Monday, May 31, 2010

Problem With Comments - Blog Changes

Hiya. For those of you that have visited before there has been a change in the template. I'm testing out a template or two. I'm a lefty but sometimes you have to adapt to the natural position.

I'm talking about hands folks, not politics. Until I can figure out what the problem is with folks not being able to leave comments (and I do love getting comments, by the way) I have flipped back to a traditional Blogger template.

Hopefully switching back to a traditional Blogger template will resolve the problem for now. So if you are trying to leave a comment it should be ok.

I do want a different look but I've got to learn about CSS before I can tackle what the actual problem is and how to fix it.

If you can't leave a comment please send me an email to let me know and I'll pull out a sledge hammer or something.

Thanks.

Audio Sound Formats to Consider For Your Video

There are all kinds of computer audio files. This is a quick look at audio formats that are available and can be potentially used in your video editing program.

Yep, I said potentially because you have to look at your specific software to determine if it will accept a certain audio file.


Audacity File Menu Export Screen

Great Sound but Big Honking Huge Files

.wav and .aff audio files if prepared properly have great sound. .wav sound files is almost universally accepted in most video editing programs and computer operating systems. .aff is the MacOS version.

If you have a Mac or use Linux there shouldn't be a problem on importing .wav files into your video editing program.

Uncompressed files have great sound. That is the upside, the downside is to get that sound quality it keeps all of the data associated with the original music source.

This can result in a very large file on your computer. Record a bunch of .wav files and you will tap out even a 1GB drive quickly.

Good Sound but Smaller Files


.mp3 audio files are a compressed audio file format. This means that some of the duplicate data of the original music source was omitted. Think of it like freeze dried coffee; only the essential information necessary to maintain the source sound is retained.

.mp3 audio files are are smaller file size than .wav files. You can have thousands of them before your drive hits tilt. Doesn't mean that you should have thousands of songs or audio files.

The sound quality? If you are an audiophile you would find .mp3 audio unacceptable. Most of us are not that attuned to music or sound sources. Unless it is a really bad recording we are not going to notice.

For voice recordings it is not a big deal. Music added as an accent or theme music, still not a big deal. For music based videos it is a consideration because you will not get the full richness of the original source. You have to decided which audio format will best meet your needs.

Why Do I Need to Know This?


If you are converting audio from an analog source such as an LP album or CD the software program you are using may give you a choice of digital formats. Transferring the audio into a .wav format for video editing purposes would give you a better sound quality.

If you are using a digital recorder or an mp3 player that is capable of recording audio then you might be locked into the sound format of that device. Make sure that the sound format is compatible with your video editing program or that you have a means to covert the audio file.

Resources


  • Audacity is a free/open source sound editing program for Window, Mac and Linux OS.
  • Myna is an online sound editing program; you upload the audio file and then perform edits in an browser window.
  • If you would like to dive deeper into the wonderful world of computer audio formats then you might like to visit WikiRecording

A Peek Over the Fence - OpenIndie

I like to wander around the joint. It is how I find out what other groups are doing and thinking. The independent filmmaking community is not having an easy time of it but some of them of the do it yourself persuasion are exploring ways to get their product to people like me who want to see a film.

A movie that makes me laugh, think or moves me to action beyond leaving the theater. This video is a call to action and a proposal to do something other than gripe.



OpenIndie is proposing that we as the audience can have a role in finding and presenting films of interest. We can host them in our homes or in community centers. Independent theaters that are not tied to chains can get in on the action too.

Bypass the studios and the distributors who block local and original filmmakers. You say you want better films? Then go over to OpenIndie or read up at the OpenIndie blog to check out the action. Contribute if you can. Be the change.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Epic-Fu - 3D in 3 Minutes

Epic-Fu is is a series that has gone through many incarnations and all of them great. In this current version they look at technology and culture and ask questions. This question is about 3D and is it important for the viability of video/cinema?


Another question I would ask is what are people really looking for? Maybe it is not the experience of 3D but of a rich dimensional life.

Which many folks could have but don't know it. Ah the questions that produce irritating potential answers. Visit Epic-Fu 's site for more goodness or check out their YouTube channel.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Unlisted Privacy Level In YouTube

There is a new privacy level of distributing videos in YouTube. Previously you have a choice of inviting a maximum of 25 people who could see the video or public distribution.

There is now the option of setting the video privacy level to unlisted.

YouTube Privacy Levels
This means that the video will not appear in the public streams or on your YouTube channel. Only the people you send the link to will be able to see the video.

This is good news/bad news kind of deal. The good news is that you are no longer limited to 25 people. If there is a group of folks that you want to view the video this is a good thing.

The bad news is that if you have a stinker in the group and if they post the link then other people will be able to access the video. This does not bode well for teenage girls of shifting alliances.

In other words, you do have to know and trust the person.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Philips GoGear Cam MP3 Player Video

I can explain. See, I was walking around Target. It happens that I was oogling the Kodak Zi8 again. $179 and it could be mine.

I can't lie, I miss high-def video. I loved that I could take good quality photos with my gone and lamented Kodak Zi6. The thing is I just bought a really good standard definition camcorder.

My own house rules dictate that I am not allowed to purchase another camcorder for 9 months or so. Which I have violated twice this year on crappy under $100 camcorders. It was for the blog true, but I don't need another camcorder.



I'm walking away from the Kodak Zi8 trying to justify buying it. I turn the corner and see this mp3 player with video camera. I try to check it out but it is locked. Hmm, anti-thief device.

I walk around the store and find inexpensive 4GB SD cards. I pick one up. I sigh. I know what I am about to do. I look at the Kodak and buy the Philips GoGear.

This is a test of the GoGear's video quality. It ain't that bad. It isn't great but I don't need great. I need something that I can use without worrying that I'm going to bang it to death in my purse. I got a padded sock for this rascal.


Philips GoGear MP3 Player with Camera

The specs are basic:
  • Video format is the Mpeg 4 in a .avi container. This means I don't have to convert. I can pop it into 97.3% of video editing program without a problem.
  • Microphone for mono recording. That is with video or without if I want to dictate notes to myself.
  • Recording time is about two hours or when the battery dies. The good news is that it is not a proprietary power cord like the Zune or the Sansa Fuze. I have a plug that can recharge USB so I'm good to go anyplace any time.
  • Can shoot still images.
So yeah. I'm good. As a friend put it I might have a shoe problem only with cameras and camcorders.

I can live with it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jan van der Meer with Small Cameras and Tripods

Jan van der Meer has got skills. He could easily say that he has no need to touch small camcorders. But he does.

This is a demonstration of what you can do with a small point and shoot camcorder, a monopod and a tripod. Plus there is a horse or a pony. I can't tell one from the other.

TIPS lightweight tripods with small cams. from Jan van der Meer on Vimeo.

Jan also demonstrates how to use monopods and tripods to add to the visual composition of shooting video. For more of Jan's work visit his Vimeo channel or check out his web site at Global DVC.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Project 1 - Exporting the Video Demonstration

This is an example of exporting the video out of Serif MoviePlus X3. There are multiple options such as to DVD, Record back to a camcorder or to a YouTube format. Not all video editing programs have the same options.



This is just a demonstration of how one video editing program handles the task.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Project 1 - Refining the Edit

It is Monday again? Time for another segment of Project 1. In this video, I've refine the project by ditching stuff that does not work. More cuts, combining elements and stuff like that.



Editing a video or movie is an art form. You can get technical or flow to your own beat but an awareness of how to compose visually is definitely a good thing.

Here are a few serendipitous resources:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quick Look at Kdenlive - Linux and MacOS Free Video Editor

Kdenlive is a free open source video editor for those on the Linux or BSD operating systems. Cruising through the web site there is a port for MacOS people.

kdenlive video editor
Kdenlive is designed to fill the gap between the seriously geeky Linux/ video editing options and a simple video editing program. The main screen is very similar to some of the basic video editing programs on other operating systems.

This is NixiePixel showing a brief demonstration of how to use Kdenlive:



In the video NixiePixel said that it was equivalent to Sony Vegas, I haven't used the program but I can see that it has multiple tracks and there were options for a lot of effects.

Will It Work On A Netbook?

That would be a Linux netbook that runs Ubuntu or other Linux distribution You Windows uses beat it - you have other options. These are the specs from the web site:
  • 32bits or 64bits computers with a modern Processor (AMD64 or Intel mono/dual core systems)
  • A fast hard disc with more that 20Gb of free disc space
  • A firewire interface for camcorder capture.
  • At least 1Gb of RAM.
  • Screen size : 1024x768 or more.
Now there are very few Fireware/1344 based netbooks so don't worry about that, I don't think they have updated the specs in a while.

You should be able to import video via the SD card slot or connecting to the camcorder by the USB ports.

Here is the thing, I'm not sure Atom processors can handle light video editing let alone heavy duty crunching.

I have a Ubuntu netbook and the few times I tried it with other editing software was not pretty. It hung, crashed and just didn't function. I've just updated to the latest Ubuntu Remix so I will see if there is hope.

Anyway, this is an option for those wanting to be free of the man and wanting a functional free video editing program.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Project 1 - Cuts and Splits

This is a demonstration of how to do a cut, which is to remove a segment of a video and and a split which is to separate a video into two sections. I'm saying this upfront because I didn't make it as clear as I should have in the video.



For real, it is a learning process on how to give instructions and demonstrations. I'm am going to finish this come hell or seismic disturbance. I belong to an on-line group about screencasting.

I've learned that you have to put it out there at some point. This is my point in time. You have to make the first video. And the second and more videos after that. You have to move past the inner critic and just do it.

Yes, there are junior high school students making better tutorial videos on YouTube than I am. But I'm gaining on them bit by bit.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CNet's Look at the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Do you have to carry two photo recording devices? I carry a small camcorder much of the time I wind up using it to taking reference photos or web level photos. It isn't worth it to print out the lower resolution photos.

Truth be told the only camcorder that I had that took good snaps and video was my beloved Kodak Zi6.

Sniff, I still miss it.



This is Lori Grunin of CNet talking about the Sony Alpha NEX-5. She gives as many reasons to consider the camera as to reject it. I try very hard not to do first generation anything but I am intrigued that the lens is much bigger than the body.

With the airlines getting increasingly dippy about charging for luggage I think a lot of people are looking for ways to streamline what they take on board. A good quality point & shoot camera with HD video might be the way to go.

Not saying this camera is it but file it in the memory bank for future reference.

A Video By Matthew Brown - Horizons

I learned about this video from the Yahoo Videobloggers Group. Inexpensive camcorder, a Canon HV30/40, Sony Vegas and a whole bunch of talent. This is by filmmaker Matthew Brown.



It isn't always the tools. It is what you can do with what you have that can make a profound difference. You own it to yourself to soak up as much as you can at Matthew Brown's YouTube Channel.

Project 1 - Adding A Title to Timeline

In this short video tutorial is an example of how to add a video track and how to add a title.


In Serif MoviePlus X3 you can add another video track or use an exiting one. That isn't necessarily true for all video editing programs.

Some of the video editing software have dedicated title tracks that can only contain a title. The more basic a video editing program the more likely it may have a dedicated title track.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Project 1 - Adding Content to the Timeline

Plowing along the path to enlightenment and it hurts. Especially my rump. In this very short video is a demonstration of how to add video and other content to the editing timeline.



Although I am using Serif MoviePlus X3 this method is common to almost all of the video editing programs. You do have to know how to find a file and locate a file folder.

Most video editing programs do walk you through the process.

Quick Video Help Links for Nerds Eye View Folks

If you wandered over from Pam's Nerds Eye View, Howdy! I've put together a quick links for some of the questions that were asked. Other questions I'll write up more detailed answers or find other folks that can answer the question better.

Buying Camcorders:

I have a number of posts about buying camcorders depending of use, need and budget. There are camcorders for Talking Head, Just In Case, Advocacy/Citizen Journalism, Event and Special Occasions and places to use for researching digital camcorder purchases.

Free Video Editing Software
:

Yeah. I know. For folks new to video editing really Windows Movie Maker 2 or Windows Live Movie Maker on the PC and iMovie on the Mac are the most easiest to use. They are not perfect but can perform basic movie editing.

There are inexpensive alternatives that don't bust the budget but help you compose your video.

There are other free programs like VirtualDub and ZS4 Video Editing Software for Mac, PC and Linux users but they are for the more geek inclined person. Thee are also online editing options; I can research those later but a lot of the free online editing services have disappeared.

Help and Assistance:

Certainly your should dive into the tutorial videos at FreeVlog Make InternetTV is also a good resource. Almost forgot, Video WTF is very open to video questions and assistance.

There were a lot of great questions that were asked so I'll post more answers as the mythical concept of time permits.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Project 1 - Preview Editing Montor

I've learn a lot about how much I didn't know about screencasting. The lessons a plentiful. This is the first installment of Timeline editing. It is a review of the Preview Monitor area in Serif MoviePlus X3.




It isn't essential to know but I gotta start somewhere.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Project 1 - Sound Effect Emergency Solution

The audio in the project video went bad. Really bad. This is a quick video showing my solution and gives an example of how to download an audio file.



There are times when you can't fix the audio. You are at that point screwed. In this instance I was able to find a similar file that will help me convey the message.

The better solution is to listen to the sound as it is being recorded with headsets. The inexpensive web camcorders don't have headsets as a rule. I didn't know until after I started editing that the camcorder's audio when bye-bye.

This was one of my $59 dollar cheap camcorders so I'm not surprised. Planning for trouble is a good thing. Planning not to be a skanky camcorder is a better plan.

I suffer so you don't have to.

I've written about MediaCollege.com before as a tutorial reference site. Highly recommend it for a good source of video education.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mozilla Universal Subtitles Project

Still working on the next part of the tutorial but in the meantime this is something that folks should know about. Subtitles and captions are not just for deaf folk or speakers of 2nd languages.



It can also be used to provide a means to search for content in some of the search engines. Subtitling software can be dicey or clunky but there is a new project by Mozilla and the Participatory Culture Foundation to bring about a better way for all of us to have subtitles.

Check out the video where Caro explains the project and what you can do to contribute.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Project 1 - Converting Video With MPEG StreamClip

It is lemonade time again in the laboratory. Photos are being highly recalcitrant and will not render at the size I desire. This required me to go to Plan B. Screencast your way out of misery I say.

This is a short video on how I converted a video from one format to another. I'll still do the photo outline but you will be able to see it better in the video. MPEG StreamClip is a free program that is available for Mac and PC users.



I am hoping that you already know how to transfer video from your camcorder. I am also hoping that you know how to create a file folder and locate files on your computer. If you connect your camcorder directly to your video editing program that is ok. Check out how the other folks do it.

No worries, let's rock.

Step 1.

This is the opening screen of MPEG StreamClip. This is your workspace where you can see your video and extract clips from long videos.

Step 1

Step 2.

This is the File Menu where you will select your video.

Step 2
Step 3.

This is the File Menu where you will select your desired export options.

Step 3

Step 4

This is the Export window of the program. To keep this really simple you can use or modify the options in the photo.


You can use the default setting for the compression type. You have other options by clicking on the drop down menu. You also have audio options, the frame rate and the frame size.

The frame size will depend on your video recording format. Most times MPEG StreamClip guesses correctly the frame size but should it goof up you will need to know what the recording size of the video. It is probably on your camcorder and certainly in the documentation or on the vendor web site.

The last important item is the Deinterlace video check box. Please check that box if you are converting from a web camcorder. If you are converting from a .mp4, .mod, .mpg, or .mpeg video file format make sure that box is selected. If you are not sure select Deinterlace.

At this point you are ready to create an .avi video. Click the Make AVI button and select a file folder to contain the converted video.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Project 1 - Setting Up A Project Folder

Trust me on this one; you don't want to waste time searching back and forth searching for the music, the video and the photos. Save yourself some grief and create a project file folder for your video project.

There is another positive aspect to setting up the project folder. It requires you to know what you have and what you intended to do in your video. Now if you are doing a talking head that you are not going to edit then no, you don't have to create a project folder.

Example of Project Folder
If you are doing a video that has different elements that you don't want to forget to include then yes, project folders are your friend.

The project folder can also contain those things that you might be using on a regular basis like an opening and closing credits, maybe the slide that has the URL to your blog or web site or a music attribution credit if you are using Creative Commons or Public Domain music.

Sometimes I make three separate folders for the music, video and photos and other times I just do a single folder and dump it in. It depends on the complexity of the project or if I'm doing a series where I need to find repeatable elements.

Your video editing program is going to look for the source files to compose your video. Make it easy on yourself and your computer by setting up this folder before you begin so that there is one centralized place for the project files.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Project 1 - Planning A Simple Video Overview

Well it has been busy testing out old and news camcorders. This gave me an idea that I think will work. I would like to show the process of creating a video from bits and pieces.

Over the next couple of days you will see examples of conversion, editing, exporting and uploading a video from scratch. It is kinda like cooking, you can go automatic or get your hands into it.

Here are the pre-requisites:
  • You have an open mind.
  • I am not Spielberg. No razzle dazzle here. I want to show a basic approach to making a video and posting it online.
  • I do things will be different that how you might do them. That is ok. There is no one path to creating a video but there are some things in common.
  • You should be comfortable using your computer. That means you know how to create file folders, locate a file if it gets lost or doing a task one way doesn't work you are willing to try something else.
The project is making a story or PSA out of an earthquake simulation truck that I was walking by the other day. It is just a short video but I wanted to add something to it to remind folks to have the emergency supplies ready.

Well, that is the starting point. In the next post planning makes all the difference so a quick look at putting your videos, photos and music in one folder and a reminder on quickly organizing your video to save time and frustration.

Making like the rabbit - I'm late, gotta go.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Video Timeline Anatomy 101 - Magix MovieEdit 16 Pro Plus

My reasons for going over the timeline of video editing program is to help make sure that you select that correct video editing program for your skill level. A lot of people read the description of a video editing software and fall in love with the list of things that the software can do.

Once a software program is installed you might not like that you have to tap your feet, rub your head and shift into third as you try to edit your videos. It is not a matter of price.

It is the design of the user interface, the intended market for the software and the end product - the video. So that is why I think this is a good opportunity to look at the other side of the box. So that is why I wanted to share with you the appearance of video editing timelines.

(Hmm. Mischief is afoot. I'm not deliberately bringing in the images at a small size. In fact, I'm scaling upward and Google is scaling downward. Or it could be the template doing the dirty deed. I struggle onward and will repair as time and tears permit.)

Magix Movie Edit 16 Plus Pro has a feature layout that are similar to a high end video program.

Magix MovieEdit Timeline
The high end programs that start at $900 and work their way up. I don't have those kinds of programs yet so this will give you an example.


Command Section
There is a common command section where you can perform the most used tasks such as adding a title, cut/splice and group or ungroup separate videos.


There is a monitor, a media pool where you select your images and above that you have the standard menu bar. You also have a Title and Effect Tab.


The Title/Effects tab shows you the range of effects that you can display on your video. Lots of choices.

Before you purchase a video editing program so a bit of self-evaluation:

  • Do you want to hit it and quit?
  • Do you like to tinker?
  • Are you the kind of person that wants to re-arraign audio and video to suit your needs?
  • Is there an inner Jane Campion that is begging to come out?
Match the program to your needs, time available and your budget.