I have been interested in web video for the past five years or so–and those years have seen a huge number of changes, as popular formats have come and gone (remember Real Player?), as YouTube exploded, and as the web as a whole got much, much faster. I have been searching for the ideal way to host student videos from my 331 seminar. Because these videos show secondary students in local schools, they must remain private, accessible only to students in the seminar. They are also quite large (around 500 MB) and can be up to 45 minutes long.

That leaves very few choices for streaming hosts, unless I am willing to pay big dollars. Turns out, I am not. So, I use Viddler, one of the few free services that puts no limit on video length and allows 500 MB per upload. As I’ve blogged here before, Viddler also lets you share video with a limited group–in this case, the students in my 331 seminar.

The problem was, I like to use Ning for the seminar, and I couldn’t get the private Viddler videos to embed and play in the Ning. So, students had to keep checking both Viddler and the course Ning. I like things centralized, so this was a vexing problem. So, here’s the work around (from the Viddler forum), in case you want your students to stream large but private videos from your course Ning. Once you have created a private buddy list in Viddler, you should do the following for each video:

Embedding a private video
1. Enable the secret URL (be sure to save).
2. Copy the normal HTML embed code. (instructions)
3. Copy the secret code at the end of the secret URL.
4. In the HTML append /0/secretcode to the player’s source URL.

Example player URL: http://www.viddler.com/player/6e3bf4a7/0/34304303/
Be sure to edit the URL for both the movie PARAM and the EMBED.

This worked really well for me, though the process is a little time-consuming.