Managing Media

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An ever increasing number of people seek to utilize Drupal to build media rich websites. These people seek to develop sites where audio, video or photo publishing by users is commonplace. And while Drupal core does not contain many features that build with these types of media in mind, there are a number of contributed modules that can help turn your Drupal site into a media platform.

Core Features

Drupal core has two key features that assist with the integration of rich media, the Upload module and embedding. The Upload module allows users to attach different types of files to node types of your choosing. This feature allows for very basic integration with media files. There are two limitations that you will deal with when using the upload module. The size of file uploads may be limited by your web host which could limit what types of media you can upload to the site. If you are able to upload the file you want the upload function does not provide any post upload processing (like generating thumbnails for images or converting videos to flash) or embed the media within your posts.

Drupal core also allows you to embed media within nodes that is hosted on other websites. So if you have photos hosted on Flickr or videos hosted on YouTube (or any other site that allows off-site embedding) you can paste the provided embed code into your posts. And you are also free to create a link to the original location of the media in your post. It is important to note that if you wish to embed media from other sites you must have the"Full HTML" input format selected. The standard "Filtered HTML" input format strips out the embed tags for security reasons.

Ü Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically. O Allowed HTMLtags: -ía> -íem> <strong> <cite> -ícode> <ul> <ol> -íli> <dl> <dt> <dd>

□ Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

Input Format Selector

Contributed Features

There are a wide variety of contributed modules that extend the media management capabilities of a Drupal site. This fact often causes a bit of confusion for new users because there are usually multiple ways that you can achieve the same goal. The solution that you choose really depends on your specific needs. I'm going to present you with some of the more basic options for including images, video and audio.


The Image module allows users to upload images directly to either a specific image node type or by attaching to other types of nodes such as blog posts or pages.. This module also handles the task of creating thumbnails for images and assists with the creation of photo galleries. Site builders who want to integrate images into custom content types can use the ImageField module. ImageField only handles the upload of the file and relies on the CCK module mentioned earlier in this guide. The features of ImageField can be extended by adding the ImageCache and ImageField Gallery modules.

If you are a serious image publisher then you might want to consider the Gallery module for your site. The Gallery module embeds the open source Gallery2 software into your Drupal site. Gallery2 is a feature rich photo album and organizer that includes just about any feature required by serious image publishers. While Gallery2 provides a wide variety of features, the implementation requires attention to detail and patience as there are many steps and many settings to be configured. You can see an example of Gallery2 integration with Drupal at http: // drupal gall ery. com.



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Gallery Integration

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Gallery Integration

If you want to learn how to build a custom image gallery in Drupal I recommend that you review the Create an image gallery using only CCK and Views tutorial on


Directly integrating video in a Drupal site (or any type of site for that matter) is a tricky proposition for several reasons. First, video files tend to be larger than other forms of media. So unless your videos are short and small in viewing size you may have problems actually getting them uploaded via the browser on a shared web host. Second, video typically requires more processing on the server side than either audio or images. That means more configuration and additional processing power required if you want to upload in one format (like Apple's QuickTime) and convert to another (like Flash) to simplify viewing in the browser. Adobe Flash is the preferred format for embedding because of its compatibility across web browsers. It is recommended that you consider your specific needs and work with different options to include video on a test site prior to finalizing an approach for integrating video in your Drupal site.

The Video module offers a very simple approach for adding video to your site. This module creates a special video node type which supports the most popular (QuickTime, Windows Media, FLV) online video types. You can either upload a file or link to a file that has already been uploaded to your site. This module automatically embeds the video in the browser window and also provides the option to allow users to download each video. The Video module can also provide very basic statistics by showing the user the number of web plays and number of downloads for each video.

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Video Module Node

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Video Module Node

The Flash Video module provides a set of tools designed to allow Drupal site builders to create a YouTube-like process flow. This module provides support for uploading and embedding of videos while also integrating with a tool called FFMPEG to support conversion of videos to the flash format. Proper use of this module involves a number of detailed steps. Luckily, the module developer has documented the entire process with a multimedia tutorial. Once working this appears to be an excellent flash video solution for Drupal. I recommend giving yourself an ample amount of time to proof the process and get familiarized with the various tools used to implement this video solution.

The FLV Media Player module provides similar features as the FlashVideo module with fewer steps involved. The FLV Media Player module does not manage the conversion of files to flash. Instead it simply provides the ability to display flash videos that are attached to nodes. This module will also display videos via a link provided in a CCK field. Use of this module requires you to download the FLV Media Player which is free for non-commercial use but only requires a small license fee when used for commercial purposes. Also required are the XSPF Playlist module and the SWF Object API module. This method also includes steps that may cause some difficulties for novice Drupal administrators so pre-install planning and experimentation are highly recommended.

In December 2008 a video hosting company called Kaltura released their All-In-One Video Module which, "... handles every aspect of video and rich-media functionalities, including transcoding, uploading and importing content, user management and permissions, hosting and streaming on Kaltura's servers."


The Audio module provides the basic features necessary for publishing audio using the Drupal platform. This contributed module adds a special audio node that contains fields for uploading audio files as well as cover art. This module uses the getID3 library to read and write meta-data information (such as artist, title, track #, etc) to and from the audio files. This module also provides a choice of flash audio players which are automatically embedded in the published node. Additional features provide the ability to provide a download link as well as separate statistics for web based plays and file downloads. More information on the audio module can be found in the Drupal handbook.

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Play Track:

Artist Orange Park Title: Make Up Your Mind Album: Songs From The Unknown Genre: Rock

Length: 3:19 minutes (3.04 MB) Format Stereo 44kHz 123KCps (CBR)

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Audio Module Node with Custom Flash Player

The CCK Extras module contains as special audio field that will convert a link to an audio file to a flash player. The MediaField module allows for inclusion of audio or video in a custom node developed with CCK.

All In One Solutions

The Embedded Media Field module is designed to ease the insertion of audio, video or images from third-party media hosting sites such as Flickr, YouTube and podOmatic. Use of this module eliminates the input format issues related to pasting embed codes into node bodies. This module also allows you to control the list of third-party services that are available when your users are publishing content to your site.

The Asset module adds advanced media management capabilities to a Drupal install. This module includes a wizard that allows you to upload and organize images, audio, video and documents. This module allows for media management separately from nodes. So instead of a file being attached to a specific node, the file becomes an asset available to include in any node you choose. The Asset YouTube feature also provides the ability to import links to videos on a specific YouTube account.

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