getting to grips with digital video


to be able to make broadcast quality video from a variety of media which can then be transferred to DVD/VCD and compressed for streaming over the web (to largest possible audience without multiple formats), on a minimal budget.

Current Tools

I have access to:-

  • video mode on pentax optio 330gs (no audio)
  • super 8 camera
  • couple of pentium 3 pc’s (win XP)adobe premiere 6
  • windows movie maker
  • windows media encoder 9.

Things I have found

I can’t import the Avi files from my pentax directly into Premiere for some reason, but found today that I can import them into windows movie maker and export as Avi (large file sizes) which will import into premiere. I can also convert wmv files to avi this way

Windows movie maker will export to wmv, which works well as a web download and could be used for a windows streaming server source file possibly (not sure exactly what I need here, but know I have the tools for it – I also have an offer of streaming windows hosting. Wmv wont import directly into Adobe premiere 6, see above

I can import most formats into flash MX 2004 and add a preloader – the quality is poor so far, compared to the original wmv files and the file size is larger than the equivalent wmv, but there is a whole world of flash video (flv) progressive and streaming video that I have yet to explore.

I need to vastly improve my knowledge of Premiere – a book is probably in order, or preferably find someone for a skillswap.

mpg files from a dazzle video capture device cannot be opened by windows movie maker or premiere, but I can convert them to wmv via windows media encoder 9, then open them up in windows movie maker (which seperates it out into smaller clips for some reason- you can drag all of these at once to the storyboard to rebuild though)

From what I can see NTSC translates to a frame size of 720 x 480 pixels, PAL translates to 720 x 576

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Fruits of the VCR

VCR label - skateboard kings::wheels of motion::fruits of the vine

This weekend my cable TV subscription paid for itself with the "birth of cool" weekend on extreme TV. Amongst other things they showed Skateboard Kings – 1970’s BBC documentary about skating in dogtown, by the "World about Us" team, Wheels of Downhill Motion – another 70’s skate video and Fruit of the Vine – recent film/documentary about Pool skating shot in super 8. In the absence of any video capture equipment I saved the whole thing on old school VHS.

I’m getting stoked on the idea of doing some super 8 filming this summer with CH (plus mini DV if the opportunity arises). I also did some filming this weekend at Yate skatepark with the video facility on my digital camera – the low frame rate gives it a nice vintage feel (flash 6, 4mb, has preloader). I’ve been experimenting with editing and encoding options

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not lap and definately not top

The screen gave up on my laptop last night. It had been partly pink for about a year and started flickering the other day, now it is blank. I bought the laptop over 4 years ago because I was thinking of buying a flat screen monitor to reduce the headaches I get sitting behind a cathode ray tube for hours at a time. TFT flat screens were expensive then and I reasoned that I might as well buy a laptop and get a badly needed new PC while I was at it. The spec is laughable compared to what I could buy for half the price today, but I was quite happy with it at the time and happy to use it indefinately.

There are currently far more urgent things for me to spend my banks money on, so I won’t be buying anything non-essential for a while, especially anything which might fall under the category "gadget&quot, so I dug out my flickery old 15 inch dirty beige monitor from the shed (hooray for hoarding!) and plugged it into the back of the laptop. The ugly, headache inducing thing works fine – now I can have watery eyes at work and at home!

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