Mozilla Launches Rainbow Video and Audio Recording for Firefox 4

Mozilla's new Rainbow developer prototype enables developers to bring video and audio recording to Firefox.

Mozilla Labs has introduced Rainbow, a new developer prototype that brings video and audio recording to Firefox 4.

In an Oct. 28 blog post, Anant Narayanan, an engineer at Mozilla Labs, said Rainbow enables Web developers to access local video and audio recording capabilities using just a few lines of JavaScript.

Narayanan said:

""The add-on generates files encoded in open formats: Theora (for video) and Vorbis (for audio) in an Ogg container. The resulting files are accessible in DOM using HTML5 File APIs, which may be used to upload them to a server. Check out the included example to see how simple it really is!""

He said Mozilla has experimented with audio recording in the browser as part of the Jetpack prototype earlier and wants to revisit the idea. "There have been great strides on video playback recently, but there's still some work to be done before users can create multimedia content for the Web, on the Web," he added.

Mozilla's Rainbow is "pre-alpha" software at this point. And the add-on only works with the Firefox nightly builds on a Mac, Narayanan said. "We're working hard to extend support to Windows, Linux and 64-bit platforms as soon as possible (there are currently no plans to support earlier versions of Firefox)."

Meanwhile, work continues on the project. Narayanan said immediate efforts are focusing on adding support for Windows and Linux, allowing live streaming of video feeds, implementing a robust permissions mechanism, supporting WebM/VP8 video encoding as an alternative to Ogg/Theora, and making Rainbow a "'restartless' add-on" so users can get going instantly.

At its Google I/O conference in May, Google and partners announced support for the VP8 codec and the WebM project. WebM is a multimedia container format designed to provide a royalty-free, high-quality open video compression format for use with HTML5 video. The project's development is sponsored by Google. A WebM file consists of VP8 video and Vorbis audio streams, in a container based on a profile of the Matroska multimedia container. The WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the Web that is freely available to everyone. The WebM launch is supported by Mozilla, Opera, Adobe, Google and more than 40 other publishers, and software and hardware vendors.