Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Containing My Envy - Vimeo iPhone App for iPhone

Yes, there is a free Vimeo app for the iPhone4. This bad boy can do a lot of things and once again I'm feeling the pain of non-ownership.

This is a short video introduction to the application:

According to the Vimeo blog this rascal mimics the desktop experience, you can view, download and set up a gallery. And that would be very cool.

But it also can:
  • Upload videos to Vimeo
  • Full edit features of recorded movies, and a choice of upload modes.
  • Share via Twitter, Tumblr or however you want to do it.
This is new so expect a few glitches. I think this could be extremely cool for those that want to have the option of another mobile video browser and video editor.

Those souls on Android need to take a meditative breath. We need a bit a patience. It will come. I feel it in my bones and Vimeo said they have it in the pipeline.

I just need to resume my mantra, I don't want an iPhone, I don't need an iPhone but I might want to get my hands on that app. Sigh.

Other Posts of Interests

  • Dan O Songs Free Music for Videos and Blogs
  • Quick Look at Pond5 Stock Media
  • More Posts on Mobile Video Concerns
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Xtranormal Film Festival and Contest

    Just passing this one down the line for folks who might be interested. Xtranormal is having their first video festival and contents in association with Microsoft's Bing.

    There are prizes, cash money type prizes, and you get the opportunity to be rendered as an Xtranormal character. $5,000 grand prize and the chance for immortality? Go for it!

    Here is the introduction video from Xtranormal:

    <br/><a href="" target="_new"title="Bing presents the Xtranormal Film Festival Contest">Video: Bing presents the Xtranormal Film Festival Contest</a>

    I took a quick look at the contest rules some of which are standard but it never hurts to look them over:

    • You have from March 24 to 11:59 pm on April 15, 2011 to submit your video.
    • You do have to sign up to be a member of the Xtranormal community. That is free.
    • For the contest they will spot you 300 points for you to acquire assets to create your video for the contest.
    • You have to use the online video maker.
    • Your video must address the topic of decision making.
    • You have to keep the video under two minutes
    • You have to keep it under 30MB
    • You can't cuss or be disgusting - civility please!
    • If you win you give up the rights to the video for now and forever more no matter the mode of transmission or future delivery devices.
    As always it is the story, or in this case the power of the keyboard in the story. That is what makes Xtranormal videos work. Anybody can do it.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    The Overslept Special - Vincent Laforet & Chase Jarvis Chat

    Yes, you can type and look for your shoes at the same time. There is a online video tutorial site called Creative Live. They have live and archived versions of their tutorials on photography and the transition from traditional photography to DSLR Video.

    Many of their introductory and post class discussions are available to view so that you get a sample of what the style of the presentation. This is Vincent Laforet & Chase Jarvis Chat talking about what it takes to get it going and their discoveries along the way. The video is about 48 minutes long but if you have the time get out your note pad.

    You are gonna learn something.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Adam Dachis with Basics of Video Editing Series at Lifehacker

    On of the ways I learned photography when I was a teen was to read the stripped photography magazines* I could buy for 50 cents. I didn't understand any of the terms or the equipment.

    What I would do was start at the first ad, read that and then keep reading until I found an article that explained the word in the ad. Crude methods but effective.

    Life Hacker Video Editing Posts
    Adam Dachis over at Lifehacker has written a primer guide to video editing for the Night School series of posts. Adam does have a video that introduces the software and text for those that don't have time to watch the video. He is using professional level software like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier.

    I would ask that you would approach this will an open mind. Just watch or read, let it soak in and get comfy. When you get to the next post in the series you will understand just a bit more.

    That is how you learn, by being exposed to new ideas and concepts. Your goal? To make the connections.

    * Back in the late 1960s Bookstore owners who had outdated or un-sold comic books, magazines and books were required to strip the title or cover and mail that back to the publisher. Then they were to throw away the item.

    Well, some of them discovered that you could do a good business by having the stripped items sell for 25 or 35 cents. People would buy a 2 month old Home and Garden for 15 cents. Those of us who were/are book-a-holics came out with bags of the stuff.

    Information recycling. All kinds of people were discovering new works, readers and experiences.

    Everybody was happy. Except the publishers. By the mid 1970s there was a serious crack down on the practice. By the late 70s no bookstore was allowed to sell the stripped stock. That's why in some books you'll see a warning notice that a book sold without a cover is a very bad thing.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Think Before You Install LightworksBeta

    This software is not for folks that think that Windows Live Movie Maker is too complicated. As many of us learned from Adam Dachis at Lifehacker there is a new free professional video editing software called LightworksBeta.

    Let me stress the word professional. Actually the program isn't new: it has been used by video and movie professionals for years.

    Lightworks Beta Software
    This version is being ported to Windows and soon to Linux users. Here is the thing, it is in BETA, as in not fully ready for functional prime time use.

    I'm not saying the software doesn't work. I'm saying if there is a problem you will have to figure out if is it you or the software. This means if you so choose to use LightworksBeta you just signed on to be a software bug catcher. Or the software bugs catch you and your system and wreck the joint.

    It could be the software. Or it could be you do not understand timecode, creating a project with rooms, bins or a cue panel. For some folks this will be a learning curve. Upward and beneficial but it will be an adjustment.

    You will also have to make the time to read the Lightworks forums to find out if there is a work around or a patch coming to fix the problem.

    If you have experience with other video editing programs that will help but this software follows the rules and processes used by professional editors. If this software resonates with you march on and download that bad boy.

    Before you install the program you must, and I know this violates the basic premise of certain nerds and geeks, read the user guide and manual to see if you are comfortable with the concepts.

    This could be a great option for folks but I gotta hold up the ding, ding caution sign so you know before you go do something that you will your crying tears of regret later.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Video Feminists Content Producers Via

    I am very encouraged that more women are picking up the camcorder and telling their thoughts, stories and opinions. The site has a section on their site on what contemporary feminists thinkers and speakers are saying via video.

    NIST TV Feminists video page
    It is extremely important for to document what actual women say as opposed to having our thoughts communicated by corporate and advertising filters. I'm really happy to pass this long because it is marker of progress.

    Don't make assumptions of what you will see and hear; there are as many voices as people on the planet and no two women say the same things the same way.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Have Shaky Video? You Might Need A Tripod

    I know the shiny ad in the magazine or commercial told you that the camcorder has image or optical stabilization. It works but only up to a certain amount of movement.

    The reality is that for extended recording sessions or if you are using the optical zoom function on your camcorder you really need a tripod or some kind of stable support.

    Both photographers and video shooters use tripods but there are different types. First, an anatomy lesson.

    Video Ball Head Tripod
    Plate: The removable plate allows you to quickly attach or remove the camcorder from the main body of the tripod. There are some plates that have a level guide, on others the level guide is attached to the body of the shaft. Plates are available on both inexpensive and professional support.

    : The plate locks and rest on the head of the tripod; it also allows you to move the camcorder horizontally or vertically. The knobs on the head lets you control the amount movement or lock the camcorder into place.

    Legs and Extenders: The legs of a tripod controls how high you can raise the camcorder. Tripods that have independent extenders also allow you do level uneven surfaces.

    Still Photography Tripods

    Tripods for still photography are designed to keep the camera from moving. They are also the most inexpensive types of tripods. For still and stationary video recording that could be acceptable.
    However, if your subject moves to the far left or right, the effort to pan becomes a pain. You might see jiggers or jerky motion in your video. I use a still photography tripod and I have to tell you it has come to the point where I have to remember to actually pick up the tripod and camcorder and turn it; if I don’t I have guaranteed a jerky section of video.

    Video Tripods

    Tripods for video use a ball bearing type of head that allows for fluid movement. These are going to cost a bit more than the ones you find in a department store photo section. The cost may be worth it if you shoot sports or performance type videos.

    What About Image and Optical Stabilization?

    Eh, yeah. When you have that turned on the camcorder compensates for your hand movements. It is a great feature except that there are limits to what it can compensate for; not to mention your hands and arms getting tired.

    So What Is the Deal About Optical Zoom?

    Let’s say you are using the optical zoom function to bring the subject closer. When you do that without a tripod you are going to have the shakes. The more you zoom in the harder it will be to keep the camcorder steady. The shakes will really be visible in the recording.

    So, What Do I Buy?

    It is a trade off of what you can afford and what you need. A tripod is better than no tripod. Here is one way to think about purchasing, by the weight of the camcorder.

    Point and Share Camcorder Under 1 Pound

    These camcorders are small and light. It might be that the still photography tripod that came with the camera bag will do the job. I did say might because there are some crappy tripods that you really shouldn’t think about using. Those three inch all plastic with a single screw? Uh-uh.

    If you don't have a tripod then looking at those models that are priced under $100 will be fine. Not perfect, but they will do the job of holding up the camcorder. Anything else is gravy.

    Keep in mind that your should not really trust inexpensive tripods to totally support the camcorder. It doesn't take much to knock a cheap model down. Keep the tripod close enough that you can grab it in a second if something or someone knocks it over.

    Standard Camcorders Over 1 Pound

    It is dicey risking the camcorder placing a camcorder on inexpensive tripod. If you only need it for casual recording when you are using optical zoom then an inexpensive support is acceptable.
    For example, I have a thin still photography tripod that I use for the poetry recordings. It is about 19 inches compacted and five feet extended. I can put it in my handbag or backpack. It works at holding up the camcorder.

    It is not so great for smooth panning when a poet moves. I have to be aware of people moving near the tripod. There has been on more than one occasion when someone walks by I had to be ready to clutch a leg to keep it from falling.

    Yet I needed something portable. It is the trade offs and learning to working with them.

    Camcorders Over 2 Pounds or over $700

    Prosumer and professional tripods are designed for working professionals. Stability and smooth movement are essential.

    If your video recording is tied to producing income then yes, you will need a prosumer or professional level tripod. We are talking big American bucks but you get what you paid for and it makes you look cool.

    I specifically didn't make any recommendations for a specific tripod. I can't.  I can give you an idea but each of you have specific needs. A $20 department store tripod might be just the thing for a Kodak Zi8. It is not something that you should use on a Nikon 3100.

    I can recommend these sites for more information:

    Darren Rowse from Digital Photography School on How to Buy a Tripod

    MediaCollege How to Choose A Tripod

    Tiffin is a manufacture of photographic products, I'm including their list on buying a tripod because they do go into detail about the different types and uses for their products.

    Videomaker Magazine's article on Buying A Camcorder Tripod

    Related Posts

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Goldilocks - First iPad2 Editing Movie from Majek

    Back in January I wrote a short piece about Majek Pictures editing a video on a iPhone4.

    They are back with a new series but this episode was editing using the iPad2. There is a brief introduction to how they did it and then the episode gets going.

    Again, they are shooting the video on an iPhone4 and editing on an iPad2. One more thing. They did this in about 35 hours.

    Yep, I'd be a little nervous if I was a network. If you want to catch up with the series so far you ought to trip over to the Vimeo page.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Philip Bloom On the Realities of DSLR Video

    One of the things I've learned is that the answers to questions do not necessarily have to be generated by the American tech media. I was on YouTube and was looking at a camcorder test video from CNet Australia.

    I hang around the CNet U.S. site all the time. I didn't think there would be anything on the Australian site that would interest me. No disrespect intended; camcorders have different product number or names. There are camcorders that are sold in Europe and Asia that are not sold in the U.S.

    Wrong, so wrong. I found this interview with filmmaker Philip Bloom who is giving the straight skivvy on recording video with DSLR cameras. Where every video on this side of the creek is practically a DSLR love fest this guy is talking about the working problems with audio, lens and the ergonomics of using the camera.

    The other thing I like about this video is that it takes its time. You don't need the flash bam all of the time. I got 19 minutes to listen and reflect on what he has to say. I stuff my iPod and Zune with a bunch of podcast for my down time.

    I'm not saying one presentation style is better than the other. The Quick Look videos on the U.S. site help me to get to know different gear.

    But they rarely talk about the process or the people that use the equipment. There is a reason for the tech and it ain't always about the gear; it is what you do with it.

    I like this video. I think I need to do more snooping to see what else the CNet Aussies are talking about. This is the kind of stuff I want to know.

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Toshiba Camileo S30 Camcorder - Is It Too Thin?

    I'm looking at the unboxing video from Toshiba. The Camileo S30 camcorder is one of the thinnest models I've seen. If you have large hands I'm not sure you would be comfortable with this model.

    Check out the video:

    The LCD is a touch screen. This might be a good thing if you didn't want to fiddle with the buttons, which in case you had not noticed, are small.

    So yeah, I get it that it might be perfect for those folks wanting something better than a cell phone video but does it have the chops?

    Let's looks at some of the specs:
    • Lens - Fixed f/2.5 good for outdoor video and very well lighted indoor videos
    • Image Sensor -8MP CMOS sensor, in other words, the sucker is so small they don't want to talk about it.
    • Expansion - Up to 64GB SD/SDHC/SDXC
    • Video Resolution Options HD (720p/30fps), VGA (480p/30fps), HD (720p/60fps), FHD (1080p/30fps)
    • File Format (video)MP4 - I checked the site, I believe it is .avi
    • Approximate Video Recording Capacity - MPEG4VGA (480/30fps)=60 min, 1GB SD: FHD (1080) = 10 min, HD (720p/30fps)=20 min
    Ok, that last item is a head scratcher. I'm not clear if they mean per GB or per clip. If I understand correctly and 8GB card would allow me to record 140 minutes of 720p video. That is ok, that would be standard.

    I've been looking at some test videos. It is ok, nothing to spark up the imagination but I'd put it in the class of function camcorders. Outside it should be fine. Inside you are going to need supplemental lighting.

    The price at $159 is about right for a new camcorder but I'm a tech frugalista, I think I can get a camcorder with more features at the same price. If the price was $130 and this was a person's first camcorder then, maybe.

    It is a compact as you are going to get with 1080p HD video. It would be a good day to day camcorder.

    Five More Thoughts About Using Tripods

    Yes, you should use a tripod if your are recording in certain types of event situation or you are using optical zoom or a telephoto lens. There are other matters that we as camcorder users should keep in mind.
    1. Be considerate. If you plan on using a tripod make sure that you are not blocking paths of entrances or exits. Make sure there is enough space for people to walk around you.

    2. Be respectful. You as the camcorder owner need to be hyper away about blocking other audience members line of sight. If you have decent optical zoom on your camcorder you can sit in the back row. If you have a big honking tripod you need to be in the back row or long the back wall.

    If you don't have optical zoom (and you should not use digital zoom for any reason) and have to sit in the first three rows then the camcorder and tripod should exist on your lap and within your body zone.

    3. You might want to put a dark sock over the LCD so that it is not glaring in the face of the person siting behind you.

    4. Check with the event to make sure that you will be allowed to bring a tripod into the facility. School sporting and performance events should be fine.

    4a Unless the school sporting and performances events are known to have parents acting the fool; in which case leave the tripod home. It is not meant to be used as a weapon. Then again, video of parents misbehaving at school events could be valuable to the local news station. Your call.

    5. Professional sporting and performances are generally not ok to record. That information can be found on written on the ticket, receipt of payment or web site. Know before you go can save you a long walk to the parking lot.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Quick Look at Online Video Tutorials

    Let me say from the get-go that there are a lot of bogus, gassed up phony web sites and blogs claiming to show you how to do video production and promising that you can make a gazzion dollars. I hate those sites!

    Before I post a resource I do try to do some background checking and snooping so that folks do not wind up at a leach factory. New York Video School seems straight up legit. is a commercial site where your can purchase a membership to access tutorial videos on shooting, editing and profiting from your video productions.

    There is entry level video tutorial material on the site but the advanced tutorials are geared to prosumer and aspiring professional video producers. NYVS does have videos that you can view for free.

    This is an example from the NYVS YouTube channel on Video Storytelling Intermediate Scriptwriting Techniques:

    Michael Rosenblum is a television producer and media consultant/trainer. There is a list of corporations he has worked with on his other web site, Rosenblum does consulting work with corporations and produces content for buyers. There are other instructors that cover the hardware, software and production tutorials.

    The site has a blog, an active forum community that is visible and there are other features that are not hidden behind a pay wall. You get to determine if a membership investment is worth it you.

    At this time the $9.95 monthly and the$79.95 year I'd have to say that the membership fees are affordable.

    Is It Worth It?

    It depends on your needs. The information can be obtained at other places on the Internet. The advantage would be that the instructors involved are working professionals. There would be opportunities to ask questions and get a direct answer.

    The community does offer feedback on videos uploaded for evaluation. I think you have to honestly assess your skill level.

    I'd say yes if you:
    • are a person that wants to get a grip on certain video concepts
    • don't have access or can't afford local video training and instruction options
    • are good at self study and want to supplement your readings with video
    • are willing to participate with other people at various skill levels.
    If you are seeking professional level tutorials and assistance you are going to be over at Creative Cow. If Creative Cow is too advanced for you at this time this might be a better option.

    P.S. I am not a member. I'm thinking about it but I have to examine my skills, time and budget constraints.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Quick Look at Samy's Classes and Workshops

    I have a self-imposed rule that I can only go into Samy's once a year. I have violated that rule four times already. I know I am weak in the flesh when it comes to photography and video equipment.

    Some women do shoes. I look with misty memories at D-76 and Stop Bath. Then I make a bee line to the DSLR cameras on sale.

    A few days ago I wrote about the Adorama video and learning center. It is only fair that I give the home team an equal shout out. Samy's is a photography store in the Los Angeles area.

    Samy's has workshops, seminars and product demonstrations at their various locations. There are some mighty tasty items on the current classes and workshop schedule.

    The Camera Events page has a listing of all of the instruction happening at the LA and Orange county stores. The prices are reasonable and instruction is often provided by a working professional.

    Sample classes:
    • Digital Photography 1
    • Digital Filmmaking Bootcamp
    • DSLR Video Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
    So if you don't cotton to online training or you need hands on experience this might work out for you. If you don't live near a Samy's then dive into the web site of your local quality photo retailer. There might be a learning section or a list of classes in your area.

    I'd be remiss if I did not mention the temptation factor of spending money in a photo store. If you have a tendency to walk into a photo store and walk out with a camera or camcorder you might have to figure out how to do this and still have a budget.

    I'm thinking pay for the class before the session and then leave the credit card at home. Small steps my friends, small steps.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    EngageMedia - Environmental and Social Justice Portal

    Not all web video is about the dollar or the ego stroke. EngageMedia is a social justice and environmental portal. The site seeks videos that address problems and solutions.

    The video content that they host focuses on reporting, experimental videos and documentaries; however they are open to all types of video if it meets the subject area.

    If you are in the Pacific/Asia region this is of particular interest because this allows folks from countries that are not represented in America or the international press. For example, in the Philippines section there is a video that talks about what happens when a natural disater affects a community.

    From the web site:

    EngageMedia is a non-profit media, technology and culture organisation. We use the power of video, the internet and free software technologies to create social and environmental change. We believe independent media and free and open technologies are fundamental to building the movements needed to challenge social injustice and environmental damage, as well as to providing and presenting solutions.

    Some of the videos have been created by individuals, non-profit organizations and other groups. If you are willing to expand your knowledge beyond your nightly newscast these is a place to video, learn from and, if you are in the Asian/Pacific region consider making a video contribution to the site.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    JD at Get Rich Slowly's Video Contest

    There is nothing like combining passions; yes you can be a frugal videoblogger. If you are a frugalista/listo and you know how to squeeze a nickle into six pennies this might interest you. JD at Get Rich Slowly is having a video contest.

    All you gotta do is make a two minute or less video on either personal finance or a success story. How you do it is up to you. There are prizes and books and other assorted goodies.

    You have until April 15, 2011 to upload your video to the site. As always, read the conditions and official rules before uploading your video.

    Have fun and let the saving begin!

    Quick Look At AdoramaTV Videos

    It is interesting how various businesses are using video to educate and promote sales. I don't object so long as there is full disclosure and I have the option choose to view or participate.

    Adorama is a photography store in New York. There is a section of the site where customers and visitors can learn more about photography and video. Adorama TV is the video section of the learning center where they will do advertorials, a straight education video or product demonstrations. Some times all three types can be found in one video.

    For example, I was researching about tripods so I found the Adorama video. The information presented was accurate, no question but if Mark happens to demonstrate a Manfrotto tripod with the Adorama logo in the background then you might decide to check out the other fine products on the web site.

    Mark Wallace is the host of the videos and does a nice job conveying information.

    The store is focused on traditional still photography but with the growing popularity of digital single reflex cameras that can record video they have had to expand to keep up with their customers.

    Videos of Interest:
    • HDSLR episodes on shooting video with a DSLR camera. Start with Part 1, Shooting Video with A DSLR Camera.
    • The videos on Aperture Values and Understanding Stops aka f/stops can be a very helpful demonstration. Even if you are on a fixed lens camcorder this can help you understand why your point and share camcorder with a f/3.5 stop does not do a good job of recording video in the living room.
    • The Depth of Field video was very helpful in talking about a hard concept to explain.
    I also encourage you to check out the ALC Leaning Center, many goodies in that section of the site.

    My Takeaway:

    I do understand that the purpose of these educational videos is to build a relationship and get you to explore the Adorama web site to make a purchase. Please keep your information, media and financial literacy caps on your head as you watch.

    Or lock up the credit card.

    Any decent vendor wants to develop an on-going relationship with their customers.This is a good way to do it. This is resource for those of us who need this type of information in a format we can access. Check it out and see if it works for you.

    This is worth diving in deeper to take a look.

    Other Posts of Interest

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Quick Look at Citizen Journalism Resources

    Things are jumping all over. People have their video on their mobile and smartphones. On the day that I am writing this there is protests in Wisconsin and Ohio not to mention the 8.9 earthquake in Japan.

    The main thing I want to stress is to stay safe.

    Directly aiming a video or cell phone camcorder in a police officers face is not safe. That same officer trying to take your camcorder or mobile phone and aiming a gun?

    Give the camcorder up. Otherwise ask why or refuse with the understanding you might go to jail.

    Climbing unsteady surfaces to get the video is not safe.

    Getting encased in a mob action, so not safe.
    This is a quick and dirty round-up of resources folks can use or ramp up to speed concerning recording actual events.

    Legal Resources

    Electronic Freedom Foundation page on Bloggers' Rights and the Legal Guide to Bloggers

    Video Resources

    YouTube has the Project Report channel where folks can upload news and public interest videos. In addition there is a section on the channel page where you can watch videos about how to do it better.

    Writing Resources

    Daily Kos has a list of resources for those people that practice citizen journalism as a normal part of their blogging experiences. It is a long list but there might be something that can lead to a helpful web site or blog.

    Other Posts of Interest

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Quick Look at Adobe Premier Elements 9 Video File Formats

    The video file format situation is a howler. In the trenches people are paying money for crap or spammy video converters when the money might be better spent actually purchasing current video editing software or upgrading to the next level.

    Those of us that have camcorders that record in .mod, .tod, mt2 and mts video file formats are going nuts with importing and editing. So if you are considering buying a camcorder that records in the above mentioned formats your might want to take a look at Adobe Premier Elements 9 (APE9).

    Premier Elements 9
    Some of the import video formats are:
    • GPP (.3gp, .3g2)
    • Audio Video Interleave (.avi)
    • AVCHD (.m2ts, .mts)
    • H.264 (.mp4, .m4v)
    • H.264-encoded QuickTime (.mov, .mp4, .m4v)
    • MOD (.mod)
    • MPEG-2 (.m2v, .mp2, .mpg)
    • MPEG-2 Transport Stream (.m2t)
    • QuickTime (.mov)
    • TOD (.tod)
    • Video Object (DVD video) (.vob)
    • Windows Media (.wmv) - Windows only
    • Windows Media Advanced Systems Format (.asf) - Windows only
    I am not necessarily recommending APE9 or not. Video editing software is about usability. For some folks they don't like the interface or it is too complicated. For others a particular vendor's software is the bee's knees.

    I tried this software years ago and it just wasn't my thing. It wasn't a comfortable interface. I might have to take a second look; software does improve and evolve so maybe this is what I'm looking for. Or not.

    I know that other camcorder users are getting frustrated with the situation. It is getting better. There has been a bunch of upgrades by the various software vendors so the solution might be a click away.

    This is just another option.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Quick Look At Video File Extensions

    A file extension is a way of identifying a computer file format. Knowing the meaning of a computer video file extension can save you heartache. It has advantages when you buy a camcorder or video editing software.

    I bring this up because as I roam around the various video help forums there is mass confusions about the types of video and compatibility.

    A video file extension can look something like:


    The last three letters after the . indicate the video file format. It gives you a clue as to the media player or software program that is associated with that particular type of video file.

    Some of the more common video file extension are:
    • AVI - this is actually a container format but what the heck. The original .avi format could be opened by any video player, editing software or media device. There are now variations that are starting to cancel out the universal feature of .avi
    • MOV - This is an Apple/Quicktime video format. Files with the .mov cannot be opened in Windows Movie Maker or Windows Live Movie Maker.
    • OGG Theora - This is a Linux video format, I mention it because it is open source and places like Wikipedia or those supporter of an open video (non-proprietary) use .ogg to post videos to web sites.
    • WMV This is a Microsoft video file format.

    Why Do I Need to Know This?

    As much as possible you want to match your camcorder video format to the editing program of your choice.

    For Mac users that means that if your are interested in point and share camcorders look to Kodak. The video files are in the H.264.mp4 MOV format. That will reduce your frustrations when you try to open in Mac specific video editing software.

    If you need more than a point and share camcorder you'll need to do more research to find a compatible camcorder for iMovie, Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro.

    For PC users you need to know that as great as the Kodak line of point and share camcorders are you can't open .mov videos in Windows Movie Maker. You will need a video converter.

    I'll need to discuss mp4 at a later date. It is a certain type of a compression/video format with multiple variations.

    I have written a prior post about the problems of Mac users, iMovie and mp4 video conversion. There is also a post about Conversion Blues and dealing with .mp4 videos.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Stuart Ashen - A Man and His Couch Tech Reviews

    I'm spending time trying to improve my skills on how to explain things. There are the instructional design blogs, screencasters and tech writers. My head hurts. There is tremendous information but it can be, well, a bit dull; which is counter to the reason I'm visiting the sites in the first place.

    When I need a reminder that there is no one way to present information I spend some time with Stuart Ashen.

    Stuart tends to review low price products, tech clones and every once in a while a decent product. He does this on his dad's couch and a with lot of dry British humor. Those of use with a love and appreciation of the 99 Cent Only stores or 99 Pence in the UK will truly get the humor in some of his videos.

    Ashen has on and off gigs at the BBC but this was his starting point. He still has his site and producers videos that are funny or scathing depending on his mood.

    Don't let the ratty couch fool you. Stuart has an international following and he ain't doing too badly.

    Man + couch + camcorder. It works.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Howard Munson on Older Cheap Cameras

    Margaret Fabrizio is an artist and videoblogger. This is a short interview clip on photographer Howard Munson on why he prefers traditional analog still cameras.

    Margaret's YouTube channel has personal narrative, examples of her quilting project and explorations of words and life.

    The reason I wanted to make sure this video gets around the bend is that sometimes we are locked into having the best or quality equipment. If you are willing to work with the limitation a very basic camera or camcorder can make magic.

    This is not an excuse to go buy a $30 digital camcorder. But if one shows up at the thrift store for $5 yeah, go for it and experiment.

    Try the things that you will not attempt with a $150 point and share camcorder. You never know what new paths you might find.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Web Video Chefs - Tutorials Resources for Web Video

    A few days ago I was grumbling about finding good credible tutorials and viable non-spammy resources about creating web video. I dislike the freaking SEO carpetbaggers.

    The search is made even harder in that we have people writing articles that don't have a clue about what they are talking about. I've seen posts and articles where the main mission is to mention the word "camcorder" 29 times. Don't get me started on video converter spam-nation.

    Web Video Chefs

    Where was I? Oh, yeah. When I find a viable resource I want to let folks know about it. This is a new site, just getting started but it could be what you need when you need it. Web Video Chefs' goal is to help people create web videos with easy to understand tasks or as they refer to it as recipes.

    And for those of you who are of the Mac persuasion you will find tutorials that include your OS.

    The folks involved are Chip Dizard and Amani Channel. I've know about Amani from the Yahoo Videobloggers group. He is a former news reporter and has been involved with training a variety of folks in video production. Amani also has his site My Urban Report.

    As with food, once you understand the foundation you can then get inspired to create your own style and interpretation.

    Access to the site is free but there is members section. If you want to get in on the charter membership then now is the time to do it.

    At some point I would expect that there would be a fee to access premium content. Paying for good content is not a bad thing, people. For now, it is a six free month access to content, webinars and additional content. That will change. In the meantime, go check it out.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    The Video on Wikipedia Project

    There are a lot of ways to give back to the community or contributing to the greater good. With the current amount of willful stupidity running rampant it is all hands on deck. We can do better.

    Wikipedia would like folks to add more video to the site and is looking for help. Not financial, although the site is not opposed to getting a monetary donation.

    Video on Wikipedia
    Nope, they are seeking folks to help create videos for existing entries or for new categories. There are benefits beyond the contribution. You get to build up skills, resources and the satisfaction of preserving a piece of history.

    Just doing a bit of brainstorming here but I could see a sample video on:

    • How to draw well water
    • Using a mechanical apple peeler
    • The difference between incandescent, florescent and tungsten light
    • A tour of a local landmark

    You don't need a lot to get started. If you have a camcorder, a tripod or steady hand and a way to trim or edit video you are good to go.

    Visit the How To Post Video on Wikipedia page. This is an overview of what is needed and how you can best contribute to the project.

    Videos for Wikipedia are by necessity more structured. There are guidelines that you do need to be aware and respect. The Lights Camera Wiki page will go into the details of what you need to do in order to have an acceptable video.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Push Button Video Creation with Muvee Software

    Me? I don't really care how you do it so long as you do it. I like the process of video editing but I know there are folks that truly just want to quickly put a video project together. They don't want to know about codecs, frame rates and white balance.

    I've written before about Muvee Reveal which helps casual users to create movies from photos and video. The program really locks down what you can and can't do but you will have something to display in a very short time.

    Muvee has other products of interest. I thought I'd share a look at the video and the software.

    Muvee Pixie is designed for Netbooks and possibly by extension table computers. So if you have to need to create and you are on a Netbook this could work out. The program helps you assemble photos, videos, titles layouts and captions to make a movie in a short amount of time. Think of it like shake and bake video making.

    If you camcorder records in QuickTime .MOV, or H.264 MP4 at $29 this could be a keeper.

    Muvee AutoProducer 6 has a little more power under the hood. It does things similar to Pixie but you get more style layouts, the ability to add a voice over and the ability to preview before making the video. What it doesn't do is render high definition videos.

    This is not necessarily a deal breaker. Do you really need high def in all video situations? Widescreen sure, but high definition viewing on a phone or over a Wi-Fi network that is not your own? Which you should not do but still, think of the bandwidth.

    If you don't own a HD camcorder but you want something easy to use $59 then this software might be your answer. If your camcorder records in QuickTime .MOV, MPEG2, MP4 or .AVI you can make magic.

    If you need more options then you can check the tutorial by Pete about Muvee Reveal.

    Disclaimer. I have used an early version of Muvee AutoProducer that came with my computer. I have nothing to do with the company; I'm not even a customer. This is presented as an video editing/composing option to those folks that just want to get it done.

    This company has been in business for a long time. To my knowledge they are not pushing spyware. The products do what they are designed to do, help novice users create videos quickly.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Video WTF - Moderated Video Help and Assistance

    I do snoop around checking out the resources that folks can use to get useful information about video and video best practices. There is a lot of crappy info being pumped out by the uninformed and the flim flam community.

    No one know everything but if you have a question about how to do a task or you are having a problem you can turn to VideoWTF to get an answer.

    It is a rocky road to video production on the consumer level. Yes, the camcorders are easy to use but there are different video formats, finicky video editing programs, exporting to dozen of different devices. It is getting better but it never hurts to gather your resources and this is one of them.

    One of the advantages is that it is moderated so that does help reduce the spam level quite a bit. Other reasons to check it out is that it is a respectful place. The folks that respond really do want to help and that is not consistently true at other forums and answer web sites.