competitor.

I'll also talk about a CDN - a Content Delivery Network. CDNs are designed to mirror files stored somewhere and put them on a number of servers around the world so that when someone wants to download that file it is served up from a server near them. They are designed for the downloading part of hosting media. In this guide it's an optional step but can save you money if you expect to have a lot of people download your files.

Part 1 - Storing the Files on the Cloud with Backblaze B2

I've chosen Backblaze B2 for a number of reasons. It's very competitively priced, they are a well trusted company and they have a web interface for uploading files.

B2 charge based on storage and downloads. For storing files, they charge $0.005 per GB and the first 10GB is free. To put that into context, all the videos on luminosity's website total 6.25GB so she would not need to pay anything for storage until she made a lot more vids. Even if they didn't have a free tier, at $0.005 per GB that would only be 3 cents a month.

So, effectively free.

However, the real costs of media hosting isn't generally the storage part, it's the downloading part. That's where things actually start to cost money. B2 charges $0.01 per GB downloaded and the first 1GB every day is free. What does that mean in real terms? Well, it depends on how popular your content is honestly. My vid site gets downloads of around 40GB a month, so 40 cents a month or basically $5 a year(!). That's not even the real price because I'd only be paying for bandwidth in excess of 1GB each day, so it can be < $2 a year for my site.

Download pricing can be risky, though - if a big file gets linked somewhere and tens or hundreds of thousands of people download it, then you have a problem and could end up with a surprising bill. If 100,000 people in one month downloaded Scooby Road via B2 it would cost $407 for that one (big) vid. Thankfully, Backblaze have the option to set usage caps to avoid big charges which would protect you in the situation where suddenly the whole world wants a file of yours. You can set how much you are comfortable paying for a day of downloads and it will disallow downloads once that triggers.

1.1 Setting up a Backblaze B2 bucket

When you sign up for a backblaze account it actually gives you access to a number of their services. This can be confusing because they also offer a cloud backup service - a personal storage service for offline backups of your computer. That's not what we want (though it is a great service for online backups if you dont have a solution for that yet). For our media files, want B2 Cloud Storage.

Under B2 Cloud Storage, create a new bucket. Buckets are like hard drives, they will be where we store our media. Their names will also be in the external url so choose sensibly:

Creating a new b2 Bucket

Your bucket will need to be public - unlike their personal storage offering, the files will not be encrypted so Backblaze will be able to see your files. The world will also be able to see them if they know the url for a specific file but wont be able to see a directory of all your files, they'd need the url.

Once you've made a bucket you can upload files from the website. You can create folders as well for organization - you can't easily move files around after you upload them so if you are going to organize your files make the folders first.

B2 bucket file upload
Once you have uploaded a file, clicking the (i) icon next to a file will show you the friendly url that you can use to link to that file on a website:

b2 file url

Congratulations, you now have your media stored and hosted!

If you don't want to use the web interface there are a number of programs that can handle the uploads for you, such as FileZilla and some others.

1.2 (optional) Advanced Settings - CORS

You can probably skip this for most use cases. CORS is a complicated concept to do with giving permissions for websites on other domains (so sites not backblazeb2.com) to access the content in particular ways. This isn't needed for linking to a jpg or mp4 or mp3 or even embedding the file as an <img> or as a <video>. If a site is set up a certain way, it may need the ability to have access the file via javascript or some other means other than just showing it to the user. This is rare but if you need to set up access you can do that on the CORS settings for the bucket. You can give all sites full access to the files or you can choose which domain can. Most of you will never need to set this up, but know that it's there as an option for your bucket.

This is not the same as hotlinking protection which is not something b2 supports but is a common feature of CDNs. On that subject...

Part 2 (optional) - Using a CDN for really high traffic sites and finer control

The way a CDN works is that you give it a url (what they call a Pull Zone) and make a cdn version of that url. Then any media files that use the cdn url instead of the b2 one will download from the cdn. The CDN will then cache the file for the next person and use servers around the world to make seeing the file quicker. That's the idea, at least.

If you already know that you're going to have a ton of traffic to your files, you can mirror them on a CDN for even cheaper download prices. BunnyCDN have a high volume tier that instead of $0.01 per GB becomes $0.005 per GB (and is even cheaper once you hit 4 terrabytes!). They are the cheapest I could find.

Needing to use this CDN for the cheaper pricing will be a tricky calculation because BunnyCDN doesn't have a daily free tier like B2 does. This means that BunnyCDN will actually be more expensive (though still cheap) on days where people download less than 2GB. You also have to specifically use their High Volume tier as their regular tier is priced the same as b2 at $0.01 per GB. But, if you are having more than 2GB of downloads per day, BunnyCDN will save you money.

Obviously this wont be for everyone but setting up a CDN does have other benefits that might be worth not having a free download tier.

You can set up allowed referrers so, for instance, if you only want your images to show on https://archiveofourown.org and your personal website you can do that

You can set up your own domain name, if that's a thing you want to do. You can also have a lot more control over rate limiting, blocking countries, all kinds of things like that.

It might also offer an administrative barrier for copyright takedowns. If BunnyCDN get a takedown notice and suspend your account, you can look for another CDN or just fallback to using backblaze as all your content is still there. (*** I don't know this for sure because it's not happened to me - it is possible that BunnyCDN send along the information about where they are pulling the files from which might mean that b2 would also get a takedown request I don't know I'm just guessing).

Rather than step you through the setup process, you can read their own guide for setting up a CDN for a backblaze b2 bucket here.

Just know you need to make a High Volume pull zone based on your b2 friendly url. You will then get a cdn url you can use when posting your files.

That's all, folks!
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2015-10-24 03:24 pm

Dear Festividder!

Thank you so much for offering to make me a vid!

I will have you know that if you've offered these fandoms then I have every faith in any vid you would like to make for these sources. I've chosen them largely because I want to see vids to them and am less interested in dictating what those vids should be... other than that I'd like them to be awesome.

Last year I made a video previewing the sources, this year I've made gifsets to give you an idea of the kind of visuals in the sources.

:: See all the gifsets on Tumblr ::

If you're wondering what some of the sources are, I've included some very brief statements below hinting at what I like about these that could guide your muse or pique your interest.

edit: Upon discovering how difficult it is to get a copy of Boardinghouse these days, I've swapped it for It Follows.

A Girl Walks Alone At Night, It Follows, Tale of Two Sisters, Flash Gordon, Ran, The Host, Gozu, Kingdom of the Spiders... )
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2013-10-12 05:46 pm

Dear Festividder (2013)

Dear Festividder,

thank you so much for offering to vid one of my wanted fandoms. I will gladly accept any kind of vid - if you've been matched with me then you most likely have a love for one of these sources and that is enough. If you'd like some guidance I can tell you my preferences but only heed them if it helps your vid. You will note that I don't comment on possible music - I believe that song choice is in the eye of the vidder and only they really know how they could make it work.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the sources I am offering, I have made the following video with trailers or excerpts from each source:

The sources I'm asking for (and where you can see them in the video) are:

The Red Shoes (1948)
Don't Look Now (1973) @01:44
Ulysses 31 (1981) @05:28
Hawk the Slayer (1980) @07:26
The Man With Two Brains (1983) @09:22
Psychonauts (2005) @11:37
Ghostwatch (1992) @ 13:00
Hard Boiled (1992) @14:54

All except Ulysses 31 and Psychonauts are safety fandoms.

Preferences, but not many )

I know the fandoms here can be on the obscure side but should any interest you I have listed the best means to obtain them. Most if not all of them are available in some form online.

If you are not my assignee but are on the lookout for making treats, all treats are welcome. Dive in and see what you can make!

Thank you so much for making a vid for me!

Details about each source )
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2013-08-19 04:15 pm

Vividcon Challenge (Self Portrait) - Age Like Wine

Age Like Wine by AbsoluteDestiny

too late to die young now

Footage: My Vids (2002)

Audio: Age Like Wine by Todd Snider

Duration: 00:01:46

Streaming )

Download links:

Lyrics )
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2013-08-19 02:31 pm

Vividcon Glitterguts Premiere - I Fink U Freeky

I Fink U Freeky by AbsoluteDestiny

and I like you a lot.

Warnings: All. Well, pretty much all. We have physical triggers (strobing, fast cuts), content triggers (violence, porn, violent porn, torture, dubious consent, self-harm, medical experimentation, vomit, body horror and more that I can't remember right now)

Footage: 90s Japanese erotic cyberpunk body-horror movies including 946 Pinocchio (1991), Rubber's Lover (1996) and Tetsuo: The Iron man (1989)

Audio: I Fink U Freeky by Die Antwoord

Duration: 00:03:49

Streaming )

absolutedestiny: (Default)
2013-08-19 02:01 pm

VVC Premiere - Sleeping Ute (Life of Pi)

Sleeping Ute by AbsoluteDestiny

But I can't help myself...

Footage: Life of Pi (2012)

Audio: Sleeping Ute by Grizzly Bear

Duration: 00:04:29

Streaming )

Lyrics )
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2013-04-07 12:34 pm

Recut vid - Say Aha (Alien & Aliens)

So last year I made this vid and it just so happened that during the making of it my vidding setup was a bit screwy to the point where the sync editing I'd be doing would only be correct on the timeline and would be different when exported. I'd also committed to a 2nd auction vid at the time so didn't really have time to fix it before Vividcon.

If this were a vid of simpler cuts, this probably wouldn't matter so much, but there's a lot of sharp cutting and every time I've watched the vid since I'd be distracted by how subtle but annoying the problem was to me... and possibly only to me.

I don't know if anyone else felt the timing was off in this vid (annoyingly it was actually ok in certain sections and the places it was off it was only out by a frame or so) but I did enough to go back and re-cut it.

It's the same vid, just re-timed. Most of you won't even notice a difference. This is purely for my own sanity.

You can download the new versions at the original vid post.
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2013-02-02 10:05 am

Festivids 2012/2013 - Thanks and Recs

So I received 4 wonderful vids for festivids this year and I totally knew who made them and if you haven't seen them I highly recommend them.

The first person I must thank is [personal profile] kuwdora. *hugs* Not only did she make 3 awesome vids for festivids she also made me an amazing Attack the Block vid late last year.

[personal profile] kuwdora's gifts for me:

Then finally there is [personal profile] franzeska. There's not many people who would vid this movie to Huey Lewis and the News but I'm very grateful to her that she did.

The final rec I want to make is for face at the window but it's with a heavy heart that I do so as it is fizzyblogic's final vid :( :(

absolutedestiny: (Default)
2013-02-02 07:44 am

Festivids 2012/13 - Mirror's Edge - Raise Your Weapon

I think Milly and I both thought we'd be the only one vidding Mirror's Edge. It was hilarious when I found out she'd made one as well but I was so relieved that they were basically two aspects of the source and two different takes. Hers is lovely, you should check it out.

I'm sure many of you don't know what Mirror's Edge is or don't know much about it. It's a first-person video game where you run through a near-future city helping those oppressed by the surveillance state they now live in. In particular, she's trying to uncover a conspiracy that has her sister framed for the murder of a progressive liberty-loving politician. As a game it has a number of praise-worthy components - a determined and independent asian female protagonist, a major de-emphasis on shooting people (possible but optional) and some unique movement mechanics.

I like Mirror's Edge. It's not an easy game - there's a certain point where you becoming skilful enough to be as awesome as Faith and that's a point not everyone reaches before the game gets hard. I like that the heart of the game is these two sisters, it makes up for the not-really-that-interesting conspiracy plot. The cutscenes are kinda poor too - the game itself has such an excellently realise art style that the flash animations in the cutscenes just don't live up to it. In any case, what I wanted to do with this vid was highlight the parts I liked most about the game - the aesthetic, the parkour and the sibling story.

To obtain the footage, I'd have normally just captured my own playthroughs of the game. If you know what you're doing you can beat the game in about the amount of time it would take to watch a movie - plus you can be more 'cinematic' with how you are looking around, doing things that look good rather than being efficient in the game. Unfortunately I did this video over the Christmas period when visiting my folks - meaning I only had my laptop which can run the game but not while also capturing footage. This sucked.

Hence, I had to source my footage elsewhere:

  1. EA's official trailers which in some respects look better than some of the in-game footage. With the exception of the compression which is kinda awful and YouTube is the only source that doesn't have big fat logos on it.

  2. In-game cut scenes.

  3. David 'Weatherproof' Streeter's superb speedrun (0:57:32) - excellent flow, obviously, and decent quality footage. The downsides to this source were no PhysX, having to remove the game reticule and, being a speedrun, there's a lot of skipping of key parts of the action and relying on strange game engine exploits.

  4. CowLaunchedGames' pacifist playthrough. I wanted to emphasise the non-lethal aspects of the game so wanted some good disarming footage. This is another source that needed its reticule removed. The free running isn't that great in this playthrough - he's not especially good at the game - but it made for some good scenes.

  5. pmf026's PhysX-enabled playthrough. If this weren't YouTube encoded, this would almost be perfect footage - no subtitles, no reticule and the guy has pretty good flow. Poor compression on YouTube sources means that I preferred using the speedrun wherever possible but this is a nice playthrough and with all the nice special effects that you can only get on the Nvidia graphics cards.
Suffice to say, without these sources there would have been no vid.

This vid posed a number of challenges that I'd not really had in other vids:

  1. It is entirely possible to edit the first-person footage in such a way that people watching become motion sick. Scrubbing for clips would make me ill after a while and I'd have to take breaks.

  2. Most of the footage has no people in it and establishing context was difficult in general. Even the scene where Faith meets her sister who has discovered Pope's murder I used slightly sparingly because without knowing the game it's hard to know at that point in the vid who the victim is.

  3. It's one thing to have to remove the logo of a TV channel but you can't just crop things when there's a dot *right in the middle of the footage*. I had to do some fancy logo-removing voodoo but I was really pleased with the results. If you look close at some individual frames you can see the way the footage is blurred but when things are moving it's really hard to spot I think.

  4. AfterEffects' motion tracking tool was inexplicably having a lot of trouble with the building at the end for animating the credits. Normally this kind of perspective work is a cinch for it but it was going crazy trying to track the dark blue on black in three dimensions. Instead I made a null object in 3D space that I keyframed by hand to track the front face of the building and then I used that as a parent for my credits so they'd track the building. It turned out well enough.

  5. People weren't playing the game dramatically enough. I had a hard time finding good footage of the sniper rifle rescue scene - these gamers had no sense of drama and didn't stay around to look at the carnage that ensued after pulling the trigger. Times like those I really wished I did my own captures so there'd be more last-minute escapes and such.
Anyway, it was a fun vid to make although it was more rushed than I wanted - I felt like I wasn't doing enough with the source and song. In any case, Brad likes it (like I knew he would) and that's the most important thing.


Warnings: Physical triggers, (some strobing, vertigo :P).

Raise Your Weapon by AbsoluteDestiny

one word and it's over

Footage: Mirror's Edge (2008)
Audio: Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix) by deadmau5
Duration: 00:03:03

Streaming ) Lyrics )

absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-10-05 08:32 pm

Dear Festividder (2012)

Dear Festividder,

thank you so much for offering to vid one of my wanted fandoms. Know that I will welcome any kind of vid to any of these sources and I have every faith that if you follow your instincts you'll make a vid I'll really enjoy! You will note that I don't comment on possible music - I believe that song choice is in the eye of the vidder and only they really know how they could make it work. So rest assured, if you have an idea that's giving you vid-farr, it's an idea I approve of.

I know the fandoms here can be on the obscure side (particularly if you aren't into peculiar horror) but should any interest you they are all movies that can be easily obtained and watched. They might not all be good (though some are very good, imo) but they are all interesting. I've no preferences here, the sources are ordered by release year.

If you are not my assignee but are on the lookout for making treats, all treats are welcome. Dive in and see what you can make!

Wanted Fandoms in Venn Diagram Form )

Phantom of the Paradise (1974) )
Streets of Fire (1984) )
The Stuff (1985) )
Nightbreed (1990) )
The Quiet Family [Choyonghan kajok] (1998) )
Save the Green Planet [Jigureul jikyeora!] (2003) )
Splice (2009) )
Kill List (2011) )
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-08-13 03:41 pm

Vividcon Auction Vid #2: Mama Said Knock You Out

Another Auction vid? Well, I stepped in to do a pinch hit for Voleuse and I'm so glad I did. Becca and I were discussing the awesomeness of the Bei Fongs and I suggested this song and... yeah. Major thanks have to go to BigBigTruck as this obviously riffs quite heavily on her classic AMV.

For those of you who don't know the shows, the little girl is blind and is the canonical mother of the 50-something woman who is a police officer. Oh, and they are earth and metal benders. Just watch the shows already.

Spoilers for both shows, esp Korra

Mama Said Knock You Out by AbsoluteDestiny

for Voleuse with special thanks to Eunice and Big Big Truck

Footage: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005) and The Legend of Korra (2012)
Audio: Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J
Duration: 00:03:44

Streaming )

Download links:

Lyrics )

absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-08-13 03:30 pm

Vividcon Auction Vid #1: The Death and The Navigator

Gwyn won me for VVC's Auction this year and had a long list of awesome things for me to vid. The first on the list was this movie that I had never seen about a Medieval village in fear of the Black Death. Interesting visuals and an unusual story later, I decided it would be good to try this out. At first I was going to vid it to Iron by Woodkid but when playing with the footage on the timeline it wasn't working and this song came to mind. I'm pretty happy with the end result. Enjoy!

The Death and The Navigator by AbsoluteDestiny

for Gwyn

Footage: The Navigator (1987)
Audio: Atomic Bird by Yoko Kanno
Duration: 00:03:57

Streaming )

Download links:

absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-08-13 01:11 pm

Vividcon Premieres Vid: Say Aha

When working out a vid concept for gwyneth's auction vid, this idea for a Ripley vid emerged. I was really keen but Gwyn preferred for me to vid The Navigator (link soon) so I did. After the auction vid was done I figured I'd make this for the Premieres show. Problem was the Premieres deadline had passed. So, the day after the Premiere's deadline, I asked for an 'extension' and was given two days to make this :)

I'm happy with how its came out even though it was rushed. I've always wanted to do a Ripley vid and as it happens Gwyn liked the result too!

Say Aha by AbsoluteDestiny

Louder than they allow, allow

Footage: Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)
Audio: Say Aha (Tepr Edit) by Santigold
Duration: 00:04:18

Streaming )

Download links:

Lyrics )

absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-08-12 07:24 pm

New vids... Kinda

So I totally failed to upload my Vividcon vids to my website and will try to do that as soon as possible. In the meantime you can watch the three vids I made on my YouTube channel:

absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-03-18 12:02 pm


Just saw the first episode. Really really good. I love her so much.

Can't wait until April for this show to start.
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-02-17 05:23 pm

LlamaEnc2 on Mac

Could be this:

mysterious download link

but I'd need someone with a mac to confirm. Anyone out there wanting to give it a try?

In the zip there should be an app that will... just.. run. Maybe. Version of OSX depending. Probably needs an Intel CPU. Might need Snow Leopard. I dont know.
absolutedestiny: (Default)
2012-02-16 10:03 pm

New guides on vidtech.info

Today I added two new guides to the Vidding Tech Wiki!

The first is Fixing Common Problems with Submitted Files which will hopefully help other folks who make dvds for conventions like we do at vividcon.

The second guide is about how to, with as few steps as I could manage, install Linux on a virtual machine so that you can run LlamaEnc on any operating system where you can install VirtualBox (such as OSX).

Both of them relate somewhat to the beta test of LlamaEnc and Llamamatic which if you are a vidder hoping to use these tools on the last day of vid submissions for Vividcon then you should be testing them right now! Currently I don't even know if they install on other people's machines let alone do what they are designed to do so please go and test them.