Monday, January 31, 2011

When the Dark Ones Come

At some point the lower of the low, the base level scum of humanity will show up at your blog.

Here is an example:

Example of cruel speech
I know it is small. You don't really need to read the part where there is an invitation to have someone forcefully insert himself into my body.

There is a process for handling trolls.

  1. If possible, let the ass bray. This might be a hit it and quit so no response will have the troll move one.
  2. Bounce his ass off your site, you have no obligation to allow hurtful speech at your place and space.
  3. Report the bugger to his ISP.
Here are some other ideas:
I gotta go. And try to remember that there are better people in the world to think about.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ask President Obama via YouTube

President Obama answered questions from YouTube participants for the second Ask President Obama Q&A.

There were 142,688 questions submitted by users and 1.3 million+ votes on which questions should be asked. Those questions were then presented to the President and this is the video response.

Below is a sample of some of the questions asked, not necessarily in the video but it will give an idea of what is on folks minds at the moment.

Mr. President. Recently you called on the American public to invent 'stuff'. My question to you is, who do you intend to manufacture the ideas we create? Americans? Or the Chinese?

Why is Congress exempt from having to participate in the new health care program? This seems to create an unhealthy (pardon the pun) disconnect between the program and the people forging it since they won't be personally participating. Thoughts?

Over 70% of agricultural food subsidies are for meat and dairy, while fruits and veg get 0.37% and legumes and nuts have 1.7%. Will you change subsidies for better health, lower health care costs, water conservation & lower greenhouse gas emissions?

Good questions. Check out the video. And for those on the other side of the political fence there will be a future Q&A with U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Other Posts of Interest

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hiroaki and his son Taji Interview Video for Life In A Day

I believe that people are basically good. And sometimes you get to meet people that you don't expect to see before your eyes.

I wish Mr. Hiroaki's circumstances were different but it is a honor to watch this interview video.

How do you take what life hands you and transmute it to a higher purpose? A reason beyond the surface? There will be other challenges for Hiroaki and Taji but I hope that the creativity and inspiration will carry them down the road in peace.

The premier is starting in a bit at If you miss it there are so many wonderful videos to check out from the project; just dive in and soak it up.

The film will be release to the general public later but in the meantime, Vlog On!

Ross Harris 10 Second Visit

I'm getting really inspired by the use of animated photos in video. This is another example from Ross Harris on the items and beings that make a home.

10 Second Visit from rossangeles on Vimeo.

Too cool but wait, there is more.

Ross has a web site called Rossangles. On that site is many a nifty video and this is one for Vans or Yo Gabba Gabba. I'm not sure. I'm not cool enough to know.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Adapting To My Canon VIXIA HF R10 Camcorder

Yes, I bought a new camcorder. I shouldn't have but it was on sale for $199.99. The original list price was $499.99. I got a Canon VIXIA HF R10 camcorder that has the good with the bad mixed with the bittersweet.

Vixia HF R10 Camcorder
First let me say that I did research the purchase and initially turned it down. There were things that I didn't like about the camcorder such as recording in the MTS video format and the short 45 minute battery life.

There were others but I re-thought about the HF R10 at this price level.

The advantages are:
  • 8GB Internal Flash Memory that I can use in addition to the SD Memory Card Slot
  • External microphone jack
  • Headphone jack to monitor audio
  • 20x optical zoom
  • Can record in 24p and 30p
It is a basic level camcorder but I wasn't going to find some of those features on standard camcorder until I jumped up to the $500 level.

So What's Not to Like?

In the documentation and on the camcorder it states that it records in Full HD 1920x 1080.

Ah, not quite the truth. According to Lori Grunin at CNet the camcorder actually records at 1664x936 and then upconvert to 1920x1080. Then it processes it using the AVCHD.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. The truth is kinda fluid, isn't it?

Now this is where knowing how I plan to use the camcorder for comes into play. I'm never going to upload that high resolution to my video web hosts. I'll record people talking or static events.

Another thing is that it record 60i as in Interlace. I did recording this weekend and on playback you can see the banding in the videos. If there is a sudden action it can be spotted.

Making The Bittersweet Palatable

The reality is I still have to converter the video. I'm finding that the Miro Video Converter can accept the MTS video format and gives me a few export options that I'll write about later.

I then have to send it over to MPEG Streamclip to resize, de-interlace and export as an 1280x720p AVI for editing.

I have to experiment with a new work flow. It might be that I could use one of the export settings in Miro that I could avoid this step. I don't know.

For about $200 I can work with the bug-a-boos. I would not have for a penny more.

The quirky camcorder, don't hate but rehabilitate if the price is right and you know what you are doing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Minute Timelapse by Adonis Pulatus

I'm like the rabbit, I'm late but I do have something for you. Adonis Pulatus at Vimeo has a video using time lapse photography.

He used a Panasonic Lumix GH1 to crank out the still photos and then assembled them in QuickTim Pro. The full details are on his Vimeo page.

You don't need as fancy rig as Adonis, all you need is a camera, a tripod and endurance. Many of the new cameras and camcorder have a time burst or time laps feature so it might be easier to create the speedy passage of time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Truly A Belly Dancing Camcorder Shakout

Belly dancing and testing camcorders? Why not? I love and support innovation in all forms. This is a test of two point and share camcorders; The Flip and the Q3HD.

What is kicky about it is that a Canon 7D dSLR is being used as the baseline quality control point.

Check it out:

For more information about the belly dancing company visit

I'm shamed to say I couldn't take my eyes off the Canon 7D video. Freaking beautiful color. I'm getting misty eyed looking at the quality of skin tones, the gold brocade in the jacket and richness of the reds in the curtains.

Sigh, the Canon 7D at $1,699 before taxes is not in my budget. And that is just for the body of the camera. You still gotta buy the lens. I can dream about it.

Ok, I'll be fine in a minute. I can do this.

Sensors. I keep talking about the importance of understanding the sensors in relation to the kind of quality you can expect with certain devices.

The sensors in point and share camcorders are very small. These camcorders are designed to be used outdoors in average and bright light. The have a larger lens opening, the aperture is generally around f2.4 to about f2.8 to allow as much light as possible to hit the teeny-tiny sensor.

This is one of the rare situations where the point and share camcorders are getting too much light. Both devices are blowing out the colors and the skin tones.

The Flip is doing a slightly better job about picking up the flower in her hair. The skirt is a rich red but both camcorders render it as shades of pink.

The devices are having a heck of a time properly rendering the gold in the jacket; it has been shifted it to a yellow/green representation.

What Does This All Mean?

Now despite the woofing going on in the YouTube comments you gotta understand the intent isn't to bash the camcorders. It isn't a scientific test but a visual objective one by one person.

Because of the baseline camera that was used the lighting had to be configured to the abilities of the Canon 7D which has a much larger sensor than the two camcorder put together.

Even if they had made the decision to record in standard room lighting the Canon 7D would still put out a spectacular video. It is not a point and share camcorder but a upper level professional photographer camera with the ability to compensate for over exposures.

Here is the thing, if you understand the limitations of your equipment and can work within those limitations you will be fine.

On the other hand, you don't expect a point and share camcorder to render high quality color representation. It can't. It wasn't designed for that purpose.

The Q3HD is primarily used by musicians, vloggers, podcasters, and people who need great audio and a video reference or demo.

The Flip is more of an outdoor, on the go, impulse video that can be uploaded to the Internet fairly quickly. It can do indoors provided you have enough light.

The Canon 7D is for people who have a professional need for the camera or an affectionate Sugar Daddy looking for a good woman to bestow gifts upon without any expectation of compensation or favors.

Yeah, I know. It would be like waiting for The Great Pumpkin, right?

Hmm. I'll start counting my pennies.

Friday, January 21, 2011

WSClater and The Unexpected Story

I have been taking a look at personal camcorder stabilizers. I'll have a post about what I found later but WSClater must be an engineer or a life long do it yourself person.

I wish I could do what he does. I like it when I see folks make the invisible visible. I went to his site called DIY Camera and, well you should take a look if you are do it yourself minded.

Builder of Camcorder Stabilization

If you check out the whole page he has got the it laid out how he did it and I'm having envy.

Anyway, being a crafts person is good but what is the sense of having a stabilizer if you don't put it to use? In December 2010 there was an unusual snowy day on the freeway (highway) East Kilbride Expressway someplace in Scotland.

One man, one camcorder with stabilizer and the stories he encountered. I gave up waking in the snow a long time ago but I'm getting such a kick watching him do it with his homemade gizmo.

And that is my unexpected story - you can start out searching for inexpensive camcorder stabilizers and end up in Scotland on a cold, snowy day.

Other Posts of Interest

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Behind the Scenes Making an iPhone 4 Film

This is an example of how a group of people can make a film using an iPhone 4 in about 24 hours.

This video is from Majek Pictures who have since gone on to create a web action adventure series using the iPhone 4.

It caught my attention because years ago I tried to record model trains on a inexpensive 320x240 camcorder and it worked but it isn't as easy as aiming at the tracks.

For more information about Majek Pictures check out the site.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Season of Next to Heaven by Rob Parrish

It takes just a jump to the right as you get Next to Heaven. Part of the fun is that you never really know where each video will take you.

Rob is a filmmaker and long time videoblogger He is revving up for a new season so if you want the antidote from reality tv this is your chance to get bent in a good way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Motorola Ad and Short Film Contest

Adobe and Motorola have teamed up to create a video contest to promote the use of Flash video on Droid phones. Those that love their Droid phones need to represent their creativity. Why let the other device (iPhone) get all the action?

Video competitionThere are two separate contests, one for creating an ad and the other for creating a short film. In either case you should read the terms and conditions of the contest before you enter.

From the FAQ & Tech Requirements:
We do not accept tapes or DVDs or anything that needs to be posted in the mail - only digital video uploads.

The Video file size should be kept at or under 100 MB for quicker upload/encoding time (max file size is 300MB).

Video files must be provided in one of the following file formats: .MPG; .MOV; .AVI; .WMV; .MP4; .M4V. Neither height nor width can be odd numerically (eg dimensions of 1023 x 768 should not be used because 1023 is an odd number).

Do not export any black borders and we prefer 16:9 aspect ratio but will accept other ratios. The video frame rate (fps) is not important but bear in mind the intended use – if the brand intends to display on TV then they will prefer 30fps

We recommend shooting in HD because lots of winners get their films shown on big screens and on the web and even on TV - so you want it to look good. Don't use a resolution below 640x480.

The frame rate is unimportant, but, if you can, shoot at 30fps or higher. Old school 24fps is great for the movies but not great for TV or the web (especially with fast action).

If You Win - From the Web Site

  • Trips to Barcelona to join Adobe, Motorola and MOFILM at their famous filmmaker awards
  • Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 Master Collection software bundles
  • Motorola Devices
  • US$5,000 in Cash Prizes (total)
There isn't a lot of time, the contest ends on January 31, 2011 GMT so if you want in then get busy. H/T to the Videoblogging Group where I learned about the contest from Randy Ksar

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vimeo's PhotoMotion Channel

I pressed the Enter key by accident so now I've got to write this post that I meant for Monday morning. In this case it is a pleasure because Photomotion is so easy to do. You can use it as part of your video or the whole thing.

You can do this with your cell phone, still camera or video camera. How you do it is up to you. This is a fast tutorial by Bill Newsinger.

For more information on how to do this visit the Get Funky with Photomotion page at Vimeo.

There is also a Vimeo channel devoted to Photomotion. You can view videos like the one from Casey Warren on the creative process. Happy snapping and storytelling.

Conversion Blues or Newbie H.264 Video Fits

I could spend a solid month trying to troubleshoot video import, editing and conversion problems. Just when you think you have it licked some SOB manufacturer comes up with a variation of a video file format that is not standard.

Here is the thing.

Many people do not want to edit, they just want to upload or put the video on DVD. That is fine. Point and share, I get it. These same folks want excellent quality in a small hand held camcorder. The MP4 video format meets that need.

But there are a bunch of us that do need to edit video or add information. Some of these folks have no tech skills at all. There are those of us who do have a bit of tech blood in us and others that are skilled creatives that know the score about compression.

You know what?

We all go through holy hell trying to import and edit .mp4 videos. All of us. Why? Because there are multiple versions of the H.264 MP4 video format:
Generic MP4 videos that any video editing program should be able to open.

H.264 MP4 is becoming more standard but it may not be recognized in earlier versions of video editing software such as Windows Movie Maker2 for XP and some Vista users.

H.264 AVC MP4 should work in most consumer video editing software like Adobe Premier Elements, Corel VideoStudio or Sony Vegas. You will have to check your version of the program to confirm the ability to import.

H.264 AVCHD MP4 that sometimes records in a .AVI format that may or may not be DivX, Xvid, or some other fruit of the codec loom.

H.264 MP4 MOV format - if you are a Mac user score but if you are not it will not open in Windows Movie Makers or Windows Live Movie Maker.
Download Caution:

Be very, very careful about downloading video editing and conversion software from other than the source vendor software sites. I do not support crackware or the thief of product. I do not support spamware or companies injecting nasty software into my computer.

A lot of icky maleware is wrapped up in so-called conversion software.

If a program states that it is free to download that does not mean the software is free to use. There may be a cost in nag screens, installation of an unwanted toolbar or limited features until you pay up.

Make sure that your anti-virus, spyware and malware detection in up to date before downloading anything.

CNet's and Major Geeks are good places to visit and most important, check out the comments before you download software. They do what they can but you are responsible for knowing what you are installing on your system.

Let the sadder but wiser girls give you the scoop.

Solutions Dang It!

The solutions really depend on what your needs are, your skills and your endurance level. For newbies who just wants to get it done:

Check your existing software. Many of the reputable video editing vendors have address the challenge of .mp4 videos.

Adobe Premier Elements 9 - can handle video from Point and Share MP4 videos and dSLR cameras. Premier Elements 8 and earlier cannot.

Corel VideoStudio Express - can import most H.264 high definition videos.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD - depends on the version. It claims that it can handle DV, HDV, and AVCHD but you might be safer in purchasing the Platinum 10 version to make sure.

Newbies Who Don't Want to Buy Software:

Windows Movie Maker2 for XP and early Vista cannot read .mp4 videos, there may be a little wiggle room if you install the codec but that is not something a newbie should have to do.

Windows Live Movie Maker can read generic MP4 and some H.264 MP4 formats. It cannot read H.246 MP4 in the .MOV format. These are usually found on the Kodak line of camcorders and a few others. You will need a converter program.

For both programs you will have to use a conversion program such as open source MPEG Streamclip to convert the video to an .AVI video format. Either way, you'll need space to store your videos and conversions. Stock up on those DVDs or get an external drive for back-up.

For newbies these are the options of the day. They are not the best options but they will work.

Until there is a homogenization of MP4 video formats we gotta do what we can to make it work.

Other Posts of Interest

Friday, January 14, 2011

Social Media Reflections After The Palin Video

This is not a political post or commentary about the content of the Palin video. I just wanted to point out a few social media observations that need to be pointed out for deeper review.

Bypass of Traditional News and Broadcast Media

From start to finish the Palin video was a social media production.
  • The video was recorded in high definition but prepared for web distribution.
  • The video was uploaded on Vimeo with the ability to download a copy. Many news and media outlets took immediate advantage of that option.
  • The video was placed her Facebook page.
That is it. No press conference. No advertising purchased. Nothing but word of mouth.

Viral Distribution

To say it went viral is a profound understatement. I was alerted to the video via e-mail. And then other, and another. I believed I viewed it around 5 a.m., at that time there had been 8,600+ views. At this moment the views are 848,000+ within the Vimeo community and many millions more via the transmission by news and media companies.

This is the opposite process from how it usually happens i.e. traditional > social. Not the first time and it will certainly not be the last. For better or worse, the message was in total control of the content provider.

This is gonna give PR people fits, especially with their more colorful clients.

Content Control and Responsibility

There can be no accusation of her original message being distorted or edited.

Creator control is a wonderful thing with a profound responsibility standing off to the side. The responsibility aspect really resonates with me because with video there is no denying the words that come out of your mouth. You might have to live with those words and actions for a very long time.

You can upload a video. You can take it down. But you can't necessarily take it back; someone may have a copy. Be very sure of the message and the intended meaning you want to convey.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aventura by Paul Hamilton

Time. All we need is just a little more time. In this video by Paul Hamilton you learn that that you can do a lot in under a minute.

Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D, EF
  • 50mm 1.4, EF
  • 17-85mm 4.5
  • Manfrotto tripod
  • Zacuto Z- Finder

For more information on Paul Hamilton you can visit is Vimeo page or his web site.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Computer Memory - When Your Putt-Putt Needs A Boost

I've had my current computer for about three or four years now. It is almost but not quite time for me to get a new one but old faithful has been good to me.

Still, I look over at the multi-core CPUs and I feel longings. This is not just my tech-lust talking. If you edit or compress video the more juice under the hood the better. There are things I can do to help my current system stay in the game.

One of those things is to increase the memory. This isn't hard but it does mean opening the computer case. The photo above is to a vendor called I've purchased from them before. They make it really easy.

You pop in the name of the manufacture, the product line and the model number. Crucial will find the right RAM memory for your computer.

Some of us have no-name or plain vanilla computers. No problem. They have a scanner module that can find the correct RAM for your computer.

Crucial isn't the only place to buy memory online but I like the memory finding feature. You can also get memory from places like Try to stay with known quality vendors or retailers that you trust. There are gray market shady dealers who offer too good to be true pricing; you don't want to get mixed up with them.

You can also purchase via retail stores like Best Buy or Fry's however you will need all of your information to make sure you get the right memory for your computer.

Or you could take you computer to the store to have them upgrade for you. There will be an additional charge for labor and multiple offers to up-sell other services but if you are squeamish about installing memory it is a option.

So before you pitch beloved see if a memory boost will help. Then again, if beloved computer is over five years old the answer might be no.

Monday, January 10, 2011

DSLR Video Podcast Via

If you are a photographer that is thinking about purchasing a DSLR video capable camera then you should swing on over to new podcast.

Creative Cow Video Podcast
Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman are the hosts of the DSLR Video Podcast. These are short, topic specific videos on questions that a serious hobbyist, pro/am or professional photographer might ask about the equipment.

In other words. you might be a newbie concerning buying a DSLR video camera but you should have a good understanding of photographic terms and concepts to truly benefit from the podcast.

The topics have included frame size, frame rate and the kind of memory cards you should consider to get the most effective use of your camera.

In addition to the podcast you can also dip into the group mind of the CreativeCow forums that you can ask questions and get quality answers from people that actually work with the equipment.

You can watch the podcast at the CreativeCow website or you can subscribe via iTunes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hans Rosling's 200 Years that Changed the World

I first learned of Hans Rosling by watching one of his TED videos. He does a very cool form of show and tell. Anybody who can hold an TED audience attention while talking about statistics is a person to keep an eye on.

This is one of his videos on how the world has changed in 200 years.

Looking at the video construction it is extremely simple. A screen capture of the statistical animation program and a picture in picture of Hans Rosling explaining the changes.

It isn't just the tools. It is the growing need to explain complicated information in an accessible manner. Part of what is happening in web video is that there are a group of people, from teens to professors that are trying to figure it out.

It is an exciting time. For more information about Hans Rosling and his work you can visit his web site Gapminder, where you can find more about him, his work or resources.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Maybe It Is Okay I Didn't Go to CES

The line. Waiting in line. Waiting in a long line and then having to go to the rest room. I can't do it. I won't do it.

Just looking at this Boing Boing video makes me queasy.

I'm no fool. I'll just wait for folks to post videos and be happy I'm not trying to pass through the man wall between Consumer Electronics Show and AVN Expo.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Socialnomics Graphic on History of Online Video

There seems to be a book and web site called Socialnomics. On this site there is a graphic that looks at the first five years of Online Video. Below is a sample section.

I have mixed feeling about it. It leaves out a lot of people and a lot of the diverse content being produced. For example, how did the researchers define what is an education video?

In education video production there really is a wide range of people. Most folks who are producing online educational videos are not involved in K-12 or university level instruction. It can range from cooking videos, how-to do it, resource videos, hair care, green and sustainability videos and so much more. Don't get me started on the number of teens making tech videos.

Many of those folks would not define themselves as education content creators but that is exactly what they are doing. So that education category could be even larger than what is represented in the chart.

There is more to the graphic so you should check it out. Provokes questions that need more developed answers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

iMovie Camcorder Support and MP4 Videos

Oh yes, owning a Mac is a wonderful thing. Pain free they tell me. Functional out of the box and ready for love. For the record, I am a operating system agnostic. I respect all persuasions.

Mac folks have to be a little more cautious and resourceful when buying a camcorder. But what do you do when you have found the one? You might have to use other methods of getting video to play nice with iMovie or Final Cut Pro.

Why Is That - I Connect the Camcorder and I'm Make Magic Right?

No, not necessarily. Many of the point and share camcorders as well as the standard consumer camcorders do come with software to help you transfer the video from the camcorder to your computer.

Much of that software is Windows OS compatible only. You can't use it. You would not want to, it is at best pablum and at worse, crap.

Now if you are a savvy Mac user you sniff and say big whoop. I'll just use my camcorder as a drive and drag and drop the video onto my hard drive. I'll open up in iMovie and badda da bing show time.

Eh, not necessarily.

What Version of iMovie Do You Have?

Depending on what version of iMovie you have there might not be a show time. You have to have the version that matches your system but if you can't upgrade you can't open the newer video file formats. You'll need a work around.

What Version of MP4 does the Camcorder Use?

Or to be more precise, the many flavors of MP4 video. I wish I could tell you there is just one fixed version of MP4.

There isn't.
  • There is generic MP4 that any video editing program can open.
  • There is H.264 MP4 it should work in iMovie but ???
  • There is H.264 AVC MP4 it is dicey, could go either way.
  • There is H.264 AVCHD MP4 that sometimes records in a .AVI format. iMovie doesn't like it. At all.
To find out if your camcorder is compatible with iMovie you will want to visit the iMovie Camcorder Support page.

There Is Hope and a Work Around

You will have to convert the video to another format that is compatible with your version of iMovie. For newbies this is a simple video on how it works:

On the Apple site you can find a link to the Mac version of MPEG Streamclip. You can bring the video into the program and export it out as an .MOV or .AVI video.

Now it should be easier than this but to tell the truth the PC folks go through 2x as much hell as Mac folks face. Those poor souls are trying to download spammy freeware conversion software without knowing it.

So go forth and make your magic. Someday there will be a universal converter in every video editing program but for now we do what we can.

Related Posts

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Show Mom or Dad How To Upload Videos

If you have a mom or dad that has a new point and share camcorder you might have to help them out. If you are a mom and know that asking your children for help can sometimes be like pulling taffy then this is for you.

If you are a dad who really doesn't understand tech this this site is for your too.There is a Google web site called Teach Parents Tech. I don't have kids but I have been conscripted into the "You understand tech so you gotta help me!" brigade.

There are times when you just want to be a person, not Mr./Ms Fix-It.

In that spirit I pass along this video on how to upload a video to YouTube.

Yeah that software that was supposed to make it easier? Some how we became the software.

Well, it is time for the emancipation to begin. Each one teach one by plunking a parent, respected elder or best bud in front of the monitor and just have them watch.

This is a process. Liberation will not happen overnight. But it will happen. Send them on over and there is stuff about e-mail, learn about spam, create a calendar and more.

We can help them and by doing so help ourselves.