Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cutting RTE clips down to size.

Loads of people find the RTe means of putting their shows up on-line a bit tight in the crotch or perhaps somewhat restrictive is another more polite way of saying it. A wiser personage than I ,in the form of Jazz Biscuit, has advised and demonstrated how to get RTe clips into a blog and even created a helpful thingy. However as another sage mentioned you link to the RTe content and the people who are trying to watch end up spending most of their time trawling or even skipping and jumping over 30 or 50 minutes to get to the one good bit you wanted them to see. I think the technical term for this good bit is the shot where everything pretty much comes together. That said it is very reminiscent of some other viewing delights that I won't bother to detain you with just now, but I'm a single male and a man has to have some pleasures in life.*

Anyway, my guide below is based on FireFox but the same logic should apply in IE too without any real pain.

First up, RTe store the smil files for their Realplayer content at this default location


And what you really need to highlight the specific point you've decided is important for your viewing public is to find out the number assigned to your particular show. You do this by going to the show on the RTe site and once you're on the page where you could click on the links to open the slip in RealPlayer, you look up the page source from the browser. This is under the View Menu list as Page Source and it will open the generated source code for the webpage in a basic editor. You then need to search for "showplayer" and you will be taken to an area of the code like this
The number after the ? is what you're interested in here (you can also find the number by rolling over the clip link without clicking it. And when the location appears at the bottom of the browser, you could simply note the number with a pencil and paper (but I didn't tell you to bring those at the start so I'm working off you being in a complete machine environment))

You can then open the smil directly by replacing the XXXXX below with the number

and hence save it locally to your hard drive. Once saved, make a copy of the file and open the copy in some basic text editor, (for God's sake don't be opening it in Word or you have all sorts of formatting characters making their home in it)

You then search for the place in the code where the RealPlayer protocol rtsp is invoked. Do this by searching for "rtsp", some example code you may come across below


You can see above quite clearly where the clip-begin and clip-end settings are. Those are the time marks from the beginning of the entire clip and you can change those to be where in the actual clip you want your version of the clip to start and end. Save the file and run it to see if it starts and ends in just the right place and once you've got it nailed, save it. Then the more awkward bit you need to store the smil file itself somewhere on-line so that you can link to it. I put my few files on

* still if your team wins in the end what do you care if the preceding 90 minutes were turgid rubbish broken only by lightening and pitch invasions.

I did this myself back when I was electioning because I wanted to draw attention to some of the inconsistency of the views of a particular government junior minster. On the more general pint, I've finally got that TV card and S-Video cable on order so watch this space for much better video commentary in future. It probably won't be Jon Stewart but what is!

Most of the credit for the tech stuff should really go to Braz. He even had some suggested reading which I promptly ignored. All the same though I've included it here in case you're more sensible than I.

intro -
see plugin sample at


Eoin Brazil said...

Cheers Dan,

I suppose we should really hack something loosely based on the script from JazzBiscuit to actually go and give the old punters a handy solution for what you've outlined so its only the part of the clip they want.

PS: BSG spoiler for next episode

dublinstreams said...

great thanks simple enough really, now for screen grab.

Dan Sullivan said...

Dublinstreams, one of the things that held me/us off posting this was that RTe might just move stuff (they had moved it once before) and we'd have to hunt again.

Darragh said...

Very helpful sir, thanks. Makes me wish I was more techie. Right, off to RTE I go! :)

John said...

Ah - mention of 'old punter' is surely an entree here for this conundrum, one I'd appreciate advice on...
I live in Canada, and have had to continually forage / fooster about for RTE's changing rtsp addresses for streaming RTE 1.
No luck recently, with last one expiring Sept 2008 (rtsp://
Any working address to get back to listening to RTE? Has geoblocking arrived to RTE 1 radio stream...?

Dan Sullivan said...

Do you mean RTe 1 telly, or radio? I think they had some geo blocking in place for the Olympics.

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