Clip-Creation in Flash Player is Back!

Hey Everyone,

Tuesdays are rarely very fun or exciting. Well, we’ve decided to change all that by letting you know that we released an update to our flash player today, and among other things, it restores the custom-clip creation feature to the player.

yes-Clint-Eastwood

Sure, Clint’s playing it cool, but here at VB HQ we are pretty stoked about it. Oh, and did I mention that every single scene on the site has been available for custom clipping since the beginning of March? Maybe you already knew that?

This release also re-enables the “HQ” button on the player, so you can manually choose between higher and lower-res streams, which is especially nice for HD scenes if you’ve got the bandwidth.

FUCK-YEAH

We also have drastic performance improvements to the flow mode player underway now, so you should see that work hit the site shortly. I have some other cool news to announce soon as well, but let’s not blow our whole load on a Tuesday, right?

Enjoy,
Bob and The VB Team

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29 Responses to “Clip-Creation in Flash Player is Back!”

  1. Jode Says:

    Awesome. Thanks Dudes!

  2. rajmahalwow Says:

    Just wanted to point out again that streaming on this site is still unusable since January. Still am not able to get a video to buffer/load all the way through, and having multiple videos buffering at once will cause the Shockwave Flash Player browser plugin to crash. I know other users are experiencing identical issues. It is not browser-specific, but this is the only site I can recreate the issue on.

  3. Bob Says:

    @rajmahalwow: the latest player update is quite different from the one we had up previously. Scenes will not automatically buffer all the way to the end as they did in the past, because you can scrub forward or click to jump around the timeline and the response is very snappy. This was a trade-off we made to avoid excess memory utilization that would frequently crash the player when we rolled out full-scene buffering. As for playing numerous videos at once, can you email our customer support team via the contact form and tell us more about what videos you are playing and in how many separate tabs? If there is a bug or performance issue with this updated player, we would love your help identifying and resolving it. Thanks!

  4. Hawkwing Says:

    Well this issue has gone from rude to open warfare… I am talking about the VB refusal to post updated information on failed download files. Lost the license, fine, just post it and the issue goes away. Technical problems, post a probable fix date. Not interested, just note that the issue is being looked at. If I have to guess… I’ll guess that you aren’t concerned about your revenue stream.

  5. Bob Says:

    @Hawkwing: I’m sorry you think we’re having “open warfare”… that couldn’t be further from the truth as far as I and the rest of the team here are concerned. Here’s the thing about failed downloads: there is such a huge variety of possible reasons that any given download fails, from momentary database errors to CDN connectivity failures to user error to users’ ISPs having connectivity failures or throttling bandwidth to file corruption that could come about while files are transferred to our video servers… it is impossible to offer a single solution that will cover every issue. That is why we consistently ask users to submit the contact us form to get issues resolved — it gives us the ability to determine if an issue is global or individual and then address it accordingly. As for license expirations: they are numerous and complicated (we have over 100,000 scenes on the site!), and often in flux, and we are a very small team. We prioritize our resources so we can give you the best bang for your buck, and unfortunately we can’t find a good business case for employing someone just to keep all the possible licensing situations updated for our customers. I ask you to consider that none of our adult-video competitors does this, nor do any of the major mainstream players: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu Plus… not a one of them lists when a title is going on or off their sites, and I assume it’s for the same reasons as ours. In my experience, we remove content from our site FAR less often than any of those sites do.

    In closing, let me reiterate that we all care very much about our revenue stream. The single source of all of our revenue is you, our members. That’s why I frequently say on the blog how sorry I am that I cannot make every single one of our members happy. I have to settle for doing the best job I can sorting through a giant pile of challenging issues and making as many of you happy as I am able. If you have an issue with a video, please email us via our contact form and our excellent support staff will do their very best to make you happy. Cheers and thank you for taking the time to post feedback!

  6. Dilla Says:

    There are at least 2 problems with you flash streaming and clip making interface.

    1) Unlike the old VB2 scene creation, there are no thumbnails showing you exactly where you are starting and ending your clip creation.

    2) Most times when clicking a thumbnail from the main “Scenes” view, and attempting to start streaming mid-way through a scene, it does not work. The only way to get a stream to work most of the time is to click the scene title itself (EX: the part that says “All Internal 16, Scene 2”), then click the “Play Scene” button to start the scene from the very beginning. I have the latest flash version, and latest Firefox, but I’m sure I’m the problem and not your site.

    To be honest, why am I wasting more time telling you what errors and problems are present on your site? You ignore all emails sent to support. And you delete/close comments when you don’t like what you’re hearing when we tell you what’s wrong with the site here on your blog. I really don’t understand what you are trying to do here. Do you really want feedback and an understanding of what your customers want? Or do you just want to maintain the appearance of caring?

    Just leave a message that says “All negative comments will be removed” next to the “Submit Comment” button and at least I would give you kudos for being transparent.

  7. Dilla Says:

    I do have to give you guys credit at spinning and working your angles whenever necessary, like this part:

    “This release also re-enables the “HQ” button on the player, so you can manually choose between higher and lower-res streams, which is especially nice for HD scenes if you’ve got the bandwidth. ”

    Well, the HQ button ONLY works for HD files, which is presently available for only 13k of the 109k scenes. You spun this as “especially nice for HD scenes” when in fact its “only available for HD scenes”. Your HQ button which was available for all scenes before March 1st, is still grayed out on 92% of your scenes.

    ETA for HQ button available for all scenes again: Never.

  8. Bob Says:

    @Dilla: I will reply to your points in order…

    1) I’m sorry you don’t like the flash clip-creation on VB3. It’s been different from VB2 since launch, and we feel that when you’re dragging the handles to settle on the start and end times, the scrubbing gives you better granularity than the thumbnails approach, since dragging the handles enables you to hit points in between the intervals of those thumbnails.

    2) We cannot reproduce the issue you are describing here. You say “most” times… can you email some more names of scenes (or even better, links to scenes) that are not working for you, using the Contact Us form on the site? There may be an issue with deliverability to you in particular, or problems with some scenes. Would be great to get that info from you so we can help you out. Which dovetails into the next point…

    3) I can say with certainty that we do not ignore emails sent to support. I personally receive the customer-support emails in my inbox along with our support staff, and I regularly monitor the responses sent out (I even write them myself sometimes!). If you are not getting replies back, be sure to check your spam and/or junk folders, and feel free to post here with the text from a missing email so I can check for it in the system and make sure there’s not an issue either getting it or responding to it. It is also possible that your ISP is blocking our domain (some ISPs are really aggressive about blocking anything that comes from a porn site). Let’s try to rule other things out first, and deal with that last possibility only if we must.

    4) I maintain the blog posts and comments, and I do not delete comments unless they are extremely egregious (outright lies or false accusations, spam, abusive language with no real point, etc) or, as was the case recently, they were added to posts that were supposed to be used only to supply static content to the Support section of our site. WordPress went insane recently and “unhid” several posts, and added the ability to comment on them, and I cleaned that up when I found them. Sorry for the misunderstanding there. I think if you spend a few minutes looking at other posts on this blog, you will find plenty of negative comments. So yes, we want feedback and an understanding, and — just as a reminder — the best, fastest way to get concrete assistance with issues is not by posting a comment on this blog, it is by sending us an email using our Contact Us form. Obviously, if there is a disconnect there though, we need to know and will fix it ASAP.

  9. Bob Says:

    @Dilla: you posted again while I was typing my response. Regarding the HQ button, when we updated the player on 1/30 or thereabouts, the HQ button was not functional because we had switched to adaptive-bitrate streams which were supposed to provide the highest-quality stream for your bandwidth. We were not thrilled with the performance of those streams and we weren’t able to get clipping to work properly with them, so we went back to the drawing board. As of this recent release, the HQ button once again toggles the ability to view a standard MP4 or an HD MP4 if one was available. The player never allowed a user to view the MP4 Small (iPhone/Android-optimized version) before, only the MP4 Large or the HD MP4, and so it doesn’t now either. I apologize if you felt misled by my choice of words, or if the player functionality was unclear, but my intention was certainly not to “spin” things, just to point out that there’s a cool benefit to the new player if a scene is in HD. Hopefully that clears things up for you and anyone else who might be reading this. Cheers —

  10. Dilla Says:

    Bob, you or your staff have not responded to emails sent from your contact form from me. I’ve simply stopped sending them now. Your reply right here is maybe the second time I’ve ever heard a response back from anyone who runs this website, and the other time or times was also via this blog. Over the years I might have used that form 8-10 times to report various problems or ask questions. What I’ve deduced is that unless the problem I am having is relevant to the overall functionality and affects every single page, or pertains to a video uploaded in the last 24 hours, it doesn’t seem to matter to your staff. If there a badly encoded video you uploaded 6 months ago, too bad for me I guess. Unless my thumbnail seeking problem occurs on 100% of the links I click, maybe you guys just chalk it up to a problem on my end and don’t feel the need to respond. Anyway I’m done trying anything else now. Your recent changes to drop your highest bitrate for most of your videos, while offering no substitute has finally pushed me away for good, so it doesn’t matter anymore. Also, Bob, I’ve used this site on and off for years, and every single scene I can remember watching had an HQ button on it that most likely defaulted to the WMV High file for the stream if there was no MP4 HD. With the recent deletion of WMV files (which was your highest bitrate for all non-HD videos), all but the 13k HD videos you have will now have a grayed out HQ button, when that wasn’t the case before. But I’m sure I’m just mistaken and was imagining the HQ button. Anyhow thanks for your time.

  11. Dilla Says:

    Also, Bob, I’m still not sure if you are April Fools pranking or not. The blog post “Where are the WMV files?” had purely feedback from around 20 unsatisfied customers and the comments were soon closed to keep them from adding up. Now you are telling me it was because of a site error? Truly, and honestly, good luck. I don’t mean that in a patronizing way at all. I’m still thankful to you guys for providing excellent service for many years. I still hold out hope that 3-4 years from now you figure it out again and survive the competition to get back on track so I can return someday.

  12. Bob Says:

    @Dilla: I’m sorry to hear you have given up trying to troubleshoot receiving our Customer Service emails, and that you seem to have attached some motive on our part to something that could be a technical issue. My offer to you to post here with the text from a missing email so I can check for it in the system, and to stick with it until we get it sorted out, still stands; so, if you change your mind let me know. Just be aware I will be out of town from tonight until April 14th, but you can email our support address (support @ videobox.com) if you want to pursue that with them directly.

    I don’t like to lose any member, so I’m very sorry to hear you say you feel pushed away. We have recently increased the bitrate on new MP4s, so I’d ask that you and anyone else who is thinking of departing stick around and see if the improvements we have made (and continue to make) change your mind.

    Just one last point of clarity on the HQ button: we have never streamed WMV in our player; it has always been MP4. Our decision to stop offering the WMV format for downloads has had no effect on the streaming player whatsoever. For a brief time earlier this year, the button was still there but did nothing; now, it once again toggles between SD and HD MP4s, hence my mention of that above.

    Lastly, here is the page that the “Where are the WMV files?” blog post powers: http://www.videobox.com/wmv-removal. We had to upgrade and relocate our ancient WordPress installation as part of the cloud migration, and I assume the glitch that un-hid the post from the main blog and re-enabled the comments happened as part of that process, but nobody here is certain. Once it was discovered it was reset. All I can do is tell you the truth about what happens here; I can’t make you believe it. So, if you want to interpret the facts as an April Fool’s joke, I’m not sure there’s anything else to be said, other than to reiterate that I don’t delete negative comments solely because they are negative. I truly hope we have not lost your business (or that of anyone else reading this) and that you will give us a chance to retain it by reaching out to our support team with your specific issues. Have a Happy Easter and talk to you after the 14th!

  13. anon Says:

    Should let users make corrections to the database. Knowledgeable and trusted users like BenMar should get moderate editing privileges and most other users limited privileges. Something like wikipedia.

  14. anon Says:

    for example, someone posts in the comments section that this is actually Hannah Harper and not so and so. Enough voters click on “thumbs up” and an trusted user can then correct it.

  15. Rob Massey Says:

    Who cares if you upped the bit rate on the newer MP4s. For the most part anything non hd look like craps and their is a huge quality difference between the WMVs you removed an the MP4s. is either cropped 640×480 instead of 720×480. The bit rate is so low they are unwatchable on anything other than a phone.

  16. Bx Says:

    They may have upped the bitrate on some new MP4s but not on all of them. However they still use 7 years old crappy software to encode them. They really should update their x264 encoder to a more up to date version. They also should do some quality control before releasing them. I realise VideoBox can’t watch every second of every clip and are depended on what they get from the studios but a fucked up aspect ratio should, in most cases, be easy to spot and fix
    Videobox should also consider to use variabel bitrate MP4s for downloading instead of a fixed bitrate

  17. Jeff Says:

    You could reward people that can help you refine the scenes’ tags and correctly identify the performer names. You could implement a point system that will go towards crediting helpful users who are knowledgeable with a subsription extension. With some many users why not take advantage of the vast amounts of porn knowledge?

  18. Rob Massey Says:

    The WMV version of 100% strap on scene 1 has a total bit rate of 4,863 with a ratio of 720×480 while the mp4 version of 100% strap on scene one has a total bit rate of 1,199 with a ratio of 640×480. You are offering vastly inferior versions of the videos with no reduction in subscription price. Your removal of the high quality WMVs was short sighted and will be the reason your sire eventually closes down.

  19. Yerobe Says:

    Quality now is similar to tube sites…great collection for nothing.

  20. Yerobe Says:

    A lot of scenes are missing or it isnt complete in mp4 format.

  21. anon Says:

    agree with Jeff up there. also it might encourage more commenting for each scene. there should be like a 4 or 5 day period where the VB users submit corrections and get points or whatever. Still VB is the best value by far as the only competitor im aware of (…..sz dot c0m) has ~3,000 less movies and charges about twice as much per month or quarterly, half yearly etc. I don’t know if their video quality is better though, maybe it is. VB for as low as $8/month is a hell of a deal.

  22. vbc666 Says:

    Has anyone else encountered the below problems with custom clips? Has anyone found a better way to deal with them?
    —- The Basic Problem —-
    The “Custom Download” of scenes appears to have significant problems. After clicking a start and end frame, attempting to download the cropped file fails. I have found two ways to get around this with *most* scenes having this problem.
    —- 1: General Fix —-
    Choose a short clip of part of the scene near the beginning (10 or so frames in length). Attempt download. If it fails, choose a different short clip a little farther on. Attempt download. If that fails, continue process with short clips further into the scene, until the download works. Then choose your desired clip and download. This *almost* always works, given enough attempts.
    —- 2: Stuck Generation Fix —-
    In some instances, the custom clip won’t work because “Please stand by. Generating custom clip…” will display indefinitely without ever showing the download buttoms. There are two versions of this problem, and only one is correctable:
    —- 2A: Stuck Generation Fix —-
    If the generation message stays in the usual place (aligned to the right side of the page), then reload the page and follow the “General Fix” process. This *almost* always works, eventually.
    —- 2B: Uncorrectable Generation Error —-
    If the generation message drops down and becomes aligned to the left side of the page, I have found no way to get it back into proper working order. The only way to get a custom clip is to download the full file and do it yourself with third party software.
    —- Conclusion —-
    It looks like something about the custom clip generation code is buggy. Perhaps it has to do with less popular scenes that have not been accessed yet since the cloud-redesign of the site. Are the clips generated on the fly? If so, VB probably needs to audit that code.

    I’ve been dealing with this problem for nearly four months, and it has been quite a lot of trouble. I love VB, but I’ve been seriously questioning renewing my annual subscription when it comes due next month. I haven’t submitted a request for compensation because this trouble still hasn’t been resolved. I wanted to report it direct to Bob on the last post, but again, the comments had already closed.

  23. Brandon Says:

    Sounds like I’m not the only one with this problem, could someone comment on why my videos no longer load? The timing corresponds perfectly with the move to the cloud server, something is wrong and it sounds like its on the VB side not the customers, loading is extremely slow now if it loads at all, it is simply unusable now when browsing scenes on a ROKU. Any suggestions? Any help from other members or even VB would be greatly appreciated as right now this service isn’t worth even a $1 a month.

  24. Gemadness Says:

    Nothing is loading today, this is nuts.

  25. Bob Says:

    All, I just got back to town and had a chance to look at these recent comments. Here is a quick general response to each of the “themes” I am seeing above:

    Comments closed on blog posts: we leave the WordPress default settings on, which closes posts for comments after they are 30 days old. Not looking to prevent comments, just keeping things fresh and assuming WP set that up for a reason.

    Content info updating: I like this suggestion. Our content management system is proprietary, homegrown and finicky, so we would need to replace it before we could feasibly implement such a thing, but we have discussed similar possibilities in the past as well. This remains on the “wish list” for now, and thank you for the ideas you’ve offered.

    Any and all of you who are having issues (@Yerobe, @Brandon, @Gemadness), I am really sorry you are having trouble. Please send us an email with details via our Contact form, and keep an eye on your spam/junk folders for replies. If you don’t see anything within 48 hours, post here and point me to your message.

    The quality, bitrate, size and encoding approach for our MP4s is something we are actively improving right now. We’ll keep you posted on this when we have info worth sharing; for now, it is an ongoing process.

    @vbc666: thank you for writing. I don’t think the majority of users are experiencing problems with *most* scenes, as you are, but this sounds awful and I want to get you some help. I have lots of questions for you, starting with: can you send some example urls or names of scenes that are giving you each kind of trouble you listed? And, are you talking about the flash-player’s clip creation functionality, or the “custom download” page, or both? We do not want to lose your business and will be happy to get in there with you and get this resolved. Email via the Contact form is ideal, but if you provide your VB username (or confirm that it is vbc666) I can have a team member reach out to you directly. Let us know.

  26. anon_222 Says:

    there should be a “submit corrections” button for each movie and perhaps each scene. For example the movie called “Serial Sex”, located here:

    http://www.videobox.com/movie-details?contentId=93753676&isHD=false

    is actually Private’s Superfuckers 11. Instead of going to a contact form, it will be much easier to just click on a corrections button on the same page to help VB tidy up and fix the database. The subscribers are willing to help if you just trust us a little bit.

  27. Bob Says:

    @anon_222: we had a feature like this on VB2, and we are looking into bringing it back as part of the redesign now in progress. It would not tie directly into the database, but would be handier for submissions, as you said. I know this kind of feature might sound like a quick/easy thing to add, but it’s a lot more complicated than it seems. And, enabling direct access to our database is too risky, not because we don’t trust our subscribers but because it potentially opens our database up to hackers who might not have the best of intentions. Anyway, cheers and thanks for the feedback.

  28. DCNow Says:

    Bob

    I’ve emailed your support staff but only received a generic “check our faqs” reply.

    What’s with the terrible video quality? It’s been months, and I”m trying to hang in there with you guys, but the quality is so bad that the free sites look BETTER than Videobox?

    Why should we continue to pay for bad service?

    Can you provide an update and a timeline for when quality will improve… or not improve?

    Thanks
    DC

  29. Bob Says:

    @DCNow: please note that we send an automatic reply to ALL emails submitted to us via our Contact Us form, just to let the person submitting the form know that their submission was received and will be viewed by a human as soon as possible. In your case, you submitted a “feedback” email, and the auto-reply for those does not promise a future response from our Customer Support team because we often get emails sent to that address like “I love your site! Thanks!” and “I hate you all! Boo!” and in neither case is a response really being requested or warranted. “Feedback” submissions may also be read later than “bug report” or “billing issue” submissions if we are receiving a lot of emails, for reasons I assume are obvious. If you have a question that does not fit in well with the default subject lines and want to ensure an answer, I recommend submitting the form with “Other Questions” selected as the subject. Otherwise, someone will read your message and respond as soon as they can. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

    Now on to your actual question: “what’s with the terrible video quality?” Hopefully you can see that this is a hard question for us to answer. There are a great many videos on our site that I believe have terrific video quality, and with 109,413 full scenes to choose from as of this writing, I’m willing to bet you can find a few decent ones. 🙂 But in all seriousness, can you be more specific? What videos are you talking about? And, do you mean that they do not appeal to your taste in porn, or that the quality of the audio and video are poor in your opinion? It is difficult to provide a timeline to you when I’m not sure what you want us to address, but I hope you will explain further and allow us to do our best to make you a happy subscriber once more.

    My response to your other question, “Why should we continue to pay for bad service?” is similar: please help us understand what you feel is bad about our service, and we will address that to the best of our ability. I’ll also answer a different question: “Why should we continue to pay for VideoBox?” To me, the answer is simple: VideoBox offers the lowest price for the biggest porn library of any subscription-only website in the world. We add 5 new videos to that library, every single day of the year, for that same low price, so even if you don’t like all 5 additions, it is extremely rare that there is not at least one scene added to the site every single day that a vast majority of porn enthusiasts will find to be hot and exciting. We are proud of our catalog, our features and the value we offer. I am truly sorry if you are not, but if you have specific requests that would help change that feeling for you, let us know. Thanks!