Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This is an chapter from the book. Before the web hosting services folks had to have the right media player to watch videos. It was a problem. Not only about bandwidth and pixelation but how where you gonna see the video?
There was RealPlayer RM, RAM, QuickTime .mov Windows .avi and .wmv and you never knew when you went to a web site what would be required. Adobe Flash and Flash video solved a lot of problems and created a few of its own.
There are new concerns now. This chapter is for the tech savvy who really understands the behind the scene action on encoding, compression, HTML and video file formats/containers.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
You might think there is enough light to record your video but your camcorder lens might need twice as much.
I'll need to put on my photography hat for just a bit. One more thing. I will do my best to simplify some of the concepts. On the other hand, the way I am attempting to explain this will make the photo-techno purists cringe. So be it, you have been warned.
Lens and Aperture Size
Cameras and camcorders have lens. There are all kinds of lens but they can be placed in two groups, fixed focus and adjustable focus lens.
Inside the lens is the aperture or the size of the hole that lets light into the device. The bigger the hole the more light that can enter the camera or camcorder. The above graphic shows a representation of a few of the aperture sizes.
Hang on, this is where it gets tricky.
The f/ stands for F-number or more commonly known as a f/stop. The smaller the f/stop number the larger the hole. The larger the hole the more light can enter the camera or camcorder.
There are lens that have f/.5 and smaller. There are also lens that can go as high as f/22 and beyond. No one standard camera or camcorder lens has all of the f/stop positions.
As you move up the f/number scale the next aperture number is half as open as the one that came before it.
Or another way of looking at it is every other aperture f/stop is twice as small, meaning f/2.8 lets in less light than f/1.4.
Some of you are thinking, hey, shouldn't that f/1.4 be a f/1.5 aperture?
It can be. There is no reason not to have a f/1.5 on a lens. Professional photographers carry a variety of lenses to fit different lighting needs. The ones in the graphic are fairly common sizes but there are infinite combination that can make a f/number.
Recording stalactites in a cave? You need a lens that can open to as much light as possible, perhaps f/1.25. Shooting on top of a snow covered mountain? You'll want a lens aperture that can reduce the amount of light, something like f/16.
Apertures of Inexpensive Camcorders
Now we are cooking. Like I said, there are two groups of lens, fixed focus and adjustable. The current majority of inexpensive camcorders have fixed focus lens. This means that there is no manual or automatic way of adjusting the focus on the lens.
(Forget about optical and digital zoom for a moment; that only brings images closer to you. It doesn't affect the focus of the lens.)
Not only is the focusing ability fixed but most of the time so is the aperture of the lens. So if you have an f/3.5 aperture on your camcorder lens but you are recording in a room that needs f/2.0 you may not have enough light.
That could be the reason some videos are dark or really grainy. I've snagged some of the aperture sizes for various pocket and web camcorders. This way we can see what the common aperture is for these type of camcorders.
- Panasonic HM-TA1 f/2.8
- Pure Digital Flip SlideHD f/2.4
- Kodax Playsport Zx3 f/2.8
- JVC GC-FM1 f/2.8
Inside the home, classroom or enclosed spaces there might be an issue. The Pure Digital FlipSlideHD can take in 1/2 more light that the other recorders.
Theoretically, it should do better inside. But not if it is dark or there is only one light source.
Understanding your camcorders lens and aperture size can help you record better video but it is only one part of recording equation.
In future posts I want to show you how f/stops, the image sensor and focal length all combine to record a video image that can be cruddy or freaking spectacular, if you understand how these things work in combination.
In the meantime, there are a bunch of great resources on the photography side of the fence that can go into the details or sling the tech lingo:
- Scott Wittenberg teaches still photography and has a regular podcast. You can catch up with video demonstrations at his Photography 101 blog, his Facebook page or search for him on iTunes.
- Darren Rowse and company have Digital Photography School where any question you could ask probably has an answer post some where in the blog.
Monday, September 27, 2010
God I hate that phrase! There are legitimate places that talk about using web video to support businesses. There are twice the number of flim-flam con people who want to sell you outdated information in a book or CD.
Web literacy can be transferred to Twitter and beyond. Even if you have limited experience you can employ certain skills to help you stay away from the stinkers. Here is a quick break down:
- Who are they? Is there a name or company attached to the site or blog. So many of the flim-flam sites make it really hard to know who you are dealing with; that is on purpose.
- What do they want you to do? If is is to buy a product do they spend more time telling you why you should be instead of showing the product?
- Is it time based? By that I mean that this is a "limited" offer or you have to do it right now because time is ticking and you'll miss it if you think?
- How much will it cost? That should be upfront somewhere on the page or quickly accessible. If you have to go through more than two pages to find out the cost, dump it. And do the numbers; if the cost over a year is more than you can stand don't do it. $9.95 a month adds up.
- Will they let you leave the site? I had one SOB site try to keep me from leaving with another window and audio imploring me not to go.
Look at the wording. Is it the same? Look at the URL. Is it the same?
It is not easy to figure out who is legit and who isn't but there is a pattern. There is a difference between folks recommending Chris Anderson's TED video vs. the folks pumping a "easy web video book for $69.95."
Yikes. Gotta Go.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
It is a creative use of the software, along with the video to help a few famous scientists tell their story.
This is The Poetry of Reality:
My first question 30 seconds into the video was who created this? How did this come into being?
Fortunately the link to the web site was in the Notes section. The Symphony of Science web site has more videos. I headed to the About page and learned the musician responsible is John Boswell.
I also think this is an good example of the need and necessity of remixing copyrighted content. Information and ideas are not static, they have a need to be transformed and reused.
No, I am not advocating stealing another persons content. Taking another persons entire content and claiming it to be your own is theft. Yet there needs to be a space made for respectful re-purposing of a segment of the work.
This is a good example of how that can be accomplished that benefits the original source and the new work.
Other Posts of Interest
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I love TED videos. Some people jones on Reality TV, this is my addition. In one video Chris Anderson has described himself as the "Chief Custodian" of TED.
Currently know as the Curator of TED, Anderson and the TED team have expanded the reach of the conference into a world wide communication network of people who want to know, grown and develop as full participating citizens of the world.
Really if you have time just watch the video. It is well worth 18:53 of you time. I know that this is just the beginning of what can be done with web video. It does not have to be just commercial television repackaged for the Internet. It doesn't have to dumb down lowest of the low hanging fruit kind of mess that is being perpetrated for profit.
Ok, I do have opinions about certain aspects of commercial broadcast content. It sucks. And not in a good way.
Like I said, sometimes I do want to throw in the towel. Usually after hearing what passes for news and entertainment these days. I have to remember that is only a portion of what web video is about. What I can and others are doing is pointing the way to some possibilities that connect us as people.
I can help folks not waste to money on crappy camcorder and software products because I am a nerd with geek tendencies. I come from a long line of frugal African-American women. I can also continue to find pathfinders who step a little to the left or the right and show a new view of what they see that I cannot.
For a time I can step up and be a cheerleader for women and men who, for whatever reason, need to use video to tell they story. This might require the brick by brick approach or toss in the kitchen sink. Learning as I go but there is much to do.
I'm open to the possible.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The sections of interest for web video folks:
- Choosing A Microphone
- Connecting A Microphone to Your Computer
- Show Preparation - The foundation you lay down now can save you time later.
It is a resource you should check out if you want to get a better understanding of audio and podcasting concerns.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
You do need to have a Blogger account, a blog and video to upload. This is a video from Google explaining how you do it.
It is a simple process. Just as few clarifications:
The video can be in the following formats:
- .wmv aka Windows Media Video
- .mov aka Apple QuickTime (traditional standard version)
- .rm aka Real Player video format
There have been a few changes since the video was created. If you decide that you want to use a YouTube video for your blog then all you have to do is use the Embed code button.
It is no longer in the upper right hand corner. The Embed button is now under the video.
This can give you a choices about the size, border color or if you want to display related videos or not on your blog post. So if you ocassionally or one in a blue moon want to post a video and you have a Blogger blog account you are good to go.
I found a video of the 2009 experience.
Yeah. Well, here is the thing. Maybe it is the cheezy titles of some of the sessions but I'm not feeling the imperative to go. I'm scoping the schedule out and I'm not sure this is for me.
The Blogger Killed the Author & The Publisher Hid The Body
Actually the Butler did it but blame the blogger is a popular past time when you don't want to look at institutional inaction and lethargy.
We Run Your Culture: How Magazines Are Using Social Media To Curate Culture
Umm does anybody remember Resume Tips with Summer's Eve or that photo with Publisher Weekly? I really don't look to magazines to guide my cultural perceptions as much as having to correct their profound errors when they attempt to tell stories about my various culture connections.
On the other hand there are few session that could warrant using a vacation day to check out:
- Your Own TV Station and Movie Studio: Using Online Video Effectively in Tourism
- The Current State of Podcasting
- Stand Out From the Crowd: Investigative Journalism Tips For Bloggers
- Mobile Vlogging: Producing and sharing video from your smartphone
Holy Smokes and Jeebus Update!
- Full Access Pass $1,195
- Weekend Pass $595
- Exhibit Pass $50
I'm back to the second verse of should I stay or should I go?
Monday, September 20, 2010
According to the Help section on the web site, it can convert just about any video file. In addition the software can also convert YouTube videos into iPod/iPad video formats, HTML5 and other stuff.
From what I can tell reading the log history it should be able to handle:
- Converting video audio to MP3
- OGG (don't know if that is OGG Video or Audio)
- H.264 using Xvid
Windows .wmv I'm not sure about and there are other bugaboo formats. You could always ask the company if the support a certain video format. Just another option for your video tool kit.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Ok, you got the concept? Cool. Now what if you could do the same thing for YouTube videos? And you thought up the how to do it in about three hours? And you are 19 years old? And you don't currently work for Google?
The name of the site is YTInstant
Feross Aboukhadijeh did just that; here is a screen shot of typing in the name Tobor. Dang if that thing didn't find a cartoon I haven't seen in umpteen years, Tobor the 8th Man.
Now, sure I could have done the same search on YouTube but it did target just the item I was searching for and there are other 8th Man videos to sample below the selection.
Tobor isn't likely to be on the small or big screen anytime soon. See, Tobor has the some of the brain cells and memories of a police officer killed on the job. In addition, he had to smoke an energy cigarette to recharge himself.
There would have to be a massive re-boot and redesign of a 21st century police robot. Naw, Tobor is not coming to the Cartoon Network anytime soon.
Feross isn't going to have to sweat his next job. Currently he is in conversation with Youtube.
For those folks interested in creating web video you really want to start thinking about titles and keywords that your potential visitors might use to find your content. How do you want folks to find you?
In the meantime, go play with YTInstant and dig up your hidden memory treasures.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
bicyclemark vlogeurope2010 interview from miguel serradas on Vimeo.
The event is November 12 to November 14, 2010. I'm thinking about it but I don't know if I could get everything ready in time. This is a video talking about the experiences of Bicyclemark talking about his experience at a prior VlogEurope meet-up.
There is a Yahoo VlogEurope group where you can post questions and I'm sure Miguel would like to know if folks are interested in attending.
I have the interest, I just don't necessarily have the funds.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I am opposed to what happens when the dominate advertiser media with bean counter mentality distort the social and political conversations?
Psycho celebrity reporting romping around as political discourse. I've opted out and you can too.
We can do better by having multiple independent media sources and representations. This is an on-going discussion by individual, non-profit organization, independent media producers and whoever want to jump into the mix. According to the agenda there will be tech sessions, speaking, seminars, classes and more.
Hopefully there will be video posted up the ying-yang from the event participants.
Quick update: Professor Michael Welch is the keynote speaker? Must think how I can be there. He is an invisible mentor to many people.
Just found out the professor has a YouTube channel. Will watch and take multiple mental notes of inspiration and information.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Heck, it is here. This is a guide to help photographers transition to having high definition video on their still cameras. One of the the things that I like about DPReview is that they are very detailed. You will know the sensor size of the camera in question.
This answers a lot of my questions and helps me become better informed about video on still cameras. Very helpful article.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Interview with author William Gibson over at Dangerous Minds. This is an example of what web video can do, have an extended long form interview and via a blog have the discussion extended.
Over at Gizmodo they are talking about the firs high definition resolution (HDR)video that has been created. The photography camp has been going nutzo crazy about HDR photos. You can see two examples of it posted on the blog. I don't think this is the first HDR video but I expect to see in crappy movies and music videos once folks figure out how to do it without a beam splitter.
Dang, my 10 minutes are up.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sorry to my international peeps but the contest is restricted to the U.S. and Canada population.
From the website:
In two minutes or less, show us how recent science breakthroughs have moved you or impacted your life. One lucky science-inspired filmmaker will win a weekend trip for two to New York City to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History on October 10, 2010.
The winner and a guest gets to flown to NYC and hang out with a bunch of cool science folks. There are rules and you need to follow them.
This could be fun and anything to promote science and science education is ok by me.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I understand his grief. I share it too. I just have one tiny dispute about his comment about citizen journalism.
The television stations and newspapers that publish CJ content and videos do so often without attribution or compensation. As much as bloggers as accused of stealing content, I can point to a number of examples of broadcast and cable stations willfully snatching user content. Many news stations will run to YouTube, snatch, grab, upload and not blink an eye about ethical best practices or notify the user that they have done so.
The second version of this type of activity that I need to call bullshit on is that some media outlets will invite viewers to upload breaking news photos and videos. The license agreement, sometimes in three point type and other times more prominent on the Upload page, the user signs away most or all rights to the photos and videos as well as any financial compensation:
In this example obtained from ABC 7 in Los Angeles, the user does have the right to redistribute their work but will receive no compensation from ABC for anything uploaded to the website.
I'm not sure but I think they mean the Licensor will not receive compensation.
The following shall constitute the Agreement made between the below named ("Licensor") and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., located at 77 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023 ("Licensee").
1. Licensor hereby grants to Licensee a non-exclusive license to use still pictures and digital video files and such other materials as may be submitted by Licensee hereunder (collectively, "the Footage"). Licensor hereby grants to Licensee the right to include the Footage (as provided by Licensee and/or as edited by Licensor) as well as the name of the Licensor (and copyright owner, if different than Licensor) in all programming and on the websites produced by Licensee, ABC News, its affiliates and other entities licensed to distribute ABC News programming worldwide in all media now known and hereafter conceived or created, including, without limitation, home video and Internet, and on-air promotion and advertising relating thereto, in perpetuity. Licensee acknowledges that it will receive no compensation for the rights herein.
In Defense of Citizen Journalism
Citizen journalism became possible because the mainstream media total ignored the local communities. They had no interest in the diversity of populations requiring news content relevant to their lives and living situations.
Newspapers tried to emulate television who tried to emulate magazines who tried to emulate television. They all have gone stone crazy trying to now emulate social media.
Hint. Most of them suck at it.
Citizen journalism photography and video has become a self-defense mechanism for many people. I point to the Oakland murder of Oscar Grant.
When you see someone get shot in the head and you have a recording to prove that the officer and the police department are not being truthful that is power.
When other journalistic entities fail to do basic research and accept the word of the police department yet you have a photo or video proving otherwise it is mighty hard to brush off a community's concerns about justice and accountability.
So, be angry at the mega-broadcast corporations not the person covering their city council meeting, recording environmental waste running down the street or who post a video that shows a skateboarder being whacked upside the head by a rouge cop.
Not Quite Ready to Nail The Coffin
I do think there are new options for photojournalism. They may or may not be connected to newspapers. You might have to create your own product and find others who want to pay for usage, such as a promotion for public service, for educational or textbook content or other types of reportage.
Photojournalists might have to create their own magazine application for media devices and be paid directly by users. I don't know.
This thing is still evolving. Changing.
I will not hold my breath waiting for the vast majority news media to get their act together. What has happened in the "news business" the last five months is cringe inducing.
The news media have lost their damn minds. They have fired or laid off anybody who could tell them to verify before you print or hit the send button.
So yes, it will get better. But it will be different. What Neil and I knew as photojournalism is gone. My hope that it will be reborn in multiple forms and disciplines.
Other Posts of Interest
Thursday, September 9, 2010
It was a good opportunity to watch working photojournalists and web video journalists demonstrate their process of how to craft the story and get it ready for distribution. Participants had the opportunity to submit questions inside of the workshop. Definitely the Tweet stream was flowing at full blast.
This year the workshop will be an all day affair on Saturday September 25th starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time in the U.S. If you can't stay for the full day or have other plans you can register for workshop and dive into the workshop video archives later.
The cost of the workshop for non-members is $65. If you are a reporter/journalist that belongs to AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA, NLGJA, or JAWS there may be a discount or scholarship available. Visit the NewsU registration page for more information about payment options.
I think it is worth it if you are truly interesting in crafting better news, information and documentary type videos. This is a form of mentoring and we all could use a guide along the path.
My only other suggesting is make sure you are siting in a comfy chair and that you take stretching break.
Other Posts of Interest
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Opening Our Eyes Trailer
This is a trailer for a documentary film she and her daughter are working on. It was recorded on a Canon 5D Mark II and Gail will edit in Final Cut Pro.
For more information about Gail Mooney you can visit the blog, Journeys of a Hybrid. Make sure you spend time to check out the categories sidebar, in the video topics she does share her successes and failures about recording videos with a d-SLR, work flow issues and project management.
Excellent resource for real non-B/S information about the reality of hybrid recording situations.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
You basically compose an e-mail with the subject being the title of post, type your text and then attach your video. You then just Send button and Posterous will set up your post and transcode, upload and present your video.
So What Is the Catch?
Well, currently there is a 1GB limit on personal accounts. For text only that is plenty. For text and photos it is fine if you monitor the file size of the photos.
Upload a lot of videos to Posterous however and you might hit the 1GB limit sooner than expected. At some point the site will add fees for premium services like additional storage space.
If you are a Blip.tv, Vimeo or YouTube user you can manage the upload limit by placing the video embed code in the body of the e-mail. That should be enough to help you manage the 1GB upload limit.
For more information check out the Posterous FAQ but I have to say this is a bone simple way to post content.
Other Posts of Interest
Saturday, September 4, 2010
There are multiple, incompatible 3D viewing formats. I've never seen the movie Avitar but I think I hate the technological bum rush it has caused. Panasonic came out with a high end 3D camcorder.
This is the other side of the market from Aiptek.
The video from IDG News did bring out an important point. The HD video in 2D mode does record in 720p. The two lens recording the same bit of 3D video will create a 360p video experience.
HD 360p video? If you think you are going to get a hologram type crystal clear viewing experience then you are mistaken.
Aiptek Camcorders are generally found at the mass market or big box type stores. The are generally inexpensive. Often on sale. Clearance priced regulars, if you get my drift.
At $199 list price per the web site I'm just not convinced this is a good investment.
- You need special glasses which are supplied with the camcorder.
- You need conversion software to transfer it from 3D to 2D for those that can't view 3D.
- You need software to view the 3D on your computer with the glasses.
Like having a good reason to display 3D content?
A viable story that benefits from being rendered in 3D?
A natural experience that lends itself to being recorded in 3D, non-sexual in nature?
Ok, yeah. There you go, if the flesh peddlers haven't figured out a standard technology to display 3D content and churn cash on 3D what is the rush?
I am not advocating such use, really I am not. It is just that a lot of cinematic innovation has come from the Bow-chicka-wow-wow part of the entertainment industry.
I'm not kidding. Think about it. Nickelodeons. Use of 16mm and 8mm film. Direct to consumer marketing. Early adopters of VHS content. One of the first industries to figure out how to sell via the Internet.
Yes there is 3D explicit content. But not a lot of it. Not churning enough cash to support more content production.
My point, and I do have one, is that technology now allows both professional, commercial and user generated content. This 3D technology as yet is not in a functional form for mass market consumer use.
If you want to experiment with creating 3D content then go for it. I'd wait a bit for other vendors to jump into the market.
Buying an Aiptek can be a circular experience.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Eh? How can I ask such a question? It is sleek and shiny and there are limited controls. Why bring up function?
Because if you are going to spend cash money on a gadget you ought to know what your are purchasing. You really should have a clear understanding of what a device can do for you and what it can't at certain price points.
From certain manufactures I expect a level of quality and goodies. Let's quickly check under the hood. This is the Sony Bloggie Touch.
From the web site:
- Lens Aperture (Max.) : F2.8 This means it is going to perfect outdoors and acceptable in a very well light room.
- Image Stabilization : Steadyshot® image stabilization You will need something to take the jitters out of the video. The smaller the camcorder being held in the hand the more likely the video will have jitters.
- Media Type : 8GB Internal Flash Memory. This means when you fill up the internal memory you are done, there doesn't seem to be an memory card slot for additional recording.
- Video Format : MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) AVC may or may not function with outside video editing programs.
- Recording and Playback Times : MP4 format: 12M 1920x1080 (29.97p): 80 min. 6M 1280x720 (59.94p): 1600 min. 4M 1280x720 (29.97p): 240 min.
Not saying this camcorder has this problem, but you know, just saying.
The camcorder comes with software to make it easy for novice Windows users to extract, edit and upload to the social networking services.
Mac Users are skunked once again but don't take it as a loss. Mac native software should be able to handle this device but check it out before you buy.
I need to see video examples of what it can do. There is something about it I can't put my finger on but there is hesitation in my normal lust for camcorders.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I need to point out this discussion took place before the full blown Internet we have today. Public radio had little to no poetry, not even the local or NPR stations. Poetry was being dropped out of magazines and television, forget about it.
Well time flowed on. I remembered that conversation from time to to time until one day it hit me that I could do something about it.
By that time I lost track of the community of poets that I hung out with. I had the means but no poet contacts. Years later I saw a notice in a local newspaper about poets reading on the Los Angeles Metro Red, Blue and Gold Lines.
This is an example of one of the videos. The original video was uploaded 320x240. Due to new to the new player upscaling it is being displayed as 480x390.
This is another one with Catherine Daly reading a poem by E.E. Cummings:
And that is how I started to record videos of poets. It can be moving. It can be an audio nightmare if you are recording on a moving train.
I had a crappy camcorder I needed to find a way to work around the limitations to find the sweat spot.
Lighting problems required me to roll with the punches. In Catherine's video I can see a lighted sign in the station. I could have asked her to move over near the sign to get an extra hit of light.
I didn't think of it at the time. Now I know, be aware of environmental light sources.
That is the thing. Get out, try and do the best you can. Learn from it and try again.