Webb åt Originalmedia

För ett tag sedan fick jag kontakt med Anders på Originalmedia. De är ett göteborgsbaserat film-produktionsbolag som fokuserar på att göra dokumentär och informationsfilmer. De hade haft lite otur med ombyggnaden av sin webb. Det hade blivit pannkaka helt enkelt.

Jag visste direkt att jag ville visa en stor video på förstasidan. Det är så roligt med projekt där det finns fina bra material att utgå ifrån. Vi jobbade fram och sjösatte en WordPress-lösning.

Slipstream Traces – Barcelona!

Nu finns det två nya episoder i Slipstream Traces! Traces är en videoserie där Slipstreamåkarna utforskar nya delar av världen att åka på. Tidigare avsnitt har varit från den Norska landsbygden, Portugal och Sardinien. I år är det Barcelona!

Jag har varit kreativ projektledare och stillbildsfotograf för både årets Barcelona-videos och förra året på Sardinien.

Läs mer och se filmerna på Slipstreams hemsida! Många av stillbilderna jag tagit finns på Facebook men guldkornen sparas till olika marknadsföringsmaterial.

HandBrake to encode HD video for Youtube

I’ve just defeated a problem I had with Youtube not accepting my videos encoded with Handbrake.

I usually encode videos using the High Profile preset in Handbrake but for some reason Youtube wasn’t very happy with that. It uploaded fine but after converting it it only displayed the first 30 seconds of my video. And that in fast forward speed. Not what I wanted.

By default Handbrake use the x264 encoder. If you select FFmpeg in the Video tab it works fines. I also increased the quality to QP:5 which seems to be ok for Youtube.

Making screencasts for Youtube with CamStudio

Yesterday I needed to find a simple and robust solutions for recording a screencast. It turned out to be not as easy as I thought.

To get a similar workflow as with my other video editing I wanted it to work like this:

  1. Record a 1280 x 720 section from my screen to a high quality format
  2. Open and edit the recorded file in Sony Vegas Platinum 8
  3. Render it from Vegas to a lossless format
  4. Re-render it using HandBrake
  5. Upload the file to Youtube

Record with CamStudio

I started out with the latest beta of CamStudio. It a nice, simple and easy tool that does what I need.

My first attempt was to save an AVI file with the included Microsoft Video 1 codec. The quality was pretty low so I tried to use the CamStudioCodec (from their web site). I got a nice looking AVI. However Vegas didn’t really like this file. It worked, but it was very slow.

Then I tried to use the Huffyuv codec that I had installed recently when I optimized my HDV workflow. It created a BEAUTIFUL HUGE file that I could work with in Vegas. I edited the file, normalized the audio and rendered the video almost exactly the same way as I render all my other videos (described in my HDV workflow). I just lowered the resolution from 1440 x 1080 to 1280 x 720.

Re-render and upload to Youtube

I opened the file in HandBrake and selected the High Profile. I exported the file the same way as in my normal HDV workflow. It created a good looking file. I uploaded it to Youtube. Everything went smooth. Until I looked at the video on Youtube. It came out gray. No video at all. I made a test upload to Vimeo. No problems. I tried with different codecs and settings. Both in Handbrake, Vegas and CamStudio. All came out gray on Youtube.

I tried really hard to understand why this didn’t work but I couldn’t get it to work so I resorted to Avidemux. I opened the file in Avidemux. Selected the MPEG-4 ASP (Xvid) codec for video and MP3 for audio (I increased the quality on both). I exported the file and boom. It worked fine on Youtube.

I’m not sure what went wrong. Or why. And I ended up yet another tool in my belt. But I almost reached my goal of having similar workflows so I’m pleased.

Bouldering video from Fontainebleau October 2010

I’ve just uploaded a bouldering video from our trip to Fontainebleau October 2010. Enjoy!

Fontainebleau is located about 60 km south of Paris. It is a well known bouldering area. I want to show how it is to climb there. You walk around in a beautiful forest all days. With many other people. Whole families are out in the forest. Having coffee. Playing with their kids. Seniors climbing harder than you ever will be able to. I love it so.

Also. See my photos from Fontainebleau.

This video contains problems from mostly the blue circuits in

Music

Combine Time Lapses with standard DV – Avidemux and Sony Vegas

I’ve just gone trough some hoops to import a time lapse video made in Avidemux into my standard DV project in Sony Vegas. My first issue was to find a suitable video format and the second to get the size of the time lapse video to match the size of the DV format. I’ll go through all steps in an example project below. I’ll use a time lapse with 14 stills and a DV project (PAL, 720×576, 4:3) with one clip.

Sequence the filenames
Avidemux is a bit picky that the file names of the images are in a sequence. I use ReNamer to automatically serialize the images.

I use ReNamer to serialize file names
I use ReNamer to serialize file names

Making the time lapse video in Avidemux
Even though Sony Vegas can import still images I prefer Avidemux for my time lapses.

Open the first image in Avidemux and make sure all frames are visible in the video. Since I’m going to export the video to Sony Vegas I want to use a format that preserves as much quality as possible. I chose Huffyuv.

Select the frame rate you want. I choose 5 fps.

My time lapse images are in 640 x 480 px and my DV stream is in 720 x 576. I’ll resize the images to 768 x 576 px, then I crop 24 px on each side to get a 720 x 576 px image.

Scale the time lapse images in Avidemux
Scale the time lapse images in Avidemux

Save your time lapse video to avi.

To be able to play the video (in Windows Media Player) I had to install a codec for Huffyuv. I installed the latest ffdshow and selected to install Huffyuv only. I also had to enable Huffyuv in ffdshows VFW configuration utility.

Enable the correct codec
Compare the black border in the preview window with the next screenshot

Now you should be able to play the file in Windows Media Player and it’s time to import the video to Sony Vegas!

Import to Sony Vegas and fix the size problem
I start by just adding my two files to Vegas and preview them. I can see a black border around my time lapse file. I fiddeled around quite a while with this. I tried to resize the time lapse in Event Pan/Crop -tool but could only get that to work if I dissabled Maintain aspect ration.

Compare the black border in the preview window with the next screenshot
Compare the black border in the preview window with the next screenshot
See the black border on the left and right hand side in the preview window. Time lapse video has wrong pixel aspect ratio.
See the black border on the left and right hand side in the preview window. Time lapse video has wrong pixel aspect ratio.

Finally I found out that the pixel aspect ratio differs from my DV file and my time lapse file. On the DV file it’s set to 1,0926 (PAL DV) and on the time lapse it’s set to 1,0000 (Square). I changed it by right clicking on the media, select properties and it’s in the media tab.

Media properties for DV file
Media properties for DV file
Media properties for time lapse file
Media properties for time lapse file

You are done!

Big thanks fo LoRd_Mulder and DarkZell666 in the Avidemux forum for helping me out!

Logitech QuickCam mod to fit a standard tripod

I have a Logitech QuickCam Communicate Deluxe webcam. It’s a decent webcam apart from the non standard mounting holes. I wanted it to fit a standard tripod so I did some modding. Here is how.

Webcam before mod

I started out by splitting the screen clip from the cam. It’s a bit scary but I pulled until it released.

Split clip from cam
Split clip and cam

We will going to use the plastic part with the screws so just unscrew it from the screen clip.

Removed the plastic part from the clip
Removed the plastic part from the clip

A standard tripod is just a 1/4″ screw. I found the following two.

I found the following two 1/4" screws that could work
One of these two could work

Here is how they would look. Not sure what the right one was used for but I think it would be easier to attach to the plastic part so I chose that one.

Trying out my options
Trying out my options

I’ll glue the plastic part with the metallic part so I’ll polish both to make the glue stick better.

Polish to make the glue stick
Polish to make the glue stick

Time to glue. I used a double sided tape but glue would work just as well.

Glue together
Glued together

Put the plastic part back to the webcam attach it to you tripod and we are done.

My modded webcam attached to a Gorillapod
My modded webcam attached to a Gorillapod

Easy way to convert videos using FFmpeg!

Update: I used FFmpeg for some conversions but I just found out Avidemux and it seems promising! Trying it right away!

Every once in a while I get my hands on a video file that I can’t play. Today when I wanted to watch a bouldering movie it failed. Not sure why. Maybe becuase my WLAN wasn’t fast enough to stream the huge HD file?

I looked around and found no nice tools to convert the movies. Either it was some shareware, adware or I just couldn’t find the download link on the ugly web site… I reverted and decided to try to use the command line tool FFmpeg to encode my videos to mpeg and be able to play them. It worked so good I’m amazed!

In Ubuntu FFmpeg is included in the distribution and is easy to install via Synaptic or Apt (sudo apt-get install ffmpeg). In Windows you can use these builds.

To make the conversion I used the following: ffmpeg -i OriginalVideo.mp4 -ab 128k -b 2000k EncodedVideo.mpg

Tip: If you are testing different settings for FFmpeg add -t 60 to encode only the first minute of the video.

FFmpeg is capable of creating videos with different codecs as well, but I didn’t need that currently so that will be a later exercise!

S-Video to Scart (with color!)

Having the computer hooked up to the TV has always been a hurdle for me. Sometimes you get black and white, sometimes a lot of disturbance and other times nothing at all. I have been escaping the problem for several years in hope for it to be sorted out once I need it. Well it hadn’t…

I bought a new S-Video to SCART cable today and attached it to my (old) TV. The image came (of course) up in black and white. Luckily there are an easy fix for it! Just attach a tiny conductor to short circuit some connectors and you are fine. If you like to do it the hard way there are the solder-your-connector solution as well. There are even instructions for S-Video in!

Happy hacking!

Setting PAL as default video format in iMovie HD 06

This week I got my hands on a PowerMac dual G4 Mirror Drive Door that I will use as a video editing station with iMovie.

When I started iMovie I noticed that it had set the default DV format to be DV-NTSC (probably since I use English as my language). iMovie adjusts the format based on the camera hooked in to the system but as I created the project before I hooked my camera to the computer it used NTSC and I was screwed. I did not find any setting in iMovie to change the default format. I did a search in the manual. I searched Google but could not find anything. So I decided to apply some brute force the application folder. In a couple of minutes I found the setting string defaultVideoFormat that said DV-NTSC. Changed it to DV-PAL and I was good to go.

The file you need to change is located in:
/Applications/iMovieHD.app/Contents/Resources/
English.lproj/Localizable.strings

(If you are using some other language than English look in that folder instead)

Video editing in Linux

For almost six months I have been using Linux. I have even managed to tame The Gimp.

But I have one issue – I can’t use Linux for video editing. I don’t have that high demands on the cutting tools, but I must be able to use two (or more) video tracks and one (or more) audio track.

After searching around for ”video editing for Linux” I have found the following programs:

Unfortunately does Cinelerra seems to be the only program that fulfills my needs, but it seems a bit too complicated. I’m not sure I will be able to use it (I’m sorry Heroine Virtual).

The program that looks most interesting is DIVA since it seems to have a nice GUI and Michael Dominics (developer of DIVA) seems to have the correct (IMO) ideas about how program should be designed. Here is a quote from his blog (a reply to a comment) where they have been discussing ”usability”

”…most programs of this kind are cluttered and with a lot of unneeded features. I just hate the Windows’ programs philosophy: try to find the option you want in the Winamp preferences and you’ll know what I’m talking about.”

DIVA is though still in early development process.. Hopefully there will be a version that can be tried out soon. I can’t wait to try it! I’ll come back to this or any of the other video tools later, when I have tried them more.

Don’t forget to check out the demos on Michael Domenics blog (the ”DIVA site”)!

Check out the DIVA Demo #4 from Michael Dominics web log. I love when he adjusts the length of a video clip!