Gary Kahn and his crew at Zeitbyte Digital Media have been creating custom video players for the four years the company has been around. Now they can do it even easier with their own player, the ZeitCaster.
Zeitbyte is a media services company that shoots, edits, hosts, and streams video. While the company is based in New York City, it works with clients around the country. Jobs often involve creating custom video players for clients, and so Zeitbyte often modifies the JW Player or other available players. Since Zeitbyte’s work typically isn’t ad-based, says Kahn, making other players fit its needs has always been a struggle.
That’s why Zeitbyte decided to create its own player. The first version of the ZeitCaster was released last month. Created from scratch, this Flash-based player was built to serve the company’s needs, including being optimized for Zeitbyte’s content management system (CMS). The player also lets editors add metadata to each piece of stored data.
“It gives us a better base to build off of,” says Kahn.
Advanced features of the player include the ability to combine a chat room or a catalog with a webcast. Zeitbyte used a prototype of the ZeitCaster earlier this year at the Women’s Nobel Initiative, where women who had won the Nobel Prize spoke out about human rights abuses in Burma. The broadcast was challenging, as it involved combining English and Burmese language channels, but the ZeitCaster was able to pull all the elements together.
The new player is already getting an upgrade. Later this week Zeitbyte will release ZeitCaster 2.0
The highlight of this version is the ability to add multiple bitrate videos and create playlists out of them. The challenge of multiple bitrate videos, says Kahn, is not repeating information for each version of a stored video. It should only show up once in a playlist. Metadata is stored in the Zeitbyte CMS, then pulled out and organized as needed.
ZeitCaster is ideal for multi-day events, says Kahn. He’s hoping to use it with auction clients, who could show an auction catalog next to a live stream, or fashion clients, who could integrate polls or chat rooms next to videos.
The latest Zeitcaster will be available this week for Zeitbyte clients. Zeitbyte will also sell the player for customers that want to host it on their own sites.