I was recently looking to start a video blog using a video theme for WordPress. Now is a particularly opportune time to start video blogging since WordPress 3.6 introduces a simpler way to add video (and audio) to your posts. Any video you add will be viewable and playable in the WordPress admin edit window on the admin side. You’ll get the most options by using a video post format, but media library videos can be added to normal posts using the short code. WP_Embed and oEmbed have worked great in the past for providers like SoundCloud and YouTube to allow bloggers simple embedding via a URL paste. The difference in WordPress 3.6 is that MP4 video / MP3 audio from your Media Library can be added without installing a plugin.
- If you have an old post that has a video in the Media Library attached to it, then just use the following shortcode to display it:
- If you have the URL for a video (either from the Media Library or from an external source), you can play it using the following:
- [video src="video-file.mp4"]
This is a great step towards making it easier for people to post multimedia to their blogs as they can upload content they recorded with their smartphones and serve it directly without having to search first for a plugin to serve their media files. Additionally, theme developers can leverage new template tags like the_post_format_video() and the_post_format_audio() to retrieve and output the embedded audio and video anywhere on the front end of your site and styled individually.
VideoGrid from Themefuse – Initial Promise Leads to Disappointment
The VideoGrid theme uses the Themefuse Framework (currently at version 2) and looks like a promising WordPress theme for video bloggers. The theme doesn’t work with self hosted videos – only embed codes or YouTube or Vimeo links, and these videos must be public (no private videos). You can test out any of Themefuse’s themes before you buy: simply create a test blog at http://testlabs.themefuse.com and pick your desired theme.
What initially got me excited about this theme was seeing it at lionsandtigers.tv:
That beautiful layout happens automatically if you use a ‘Portfolio’ post, not a regular post.
Go to FuseFramework -> General -> Disable Theme Settings, and activate Activate Portfolio in post.
Then go to Posts -> Categories and set the template to Portfolio. This will then use the Portfolio display for that category.
There is an important difference between Portfolio posts and “Normal” posts in the VideoGrid theme:
If you just use “Normal” posts, then there is no way to have them displayed on the homepage as a “video grid”: the posts just stack one on top of each other like a normal blog.
The only way to have a “video grid” on the home page is to use “Portfolio” posts.
The VideoGrid theme allows customizing the default size of videos by setting it in the FuseFramework -> Posts -> Video size field.
The framework doesn’t resize the videos that you post in post content: the videos that are resized are only the ones from Video field.
To show dates in the actual VideoGrid posts
Copy content-single.php and single.php files in child theme and then in content-single.php file add this code:
Date posted: <?php the_date(); ?>
You would place that code relative to where you would like the date to appear. If you would like it to appear below the title then add it after this code:
<div class="post-title"> <h2><a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2> </div>
If you would like to have it at the end of the post then add after this one:
<?php the_content(); ?> <div class="clear"></div>
Adding Custom CSS to Your ThemeFuse Child Theme
Themefuse’s child themes like VideoGrid can have their own styles separate from the parent theme’s CSS customizations. To declare your own custom CSS, your child theme’s style.css should first import the parent theme’s stylesheet:
/* Theme Name: VideoGrid Child Theme URI: http://themefuse.com/wp-themes-shop/videogrid/ Description: Child theme for the VideoGrid theme. Child themes are the recommended way of making modifications to a theme. <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes">Reade More</a> Author: ThemeFuse Author URI: http://themefuse.com Template: videogrid-parent */ @import url("../videogrid-parent/style.css");
Then you can add your custom CSS after that. Some CSS tweaks you might want to consider for your VideoGrid child theme:
http://themefuse.com/forum/videogrid-wp/some-questions-about-personalize-my-videogrid-theme # hiding social icons / changing mouseover text on sorting icons.
http://themefuse.com/forum/videogrid-wp/make-video-post-preview-display-title-like-image-posts # Use the transparent layer to show title on Video post previews:
To edit the teaser text that is displayed, go to the associated portfolio post and find the content in the Excerpt tab and edit it. If you cannot find the Excerpt tab, on the Post editor, top-right side find the Screen Options button, click it, and check the Excerpt option, and the Excerpt tab will appear.
Drawbacks of Using VideoGrid
• The theme isn’t responsive: http://www.responsinator.com/?url= http://themefuse.com/demo/wp/videogrid/
• Theme documentation is not specific to the theme: http://themefuse.com/wp-docs/videogrid/ – as someone said in the forum, “The theme is great, but there is a huge lack of documentation.”
• There still seems to be a problem w/ Portfolio posts on mobile devices: http://themefuse.com/forum/videogrid-wp/embeded-videos-in-portfolio-not-showing-up-on-iphone.
In fairness, I should note that the problem of Youtube videos not playing for someone viewing your site on iPad/iPhone/Android also plagues many plugins. For example, http://codecanyon.net/item/easyvideo-responsive-video-embeds-shortcodes/ (as well as FlowPlayer and Sublime Video Player) also suffer from the same problem.
• Portfolio posts don’t allow tags. You could create a category within a portfolio template and just use posts, as this will fix both the iPhone/iPad video problem and bring back the use of tags.
But the problem is that they won’t display as a portfolio on the front page if you choose the post format instead of “portfolio”.
• Pre-sale support didn’t respond after my first request, which doesn’t instill confidence that they will give adequate support.
In contrast, Gavin from Obox, who sells the very nice Motion Picture video blogging theme answered all my pre-sale questions. I currently recommend it as a great WordPress video / movie theme, especially since it’s responsive, there are no problems w/ iPads/iPhones and it has a gorgeous viewport for the videos.