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  • New Web Encoding Tricks

    It's been a good learning weekend, despite Superbowl XXXVI replacing the usual workflow on the monitor as I write. If you're a DV Raptor user working mostly in Premiere, you might like me have failed to notice the "export to asf/quick time" choices in the Raptor Edit "File" menu. I noticed them for the first time after a year running the card, and I couldn't be more impressed with the speed and quality of the process! If you've been using Media Cleaner EZ to create either file export, cease immediately and import your .avi files into Raptor Edit.Then export them to asf/mov. My PIII 450 system did the .asf encoding at 2 X real time, versus 5-7 times in EZ. Not so fast in QT, but the Sorensen (2) codec while slow handled motion spectacularly at 128kbps, and Sorensen 3 is also available as a codec choice.
    The other very cool discovery I made involves creating screen capture tutorials out of Windows Media Encoder 7-7.1. Thanks to checking the properties on a stream from Mike Gunter at www.videotidbits.com, I discovered this capability in the encoder. If you want to show the world how you do something in any application, capturing the steps, with audio commentary, is a snap. Select 128 kbps as output and you get an asf output at a resolution identical to your screen. I've looked for an editor for .asf, figuring that adding an opening title would be nice (as Mike does) and didn't come up with anything - be happy to hear how you do that, Mike - but until he shares I'll keep looking.You can download the latest version of the WME 7.1 right here.

  • XLR Adapters Explained

    Maybe you don't need any help in figuring out what an XLR adapter will do for your audio recording, but I did, and I found the right guy for the job. Educate yourself if need be at the bottom of the DV Camcorder page.

  • New to the "On-line Magazines" Page

    The British magazine Camcorder User, now more than ten years old in print, launched a web version in January 2002. Check it out at the On-line Magazines page.

  • Separating the Pros from the Boys

    A t the January meeting of the Canadian Corporate TV Association, of which I am the lowliest of members, I button-holed the Executive Director to ask whether he knew or could direct me to someone who knew whether or not Win 2000 or Win XP was the best choice for desktop video editing at the moment. I soon came to understand that we didn't speak the same language at all. He's been editing for 25 years - currently uses the dps Velocity system - and doesn't KNOW what operating system his computer runs on. Nor does he care. It works and that's what it's supposed to do. Adobe Premiere is "garbage" to quote him, although he later asked if I'd paid for it and was apologetic that he had disparaged it so completely. What I came away realizing is that, as usual, the big boys with the big toys are in their own world - and there's not a thing wrong with where they are. He knows how to output a production for TV/Cable broadcast and I don't. He knows how to use a vectorscope and waveform monitor to check the quality of his NTSC projects and I don't. He's a pro and I'm a hobbyist with mucho curiosity. Don't go to the mountain with questions about the seashore.

  • The Future of Camcorders

    I have seen the future and it is the Victor Company of Japan! At the January 17th meeting of the Canadian Corporate TV Association in Toronto I saw demonstrated - and played with myself!- a prototype camcorder JVC will launch here in March. A complete re-engineering of the 3-CCD format by their Broadcast Division, this baby meets all the specs for lenses, XLR mic inputs, colour LCD and viewfinder, MiniDV tape and so on BUT that's only the beginning. Attached to the bottom like a tripod mounting plate is a wafer thin computer. Running a Linux operating system the computer performs REAL TIME encoding of the camcorder input to streaming media .asf files (MPEG-4). A memory card stores these files for transfer to a PC. BUT, that's not all either. The computer has wired and wireless LAN ports allowing transfer of the .asf format to a networked PC, which means that its output can be sent directly to the Internet by anyone with an IP address. A wedding videographer can now offer live streaming of the wedding for guests who can't attend. You can schedule your own "show" for family and friends and broadcast live through Windows Media Player to their homes around the globe. In the more commercial realm, the CEO can speak to the desktop of literally thousands of employees live. Any number beyond ten requires an external service to take the "feed" and multiply it for additional viewers. If you already stream video from a streaming-licensed web hosting service you already have that support.
    So what does this cost? The SRP for the camcorder is $5999, for the computer $2000 - in Canadian dollars. The camcorder records MiniDV or .asf or both at once. Obviously, the DV tape can be captured and edited like any other of its kind while the streaming media files can be sent to your PC via the network port or imported from the memory card with a suitable reader. Granted this isn't a package for the weekend home video guy or girl, but anyone who owns or dreams about owning a Canon XL1-s or Sony VX2000 would have to seriously consider life without this pair.
    Another bone JVC has thrown out to prospective buyers is a web site to which owners have access, and which will manage your streaming output, adding titles and controlling the way it presents to web browsers.
    The JVC rep from Japan, who I believe traveled here with the prototype, told me the development group was concerned that the package was too far ahead of its time - that too few potential buyers would see a use for the advanced technology. By the time I finished singing its praises and sputtered into exhausted silence I think he felt better.
    There was no literature distributed and no web address given out so all I took away was the vague memory that they are calling it something like the GY-300. When I have more you'll find it here.

  • I know it's trite but I can't help but mention that there isn't enough TIME in life when you have a passion. It's Saturday morning and I have a list as long as my very long arm of projects for today - some video shooting on a script developed for a project in its infancy, some VHS dubs of the Christmas video for my brothers and their families, a CD to burn with video content for a friend visiting from the (Canadian) west coast, to be delivered at a lunch meeting three and a half hours from now! One of my hopes for The Content Shop site is that it saves busy hobbyists some valuable time in working through the learning curve. This new page is a further contribution to that process, I hope, in highliting some of the additions on as regular a basis as I can find the time. Always glad to hear from a visitor, with suggestions for links or content, general comments, you know. Hope you enjoy your visit.

  • Camcorder Buyers Guide

    This recent link from the "DV Camcorders" page brings together lots of information on formats, features and things to consider that a newcomer might not know about until after making a purchase. For example, should you be concerned about whether or not your camcorder shoots progressive scan?

  • Audio in your Video

    A fellow by the name of Jay Rose wrote a book on producing sound for ditigal video. Here at his web site there are some handy links to subjects relating to audio in your video productions.

  • Video on CD

    I've been experimenting with the Windows Media 8 Video/Audio encoder recently. It cranks out a .wmv file from DV (avi) input files, has a familiar wizard to make settings easy, but will also allow you to configure your specific settings selections. Designed as a command line application it will work beautifully with a GUI designed independantly. If you want a good alternate to a TMPGEnc-type encoder for burning files to CD try it out. No, it doesn't output MPG-1, but its output is high quality and it encodes fairly fast in my limited experience so far.

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