Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ZeFrank Funded New Project in Hours

Just a follow up to yesterday's post. ZeFrank met his goal to fund his new show in hours, not days. The goal was to raise $50,000 in ten days for the new project.

His former viewers and assorted racers kicked the goal to the curb in hours. As of this writing, Ze is heading toward $100,000. For those that don't know, ZeFrank's show was a daily series for one year in 2006-2007.

That was five years ago and people not only remembered him but ponied up cash money for him to do another project.

My understanding is that the money will be used for the production of the new series/project and to hire an editor to take some of the load off creating the videos.

In the old series Ze produced a video a day each week for a year.

  • writing
  • performing
  • recording
  • editing
  • distribution
  • seeking sponsorship
Then repeat. Can you say burn-out?

Another interesting aspect is that Ze is asking backers about ideas, concepts and what would we like to see in the next project. From what I can tell there is a lot of desire for doing good, making music and general whimsy.

This is social media, social fundraising and hopefully another branch of participatory media will spork off into new directions.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Return of ZeFrank - Make this Happen!

Long before Jon Stewart and Colbert there was ZeFrank. This is one of your Internet video grand-daddies. The Show with ZeFrank was required viewing by all the cool kids and even some of the dunderheads like it too.

This is an example from May 2006

Ze wants to do it again but different but he needs a little help from his friends and former fans. If you are in the groove with some extra smooth consider tossing a coin to the duck father.

Loosely translated: Ze has a Kickstarter campaign and he needs to raise up some funds for the new show. He is half way to the goal but with the election season coming up why have this man on the outside looking in.

The dude is smart, funny and even got some meat on his bones, you know if you are into that kind of thing.

A Look A Project Settings

Many video editing programs have a feature called project settings to help you set up the video for editing. Some editing programs make it kinda hard to find but they are present in one form or another. I want to show you an example of a project settings.

I have four video editing programs and Serif MoviePlus 5 had the most accessible project setting at 4 a.m. so I'm going with that as the illustration.

A project setting is a template that can be set to match the video from your device. In the above example, you can select the PAL settings if you are in Europe, Africa or under the PAL broadcasting standard then you will want to click the PAL menu.

Those of us in Canada, U.S. Mexico, Japan and Korea will want to use the NTSC section.The first level is standard definition. If your camcorder, smartphone or tablet records in standard def then this is where you select the correct project setting that matches what your recording.


The video dimensions of your recording. This is why you need to know the specs of your recording device. Some of the common but not exclusive standard definition dimensions are:

320 x 240
640 x 480
720 x 480
If you are recording with a smartphone/table don't assume that you are recording in high definition. Check the specs of your device to make sure.

The next level down is NTSC high definition:

A lot more choices. Don't let it scare you. Just select the menu items that most matches your recording format. For folks recording with a digital HD device you will choose either 720p or 1080p as your recording template.

The project settings lets you pick the best editing template that matches your video. In user friendly video editing programs you might not need to worry about it; many programs will select the right format when you add a video to edit. Others might ask "do you want to change the project settings based on this video?"

No worries. If the settings don't work match what you need you can always go back and make changes. If you video format is different most editing software programs will let you customize the settings. 

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Battery Lingo - Where's the Juice?

People get tripped up by battery lingo all of the time. Frugalistas especially when they are in the 99 Cent Only or Dollar Stores. If you need AAA or AA batteries for your camera or camcorder you need to know the power requirements.

It depends on your device. Knowing the battery lingo as it relates to buying batteries for your camera or camcorder can keep you from freaking out when you are forced into shut-off mode.

Heavy Duty

You are in the 99 Cent Only or Dollar Store. You see them, 20 for $1. What is a frugalista to do but scoop them up?

Heavy duty batteries are for slow drain devices, that is why when you look at the package they will have little icons showing the remote, the transistor radio or a clock. They are best for items that sip their power, not gulp it down like digital cameras and camcorders.

Now, yes there are some inexpensive digital cameras and camcorders that can work with this type of battery. The really cheap ones with questionable video quality. The truth is even they don't really like the dollar level batteries.

Super Heavy Duty

Again check the package. There may or may not be an icon for a camera. These have a bit more juice for toys, flashlights or home gadgets. Again, there will be some cameras and camcorders that will function just fine with SHD but not really want you want to take a chance on if you are taking that once in a lifetime recording.

Lithium and Photo Lithium

This is power most folks will need to safely power recording devices. It is made for high drain users. This kinda power doesn't come cheap, you will pay for the ability to record for a least an hour or more.Currently lithium and photo lithium batteries can cost from $5 to $10 depending on where you shop.

Don't buy cheap only to pay for it later. Look at the specification sheet that came with your device. The better cameras and camcorders manufacturers will tell you the power requirements for your snapper.

Buy and power accordingly.

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  • Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Quick Look at Avid Studio for iPad

    Easy and affordable are two words I generally don't associate with Avid but this is worth a look.  Avid Studio for iPad seems to be a full featured video editor for iPad tablets.

    It looks tasty. According to the specs, you can use the software with version 1 and 2 iOS tablets running iOS 5. The software can record, edit, create animations, insert audio and upload from inside the application. 

    It seems to be a full editing suite. No compromises on editing? At $4.99 I would want to test it out but it really does look like some of the behaviors of what I want in a tablet editor. It is new software so before you hit buy you might want to check out the software forum.

    If you are a total video editing newbie you might want to stay with iMovie but if you have experience with video editing concepts this could rock you boat.

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Kodak Ending Still and Video Camera Business

    A few posts ago I wrote abut the Kodak Playful Zi12 Dual Camera. Never for one moment I could imagine that Kodak would close their signature and iconic business. 

    Since 1888 Kodak made cameras for consumers, families, hobbyists and those of us that could not spend $$$$ but wanted to document our lives. It was the social media of its time.

    Sigh. You know, I get that this and other companies want to focus on consumables. Like HP, Kodak will put attention to their printer business meaning selling ink, papers and print hardware. Maybe that was the problem. When corporations focus too much on what they want to sell as opposed to what consumers need or want to buy there is going to be a disconnect.

    There was no reason that Kodak couldn’t have partnered with a computer/tablet company to improve the optics in mobile devices. Maybe they did. Never heard anything about them reaching out to expand their brand.

    There was opportunities for Kodak to introduce their Zi6, Zi8 and Zi12 video cameras to journalists and other people that have a need for portable quality audio/video recording. Niche markets have money too.

    I have questions. Like are they prepared to print with Android, iPad and Windows tablets?  Not even sure they have thought that far. A thought for another place and time.

    Anyway, Kodak will honor all warranties with their camera products. I would expect the fire sale to commence in the next few weeks or so. 

    Mac users might want to stock up because Kodak was one of the few camera manufactures that consistently used the MOV video format. I know how some of you hate with a passion AVCHD so, yeah if you want to go for it keep a look out for the Zi12.

    They have to finish current production with manufactures so this is going to take time.
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    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Quick Look At Galaxy Note for Video Recording

    There is an old song with the lyric "is you is or is you ain't my baby?" The Samsung Galaxy Note makes you want to participate in "the is it a phone or tablet" discussion. I am more interested in the video capabilities but there is something about the Note that pings to my inner geekness.

    I like the size. I prefer at least 7' tablet. Still, a 5.3 screen on a phone with tablet capabilities I think is doable. But we are not here to gaze at the Super AMOLED display.

    What can the device do video wise?

    Samsung Galaxy Note Video Specs

    The Note is running on Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread with a dual core processor. The display is 1280 x 800. The Note has 16GB internal memory and that can be bumped up by using the SD external storage with a 32GB card.

    The device a front facing 2 megapixel camera and an 8 rear megapixel camera that records video at 1080p at 24 or 30 frames per second.

    Playback is at 30fps and it can pony up MP4, H.264, H.263, WMV and DivX videos.

    On the audio side it can kick out MP3, AAC, WAV FLAC and OGG. In other words, you will want for nothing.

    The Verge has a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note which you should check out but they also have a test video:

    So Who Is It For?

    Well, at 6.8 ounces I'm seeing a device that can go anywhere.  It is a phone. Really.

    As a phone it might be a scotch too big. But ignoring the phone aspect for just a second,  it might be good mini tablet for business users that need to document what they see, like appraisers or real estate people.

    I also think that for those into all forms of journalism this could be a back-up camera/recorder. You could upload raw video an a jiff with the 4G connection. If the right Android video editing program comes along you could record, edit and upload before you got home.

    Creatives could be all over this thing if the stabilization and lack of optical zoom can be worked around. And it can, people. It can.

    I want to love it but something is holding me back. Part of that is the unknown price. And the fact that AT&T is the carrier. Depending on where you live in the U.S. and AT&T's service history in your area this could be a deal breaker.

    The Note will be available in the U.S. on February 19, 2012.

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    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Quick Look At Lenovo - IdeaPad A1 for Video Recording

    I’m going frugal this time. The Lenovo Ideapad A1 tablet caught my attention and my fingers tapping in curiosity at the $199 price. Now if you go to the web page linked above the vendor states the price at $249 but I have seen it retail for $199.

    This is a video from Laptop Magazine with a representative from Lenovo stating the price as $199.

    Apparently Lenovo has periodic sales of tablet at the $199 price on their web site. But Best Buy has it listed at $199.

    Lenovo has a good reputation with their desktop and business laptops so I have to wonder why I didn’t hear anything about their tablets? One answer if that it was released in September 2011, that was during the time of Kindle Fire fever.  Oh well, such is life.

    Could it work in a pinch as a decent video recorder? Let’s find out.

    Lenovo Ideapad A1 Video Specs
    The Ideapad A1 is running on Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread. If you can hang with Android 2.3 continue reading.

    It has a front facing .3MP webcam in the front. At best it will be adequate for web chats but wear a bright shirt or something.

    There is a 3.0MP rear camera that should be able to handle outdoor or bright light recording situations. The rear camera records in 480p. As in standard definition 640x480p?

    Probably. I reviewed the spec sheet and there was nothing else to indicate high definition video recording. The User Guide does mention that it has a YouTube High 10m recording but nothing that states if it is high or standard definition.

    The Good Stuff
    • 16GB of SSD internal storage
    • microSD slot
    • Stereo microphone jack
    • Audio file formats .mp3, .wav and .ogg
    • Video file formats .avi, .3gp, .mp4 and RVMB

    The Not So Good Stuff

    • TI® 3622 (Cortex-A8) 1GHz single-core processor. You will have to keep that in mind when you want to do more than one task.  It will slug up on you.
    • 512MB of internal memory. Understandable at this price point but you will long for more.
    • 5 hour battery life and it seems it takes that long to recharge.
    • Forget about Skype for Android for now. There is Google Talk and other third party apps.

    Buying Musings

    For the frugalistas who want a video recording tablet and understand the limitations of a single processor I think this could work.

    If you have to record in high definition, this isn’t going to work.

    If you are not comfortable on how to transfer files from the tablet to the computer then leave this one alone.

    The suggested retail market price is $199 before taxes and shipping.  Beware of vendors who crank up the price to over $260 on other sites.

    P.S. I searched the Lenovo web site; there is a code you can use to purchase at $199 but it isn’t always there.

    P.S.S. Lenovo is making me crazy. There is a page that explains that the Black IdeaPad A1 Tablet - 22282MU goes on sale for $199 and the Blue version for $209. I still think that the $199 price is about right for this product.

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    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Quick Look at Toshiba Thrive Video Capture

    I can't turn my head and not see someone tooting up that a tablet has a feature to beat the band. I can fight it no longer.

    There are people using the video camera features on Tablets for practical and, I hope, impractical purposes. This is first of a few posts about the video recording features of some of the tablets available for purchase.

    My reasons for doing this is that there are people that want to make use of the video recording features. Some of them are educators. Some of them are in business. Some are just curious.

    The other reason is that many people are watching videos on those devices. We should know what those devices can do and how to incorporate them into recording sessions.

    Now let me be honest. I do not have a tablet. I'm working on it but the realities of life prevent me from purchasing as much as my hearts desires. My Sugar Daddy has yet to stroll by and say howdy. The only thing I can do is look a the specs and start to build a profile of what the tablets can and can't do.

    Specs can give you a lot of information but it is not the same as holding that wedge of glass/plastic in your hand. I know that but you gotta start somewhere.

    Toshiba Thrive 10" 16GB Android Tablet Video Specs

    The Thrive is running on Android 3.1 aks Honeycomb.

    It has a front facing 2.0MP web cam on the front that can be used for video chats and traditional web cam activities. There seems to issues with Skype so I wouldn't count on accessing that program anytime soon on the tablet. You would have access to a number of video chat app from the Android store.

    The 5.0MP camera on the back of the device.records in 720p high definition video. You will have the Camera App that you will use for recording. You get auto focus but no optical zoom.

    This is a test video from JoeRnCT using the 5.0 camera:

    No stabilization other than your own two hands to hold it steady. The Thrive is a hefty bit of kit so this really might be an issue if you are going to use this to record a lot of video.

    Being hefty is not a bad thing. Because of its size it does can have a full SD slot; that will make it so much easier to transfer videos from the device to your computer.

    It also has full size USB and HDMI ports so that you can use what you have to transfer data from the computer or to your HD television set.

    You Don't Have to Pay Retail

    I am seeing the early versions of the 16GB Thrive on Amazon and some of the legitimate shopping sites selling at around the $280 level. If I had disposable income I'd give it serious consideration.

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