Serving up random-but-consistent sample videos

Need to serve up some sample images or videos that are apparently random, but remain consistent each time you show them?

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Update: this is also part of the Node.js Video Streamer I made. Though not in PHP, obviously.

I recently uploaded a Video Gallery web app I’d made (demo, code download). Unfortunately I don’t have the real videos and pictures that it was supposed to use, so I thought I’d cut some clips from the silent-but-gorgeous They Call Us Animals music video footage. But the Video Gallery has about 300 different videos in the database, and I really didn’t want to make 900 sample clips (each one in 720p, 480p and 360p). So I made about 10, which seems enough to give a little variety.

But I couldn’t just serve up any video. Using the HTTP pseudostreaming support in JW Player, the site lets users change video sizes while they’re watching, and the player will switch to a different resolution source file if one is available to improve the viewing experience. It looks good, but the effect was rather spoiled when the video selector returned a higher resolution version of a completely different clip.

So I wrote a little PHP script that would serve up an apparently random sample video consistently. Keep reading >