Staff Blog

Ogg Theora to Flash Transcoding Live on

For you as a member of EngageMedia things are pretty much the same as before – you can publish your video as usual. But now you can choose to encode your video as Ogg format, using the Theora video codec and the Vorbis audio codec and it will work just like any other video when you upload it.

There is an example of an Ogg Theora/Vorbis video on EngageMedia you can look at here.

From the website…

Q. What is Theora?

Theora is an open video codec being developed by the
Foundation as part of their Ogg project (It is a project that aims to
integrate On2’s VP3
video codec, Ogg Vorbis audio codec
and Ogg multimedia container formats into a multimedia solution that can
compete with MPEG-4 format).

Theora is derived directly
from On2’s VP3 codec; currently the two are nearly identical, varying
only in framing headers, but Theora will diverge and improve from
the main VP3 development lineage as time progresses.

Q. Why use Theora?

It’s open and free. Do you need more reasons?

Q. What other video formats will Theora compete with?

Theora is targeted at competing with MPEG-4 (e.g., XviD and DivX),
RealVideo, Windows Media Video, and similar lower-bitrate video
compression schemes.

Q. What is Ogg? What is Vorbis? What is

Vorbis is an audio codec,
Theora is a video codec. Ogg is the transport layer that both are stored in,
so a video file will be Theora-encoded data inside an Ogg file, while audio
is normally Vorbis-encoded data inside an ogg file.

The Foundation is a
Delaware non-profit company devoted to producing, maintaining and
supporting an open multimedia platform.

Q. What is the license for Theora?

Theora (and all associated technologies released by the
Foundation) is released to the public via a BSD-style license. It is
completely free for commercial or noncommercial use. That means that
commercial developers may independently write Theora software which is
compatible with the specification for no charge and without restrictions of
any kind.

Q. Why the name ‘Theora?’

Like other Foundation codec projects such as Vorbis or Tarkin,
Theora is named after a fictional character. Theora Jones was the name of
Edison Carter’s ‘controller’ on the television series Max Headroom. She was
played by Amanda Pays.

Recommended Ogg Transcoders

Here is a list of software you can use to create Ogg Theora/Vorbis files on your computer:

We recommend the use of these applications to create Ogg files on these platforms:

Mac (Intel OS X): Simple Theora Encoder
Linux: OggConvert
Windows: Gfrontend ffmpeg2theora

All these applications are still in development, so you can expect a bug here or there, but are very simple and easy to use.

Tutorial for Simple Theora Encoder

We published a News Item recently about a new tutorial for Simple Theora Encoder on the website. You can access this tutorial here.

Please contact us to let us know how you go!

The EngageMedia Team


FOSS for Media Makers Workshop at MRC, Adelaide

The Media Resource Centre (MRC) in Adelaide is South Australia’s screen development agency, supporting the work of indepdendent film producers and supports the development of a strong, diverse and innovative screen industry in Australia. The MRC provides entry-level to early-career film and digital media makers with access to production equipment, subsidy programs and advice on all aspects of professional and project development, production and marketing. The MRC manages the Mercury Cinema, which delivers a unique screening program to Adelaide audiences and provides local practitioners with the opportunity to screen their works.

The MRC hosted a workshop conducted by Anna Helme from EngageMedia on FOSS for Media Makers. A range of FOSS tools to cover the production cycle from pre-production, production and post-production through to distribution were covered including both web-applications and desktop software.

These applications included:


  • Firefox – web browser, cross-platform
  • Thunderbird – email client, cross-platform
  • Neo Office (Mac version of Open Office) – office suite of word processor, spreadsheets, database and presentation, cross-platform


  • The GIMP – image editor, cross-platform
  • Audacity – audio editor, cross-platform
  • HyperEngine AV – video editor, Mac-only


  • ffmpegX – video transcoder, Mac-only
  • Sizzle DVD – dvd authoring, Mac-only
  • Burn – DVD/CD burning, Mac-only


  • BitTorrent/Azureus – peer2peer torrent-based file-sharing, cross-platform
  • Miro (Democracy Player) – vodcatcher (video podcast reader) and video player, cross-platform
  • VLC – media player, transcoder and streaming, cross-platform
  • Handbrake – dvd-ripper, cross-platform
  • EngageMedia – video-sharing, web-app

Web Applications

  • MediaWiki – wiki software for collaborative web-publishing
  • WordPress – blog software
  • Drupal – content management system
  • Plone  – content mangement system
  • Plumi – video-sharing application

EngageMedia was very happy to partner with the MRC for this workshop, as MRC shows a forward-thinking approach by investigating new technologies such as broadband distribution and free and open source software for the benefit of its membership.