Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some Buy Shoes, I Buy Electronics

I've been quiet because half of my stuff is in the old pokey and new stuff is on the spiffy new computer I bought this weekend. Spent most of my day yanking out the bloatware and crap. Sixty two programs installed and I don't even know what half of them do.

I can say the most challenging part of installation is looking for all of the software keys and codes of the software I did actually paid for and used.

After all of the gnashing and research I got another HP with 8GB RAM and 1.2TB hard drive for just under $700. I bought a second terabyte drive a few weeks ago. I can juice it up later and it will bring me just one generation behind from Windows 8 OS.

I got tied of the lock-ups, freezes. I was not going to find the system that I wanted at the price point I could pay. I can afford this for right now and keep an eye out for my heart's desire.

This is a non-informative video about the computer. Why would a company make a video non-informative?

I don't know.



Like I said, comes with a 1.5TB drive. I'll add a second TB just for video work and storage. The external drives will rotate as a back-up system. I'm on Windows 7 OS so I will find out what software will or won't run very soon.

I also bought an external drive enclosure. Instead of hooking up cables and installing drivers I can remove the existing hard drive, plunk it in a case, hook it up and drag and drop files.

In theory. Yep. That's my plan. I got a lot of ideas I hope will come a running now that I've removed a bottleneck of productivity.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quick Look at Zamzar Online Conversions

I’m not a big fan of online conversion services. Most have limits as to what you can upload or the types of files it can upload. That is just me. You, on the other hand, might need to have a file converted as soon as possible. Zamzar could be of help. This could be especially attractive to mobile device users.

Zamzar Conversion Screen
Zamzar has a free and paid service for converting video, audio, document and photo files. Looking at the list of video formats it seems impressive.

I can’t list all of them but some of the pesky file types are:
  • .MOV to .AVI
  • .ASF to .MOV
  • .WMV to .MOV
  • .MOV to WMV
  • .MOD to .AVI
  • .MOD to .MOV
  • .RM to Almost Anything else
Using the free service you are limited to 100MB upload. You can use that 100MB however you want; for example, if you upload two files those video files have to be 50MB a piece.

People who record in HD video need to be mindful of this limitation. If you are on a limited mobile data plan you really have to be mindful of the limitation.

Free users will see ads. You should also know that free conversions take a backseat to the paid conversions. Not to mention that if you are on DSL your uploads speed could ridiculously slow.

You should have basic skills in knowing how to download a file from a web page or how to unzip a Zip file. Most of the newer operating systems have that as part of your operating system. If it doesn't you will have to go get something like WinZip and install it.

There are monthly subscription plans depending on your needs. The pricing is fair, if you really need that much priority conversion action.

If you are a smart person you will read the Terms of Service to fully understand what you can and can’t do using Zamzar. Yes, you can convert YouTube videos. But you can’t necessarily convert copyright materials.

If you get my drift.

If you occasionally need to convert a small video file then Zamzar can be the go to place. For mobile device users on smartphones and tablets it might be just the thing to get that video to play on your device.

Related Posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Narratively Telling the Stories of New York City

There are stories that you don't expect to find and when you do you are changed, just a bit in you perceptions. That is one of the powers of storytelling.

Narratively seeks out the stories that are in plain sight in New York City and make them visible.



This is one of those stories. Two women who drive cabs in the city that never sleeps. This is a film called, "What's A Girl Doing Here?"

There are more videos at the Narrative.ly site. They will be audio stories, photo essays and long form documentaries. The contributors come from a variety of media backgrounds.

You want to visit at least once a week to get a hit of inspiration.  

Related Posts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

EditShare's Lightworks Tutorial Resources

EditShare's Lightworks is a a professional level video editing program. I can't begin to list the features this baby has compared to an entry level consumer video editing software.  That is an important distinction.

There is free as in Windows Movie Maker and there is the free Lightworks version.  This software is more in the class of Adobe Premier, Avid, Final Cut Pro 7, that neighborhood.

There are kind people in the neighborhood who are making it easier to learn and understand the software.

Shaun aka Shaunthesheep has a slow, deliciously informative video for those people wanting to transition from a basic video editing program to Lightsworks. You can find his tutorial videos on his YouTube page or at the Lightworks forum page.



You also want to romp around the Downloads page for the Quick Start Guide, User Manual and Hints and Tips by users guide.

Peter Bridgman has 10 tutorial videos to help you get a grip on using the program.




This is the first in the series that is located on the Tutorial page of the site.

Before you download it is important to understand that there limits to certain features in the free program. You have got to read the Compare Versions chart to see if you can live with those limitation.


It might be worth $60 a year for the full version. Or you could work in the freebie version, export the video and use another program to generate the video in the format you need.

Up to you.

Related Posts

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vidoe Basket of Goodies #4

The Online News Association just wrapped up their meeting in San Francisco this past weekend. My Twitter feed was bobling with folks attending the conference.

One of the great things about a Twitter hastag is that it can lead to hidden treasures. Professor Lih and Lam ThuyVo had a session on online video equipment and practices.

These are some of the resources you should check out to build your skills:

http://lamivo.com/equipment_handout.pdf
 The ever popular Five Shot Sequence and Recording Tips.

http://lamivo.com/fiveshot_glossy.pdf

This is some mighty find stuff to have in your head. From visiting that site I stumbled into a photography blog with a great philosophy on using the camera you have to take great photos. It is called The Bastards Book of Photography.

http://photography.bastardsbook.com/toc/

I love this site. It is just the right attitude and approach to not only easying the anxiety about getting the right shoot but using the equipment you have on your person right now. Even a decent base line point and share camera now takes good photos and video.

We just need to work within our skills and the camera abilities. Or Smartphone. GoPro, Tablet. Instagram. Whatever you are using. Doesn't matter if you work in photos or video. Go over there and suck up some of that good stuff.

Related Posts

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Export Video - Windows Live Movie Maker PITA Version

Update 07/22/2013 Windows Live Movie Maker has added new export options to this video editing program. It now exports to the .mp4 video format and to Apple and Android devices. Please check out the current post on this topic.

This is now a historical post that I guess I'll take down eventually.  Or not.
****************
I fought the battle and this is my testimony. This really was a PITA (explained in the video if you don't know what that

Here is a summary of the video:


Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 only saves and exports videos in the .wmv format. You will need to save the video and then use a video conversion software to change the video into .mp4.

To balance the size of the video file and quality you should use the custom settings.



Should a newbie try this?

Heck no. If you can afford one of the current versions of a video editing software please purchase and use it to produce native .mp4 videos.

Should an experience person try this? Only if they are stone broke and can't afford new software or upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you can upgrade to the new OS then you can download and install the Windows Essentials software from the Windows Team Blog.


Related Posts

Saturday, September 22, 2012

More Info on Windows Essentials 2012

Ok, here are the currently known details about Windows Essentials 2012. This is a group of Windows OS products that can make your blogging/vlogging life a bit easier. Before you run to download the software you need to know that it will only run on Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems.

Those of you on Windows Vista can’t even install the software. I know. I tried.

For those that have the right OS the package includes:
  • Windows Sky Drive for storage of your music, photos, video and the sharing of such with friends and family.
  • Windows Live Writer for creating blog posts that incorporate photos and videos a lot easier than other programs. I use the 2011 version. Spiffy program.
  • Windows Movie Maker, the updated version that now exports out to .mp4, has an anti-shake correction feature and will now make it easier for folks to use music from a variety of paid and free resources from inside of the software.
  • Other stuff of interest is Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Family Safety*, Windows Live Messenger and Outlook Connector Pack
As always, go directly to the originating source i.e. Microsoft’s Windows Experience Blog to get the full skivvy on Movie Maker and to download the free software.

Microsoft is being a bit sluggish on the details and updating the Windows Essentials web site. At the time of writing this post the information still refers to the prior versions of the software.

Hopefully, that will change soon.

Other Posts of Interest

Friday, September 21, 2012

You Can Learn A Lot from Internet TV

Mercy no, I'm not the sum total of information when it comes to web video. There are a lot of people who want to help folks make better videos.

http://makeinternettv.org

Make Internet TV has a step by step guide to making it easier to understand the concepts and best practices on making a video. This is a plain English non-fluff self directed guide to getting a finish video.

Per the web site: The site was put together by the Participatory Culture Foundation.  The money came from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, supporting citizen journalism and the building of community through the use of digital media at KCNN.org.

What's not to love? 

Related Posts

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Uploading Using Windows Live Movie Maker - Easy Does It

I have re-written this sucker far too many times. If I post what I have tried to condense it will be a painfully dull movie of the week. I never give up or surrender but I have to break this Windows Movie Maker 2011 export post into novice and pain in the A**part.

This is for the 2011 version. There is a new version of Movie Maker that is available at Microsoft. Pay attention to the name Windows Movie Maker.  The Slim Shady's of the world are trying to confuse people about which version is now new. Go to Microsoft's blog to get the straight scope. All others are just poop.

Harrumph. If it is true that the new version makes it much easier to export natively to .mp4 video that would be such a wonderful thing. Because you can't in the 2011 version. Which I spent six days trying to make easier to understand.

Well, on with the show. This is the easy push button social media version.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011Vista or 2012 Windows 7

If you want the easy no fuss method this post will do fine. But easy isn't always what you need. Just saying, The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


This is the version that operates on Vista and Windows 7. Y'all Windows 8 folks are SOL (Stone out of luck). The software had a total revision and orientation toward new and inexperienced users. This is a good thing. Unless you have yet to adapt to the Ribbon bar.

Windows Live Movie Maker Ribber Bar

Windows Live Movie Maker is a huge improvement over the prior version. It is stable. It will edit videos. You have some neat effects.

But exporting that video? Grrrr. I say that because I know what is coming in the other posts.

Devil's Play Toy

WLMM saves video natively in the .wmv format. The problem is, many web hosts have stopped accepting uploads in the .wmv format.  YouTube is one of the few that will still accept .wmv but I couldn’t say for how much longer.

On the Home Tab look to the far right corner and look for the box "Publish Movie on the Web." If you have a Microsoft Sky Drive account you can upload video to an online storage account.

You can upload to Facebook, of course being mindful of the Facebook upload requirements such as it must be between 9x16 to 16x9 aspect ratio. It wants mp4, however it will accept .wmv.



If you have a YouTube account you can enter your account information as well as other descriptive information and allow the program to upload the video for you.

Windows Live Groups I know nothing about. I'm guessing it is Microsoft's version of Google+ and Facebook. Wait, that has changed. It is now geared to smaller groups and families that access data using SkyDrive. So if you have a SkyDrive account you are good to go.

You can upload to Flickr. Flickr has limitations and conditions on what you can and can't do. I wrote about Flickr for Video Uploads in August 2012.

This is the easy way. It ain't perfect. 
  • You have no control over the bit rate or the type of audio it sends over. 
  • You might not like the compression applied to the video or audio on the other side. 
  • You will not be able to preview the video to catch those last bugaboos that wait for tired eyes.
  • There could be a glitch and you video winds up in limbo land. 
But it is easier. Trust me.

Related Posts

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

El Monte Fires 14 Lifeguards for Gangnam Parody Video

Talk about you buzz kill and not understanding the long view. A group of El Monte Lifeguards did a parody video of a popular song. They got fired. This video is the reason why they are unemployed:



Here is the background story from their Facebook page:
All footage was recorded off the clock during breaks and free time. The city manager OFFICIALLY fired us for using the facility for private use and wearing uniforms in public while off-duty. Afterwards we were UNOFFICIALLY told that our music video was both "disgusting" and an "embarrassment to the city of El Monte."
Now, granted. your local city government made up of a percentage of crusted up fuddy duddies are not going to like scenes that involve pelvic thrusting. In city swimsuits. On city property.

I think the dude in the elevator must have had someone in HR fanning themselves in horror or something.

The city could have seen it as a group of folks promoting the city of El Monte. Or that their employees had organized and produced a video that the public enjoyed and other folks in El Monte might have wanted to watch too. A citizen experience. I don't know if the city knows this but some people like looking at lifeguards in red swim suites.

Why there was even a television show about just that same thing.

Look, I understand the city has an issue with it. There are city lawyers that could have said something to help put the 14 on the road to other employment options.

But basically the lifeguards were just dancing and having fun. It was not "obscene." It was a group of folks sharing in the Gagnam Style. Cite them. Warn them not to do it again but I do think the firing was a bit extreme.

The problem, the lifeguards were under "At Will" employment. That means that the city can fire you for any reason and not have to think twice about it.

So if you create a parody video on your companies equipment, clothing or property you might want to think twice about. If you are in the city of El Monte, CA where folks go some place else to have fun then be on the look out for buzz kill force.

The Takeway:

Be very aware of where you are recording your video. Know your rights and responsibilities. And if on the job, clearly understand the potential risks.


Related Posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Image Oscillite - A Video Literary Magazine?

It could be. There are 230 plus pages with all kinds of videos with a narrative or creative swing that does not lend itself to be passed from friend to friend. Unless you really have very cool friends.

http://imageoscillite.com
Image Oscillite is a place of David Lynch, Chris Cunningham and Errol Morris. It is music videos that are greater than the performers, it is the beauty of nature or the stupidity of our sense.

If you go there take your time. Find what you are meant to see.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ze Frank Hooks Up with BuzzFeed as VP

Ze Frank is now the vice president of video at BuzzFeed. He will be creating content like the video below to the slide and listical social media site. Not a typo, a listical is a type of blog post where you point folks to a list of items that are grouped under a subject or theme.



This is a video example of when it is done well.This is Ze's video on How to Restore Your Faith in Humanity.

Digging further into the details, BuzzFeed has purchased Ze Frank Games which probably includes some of the intellectual properties Ze has created over the years. There will be the amping up of the studio in Los Angeles to support the BuzzFeed site.

As usual, I have questions. BuzzFeed uses a lot of media created by other people. They call themselves a news site. Not saying they are or are not but this ain't your pappy's Herald Tribune. They specifically state that they want to create "viral content."

Ze creates re-mixes as well but his re-mixes are creative, innovative and sometimes on the verge of visual poetry.

Can this be done on a daily or weekly basis without burnout? I don't know. Is somebody gonna hit one or the other with a copyright or DCMA notice? Possible. Unless they are moving to creating totally new and original content.

I have stated my opinion of people trying to make viral content as opposed to making good content that could go viral. Viral is an infection that will die and take others with them. Good content is a connection shared willingly among other people.

For the time being, A Show with Ze Frank is going to continue.


Related Posts

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Exporting Video Using QuickTime 7 Pro for Windows

QuickTime Version 7 Pro for Windows was one of the first popular video editing programs. It is quirky as a red banana. It might be more accurate to say it is a trimming program with some video editing functions.

One of the things that $30 gets you is an export feature that does a good job of rendering your video out to H.264 .mp4 video. That is, if you know what to do and where to do it in the program.

This post is about QuickTime Pro for Windows. QuickTime Pro for the Mac is not the same program. The Mac version is much more integrated with the Apple operating system and can do things the Windows version cannot.

Difference Between QuickTime Player and QuickTime Pro

The free QuickTime Player is a media player for certain types of .avi, .mov, .mp4 and other video file types. It cannot read or open .wmv. There are also some forms of .avi videos that it cannot open as well. You will need to be aware of this and not waste time trying to make it do something it can't.

If you have iTunes you might have the QuickTime player installed on your system. If not, boogie over to Apple to download just the player. You can view content with the QuickTime Player.You cannot edit.

For editing functionality you need QuickTime Pro (QT Pro) which you need to purchase from the Apple web site.

Export Video Ready for Upload 

The goal is to export a version of your video that can be uploaded to a video web host or video distribution service.  You should make an effort to send them a video that looks and sounds good; technically speaking.

The current requirements are:
  • H.264 video in the .mp4 video format
  • The data rate for high definition video is 5000 kbps (Kilobits Per Second) and 3000 kbps for standard definition video. In QT Pro you can set the data rate.
  • Maintain the aspect resolution of your video. If you recorded in 720p make sure the software exports in the same format as the video.
What You Will Need
  • QuickTime Pro
  • Video in a format that is acceptable to QTP
  • Comfortable using Windows and willingness to dig in and make changes.
I'm hoping that the Blogger photo thingy feature is working this time. The idea is that you click on the photo to kick it up to full visible size. If not, then I gotta go back to the drawing board.

File Menu – Open File and select the video that you want.
Once you have your video in the player go back to the File Menu and select Export (Do not select Export for Web)
Export Save Window – Select Movie to MPEG-4
Click the Options Button, this will open the Export Menu
Change the MP4 Export Settings H.264, the Data Rate to 5000 for HD video and make sure the image size and aspect ratio match your video. This is one place where QuickTime Pro can be a bit quirky. 
Confirm your export info by checking the bottom of the screen information section. When you are ready, click the OK button.
Give it a unique name so that you can identify the exported version of the video. At this point, click the Save Button. Make sure you know where your video has been saved.

If you have a slow or finicky computer go do something else and let your computer render the video. Depending on the size of the video and the data rate this could take a while.

After the video has been exported it is a good idea to test the video in another media player such as VLC, Windows Media player, Miro or whatever you happen to have. You want to check for a clean un-blocked up video and good audio.

If there is a problem then you will have to be a detective to find out where it occurred. Could have been in the source video. It could be a result of the export. Knowing if there is a problem before you upload can save you a lot of grief.

Other Posts of Interest

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Glossary - Export A Video

To export a video is to prepare the video in a format that can be seen or shared with other people. You have choices. You can save to a :
  • DVD or BlueRay disc
  • USB stick or Memory Card for use in a television set/media player/tablet
  • Upload to a web hosted server and stream to your viewers
  • Upload to a distribution service like Vimeo or YouTube
Making a choice might require you to prepare the video in a particular file format that balances the needs of a quality viewing experience with the size of the file and the device or service receiving that file. 


For example, if you want to export the video to create a DVD version you would select the .mpg video format.

If you wanted to export video to a Windows phone then you might want to save that video in the .wmv format or a format compatible with that device.

If you going to upload to a video host or distribution service you generally have to upload video in the .mp4 format. There are exceptions, but .mp4 is currently the best option at this time.

Decisions, decision...
How will you share your video?

What will you use to export your video? Many consumer video editing programs do a good job of helping you export to the standard formats. 
If your video editing program does not export to the video format that you need what are your other options?
Answering the questions before you export can improve the quality of your video and save you time when it comes to uploading.


Related Posts

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Before You Upload Video to A Web Service

Uploading a video is much easier than it was in the past. Still, there are things you have to be concerned about when it comes to sending a video to a video web host or distribution service.

And no, not everybody uses YouTube. Even YouTube is moving closer to telling creators what format they want the video uploaded for best viewing.

I want to point out a few little bug-a-boos that will sting if you don’t get them right.
  1. Check the spelling of titles, captions and web addresses in your video.
  2. Make sure you have permission to show people in your video. For public or news events that isn’t required but if you interview someone either get it in writing or on video that they have your permission to display their image.
  3. Be on the look out unintentional copyright and trademark use; especially if you are into comedy or political videos. No logos, name brand t-shirts, unintended product endorsements or what ever else a lawyer might sue you or use to get your video yanked. Ok, I'm not saying you can't use these items. I'm not a lawyer. I'm saying be conscious of what is in your video and what you might unintentionally communicate to your viewers. You can fuzz out a logo, you can't fuzz out a take down notice.
The Easy Way

Many of the consumer video editing programs guide you through the process of uploading a video or at least prepare the video in the correct format.

Example of Web Services for Direct Upload of Video

For some of you that means using the YouTube or Facebook button. You do need an account with the a specific service and you probably have to fill out some information on the video.

The good news is that these social media services take the tech out of the equation and deliver the video to your channel or account for display.

However, not every person uploads video to YouTube or Facebook. If you use another service these are the minimal items you have to be aware of when you upload.

Knocking it down to the basics of what you absolutely need to know would be:
  • Export the video using the MP4 video format
  • Select a standard frame size for your video; it probably should match the recording size of the video. If you recorded the video at 1280x720 that should be your frame export size.
  • Select the best quality for your exported video but balance that need with a reasonable file size to upload your video. Those on limited data plans need to be cautious about exceeding your data plan. 

In 2011 I created a chart on the tech specs you need to know to upload MP4 videos to video web or distribution site.

In the next couple of posts, I'll have examples of what various software programs do to guide the uploading your video to a service or to export a video on your hard drive for later uploading to a service.

Other Posts of Interest

My Chunk of the L.A. River Video

I guess I should say something about what I am doing. I have a lot of videos that I recorded over the years. I really want to do non-talking head videos about where I live. So as I download reference copies I'll post a few of them on this blog.

In 2008 I was uploading video in Windows Movie Video (.wmv) and had transitioned to DSL. Still recording on standard definition but web video moved from 320x280 to 512x 288 or in that general area.

To upload a file took a long time so compression was still very important to manage. Just the beginning of serious mobile use but watching video on a mobile phone was not necessarily easy. It got better in time.




Southern California is a place of constant contradictions. One of my goals is to show those contradictions, like this video recorded about the Los Angeles river.  I could also give a bit of history and perspective about that slab of concrete that has water running down it.

I created this video as part of VloMo 2008. My tip of the say is when you get stuck for an idea take a small section of where you are and show others what you see and experience. Which is exactly what happened.

If the world goes belly up in December I want to show what it looked like before the horsemen saddle up.


Other Posts of Interest

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Copyright Bots are Here

For those that do not know, software programs called a "bot" are designed to seek and remove what they believe to be unauthorized use of copyrighted material. You don't even get the courtesy of a DCMA notice. The video is removed.

Copyright bots are spreading across all of the video web hosting sites and streaming channels.  That flipping YouTube ContentID is in full effect. There are other companies creating equally noxious programs.

The past few weeks have focused attention on some of the more public goofs of the bots. 
  • On YouTube the blocking of Michelle Obama speech on the official Barack Obama YT channel.  This meant that those missed it or watch it after the fact couldn't.  
  • Wired magazine has a write up about the the Hugo Awards the speech of Neil Gaiman was removed when pre-cleared, permission content from the BBC's Doctor Who appeared on the screen. The copyright bot did not care, off it went and the stream could not be re-started. At all. The Slate also has the details.
  • NASA is a government agency. Photos and videos produced by said agency for the benefit of the American people are instantly in the public domain.  If you wanted to see the Control Room video after the event you could not because Scripps Local News Service had a copyright claim on the video. You can read more of that story at Mashable.com
For those of you resistant to reading, this is a video from Mashable's Lauren Gores about what happened.


If you go into the comments of that Mashable story you are going to see one from a woman that represents singer James Taylor and other performers/clients. That man is getting flagged for performing his own work.

What has this got to do with you and me?

Plenty!

Lets say you record an up and coming band at a public concert. So do 100 other people. The band doesn't mind, it gives them exposure to new audiences for free. Everybody is cool and copacetic with the synergy.

Except the copyright bots.

You are creating commentary on a social topic. You use an example from a current news or television show. 25 seconds tops to make your point. You can prove straight up that your work clearly comes in as intended under Fair Use.

Not to the copyright bots.

The copyright bots could not distinguish the difference between a NASA event and a television news re-use of that same video. Commercial interests were allowed to take priority over the legal creators of the content.

Doesn't anybody have a problem with this? I do. Scripps Local News Service are not the rightful owners.

Now here is the chilling effect. You never know when those suckers are going to hit. When they do you have to actively prove that you are the legal copyright holder.

You have to prove that you have the right to use your own content.  Or that you are justified in using copyrighted content in certain situation.

I've seen videos where teachers have assigned To Kill A Mockingbird to students and asked them to come up with a video critique of an aspect of the movie.

It will not mean a damn thing to the copyright bots.

The shady folks that the copyright bots where intended to stop? They have already figured out a way around them.

My point is don't allow the copyright bots to stop what you are doing; especially if you are doing social commentary or documentary work.  Be aware that it might become an issue.  The road of free speech and expression just got a little rougher.

I was reading some of the comments at Slashdot about the NASA video. They have some words about it. I don't think removing lawyers from the planet is a good solution. Not even if they are from the RIAA/MPAA.

We as a people are giving up way too much control to non-human entities. I read science fiction. It is never a good thing.

Related Posts

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Sunday Moment with Ray Bradbury

One of the reasons that people should have a camera/camcorder handy is that you could record a moment in time with a famous or notable person.


This was a short video that I recorded in 2005 at a bookstore celebrating the 82nd birthday of Mr. Ray Bradbury. The web video standard at the time was 320 x 240.  I and many other Internet users of the day were on 56k dial-up service via an analog modem.

Like I said, Mr. Bradbury was kind enough to stop by a local bookstore. I had hope to hear him speak but he was just signing books and sharing a few brief words to his fans. The store was very small and it was really hot inside that store, no air conditioning.  It was roasting outside that store too.

I don’t remember the camera I used to record the video. I probably was still editing on Windows Movie Maker2 and cussing the whole time. Windows Movie Maker 2 would invoke such a reaction. That sucker hit walls like a crash test dummy.

Related Posts

Friday, September 7, 2012

In Search of Android Tablet Cameras Specs

The Android tablet market is complicated. You have knock-off vendors from Asia with dicey quality  tablets. There are certain vendors that have no fear about placing an Android 4.0 OS designed for a phone and slapping it in a tablet and forking it up for sale.

You have consumption tablet devices that are not really made for productivity. You also have tables that allow you to create and do what ever your heart desires.

In other words, it is like playing craps. To reduce, but not eliminate, the possibility of snake eyes stick with known vendors.

To be clear, I am only looking at the cameras and recording abilities of these tablets. There are other far more important items to consider before purchasing a device. However if you want to record video using a Android tablet this is a quick way to get a sense of what is in the bushes.

Consumption Tablet Devices with Cameras

The following examples can be used for web chats, calls, hangouts. Skype seems to be an issue on Android phones and tablets so don’t count on it. You might have to swing over to Google Voice

Pandigital SuperNova Android Tablet
  • Android 2.3
  • Front Camera 0.3MP VGA
  • Rear Camera 3.0MP
  • Microphone, type unknown
Acer Iconia A500
  • Android 3.1
  • Front Camera 2.0MP
  • Rear Camera 5.0MP with Auto Focus
Google Nexus 7 by Asus
  • Android 4.1
  • Front Camera 1.2MP
  • Rear Camera None
  • Microphone, type unknown.
Production Tablet Devices with Cameras

Motorola Xoom
  • Android 3.0
  • Front Camera 2.0MP
  • Rear Camera 5.0MP with LED Flash
  • Video Capture 720p
Dell Streak 7
  • Android 3.2
  • Front Camera 1.3MP
  • Rear Camera 5.0MP with LED Flash

Asus Transformer Infinity
  • Android 4.0
  • Rear Camera 8.0MP with LED Flash
  • Video Capture 1080p
  • Combo Audio Jack (Headphones/Mic)

The specs are all over the joint. Unlike computers or cameras. the tablet specifications are not as standardized as you would hope. Consumers have said they want to buy a tablet with a camera. Some toss it in as an afterthought while others make it the real deal.


The Android tablet world is a place you check out with caution. Do not let advertising copy be your only guide.  There are a lot of tablets that are heading into the overstock purchasing chain. You might find a deal with one of those vendors, if you do your homework. That deal may involve buying a refurbished tablet. 

There are some risks.

If you want to buying a new tablet you want stick with the known players.  I would say read a lot of reviews, particularly from the various Android blogs and fan boy community forums.


This research took about four hours. Not every vendor has full tablet specs on their web page. Those that have specs do not necessarily give complete information about the product. It took far longer than it should have. For those tablets that had minimal or no information I turned to Amazon.com, ComputerGeeks.com and other online vendors to compare product specification.

The Asus Transform Infinity Specification page was a very rare exception. I think they truly want to sell their product, not just have a product for sale. It sure is a pretty bit of kit but it cost some serious cash money. But for HD video recording it might be worth it.


Other Posts of Interest

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Cameras In Tablets Question

A  bunch of new tablet devices are coming out in the next few weeks.  The quality is up on the new tablets and the prices are dropping on the older models. I'm seeing a lot of tablets hit the third tier stores and closeout vendors.

Should be a good time to make a purchase. But what about those of us that want to record video using tablets? How do we get the information we need to make a good decision?

I've read the Tech-boys yammer about how silly it is to want to record video using a tablet.  I got to tell you that there are very good reasons why people to want to using a tablet:
  • Teachers love affordable multifunctional devices that allow them to create instructional videos and projects.
  • There are proprietary military tablets that record video and can withstand a gun shot to its flank.
  • Other users such as insurance adjusters, folks documenting their property and people that occasionally want to record video.
Sure a dedicated camcorder would do it better. Not the point. For many people the camera in their tablet will be their camcorder.

Hard to Make an Informed Purchase

I keep telling people to look at the tech specification before you buy equipment. Manufactures will tell you that there is a camera in the tablet. They might tell you how many megapixels the camera can record. That is about it. Here is what you don't know and probably will not find out at a vendor's web site:
  • Is the lens glass or plastic?
  • What is the sensor size?
  • Video Capture? Not all vendors will tell you.
  • Is the microphone omnidirectional or unidirectional?
  • Monaural or stereo?
  • Is there an external mic jack? A dual purpose mic/headphone jack?

These are really basic questions that I should be able to find the answers on a vendor's tech spec page. I have to tell you it is has been an executive level PITA.

I have some preliminary data but it was a hard slog. Even sticking to major manufactures web sites was frustrating is how much they don't say about the recording feature.

As a baseline:
  • 0.3 Megapixels Crap, not even good enough for modern web browsing images let alone video.
  • 1.3 Megapixels camera in tablets are good for web chats, hangouts, Skype calls, Internet conferencing and, if you are into it, experimental art video.
  • 3.5 Megapixels and above are good for simple recording, demonstration videos, some types of citizen journalism, and what ever else you can think of.
  • 5 Megapixels and above - explore the possibilities 
Certainly buying a tablet is more than looking at the recording capabilities. In the next couple of posts, I want to look specifically at what is out in the marketplace for people that want to record video with tablets.

Related Posts

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pinnacle Studio 2.0 for iPad Video Editor

As most of you know, Avid sold the Pinnacle line of video editing applications to Corel.  There was an app for iPad users called Avid Studio. It is now Pinnacle Studio 2.0 for iPad that is now in the Apple Apps Store.



For those people on a iPad 2 and higher this is a very good thing. It is now a freebie packed with features. Finding the product information outside of the Apple iOS is a little confusing. Avid, at the time of this post, is still hosting the Pinnacle information but it is a Corel product. 

This is what I want on the Android and Windows tablet side of the fence. You can do storyboard and timeline editing. You can record from the cameras or load your own stuff. You can do voice-overs. You then can send it up to your video web hosting service.

All on the tablet for free?  I'm feeling a bit of envy.


Related Posts

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quick Look at Panasonic HX-DC2

This is time of free fall where all things are possible. Cameras in phones, Android apps features in cameras. Manufactures are looking hard at competitors product lines to see what they can cash in on. The latest gold rush activity is toward the action camera/camcorder marketplace.

The action cams service a particular market; those folks that are doing something extremely physical and want to record their real time experience. Sony has the Action Cam and the JVC GC-XA1 ADIXXION isn't far behind. The goal is to siphon some of the potential buyers of the GoPro line of camcorder.



Action cams have very specific requirements. I'm not sure that the Panasonic HX-DC2 and other camcorders in the series is something that you would want to take on a hike or a swim.  As a cooking vlog camcorder?

Maybe.

The shape of the camcorder harks back to the good old days of the Xacti line of camcorders. In fact, almost all of the major players at the time had a grip camcorder on the shelf. It held on for a good while until The Flip, may it rest in peace, appeared on the scene.

A Look at the Specs

Honestly, from the specs it isn't a bad camcorder.

  • F 3.5 lens
  • 5x Optical Zoom
  • Shutter Speed from 1/30 to 1/10,000 of a second in movie mode, 1/500 in still photo
  • Separate Photo and Video Recording Buttons
  • 3 Inch Monitor with Stereo Mic built in, meaning off the camera body and away from the motor.
  • Standard SD Memory card (Yeah!)
  • Records in Standard and High Definition video in AVC H.264
What's not to like? Besides that doofy commercial. It is compatible with the Macintosh OS so that is a good thing.  Should be easy to transfer video between devices. Speaking of which, you can use a Wi-Fi card to upload, should you be so connected.

Basically it is a daytime outdoors camcorder. It is an 2012 update of a prior line of camcorders.

Only in a limited reality can you imply that is is an action camcorder as we know it today.  Sure, if you bolt it to something I guess you can make the claim but jeepers you need two hands for white water rafting and this sucker requires at least one of them to operate the camera.

And for the record cooking often, but not always requires hands for active participation. I don't care if it is dust proof. I'm not about to toss flour, sand or dirt deliberately on a camcorder.

Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive.  Perhaps there are alternate uses I hadn't considered. So, with respect to my food blogging and those in the crafts, I will now offer this as an possible option for their review.

Still think the woman could have climbed a rock, bungee swung from side to side, skydive or a whole bunch of other things rather than stand in the kitchen tossing flour on a $250 or so camcorder.

Related Posts

Beware the Installation Toolbar Window

Hi folks. Have a rare official day off so I am catching up on clearing out old software and installing some new stuff.  I have some posts in the pipeline so hang tight. If you install video editing software on your computer you should know about this.


While I was installing some new software, I cam across an old bugaboo that newbies don't know about and jaded techs often forget.  The toolbar add-on.  Many vendors get some side action from other companies added a tool bar to your browser.

In addition to reducing the amount of readable area on your screen it is a bit of redundancy. If you really like Ask.com (and I ain't hating on the search engine. I used it back in the day when I was on Bloglines) you can change your default browser search engine any time you want.

I don't care for the added tracking, cookies, and sharing of where I go and what I do. I don't mind if I tell you I went to a critical thinking web site. I do mind if that is relayed to folks I don't know. I really mind if I see a bunch of add stating I can get critical thinking for half price at Shopper.com.

Anyway, before click or un-click you definitely want to read the Ask Toolbar Terms of Service.

I speak as a sadder but wiser girl who years ago had to work a bit too hard to get it out of my primary browser. I still get involuntary re-directs to Ask.com from time to time.

Related Posts